Welcome to Victoria

 

Victoria may be known as Australia’s garden state, but there’s much more to the state than its leafy green suburban sprawls and public parks. There’s the arid bush around the Murray River; the world-class surf beaches along the Great Ocean Road; the mountains and ski fields of the High Country; and the lush rainforests of the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges. There are thirty-six national parks spanning more than 2.6 million hectares. So whether you’re after secluded snow spots, surfing sojourns or a stroll through plush suburban streets, this is a state that caters to all tastes.

 

Victoria was part of New South Wales until 1851 when an overflowing convict

population prompted colonial authorities to create another settlement. Gold was discovered in Victoria at this time. Prospectors came from far and wide to dig for their fortune, travelling from Britain, Europe, America and China. Many failed to realise their dreams and perished in their pursuits. Those who got lucky excavated twenty million ounces of gold between them – nearly a third of the world’s output at that time. During the goldrush, Victoria’s population swelled sevenfold to 540,000. Today a quarter of Australia’s 23.5 million people (as estimated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics) call Victoria home. And by the time you’ve travelled around the state, there’s a good chance it’ll feel like home to you too.

 

Victorian Useful info

 

Size: 227 620 sq km.  Telephone Area Code: 03

 

Time: GMT plus 10 hours. Victoria operates on Eastern Standard Time (EST) and has daylight savings from October to March (clocks go forward an hour).

 

Population:  5,768,600 (as of late 2013)

 

Climate: It’s been said that the weather changes every five minutes in Melbourne. To give you some idea, in summer it averages 28oC while in winter the average is 8oC. For an up-to-date forecast, check out www.bom.gov.au

 

Average Melbourne maximum, minimums and rainfall are listed below.

 

Melbourne      Jan  Feb   Mar  Apr  May  Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec

Av. Max. Temp.   26     26     24    20     17     14   13    15     17     20     22     24

Av. Min, Temp.    14     14     13    11       8       7     6      7        8       9      11    13

Av. Rainfall-mm  49    47      52    58    57      50   48   51      59    68      60    60

 

Tourism Victoria:

Tel: 13 28 42  Web: www.backpackmelbourne.com

www.visitvictoria.com

www.facebook.com/backpackmelbourne

 

Events and Festivals in Victoria

 

Victoria boasts over 100 annual festivals and with so many of them revolving around food and booze, you’ll need to be renewing that gym membership.

The following is a list of my top picks:

 

January

 

* Australian Open Tennis: Watch the big guns of international tennis sweat it

   out on centre   court in the first Grand Slam of the year.

   www.australianopen.com

 

* Australia Day, 26 January: This national holiday commemorates the first

   landing on Australian shores by Europeans. .

 

* Midsumma: A month-long celebration of gay, lesbian and transgender art

   and community.   Spread around the city at various venues.

   www.midsumma.org.au

 

* The Piers Festival: A free event of music, dance, markets, exhibitions and

   forums celebrating Victoria’s rich history of migration. Held on Port

   Melbourne’s piers precinct.

 

February

 

* St Kilda Festival: Live music, funky food and general merriment in

   Melbourne’s most happening seaside suburb. www.stkildafestival.com.au

 

* Lunar New Year Festival: Try delicious street food and celebrate all things

   Vietnamese on   Victoria Street in Richmond.

   www.chinesenewyear.com.au/mel_home.html

 

* Pako Festa: A celebration of Victoria’s many cultural groups with live world

   music, street   parades, craft displays and cultural food. Held in Geelong.

   www.pakofesta.com.au

 

* Backpackers Expo: Held in the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton, come

   and say g’day to me   and a host of other travel-based exhibition stands.

    www.backpackersexpo.com.au

 

* St Jerome’s Laneway Festival: The most fun you’ll ever have in an

    alleyway with your clothes   on. Local and international acts take over this

    part of the city. www.lanewayfestival.com.au

 

* Yarraville Festival: Quaint Yarraville village (around 15-20 minutes from

    Melbourne central)   comes to life with local performers, market stalls and art

    exhibitions. There are also free   yoga classes, dance workshops and seven

    stages of music. yarravillefestival.com.au

 

March

 

* Formula One Australian Grand Prix: Earplugs may be a good idea as

   deafening F1 engines   roar around Albert Park in the first round of the FIA

   World Championship. Hostels are   crowded during this period so make sure

   to book your trip well in advance. www.grandprix.com.au.

 

* Moomba Festival: A colourful carnival held along the banks of the Yarra

   River over the Labour Day long weekend (mid-March).

   www.melbourne.vic.gov.au

 

* Yarra Valley Grape Grazing Festival: A weekend of food and wine to

   celebrate the beginning of harvest. www.grapegrazing.com.au

 

* Melbourne Food and Wine Festival: Dine under the stars or have a public

   BBQ. www.melbournefoodandwine.com.au

 

* Antipodes Festival: The largest Greek festival in the world.

   www.antipodesfestival.com.au

 

* Melbourne Fashion Festival: All the glamour and champagne-fuelled

    excitement of cutting-edge fashions shown off amid maximum drama and

    ego. lmff.com.au

 

* Brunswick Music Festival: Showcasing international folk and roots music,

   concerts, culture and cinema at halls, pubs and clubs in Moreland.

   www.brunswickmusicfestival.com.au

 

April

 

* Melbourne International Comedy Festival: Have a chuckle at over 200

   local and international comedy acts. www.comedyfestival.com.au

 

* ANZAC Day: Commemorates soldiers from Australia and New Zealand who

   fought in WWI   There’s a dawn service at the Shrine of Remembrance in the

   Botanical Gardens. www.shrine.org.au

 

* Rip Curl Pro Surfing Championships: Watch the world’s top wave riders

   carve up the surf at   Bells Beach. www.ripcurl.com.au

 

May

 

* Melbourne Jazz Fringe Festival: A vast array of jazz with performances

    held at various venues around the city. www.melbournejazz.com

 

* Shakespeare on the River Festival: A festival all things bard-like held in

    Stratford, Gippsland.   Make masks and sip wine while you watch a play.

    www.stratfordshakespeare.com.au

 

June

 

* Victorian Snow Season: Each year the Queen’s Birthday week end marks

   the start of the state’s ski season – head for the hills and hit those slippery

   slopes. www.skivic.com

 

* Melbourne International Animation Festival (MIAF): With over 400

   films at ACMI in   Federation Square, this festival is long and drawn out – but

    in the best possible way. www.miaf.net

 

* St Kilda Film Festival: Cutting-edge Australian and international short films

   at St Kilda’s Palais  Theatre and George Cinema.

   www.stkildafilmfestival.com.au

 

* MindBodySpirit Festival: Natural therapies, massage, drumming, free

   music and seminars   over four spiritually aware days.

   www.mbsfestival.com.au

 

* Melbourne Cabaret Festival: From sledgehammer-wielding men in Viking

   helmets and pigtails   to vampire variety shows, get ready for three weeks of

   dark, edgy, queer, twisted and comedical musical theatre.

   www.melbournecabaret.com

 

* Melbourne International Jazz Festival: A 10-day festival of intimate club

   gigs, film screenings and nearly 30 free events, including lunchtime concerts

   featuring artists from all   over the world. The largest event of its kind in

   Australia. melbournejazz.com

 

* The Light in Winter: Art, music and performances after dusk at Federation

   Square with local and international artists performing a nightly program of

   free events that culminates in   a Solstice Celebration.

   www.fedsquare.com/events/the-light-in-winter

 

* Melbourne International Singers Festival and Melbourne Eisteddfod:

   Held at Deakin Edge Theatre, Federation Square, this festival features vocal,

   arranging and conducting work  shops as well as performances by

   international artists and acts.

   www.schoolofhardknocks.org.au/singers_festival.html

 

July

 

* Melbourne International Design Festival: National and interna tional

   designers exhibit and install their works in numerous locations across

   Melbourne and the suburbs. www.dhub.org

 

* Gertrude Street Projection Festival: Fitzroy’s Gertrude Street is

   transformed into an   illuminated outdoor gallery for a week-and-a-half in

   mid-July. A variety of international artists, community groups and local

   projection wizards display their colourful artwork on   buildings. gspf.com.au/

 

* Open House Melbourne: A free and rare opportunity to discover a hidden

   wealth of architec  tural, engineering and historic buildings nestled around the

   city. www.openhousemelbourne.org

 

 August

 

* Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF): Featuring films,

   documentaries and animation   from all around the world;

    www.melbournefilmfestival.com.au

 

* Melbourne Writers’ Festival: Catch readings by world-famous authors and

   attend writing   workshops and debates. (Runs into September also).

   www.mwf.com.au

 

September

 

* Australian Football League Grand Final Series: Aussie Rules final fever

    takes over the city   in the lead up to the AFL Grand Final in mid September.

