Sorry for the delay in getting our final two days in Melbourne up on the blog. There have been a few changes around here and a lot more posting going on, all of which I am so pleased about. If you missed the first two posts of our Melbourne trip, check out these posts to get caught up to speed.
Exploring Melbourne, Australia
Four Days in Melbourne pt.1
St. Kilda & Elwood
It was finally Saturday which meant we had a full morning of looking at potential houses in the St. Kilda/Elwood part of Melbourne. We got up early, got our Myki cards from a local servo (aka got passes to ride the city trams/busses from a local 7/11) and headed to the tram stop. On the way we realized we forgot one thing – the coaster we wrote all the open house times and addresses on. Hopefully someone at the Charles Dickens got a good laugh when they put their beer down.
We spent the tram ride to St. Kilda going back through our Domain app (regretting not saving any of these homes to our profile) and making a new list of places to hit up throughout the day. When we got off in St. Kilda we started walking towards open house #1 and got hungry – no surprises. We found the best stop for breakfast at a café, Dr. Jekyll and sat down. The food was great, but the service on a Saturday morning at 11 was slow. We waited and waited and then realized with all the waiting we were doing we would miss the first Open House. Before breakfast was served, and before I could convince him otherwise, Ben was out of his seat and running down the road to check out the first one leaving me with two breakfasts. Breakfast was served only a minute after Ben left, so I couldn’t help but tease him with a photo of how good it looked!
Surprisingly, Ben made it back to Dr. Jekyll in ten minutes, scarfed down his food, and we headed to the bus stop on the corner to ride down to Elwood (our ideal neighborhood).
Now I won’t bore you with stories of each house, because believe me, as two people not actively looking at places just checking out the market we were a bit bored ourselves. What I will tell you is we met this really nice woman from America (she didn’t realize I was American until 10 minutes into our conversation – apparently after living in OZ for a few months I have picked up the lingo quite well), she told us about another open house on the same street a bit later in the afternoon and we made a point to go back and check it out as it was a recently renovated building. We were so thankful for her suggestion because after an afternoon of apartment hunting we completely shifted our train of thought.
Original Wish List: Two bedroom apartment with a nice kitchen, bathtub, and outdoor space, within our price range. This does not exist.
New Wish List: One bedroom apartment, open floor plan, upgraded appliances, a dishwasher, outdoor space, within price range. This does exist, and it’s awesome!! The last apartment fit the bill and was perfect for us. If we were actually searching we would have put in an application on the spot.
Alright. Boring apartment hunting story over. Now on to exploring Elwood.
We wanted to get a good feel for the neighborhood so we walked up and down the main street and popped our head into every restaurant, checking out every menu, and getting a vibe for the alfresco dining all over the town. We loved it! Oh, and the main street is literally one block from the beach – and within the blocks that separate the cafes from the beach are rows of apartment homes perfect for us. It’s a neighborhood we won’t want to leave, but if we do we have a big bustling city a 30 minute tram ride away!
We ended up at Jimmi Jamz restaurant for pizza and beers, and followed that up with a vegan brownie and smoothie from Combi. I can honestly tell you I will live at Combi when we move here. Wonderful atmosphere, great food and drinks, and made with raw and whole ingredients. photos via
St. Kilda Pier
Following Elwood and a cheesecake (we ate a lot on this trip) we took the bus to St. Kilda. We got off at Luna Park which is a historic amusement park on St. Kilda beach.
We had no plans to stop at Luna Park (IMO, nothing can top Disney World) but I was really looking forward to visiting the St. Kilda Pier because I heard there are adorable little penguins that live in the rocks on the pier and come out around dusk. We got to the pier about 45mins to sunset, but unfortunately in the time we spent walking along the pier we saw no cute “little birds in funny suits” as Ben likes to call them. We did use the gorgeous scenery to take photos of the city, and each other.
After walking along the long pier all I could think (other than can’t wait to move here) was how much the city reminded me of Boston. Where else can you find a cultural capital full of restaurants, sports, and entertainment, a large city right on the water that gets pretty chilly but also has a gorgeous harbor and beaches close by? Boston.
Melbourne Pub Crawl
Four our final night in Melbourne Ben and I were determined to have a successful pub crawl (because the first was such a flop). We went through a list of top bars in the city and drew them up on a map. Yes, we literally took a map from the front desk and marked it up with all the places we wanted to check out. Our must hits included Captain Melville – Melbourne’s Oldest Pub, and 1806 – our final stop, open until 5am, and has cocktails popular from every era dating back to 1806.
The Captain Melville
The Captain Melville was our first stop because it was on the same block as our hotel. The Captain Melville is Melbourne’s oldest public drinking house, and is named after a notorious bushranger from the early part of the Victorian gold rush in the mid 1800’s. The building structure as beautiful and well upkept, the drinks were delicious, and the food was alright, nothing special. Ben and I both got a pork belly burger and split the nachos. I also got a “Hailstorm Julip” cocktail – grapefruit infused vodka, pineapple and almond syrup, mint, and ginger beer – Wonderful!
I decided at this point I needed to document all of the bars and drinks from the night (even if the lighting was terrible).