    More than 95,000 fans attend the Grand Final at the MCG with an estimated

    six million watching on TV. Grab a beer – find a BBQ – lap it up.

    www.afl.com.au

 

* Melbourne Spring Fashion Week: The catwalk sizzles as designers show

    off their wares   and give you tips for how to look hot for the Aussie summer.

    www.msfw.com.au

 

* Melbourne Fringe Festival: A program of groundbreaking and daring

   performances ranging   across all art forms. (Runs into October also).

   www.melbournefringe.com.au

 

* Royal Melbourne Show: A slower paced event with lots of animals and

   farm machinery, plus   action sports and fairground rides.

   www.royalshow.com.au

 

October

 

* Spring Racing Carnival: Giddy-up as racing fever hits Victoria. For six

   weeks race horses   gallop around various metropolitan and country tracks.

   www.racingvictoria.net.au

 

* Melbourne Festival: Catch renowned and up-and-coming Australian and

    international artists in dance, theatre, music and visual arts performances.

    www.melbournefestival.com.au

 

* Swiss Italian Fiesta: Ten days of celebration in Hepburn Springs (1.5 hours

    north of  Melbourne) featuring art, music, wine, food, yodellers, street

    parades and fireworks. www.swissitalianfesta.com

 

* Great Amazing Race: An urban adventure where competitors (in teams of

   two) race around   Melbourne visiting famous landmarks and locations while

   deciphering clues and puzzles. www.greatamazingrace.com.au

 

November

 

* The Melbourne Cup: Melbournians don their best frocks, suits and hats and

    head to the races for the biggest picnic day (and piss up) of the year. Held at

    Flemington Racecourse on the first Tuesday in November.

    www.melbournecup.com

 

* Beechworth Celtic Festival: Pop on your kilt and have a highland fling.

   Bands, market stalls, Celtic food and musical workshops are just a few of the

   things going on  www.beechworthcelticfestival.com.au

 

* GMC Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix : Boys and their two-wheel toys

   risk life and limb zipping around the Phillip Island track. www.motogp.com.au

 

* Wangaratta Festival of Jazz: Annual festival of jazz and blues held in

   Wangaratta, located just over two hours from Melbourne in north-east

    Victoria. www.wangaratta-jazz.org.au

 

* Polish Festival: Fed Square is taken over with traditional Polish culture –

   from delicacies to dancing, Polish beer and amber jewellery.

   www.polishfestival.com.au

 

 

December

 

* Carols by Candlelight: Get into the Christmas spirit by congregating with

    10,000 Melbournians in the Sidney Myer Music Bowl and singing Christmas

    carols. Bring a candle and listen to popular Aussie singers perform on stage.

    carols.visionaustralia.org

 

* Melbourne Boxing Day Test: Join around 70,000 cricket nuts at the

   legendary MCG for the biggest match on the Australian cricket calendar.

   For a raucous time, make sure you sit in the Southern Stand.

   Get in Early for tickets. www.mcg.org.au

 

For further information and listings of one-off performances and events,

check out  www.thatsmelbourne.com.au

 

 

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The Melbourne Cup

 

They’ll do anything to get a public holiday in Victoria. Take Melbourne Cup day for example, when the whole state has the day off work to watch horses gallop for two miles around a track. Brilliant!

 

A Melbourne tradition since the mid 1870s, if you’re in town on the first Tuesday in November dig out something smart from your backpack and giddy-up for a day at the races. Ladies, unpack a snazzy sequin number or a sizzling summer frock and maybe you’ll win the ‘best dressed’ competition. Take a stroll or have a picnic on manicured lawns. Spot many outrageous hats and colourful characters. This is the place where champagne glasses clink for hours on end. There are lots of bars and you can also take your own booze with you (limits apply). Trackside, you’ll be jumping and cheering if the horse you’ve just bet on crosses the finish line first. You don’t have to know anything about horse racing to pick a winner; just choose the one with the best name, the smoothest mane or the cutest looking jockey. Check out the action at Flemington Racecourse (400 Epsom St, Flemington). From the city, catch tram 57. www.vrc.net.au

 

Top Ten Music Festivals

 

Melbourne is the undisputed live music capital of Australia, with live shows seven days a week. There’s also a myriad of quality music-based festivals across the state. Here are my top picks for cool riffs:

 

 • St Kilda Festival, (Feb); www.stkildafestival.com.au

 • Queenscliff Music Festival, Nov; www.qmf.net.au

 • Meredith Music Festival, Dec; www.mmf.com.au

 • Falls Festival, Dec; www.fallsfestival.com.au

 

With the winter clouds well away, summer is a time in Victoria where the amps go outdoors and the festivals crank it up. Here are a few summer sessions to get you bopping...

 

December

 

Meredith Music Festival: An alternative music festival held on private farmland in country Victoria in the second week of December. www.mmf.com.au

 

Falls Festival: A festival showcasing contemporary music performances, dance, comedy, theatre, circus, cabaret, as well as other art forms. Held over New Year in Lorne. www.fallsfestival.com.au

 

Pyramid Rock Festival: A rock festival showcasing local and international acts. Held on Phillip Island over New Year. www.thepyramidrockfestival.com

 

January

 

Rainbow Serpent Festival (late Jan): Electronic music festival mixed with art, performance, spiritual education and healing villages. Held in country Victoria. www.rainbowserpent.net

 

February

 

St Kilda Festival (late Jan-early Feb): A free festival featuring Australian music along the St Kilda foreshore.Programming includes music, dance, comedy, poetry, visual art, theatre, outdoor cinema, beach sports, and forums. www.stkildafestival.com.au

 

St Jeromes Laneway Festival (Feb 1): Held at the Footscray Community Arts Centre (FCAC) and The Rivers Edge, this festival celebrates leading new and revered seminal music. www.melbourne.lanewayfestival.com.au

 

March

 

Future Music Festival (early March): A one-day festival featuring well-known Australian and international artists. Held at Flemington Racecourse.

www.futuremusicfestival.com.au

 

Port Fairy Folk Festival (first Friday in March): A four-day music festival based in the historic fishing village of Port Fairy encompassing genres from traditional Irish music to blues/roots and world music. www.portfairyfolkfestival.com

 

Golden Plains (first/second week in March): held over three days during the Labour Day long-weekend on private farmland near Meredith, this festival is for rock and folk lovers. goldenplains.com.au

 

Brunswick Music Festival (early March): For a fortnight, Brunswick’s Sydney Road hosts more than 40 events centred around acoustic, folk and roots music. www.brunswickmusicfestival.com.au

 

Apollo Bay Music Festival (End Feb-beginning March) National and international performers descend on Apollo Bay for three days of pop and rock, jazz and country, jazz, blues and roots music. www.apollobaymusicfestival.com

 

May

 

Melbourne Jazz (late May-early June): International jazz musicians descend on Melbourne for a week and a half. www.melbournejazz.com

 

You can purchase festival tickets by either logging onto the given websites, or else by going through Ticketmaster (www.ticketmaster.com.au) or Ticketek (www.ticketek.com.au)

 

Round, Round, Get Around, I Get Around…

 

V Line is one of the main operators of trains and buses in Victoria – visit www.vline.com.au to see where they can take you. Metro (www.metrotrains.com.au) also has an extensive train network.

To travel on trains, trams or buses in Melbourne you’ll need to purchase and load a rechargeable Myki travel card. There are two travel zones, with zone one covering downtown Melbourne and its surrounding suburbs. Myki cards can be purchased from major train stations, 7-11 convenience stores, and other select retail outlets, such as newsagents. Many hostels and hotels also now offer new visitor Myki card packs, which come preloaded with travel money and include discounts to local attractions. Trains and trams run 5am – midnight Monday to Thursday, with extended hours to around 1am on Friday and Saturday.

 

Melbourne central and its surrounding suburbs have an extensive tram network. Travelling on trams is a good way to meet locals and have a chat. The City Circle tram is a free ride that loops around the city in two directions every 12 minutes between 10am and 6pm from Sunday to Wednesday, and between 10am and 9pm every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

It runs along Flinders St, Harbour Esplanade, LaTrobe and Spring streets. For all other trams, trains and buses make sure to ‘touch on’ and ‘touch off’ with your Myki card at various machines in order to pay for your journey. There are no tram conductors, but be wary of ticket inspectors who sometimes wear plain clothes to catch people out. Download the Public Transport Victoria and tramTRACKER apps to keep track of public transport routes and departure times.

 

Check out www.ptv.vic.gov.au or call 1800 800 007 for timetables and destinations. For more info about the Myki ticketing system check out www.mymyki.com.au.

 

NightRider buses provide a safe, easy and inexpensive option for late night travel. Services leave from Swanston Street (between Collins and Flinders streets) every 30 minutes from 1.30am to 4.30am on Saturday and 1.30am to 5.30am on Sunday mornings. ptv.vic.gov.au

 

V/Line provides train and coach services to a wide range of destinations across Victoria. Regular services run to Geelong, Ballarat, Bendigo, Kyneton, Seymour and Traralgon. Many V/Line tickets to and from Melbourne include free travel (Zone 1 + 2) on metropolitan trains, trams and buses. Single tickets give free access for one hour only. Visit vline.com.au for more details. For regional train, bus and coach information call 1800 800 007 or visit www.ptv.vic.gov.au

 

If you’re after autonomy, then hiring a car could be the way to go. Check out

www.vroomvroomvroom.com.au for rates and car hire comparisons. Also check out www.goget.com.au that has a range of cars parked all over the city, and also www.greensharecar.com.au. Be aware that some rental companies won’t rent to people who are under the age of 25. If they do, some may slap on a surcharge.

 

If you want to buy your own set of wheels check out Travellers Autobarn. They also rent Campervans (www.travellers-autobarn.com.au). The Age (www.drive.com.au) and the Trading Post (www.tradingpost.com.au) are also good bets. Also check out hostel notice boards for bargain motors and people looking for car shares.

 

Melbourne has two major airports. Tullamarine   (www.melbourneairport.com.au) is the main one roughly 20km north of the city. Some flights depart from Avalon (www.avalonairport.com.au), 55km out of the CBD. Skybus is a shuttle service to Melbourne (Tullamarine) Airport and departs from Southern Cross Station every 15 minutes depending on the time of day. It takes 20-25 minutes to reach the airport and costs $16 one way. Check out www.skybus.com.au for timetables. Avalon airport transfers have a one-way bus service to Southern Cross Station for $20

(www.sitacoaches.com.au)

 

Greyhound buses are also a good way to get around (www.greyhound.com.au).

 

Groovy Grape Getaways, Bunyip Tours, and Wildlife Tours all run tours from Melbourne to Adelaide. Check out their websites for all the details.

www.groovygrape.com.au, www.bunyiptours.com.au, and www.wildlifetours.com.au.

 

Victorian Public Holidays

 

1 January - New Years Day,

26 January - Australia Day,

March - Labour Day  - (first or second Monday),

April - Good Friday to Easter Monday  - (dates vary year to year)

25 April - ANZAC Day

June (2nd Monday) - Queens Birthday

November - Melbourne Cup Day - (first Tuesday, metro only)

25 December - Christmas Day

26 December - Boxing Day

MELBOURNE

 

If I told you Batman founded Melbourne you’d probably think I was stupid.

Was the leotard even invented back in 1835, I hear you ask. Forget Bruce Wayne. The credit here goes to John Batman, the only native-born Aussie to found a state’s capital city. Had the pastoralist had it all his own way then Melbourne may have been called Batmania. Holy Lycra!

 

Batman brokered a deal with the traditional aboriginal owners (he spoke the local lingo), the Kulin people, which involved the Kulin giving Batman 250 hectares of land in exchange for a crate filled with tools,

tomahawks and blankets.

Thwack! Scandalous or savvy? Perhaps both - you decide. One person who definitely had an opinion was colonial big cheese, Governor Burke. He said Batman’s deal with the Kulin people was void, but instead of handing the land back to the Indigenous owners he claimed it for the British Crown.

 

So began an influx of migrants and, from the dirt of the Port Phillip Bay scrub, Melbourne rose like a colonial dream, its construction funded and fuelled by the gold rush. Today this bustling metropolis has a thriving cafe culture, an enviable bar scene and more leafy gardens and culinary delights than Batman had fistfights. Stylish, soulful and sports-mad, Melbourne has a little

something for everyone.

 

Backpacking Melbourne Safari Style

 

Approximately 3.9 million (as of 2011) people inhabit the stylish hub of Melbourne making it the second most populous city in Oz. Home to the world’s largest tram network, this amiable city has consistently found itself inside the world’s top three Most Livable Cities since 2002 (in polls conducted by The Economist). In 2008, UNESCO acknowledged Melbourne’s

bookish nature by naming it as the world’s second City of Literature.

 

The city sits on the banks of the Yarra River, a 242km watercourse that starts way up in the Great Dividing Range before snaking its way through plains and Melbourne’s eastern suburbs, and then emptying in Port Phillip Bay. Moving further afield, the urban sprawl of Melbourne is approximately 80km from east to west, and 60km from north to south. The major bayside beaches skirt Port Phillip Bay in the southeast, with areas like Port Melbourne, Albert Park, St Kilda and Mentone all popular with beachgoers. The nearest surf spots are 85km away (also southeast) and are located on the back-beaches of Rye, Sorrento and Portsea. In all, Victoria has nearly 200km of coastline.

 

Melbourne’s flat topography affords the area a moderate oceanic climate. It is well known for its changeable weather and is colder than other Australian state capital cities in the winter, although expect frosts and fog rather than blizzards (sleet last fell here in 1986). With mild temperatures and clear skies in spring, and days of extreme heat in summer, Melbourne is a place with distinct seasons.

 

It’s also a place for firsts. The city holds the Guinness world record for the world’s largest human wheelbarrow race. It was here also that the world’s first female TV host appeared, as did the world’s first walk-through lion enclosure. Locals were among the first folks to ever dine in a tramcar restaurant.

 

Cuisine is a major Melbourne draw-card and the huge variety of different culinary experiences on offer owes itself largely to the migrant population. Almost a quarter of people in Victoria were born overseas; the city is home to residents from 233 countries. They speak over 180 languages and dialects, and follow 116 religious faiths. Most migrants are UK-born, with Italy second and the Vietnamese third. War has been responsible for the steady influx. After WWII, people flocked from Southern Europe; outside Athens and Thessalonica, Melbourne has the largest Greek population in the world. Victoria also houses more than 100,000 international students.

 

Melbourne is cafe, food and culture mad. It’s a city of the arts, a place where there are more festivals than weekends on which to hold them. This is a place where sport is religion; Melbournians would fill the MCG to watch a ping-pong match. With theatre, fashion shows and live music every night of the week, your visa may well expire before you have time to see everything.