As we were leaving we wandered upstairs and found another bar made up of tiny corridors, and telephone size booths, large enough for two people to sit in max, and a completely separate drinks menu from the pub downstairs. The Loch and Key, serves food and drinks until 5am so we decided it would be our final stop on the pub crawl as it was next to our hotel.
The Oxford Scholar
Ben was desperate to go to the Oxford Scholar since walking past day one, I on the other hand wasn’t thrilled. To me, the Oxford Scholar looked like any other pub we would go to in Newcastle; to Ben, it seemed like a pub educated people would go to,
and against my will I was dragged here so I happily went along with him.
The pub was essentially empty aside from the two bar workers and a drunk guy. They were just about to close up when we got there but were happy to serve Ben and I one last drink before call time (at 10:00pm!!). While Ben and I enjoyed our drinks we sat near the pool table where the drunk fella was playing and he struck up a conversation with Ben. When I joined in his eyes got real big as he realized I was an American, after that he couldn’t stop talking to me. He invited us to do shots with him (on the house) and suggested we MUST add the Young and Jacksons to our pub crawl because he “has been kicked out of every floor there.” Young and Jacksons clearly sounding like a winner of a pub.
Young and Jacksons
We ended up here. Yes, we listened to our drunk friend and trammed it down to Flinders Street to Young and Jacksons. Ben had been to the bar on a previous trip to Melbourne so he was very keen to go back. We got drinks on the 1st floor and headed up to the rooftop bar to relax in the night air.
I started getting really tired after 45 minutes up there and felt bad about ending the pub crawl early but I was ready to go home. We walked down to the second floor to use the restroom and call it a night, but after coming back out I couldn’t find Ben…
Eventually I found him checking out this gorgeous view of Flinders Street Station.
Looks good right? That’s what I thought too.
There was a small bar near the view and suddenly I had a second wind and was up for getting a few cocktails.
As two drinks turned into four thought about continuing our pub crawl but decided against it because we were having so much fun we were, and were worried we wouldn’t find another bar in the city that worked as well for us. We stayed and enjoyed each other’s company, chatting and laughing until 2am – at some points the only people in the bar.
Lord of the Fries
Clearly the best name for a fast food joint, ever! We stopped here based on the suggestion of our bartender at Young and Jacksons. We asked him for a good stop for late night food and he said we didn’t look like fast food people – clearly he didn’t know us. When we told him grease was exactly what we wanted he told us about this place. We got a large fry to split, covered in aioli garlic mayo – YUM! We were enjoying our time together, and our first late night out so much we ended up walking the twenty minutes back to the hotel.
Queen Victoria Market
Sunday was our last day in the city so after packing up our bags and dropping them at the front desk we headed just down the street from our hotel to the Queen Victoria Markets. The Queen Vic is a large (two city block) market that sells everything from home goods, to clothing, Australian souvenirs, to fruits, veggies, meats, and cheeses. Oh and coffee, teas, and pastry too! They essentially sell any and everything you could possibly need or want. We happened to enter on the food side of the market, and boy was that a mistake – for us – not for any of you who might visit.
I was starving and being thrown into a bustling market with tons of cheese and meats around me and no sign of breakfast was not a good thing. So instead of checking out all the stalls of food we went to a café close by for breakfast.. and boy oh boy was it delicious, and so was their tea.
I had to get a photo of the tea because by golly (did I really just say that?) it was the best chai latte I have ever had – and I have had a lot of chai lattes!
Melbourne River Cruises
As we ate our breakfast we chatted about what we would do with the rest of our day. Our flight back to Newcastle didn’t leave until 8 so we had a lot of time to play around with. After consulting our visitors guide and finding a two-for-one coupon for the Melbourne River Cruise we decided that would be our afternoon plan.
We headed down to Southbank, the same location we had been the day before, and bought our tickets for the 2 and a half hour ride – two hours of boating with a 30 minute break in the middle, exploring the river in both directions.
We boarded our vessel and were off…
Along the trip we heard stories of the old buildings and parks we were seeing; the stadiums, schools, bridges, and gorgeous Parramatta homes; and stories about the city of Melbourne and the wonderful things they do for their residents like parks, walking/biking trails, and free public barbeques.
Once the first tour was over we had thirty minutes to kill – or so we thought. We were approached by one of the company workers who told us the other boat broke down and they had to cancel our second cruise. There was another cruise in an hour which would have been fine, but we were under time constraints with our flight and it just wouldn’t work with our schedule. We got a refund and explored the shopping district instead…. and had a slice of Tim Tam cheesecake, because, why not?! before heading back to the hotel to get our belongings and then to the airport.
So, I couldn’t finish this post without sharing one last photo from the airport. I was blown away that on my flight to and from Melbourne I entered and departed the plane via a staircase on a tarmac. I didn’t think stuff like that happened any more, especially not at busy airports! Not the highlight of the trip by any means, but still really cool!
I AM SO READY TO MOVE TO MELBOURNE!!
Have you ever vacationed in a city you plan to move to? Or vacationed in a city and decided to move there? Let me know in the comments below.