 

G’day sport

 

There’s no doubt that Melbourne is Australia's sporting capital.

It’s home to the iconic MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) and also hosts the Australian Open Tennis and the first Grand Prix of the Formula One season each year.

It was the first Australian City to host the Olympics back in 1956 and hosted the Commonwealth Games in 2006. Between the months of March and September, AFL fever (Australian Football League) infects the city. Suburbs are divided and the city’s pie consumption increases tenfold. Of the 18 AFL teams, nine are Victorian. Football (or ‘soccer’ as some locals insist on calling it) is also growing in popularity due to an influx of big-name foreign players. Melbourne has two teams: Melbourne Heart and Melbourne Victory with the latter drawing the largest average crowd of any A-League club

 

Melbourne Maps

 

Docklands (click map for Google map links)

 

Carlton (click map for Google map links)

Southbank (click map for Google map links)

Prahran / Windsor (click map for Google map links)

Sydney Road (click map for Google map links)

Pete’s Primo Pastimes

 

Melbourne Zoo – Parkville

Melbourne Zoo has got it all, from Tamarins to Tigers with plenty in-between. If it’s a wild adventure in the centre of Melbourne you’re after, including access to a great range of native Australian animals, this is the place to be. Make sure to check-out their new world-first after dark interactive experience.

 

On Safari: Tram 55 runs from William Street and stops outside Melbourne Zoo.

 

Eureka Skydeck 88 – Riverside Quay, Southbank, City

Need to find your bearings? Experience a stunning 360° panorama of Melbourne and its surrounds from the highest viewing platform in the Southern Hemisphere.

The Skydeck 88 (so named because it’s on the 88th floor) is also the world’s tallest residential building. Bring a spare pair of underwear if you’re thinking about entering The Edge, a glass cube that protrudes three metres from the building and is almost 300 metres above the ground. www.eurekaskydeck.com.au

 

On Safari: Take any tram down Swanston St and stay on until you reach St Kilda Rd. Alight at the Victorian Arts Centre and walk down City Rd, taking the first right.

 

Home to thousands of aquatic animals, including one of the world’s largest Saltwater Crocodiles, SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium takes you on an interactive adventure from the depths of the ocean to the icy waters of Antarctica..

Open 9.30am-6.30pm (last entry)www.melbourneaquarium.com.au

 

On Safari: There’s a tram stop right outside. Take free City Circle Tram or routes 70 and 75.

 

Immigration Museum – 400 Flinders St, City

Since 1788, when white fellas first stepped ashore, more than nine million people have migrated to Australia. Here you can check out some of the amazing stories behind these journeys. Open 10am-5pm daily. museumvictoria.com.au/immigrationmuseum

 

On Safari: Head west from Flinders St Station (along Flinders St) – a ten-minute walk.

 

Melbourne Museum – Carlton Gardens, Carlton

From Darwin to dinosaurs and bugs to bygone machines (the world’s oldest computer is here), this museum is well worth a visit. Step into the Virtual Room or catch a 3D show at IMAX. Open 10am-5pm daily. museumvictoria.com.au/melbournemuseum/

 

On Safari: Take any train on the city loop to Parliament Station or tram route 86 or 96.

 

Werribee Open Range Zoo – Werribee

There’s nothing Safari Pete loves more than a good safari, and thanks to the Werribee Open Range Zoo there’s a fantastic one just a quick train and bus ride from the heart of Melbourne. Admission price includes a safari tour across the zoo where you’ll see rhinos, zebra, giraffe and much more. Open 9.00am to 5.00pm every day of the year with last entry at 3.30pm. www.zoo.org.au/werribee

On Safari: Take the train (Werribee line) from Flinders St Station.

 

National Gallery of Victoria (NGV International) – 180 St Kilda Rd and the Ian Potter Centre at Federation Square, City - This gallery has more Australian art on permanent display than any other gallery in the world. Collections include Australian Indigenous and non-Indigenous art from the colonial period to the present day. Free entry; open 10am-5pm Wednesday–Sunday (closed Monday). www.ngv.vic.gov.au

 

On Safari: Walk five minutes down St Kilda Rd from Flinders St Station or catch any tram heading south from the city along Swanston St. Federation Square is across the road from Flinders St Station.

 

Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) – Federation Square, Flinders St, City

Explore the wonders of cinema, television, computer games and digital art: this is a gallery for screen-based culture. Free entry; open 10am-6pm daily. www.acmi.net.au

 

On Safari: Located opposite Flinders St Station, City Circle Tram route.

 

State Library of Victoria – Corner of La Trobe and Swanston Sts, City

This impressive building is Australia's oldest free public library. It features over two million books and serials, as well as thousands of pictures, maps, manuscripts and artifacts. Free entry; open Mon-Thurs 10am-9pm, Fri-Sun 10am-6pm. www.slv.vic.gov.au

 

On Safari: Catch a train to Melbourne Central Station or any tram running along Swanston/La Trobe Sts.

 

Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) – 111 Sturt St, City

This cutting-edge gallery commissions installations from the world’s leading artists. Its rusted exterior is as eye-catching as the work inside. Closed Monday. Free entry; open 10am-6pm, Tues-Fri; 11am-6pm Sat-Sun. www.accaonline.org.au

 

On Safari: Take any tram running along St Kilda Rd (heading south) and get off at Southbank Blvd stop. Walk west down Blvd turning left onto Sturt St.

 

Albert Park – Aughtie Drive, Albert Park

It may be the venue of the Formula One championships, but the rest of the year this 225-hectare park is peaceful. There’s a picturesque lake, an 18-hole golf course, free BBQs, water activities and lots of walks – all just 3km from the CBD.

 

On Safari: Tram routes 96 or 112.

 

Old Melbourne Gaol – Russell St, City

Visit the scene of Ned Kelly’s last stand – or at least his last act of standing up. Along with a host of other convicts (135 in all), Kelly was hanged here. The gaol whisks you back to the social depravity of the 19th and early 20th centuries. You can do night tours or even sleep here. Open 9.30am-5pm daily; www.oldmelbournegaol.com.au

 

On Safari: Tram routes 24 and 30 run along La Trobe St. Head Northeast and get off at Russell St. Walk north for a short distance.

 

Koorie Heritage Trust – 295 King St, City

Learn about southeastern Australia’s Indigenous culture and history while viewing contemporary Aboriginal art. Entry is by gold-coin donation. www.koorieheritagetrust.com

 

On Safari: Tram routes 24 and 30 run along La Trobe St. Head southwest

(towards Etihad Stadium) and get off at King St intersection.National Sports Museum –

 

National Sports Museum – Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) – Brunton Ave, East Melb.

Imagine the roar of 90,000 people urging you on as you run in to bowl the first ball in a Boxing Day cricket test. While there’s no replicating this experience, tours of the ground are available so you can grab a taste of what it might feel like. The MCG is also home to the Olympic Museum, the Sport Australia Hall of Fame and the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame among others, including the Melbourne Cricket Club Museum – a display of the rich history of one of Australia’s oldest sporting clubs. www.nsm.org.auwww.nsm.org.au

 

On Safari: A short walk from Jolimont Station or tram route 48 or 75.

 

Safari Pete’s Don’t Miss List

 

* Get on your designer jogging gear and run around (or simply relax in) the

   Royal Botanical Gardens (aka the Tan).

 

* Stroll around one of Melbourne’s numerous markets (generally open most day

    except for Mondays).

 

*   Stare a mammoth crocodile in the face at SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

     www.melbourneaquarium.com.au

 

* Check out the stunning views of Melbourne and surrounds from Eureka

    Skydeck www.eurekaskydeck.com.au.

 

* Grab a picnic rug and head to the Royal Botanic Gardens for the Moonlight

    Cinema, an outdoor cinema experience that showcases the best in newly

    released films and classic cinema (December – March). www.moonlight.com.au

 

* Attend a sporting event at the MCG.

 

* Like any awesome city, one of the best ways to explore Melbourne is over

    water. Let Melbourne River Cruises guide you past the highlights of our

    wonderful city in a relaxed environment, they even provide commentary so you

    won’t have to Google search the important stuff as you go.

    www.melbcruises.com.au

 

* When in Melbourne, I like to travel like a ‘boss’. Check out every corner of

    Melbourne with a minimum of fuss and effort with in a Sight Seeing

    Melbourne Double Decker Bus. With an extensive network, you can explore

    every inch of Melbourne on this hop-on/hop-off service.

    www.melbournecitysightseeing.com.au

 

* Enjoy Melbourne’s famous coffee/cafe culture; munch an all-day breakfast on

    Lygon Street, Carlton or along St. Kilda’s foreshore.

 

* Discover Melbourne from the water on either a Melbourne River Cruise

   (www.melbcruises.com.au) along the Yarra, or a boat trip to historic

    Williamstown (www.williamstowninfo.com.au)

 

* Indulge in traditional afternoon tea at Australia’s oldest luxury hotel, The

    Windsor. www.thehotelwindsor.com.au

 

* Experience an authentic taste of Asian Melbourne by visiting Chinatown for

    yum cha or dining in Little Vietnam on Victoria Street, Richmond.

 

* Discover Melbourne’s many hidden and unique laneway bars.

 

* Get neighbourly on a Ramsay St Tour (www.neighbourstour.com.au)

 

* Enjoy a show at the Victorian Arts Centre (www.theartscentre.com.au)

 

* Go Camping! The following National Parks all have free park entry: Wilsons

    Promontory, Mount Buffalo, Baw Baw, Mornington Peninsula, Yarra Ranges

    (Mount Donna Buang) and Point Nepean, as well as Werribee Park, Coolart,

    National Rhododendron Gardens and William Ricketts Sanctuary.

    For more information on National Parks in Victoria log onto:

    www.parkweb.vic.gov.au

 

Top Tucker

 

Good City Grub

Melbourne’s multi-cultural mix bodes well for its cuisine. As far as eating out goes, your palate will be overloaded with choice and taste. Explore the laneways, stroll along Southbank or immerse yourself in the bustle of Chinatown, located between Swanston and Spring sts. Here are a few of Safari Pete’s favourite stomach-filling stop-offs:

 

Blue Train Café – MR5 Mid Level, Southbank Landing, Southbank

A funky bar/café serving breakfast, lunch and dinner as well as naughty, naughty cakes. Go on, misbehave. www.bluetrain.com.au

 

Shark Fin Inn – 50 Little Bourke St

One of the best spots for Sunday morning Yum Cha – dare you to chomp on chicken feet! www.sharkfin.com.au

 

The Italian Waiters Club – 20 Meyers Pl

Originally a hang out for waiters to play cards after their shifts, the clientele of this place has certainly shifted since it opened in 1947. All types flock here to experience the ’50s style décor and pasta that would make any mama proud.

 

Medallion Cafe – 209-211 Lonsdale St, City

Situated in Melbourne’s Greek precinct, if cakes and pies are your thing then you could be in for a Herculean food binge. Adjoining restaurant Dion serves a host of Mediterranean dishes such as octopus, homemade dips and dolmades. www.dionrestaurant.com.au

 

Papa Gino’s – 221 Lygon St, Carlton

Situated in the heart of Melbourne’s Italian district, this is the place to head to for a pasta, pizza, soup, salad or dessert. My favourites are the lasagne followed by a wedge of tiramisu. Mamma Mia! www.papaginos.com.au

 

Cookie – 252 Swanston St, 1st floor

Not only is there a colourful Thai menu, but this beer hall also has an extensive wine list and an arsenal of bliss bombs. You’ll have to visit to find out what they are. www.cookie.net.au

 

Movida – 1 Hosier Lane

Pepper-stuffed crabs breathe new life into tapas in this Spanish affair. Snuggled down a laneway covered in street art, you’ll be licking your lips at the pine nut and gazpacho sorbet. www.movida.com.au

 

Maha – 21 Bond St

If your tummy’s gurgling after a gruelling pub session, then head to Maha’s for a Middle Eastern late-night supper. The kitchen’s open until 3am. www.mahabg.com.au

 

Bhoj – 54 New Quay Promenade, Southbank

Enjoy one of the City’s best Indian Restaurants situated in Melbourne’s exciting

harbourside precinct, Docklands. www.bhoj.com.au/docklands

 

Young and Jackson (Princes Bridge Hotel) – Corner Swanston and Flinders Sts

One of Australia’s oldest remaining pubs, head upstairs to Chloe’s restaurant (home of the infamous nude painting) and enjoy the views of Flinders Station and Federation Square. www.youngandjacksons.com.au

 

Unbuckling the belt in the ’burbs

 

Melbourne’s suburbs have their own unique flavour. Here is a list of Melbourne’s most tasty eat streets:

 

Victoria St, Richmond Cheap and tasty Vietnamese grub.

Sydney Rd, Brunswick: Middle Eastern, African and Turkish cuisine.

Acland St, St Kilda: Innovative cafes and cake, cake, cake!

Lygon St, Carlton: Italian cuisine and gelato for dessert.

Toorak Rd, Toorak: Upmarket cafes and restaurants.

Brunswick St, Fitzroy: You name it, it’s here!

 

Safari Pete’s Top 5 Tight-Arse Eateries

 

Bimbo’s & The Lucky Coq – 376 Brunswick St, Fitzroy

For $4 pizzas head to Fitzroy between Monday and Thursday, 12–4pm and then from 7pm. Also available on Sunday from 7pm. www.bimbodeluxe.com.au. Alternatively, try the $4 pizzas at their sister property, Lucky Coq, located at the trendy Windsor end of Chapel St (number 179). www.luckycoq.com.au

 

Lentil as Anything – 41 Blessington St, St Kilda

This not-for-profit vegetarian restaurant is unique in that you only pay what you think the meal is worth. The money raised funds community based projects and helps migrants settle in Australia. www.lentilasanything.com

 

Shanghai Dumpling and Noodle House –

25 Tattersalls Lane (off Little Bourke St)

Get very full for under $15 with large servings of steamed or fried dumplings.

The pumpkin fritters are a must!

 

Don Don – 321 Swanston St

Great bentos, sushi and very cheap meat/rice dishes for under $10. Yum yum!

 

Crossways – 1st Floor, 123 Swanston St

All you can eat lunch buffets for $7.50 ($5.50 with concession card)

 

Chomping cheaply with Safari Pete

 

After a heavy weekend on the fight juice, chances are your wallets will be as empty as the space between Paris Hilton’s ears. But don’t fret, because Safari Pete has some tips for a top tight-arse feed throughout the week. If the prospect of packet pasta has you thinking of a liquid dinner, before you head back to the bar check out these joints for lunch, dinner and brekkie. At the time of writing, all meals were under $13.

 

City

 

Grill'd - Level 2 QV cnr Swanston & Lonsdale Street

Healthy burgers for meat lovers and vegetarians. www.grilld.com.au

 

French Quarter Patisserie – Shop 1, 570 Queensbury St

If smoked salmon quiche is enough to get your nose twitching, then head down here for lunch and succumb to a rich, chocolate pastry for dessert.

 

Pho Dzung – 234b Russell St

A Vietnamese restaurant with very affordable mains.

 

Switchboard – 220 Collins St

Sourdough sandwich central. I’d tell you about the fillings, but the keyboard isn’t drool proof.

 

Yarraville

 

Hausfrau Bakery – 32a Ballarat St

A European bakery full of tortes, strudel and chunky soup.

 

South Yarra

 

Krakatoa – 51 Toorak Rd

East meets west in this fusion of modern Aussie fare and Asian-style dishes. You shouldn’t pay more than $8 for lunch.

 

Brunswick

 

A1 Lebanese Bakery – 645 Sydney Rd

There are bread-based snacks galore here: from tasty cheese and spinach triangles ($4) to a sausage pizza crammed with haloumi feta, tomato, capsicum, olives and basil ($7).

 

Bismi – 848 Sydney Rd

This spicy Indian-flavoured restaurant cooks killer curries, messiah-like masala and an eggplant so brimming with spice it almost walks off the plate.

 

Fitzroy

 

Trippy Taco – 234 Gertrude St

A self-described ‘Fresh Mex’ haven, this is one of the best places in town for all your taco, quesadilla, and burrito needs. A huge menu with tons of vegetarian goodies.

 

Collingwood

 

Huxtaburger – 106 Smith St

A very popular burger joint on trendy Smith St.

 

Fitzroy North

 

Cavallini – 354 Queens Parade

Forget Subway, the crispy baguettes in this artisan bakery should satisfy salivating taste buds. Finish it off with a tart. Ooh, go on!

 

Carlton

 

Don Tojo – Shop 3, 164 Cardigan St

Japanese cuisine hops into bed with South American fare. Go here if you fancy a soba salad or a tortilla-stuffed focaccia.

 

HERBIVORE HEAVEN

 

For all you herbivores out there, Melbourne has an array of cheap and chomp-tastic places to pile on the veggies. Some of these break the $10 mark, but never stray over $20.

 

City

 

Gopal's Vegetarian Restaurant – 139 Swanston St

Just up the road from Crossways, this is another Hare Krishna-run restaurant with good value, hearty meals.

 

Fo Guang Yuan – 141 Queen St

In this part Buddhist temple, you’ll find a place where tofu masquerades as chicken and where you can enjoy apple wedges with an aromatic cup of tea. .

 

Collingwood

 

Friends of the Earth – 312 Smith St

For a hearty meal of market vegetables and a scour of the latest houses for rent (there is a huge window of ads for share houses), become a friend and enjoy a large plate of grub for under $10.

 

North Fitzroy

 

The Moroccan Soup Bar – 183 St Georges Rd

Show up before opening time if you want to get a table because they don’t take bookings and there’s always a queue. There’s no such thing as a written menu either; waiters are talking menus. Cozy, tasty and alcohol-free.

 

St Kilda

 

Soulmama – 10 Jacka Blvd

Dinner with a view: Soul Mama overlooks Port Phillip Bay and is a great place to eat and watch the sunset. It’s a set menu and you select from a variety of Asian-influenced dishes. If you’re not full afterwards then there’s a hole in your stomach. www.soulmama.com.au

 

Brunswick East

Vege2Go – 452 Lygon St

A vegetarian restaurant with an Italian theme. Lasagne lovers will be licking their lips.

 

SAFARI PETE’S TIGHT-ARSE EATING TIPS

 

Before things get drastic and you resort to dumpster diving to put a meal on the table, you may want to take note of the following advice. (Besides, most supermarkets put padlocks on their dumpsters nowadays, although I know the address of a good hardware store where you can pick up some cheap-as bolt-cutters...)

 

Dock Martin:

We’re not talking shoes here, but about my old mate Martin, a hoarder who used to save all of his supermarket dockets. At first I thought he was a bit weird, but when he showed me all the restaurant and pizza parlour discounts printed on the back, I realised he was onto something. Log onto www.hotdockets.com.au for a list of deals. .

 

Catering calamities?

This is where your travel insurance may come in handy. Only joking, cobbers. For a cheap treat from a gastronomic novice head to the William Angliss Institute (550 Little Lonsdale St), which is a catering college where the students cook for you. www.angliss.edu.au

 

Eat at BYO restaurants:

If you’re going out for dinner, then try and head to a BYO (bring your own) joint as alcohol in restaurants can be pricey. Most places will charge a corkage fee (around $3), but it’s worth paying for the cash you’ll save. Alternatively, just drink water.

 

Go sideways:

It doesn’t matter if you feel like a cheapskate, ordering side dishes – as opposed to mains – is a good way of scything dollars off the restaurant bill. If you’re in a group, look for banquet deals as these can work out cheaper too.

 

Closing time specials:

Where restaurants serve food that has to be consumed on the day it’s prepared, like sushi for example, find out what time they close and rock up about half an hour beforehand. If they’ve got a bit left then chances are it’ll be discounted. In some cases you can save up to fifty per cent.

 

Opening specials:

New restaurants mean cheap introductory prices. Keep an eye out for new

businesses. For a good, unbiased guide to cheap restaurants, log onto

www.yourrestaurants.com.au

 

 

Markets

 

Never buy your veggies from the supermarket – save beer money by visiting Melbourne’s many markets. Here’s where Safari Pete does his shopping:

 

Queen Victoria Market – Cnr Elizabeth and Victoria Sts; Tuesday & Thursday 6am - 2pm, Friday 6am - 5pm, Saturday 6am - 3pm, Sunday 9am - 4pm.

The largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere has something for everyone: arts, crafts, souvenirs and great grub. Grab a Kransky sausage or relax with a slice of homemade cheesecake to the sound of live South American music. In summer, check out the Suzuki Night Market where over 35 stalls prepare fresh food from a range of cuisines including: Indian, Vietnamese, Ethiopian, Spanish, Dutch and Middle Eastern. www.qvm.com.au

 

South Melbourne Market – 322-326 Coventry St, South Melbourne;

Wed 8am-4pm, Fri 8am-5pm, Sat & Sun 8am-4pm.

Fine fish, choice meats, deli delights and a smorgasboard of non-edible treats, including one of the best second-hand book specialists in Melbourne. www.southmelbournemarket.com.au

 

Prahran Market – 163-185 Commercial Rd, South Yarra; .

Tues, Thurs and Sat dawn-5pm, Fri til 6pm, Sun 10am-3pm.

Australia’s oldest market is also home to speciality culinary store Essential Ingredient, which offers cooking classes and workshops. You’ll be the talk of the hostel kitchen! www.prahranmarket.com.au.

 

Collingwood Children’s Farm Farmer’s Market – St Heliers St, Yarra Bend;

On the second Saturday of every month between 9am-5pm

This market is set amongst some very friendly chooks and lambs and has seasonal all-Victorian produce. Entry before 1pm is $2 per adult and the tariff allows entry to Collingwood Children’s farm for the whole day. www.farm.org.au

 

Ceres Market – 8-10 Lee St, Brunswick East;

Wed & Sat 9am-1pm

Named after the Roman goddess of agriculture, this market sells all-organic produce on an open community-run property. ceres.org.au/drupal/market

 

Esplanade Market – Esplanade, St Kilda;

Every Sunday 10am-5pm (except the Sunday after Christmas)

Find yourself the ultimate souvenir amidst the range of treasure displayed by over 150 stall holders, who have been offering an eclectic array of artful craftwork every Sunday here since 1970. www.stkildamarket.com

 

Rose St Artists’ Market – Rose St, Fitzroy;

Saturdays 11am-5pm

Emerging local artists and designers sell their unique wares at reasonable prices.

www.rosestmarket.com.au.

 

Fed Square Book Market – The Atrium, Federation Square;

Every Saturday, 11am-5pm

Turn over a new (or pre-loved) leaf at Melbourne's largest weekly book market. With around 5,000 books up for grabs every week and regular readings by authors and other events this place is pure porno for bibliophiles. www.federationsquare.com.au

 

The Arts Centre Sunday Market – St Kilda Road (between Hamer Hall and Theatres building);

Every Sunday from 10am to 5pm (except the Sunday after Christmas)

Discover treasures ranging from antique kaleidoscopes to silks, ceramics, pearls, as well as artwork, scarves and hats at this atmospheric Sunday market located close to popular dining precincts of Southgate Arts and the Leisure Precinct. www.southgate-melbourne.com.au or www.federationsquare.com.au

 

St Andrews Market – Kangaroo Ground, Kinglake Rd, St Andrews; every Saturday, 8am-2pm

It may be a 45-minute drive out of Melbourne, but this happy, hippy market in the middle of a eucalypt forest is well worth a visit. Eat homemade cake, buy unique clothing from around the world and relax in the chai tent. www.standrewsmarket.com.au

 

For a list of the various farmers’ markets that come to town, log on to www.mfm.com.au

 

Safari Pete’s Urban Adventures

 

Walking tour of Melbourne

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

- Turn right at the first alleyway and follow Degraves Street connecting the busy

   Flinders St Railway Station to Melbourne’s coolest lanes and alleyways, selling some of the best

   coffee in town!

 

- Cross Flinders Lane and you will hit Centre Way, housing some of the funkiest accessory

    stores in town as well as fantastic cafes. Take a brief detour when you see the creperie

    and head down the laneway opposite Hosier Lane. Down here is City Lights, a series of

    light box installations by underground artists.

 

Retrace your steps back to Centre Way and keep walking straight to Collins Street.

 

Cross Collins St and head to your left to find the entrance to the European-style and

    historically listed Block Arcade - Melbourne’s plushest arcade offering jewellery,  leather

    goods, handmade toys, lingerie and shoes.

 

Block Arcade turns into Block Place, a small laneway cluttered with outdoor cafes, and the

     scent of fine Italian coffee and sizzling Mediterranean cuisine.

 

- Block Place will take you through to Little Collins Street, arguably Melbourne’s premiere

    signature shopping strip featuring Melbourne designers such as Alannah Hill and Jason Grech.

 

Cross Little Collins St to discover Melbourne’s oldest arcade, Royal Arcade.

 

-  Built in 1869, Royal Arcade features two folklore giants of the ancient Britons who strike

    the time every hour. Small specialty shops selling everything from magic tricks and spells

    to old board games and Russian Babooshka dolls can be found here, along with Koko

    Black (www.kokoblack.com) selling some of the finest chocolate in Melbourne.

 

- Royal Arcade meets Bourke Street Mall, the pedestrian-only centre of the city and home

   to Melbourne’s two department stores and heritage-listed GPO, site of the former Post

   Office. Covering an entire city block this multi-storey shopping precinct breathes new life

   into the heart of the CBD and features numerous Australian and international designers.

 

-  GPO turns onto Little Bourke Street. Follow Little Bourke Street towards Swanston

   Street and you will see the eye-catching architecture, Chinese lanterns, wind chimes and

   brightly lit restaurants that make Chinatown an indulgence of the senses

 

- Follow Chinatown and Little Bourke Street until Spring Street, and then turn right.

 

-  Cross over the road and look out for the Old Treasury Building and City Museum

    www.citymuseummelbourne.org

 

- Walk down Treasury Place or take a detour through the Treasury Gardens.

 

- Cross Lansdowne Street and wander around Fitzroy Gardens, originally designed to

    represent the diagonals and crosses of the British Union Jack. In the Fitzroy Gardens

    you will find a Tudor Village, a fairies tree and Cooks Cottage, home of the parents of

    Captain James Cook, one of the world’s greatest navigators (brought stone by stone all

    the way from its original site in Yorkshire, England).  Don’t forget to look for possums in

   the Fitzroy Gardens at night!

 

-  Head South until you reach Wellington Parade and follow it right until it turns into Flinders

    Street. Follow Flinders Street until you reach Federation Square. Walk past the big screen

    and down to Birramung Marr. From here walk south east along the banks of the Yarra,

    keeping Melbourne Park/Rod Laver Arena and the Melbourne Cricket Ground to your left.

 

- Walk until you reach the Swan Street Bridge and then cross the bridge over the Yarra

    River. Turn left down Alexandra Avenue. The Royal Botanical Gardens will be on your

    right, where you will find a variety of walking tracks. www.rbg.vic.gov.au

 

-  Spend some time by the ornamental lake or Government House. Birdwood Avenue is a

     nice way to walk back into the city as it passes the Shrine of Remembrance

    (www.shrine.org.au) and takes you back to the tree-lined streets of St. Kilda Rd.

 

-  Follow St. Kilda Road passing the Arts/Cultural precinct of Melbourne, including

    landmarks Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, NGV Australia: International and The Arts Centre,

    before returning back to where you started, Flinders Street Station.

 

 

Sydney Rd (Brunswick/Coburg)

For a slice of the Middle East you don’t have to go all the way to Lebanon, instead catch the no.19 tram from Elizabeth St to Sydney Rd, which is home to Melbourne’s longest continuous shopping strip. Here you can stroll around Egyptian supermarkets, stop off for a treat at a Lebanese bakery or tuck into an Afghan dish. Ned Kelly’s remains lie nearby, at the now defunct Pentridge Prison (just off Sydney Road in Coburg), which has hosted some infamous inmates, including Mark ‘Chopper’ Read.  To round off your urban adventure, pop into the Retreat (see Bar Guide for more details) to see some local music or chill out in a spacious beer garden. If you’re around in the last week of February, be sure to check out the Brunswick Music Festival (www.brunswickmusicfestival.com.au), where a section of Sydney Road is cordoned off and bands play from midday until 7pm.

 

Smith, Brunswick, Gertrude and Johnston Sts (Fitzroy/Collingwood)

Two streets that are not only parallel geographically, but also in terms of what you’ll find on them. Just a 10-minute tram ride out of the CBD (tram 112) is Brunswick St, probably Melbourne’s funkiest strip. There’s a thriving caf¸ scene here, as well as clothes shops that cater to both designer and retro tastes. There’s also a plethora of other interesting traders such as the book shop Polyester where you can find – as the sign out front promises – some ˙totally weird shit”. Brunswick St is also adorned with colourful public art benches and buskers.

 

Smith St has an altogether grittier feel. With shops like Friends of Earth and Soul Food (a vegetarian restaurant) and numerous art galleries, it’s a little more alternative. Don’t be put off by the housing commission flats – remnants of the suburb’s impoverished past – as Smith St is a great place to eat on the cheap with Korean, African and Middle Eastern restaurants, amongst other cuisines. After dark, there are many small bars to explore on both streets. See live jazz bands, experimental sets, dub-reggae outfits or good old rock ’n’ roll (see Bar Guide). Also watch out for the busking drummer on the corner of Brunswick and Johnson sts (Melbourne’s Spanish quarter) on a Friday night – he’s guaranteed to get you bopping at the traffic lights!

 

Victoria St Bike Adventure (Richmond)

Leave the Metcard at home and hire a bike (visit www.bv.com.au for a list of bike hirers) and pedal down to Southbank, to the beginning of the Yarra Trail. Skirting this mighty river, you’ll cycle past the MCG and the Botanical Gardens on your way to Victoria St, the heart of Melbourne’s Vietnamese community and a place bustling with Asian markets and cheap restaurants. It’s easy to see why this area is known as Little Saigon. Grab a rice paper roll or a heaped bowl of noodles for under $10. Afterwards wash down the fish sauce with a cheeky beer at the Mountain Goat Brewery (see Bar Guide) before cycling back into town.

 

Safari Pete's guide to Sydney Rd Brunswick

 

Take a long walk along this 2.7 k stretch with over 500 shops and businesses in bustling Sydney Road Brunswick. Meet the characters, often in market-style stores, offering a range of traditional wares. There’s much to discover, investigate and taste, if you’re adventurous and open to experiences.  Sydney Road is where people from all over the world mix and make up an open-minded community, most diverse. Artists, musicians, writers and film makers reside and display creations, all within walking distance. Back yard beer gardens become the meeting place for social discussion and good times. It’s your chance to engage with real people, delve into the boutiques, bookshops, and experience the aromas from the many cultural dishes brewing on the stoves or revolving round the spit.  A day trip is recommended, topped with a rejuvenating drink at sunset, a dish from the exotic restaurants or a Pub meal and you must stay for the evening music scene, where people wander from venue to venue , experiencing the life in Brunswick. It’s ever so welcoming !

 

SYDNEY ROAD BRUNSWICK is a wonderful shopping strip full of atmosphere and surprises. Whether you live locally or visiting Melbourne, you must take a stroll for the whole day and discover the ‘undiscovered’ delights in the area. Bring your friends. There’s an amazing array of shopping and professional services and you’ll feel like you’ve ventured right to the heart of the world …experiencing a hub of authenticity, bordered by beautiful architecture. Experience diverse and exotic foods, clothing, gifts and life styles … sample the flavours and hear the beat of urban life.

 

On Safari: ONLY 15 min from CBD, Elizabeth St Tram NO.19 or Upfield Train line to Jewell, Brunswick, Anstey or Moreland stations … or ride a bike !

 

Chapel St & Bridge Rd (South Yarra/Prahran)

 

If it’s expensive clothes with designer labels you’re after, then strut along to Chapel St. This upmarket area of town appeals to funky young folk with disposable incomes. Dine in a fancy bistro or browse around the many commercial art galleries near the corner of Chapel St and Toorak Rd. Between Toorak and Dandenong rds on Friday and Saturday nights, engines rev and boy racers attempt to impress club-going ladies.

 

The Jam Factory may have long since ceased its conserving duties, but this modern day shopping complex is more active than ever. Prahran market is also at this end of town and Greville St is a small niche shopping strip and home to one of Melbourne’s gay villages. Trains service this area well. Take the Frankston, Pakenham or Cranbourne lines to South Yarra station. Trams 5, 6, 8, 64, 72, 78 and 79 also stop here. After dark, check out Revolver (229 Chapel St, Prahran) a raucous bar-cum-lounge with 54 hours of non-stop music over the weekend.

 

Gay communities are concentrated in and around Commercial Road, which splits the suburbs of Prahran and South Yarra and is located off Chapel Street. Popular venues include Red Orange caf¸ in Prahran and The Market nightclub in South Yarra.

For up-to-the-minute information on what’s going on within the local gay community, pick up a free copy of BnewS or the Melbourne Community Voice (MCV) found at gay and lesbian bars or bookshops such as Hares & Hyenas, 135 Commercial Road, South Yarra. www.hares-hyenas.com.au

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WELCOME TO COUNTRY

 

Journey through Aboriginal Victoria for a traditional and contemporary experience of this ancient land, with its fascinating spiritual beliefs, significant sites, unique traditions and 60,000 years of history.

 

You’ll learn why Aboriginal life is so vibrant in Victoria where over 30 Aboriginal language groups live. Dramatic differences in climate across the state, such as the desert in the north-west, the green hills of Gippsland and the wild western coast, have given each region its own cultural identity.

 

On your journey you’ll discover Victorian Aboriginal art; paintings using complex line designs and patterns, rock art and possum skin cloaks that are intricately decorated and worn in the cooler regions.

 

Visit some of Australia’s most historically significant sites, such as the National Heritage listed Lake Condah, the many rock art sites in the Grampians/Gariwerd National Park and Wilsons Promontory National Park.

 

Aboriginal Victoria is distinctive in the context of Indigenous Australia, as the impact of colonisation

created a different heritage, history and culture – one that is traditional and contemporary, urban and rural.

 

Victorian Koories* are proud keepers of an ancient heritage and look forward to sharing their history with you. Join them on guided tours and interpretive walks, visit art galleries and cultural centres and taste bush foods in restaurants, markets and straight from the source. This is a journey that will allow you to appreciate Aboriginal people’s strong connections with their spiritual ancestors and the land.

 

For more information go to www.visitmelbourne.com/aboriginal

 

* The term Koorie has gained acceptance as a collective name for Aboriginal people of south-east

   Australia.

 

INDIGENOUS EXPERIENCES IN THE CITY

 

Aboriginal Heritage Walk

 

This vibrant cultural experience allows you to follow in the footsteps of the Indigenous people, the Boonwurrung and Woiwurrung (Wurundjeri), on whose traditonal lands the Royal Botanic Gardens now rest. You are welcomed by a traditional smoking ceremony with an experienced Aboriginal guide. Throughout the walk you will gain a greater understanding and respect for these people’s rich heritage by learning about traditional uses of plants for food, medicine, tools and ceremony.

 

Admission is $25 for adults.

 

Contact details

Visitor Centre, Observatory Gate, Birdwood Avenue,

Melbourne Phone: 03 9252 2429

Web: www.rbg.vic.gov.au/whats-on/aboriginal-heritage-walk

Tours depart every Tuesday to Friday and on the first Sunday of every month.

Dates/hours vary according to the seasons.

Please check website for tour details.) Group Bookings can be made by special arrangement.

Advance bookings are essential.

 

Key Experiences

• Walk with an Aboriginal guide

• Learn about Aboriginal history and

 culture of Melbourne

• Learn about hunting and gathering

• Learn how to collect, prepare and eat

  bush tucker

•  Enjoy a wattle seed cuppa (native bush tea)

 

Bunjilaka

 

Bunjilaka at Melbourne Museum is a living cultural centre, artist space and exhibition gallery celebrating the culture and survival of Victoria’s Koorie people, and emphasising the relationship over more than 60,000 years between all of Australia’s First Peoples and the land.

 

The highlight experience of Bunjilaka is First Peoples, the newest and largest exhibition ever to tell the story of Victoria’s Koorie people – from the time of Creation to today. Utilising cutting-edge multimedia, Aboriginal languages, more than 600 artefacts and contemporary artworks, First Peoples celebrates the diversity, continuity, strength and vitality of Koorie people, and presents a new and truly shared approach to the telling of history.

Melbourne Museum is one of the largest museums in Australia. A

dmission to Melbourne Museum and Bunjilaka is $10.

 

Contact Details

Melbourne Museum, 11 Nicholson Street, Carlton

Phone: 13 11 02 or 1300 130 152

Web: www.museumvictoria.com.au/bunjilaka

Open 10am–5pm daily; closed Christmas

Day and Good Friday

 

Key Experiences

• Be transported to the time of Creation through the story of Bunjil (the wedge-tailed eagle

• Hear from Victorian Aboriginal people aged from 8 to 72 speaking about their identity,

  community and culture

• Join the Messenger – your virtual human guide on a journey of discovery through the

  exhibition

• See contemporary artworks by Victorian Koorie artists

 

Koorie Heritage Trust Cultural Centre

 

Have you ever wondered what life was like 60,000 years ago or why Koorie culture is so unique? Learn about the fascinating Koorie culture at the award-winning Koorie Heritage Trust Cultural Centre in the heart of Melbourne. Walk through an interactive, permanent exhibition and discover both the ancient and contemporary lifestyle of Aboriginal people from Victoria. Touch a possum-skin cloak, play clap sticks or hold a spear-thrower. Four galleries showcase the best of emerging and established Koorie artists.

 

For a more personal insight into Koorie culture, you can join a guided walking tour with an Aboriginal Cultural Interpreter. All of the tours unlock the hidden secrets of Melbourne that can only be seen through Aboriginal eyes. Visitors can purchase authentic Koorie Art, artefacts and gifts. Entry is free to the Cultural Centre.

 

Contact details

295 King Street, Melbourne

Phone: 03 8622 2600

Web: www.koorieheritagetrust.com

Email: info@koorieheritagetrust.com

Open from 9am–5pm Monday to Friday;

Shop open 9am-4.30 Monday to Friday;

Not open weekends.

 

Key Experiences

• Learn about Aboriginal history and culture

• Visit a gallery/museum featuring Aboriginal

   displays and artefacts

• Visit or shop at an Aboriginal art gallery

   with authentic arts and craft

• Learn about and play Aboriginal

   instruments

• Learn about Aboriginal Creation stories

• Observe Aboriginal art and craft being

   created.

• Observe traditional Aboriginal dance