Melbourne Off The Beaten Path Tips by xuessium Top 5 Page for this destination
Melbourne Off The Beaten Path: 227 reviews and 271 photos
My travelling mate happened to be a devout Christian (though not a Catholic), so a visit to a cathedral was on the card. Anyway, we were in Fitzroy Gardens, so a visit to St.Patrick's Cathedral wasn't a task that was out of the way.
St.Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne, is the cathedral church of the Catholic Archdiocese of Melbourne and the seat of the Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne. It is known internationally as a leading example of the Gothic Revival style of architecture.
Plans for the cathedral started in 1847, the cathedral was consecrated in 1897 and finally completed in 1939. Since the Catholic community of Melbourne in the early days was almost entirely Irish, the Cathedral was dedicated to St.Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland.
The Cathedral is built on a traditional east-west axis, with the altar at the eastern end, symbolising belief in the resurrection of Christ. The plan is in the style of a Latin cross, consisting of a nave with side aisles, transepts with side aisles, a sanctuary with seven chapels, and sacristies. It is 103.6 metres long on its long axis, 56.4 metres wide across the transepts and 25.3 metres wide across the nave. The nave and transepts are 28.9 metres high. The central spire is 79.2 metres high and the flanking towers and spires are 61.9 metres high.
The view is both breathtaking from afar and from near-by. A wonderful piece of architecture.
It may take a few dots to connect to get here really....I arrived, courtesy of my colleague...so there!
Not too far out of Melbourne, say 1 hour by driving, suddenly you run into open space. Not that there is a lack of in the first place but if you are craving open skies, open lands and an open soul, the Yarra Valley might just provide you with a little respite.
Home to the vineyards of Victoria, there are plenty here along with quaint B&Bs and Homesteads, swanky restaurants, smarmy eateries, orchard farms, dairy farms, cheese delicatessens, balloon rides and a good time....
Popped by a few spots.
Yarra Valley Dairy: Lovely cow and goat cheeses. Check out Cheese & Dill, House Cow and Hot Cow.
Kuranga Native Plants Nursery: Pop by for a little Aussie flora and tuck into some real Aussie Bushtucker food. Tantalise your taste buds with Wild Hibiscus, Macadamia, Native Plums, Native Pepper and much more at the Paperbark Cafe.
Yarra Glen Craft Market: Experience the sensation of country fair. Weave through stalls selling items you may never find elsewhere and taste homemade jams and lemonades.
And by the end of it...if you are all heated up, there is always the Yarra River to take a cool dip in!
Isle de Francaise....so named because early French explorers claimed the island for Napolean. Of course, the British would have none of that and very soon expelled the French but the name stuck. So don't expect chi chi French cafes and swanky boulevards here....though those wishing for a little French dust, Kylie (as in Minogue) may grant you glimpses of "Bleuciel" (Blue Sky), her private estate on the island....but currently up for sale.
The wind-swept island has only a permanent population of 80. Compared to touristy and noisy Philip Island just across the waters, it is as day and night. Two-thirds of the island is National Park, and is home to an ecosphere of Australian flora and fauna. There are plenty of wild koalas on the island...so productive they are, that some of the population have to be removed to maintain the island's fragile ecosystem.
Did a half-day tour with the effervescent Rod Johnston of French Island Eco Tours (there are 2 other tours available on the island) for A$40, including an organic lunch at the organic farm currently running out of the previous McLeod Prison. (He has a dog, Eddie, just as effervescent). He has plenty of tales and history of the island to amuse you with. The half-day tour includes a drive around the main island sights, among the rugged beauty are defunct Chicory Kilns (when growing chicory was a big industry decades ago), Perserverance Primary School (population of 4 students) with a drop over at the now defunct Prison for lunch, provided by the organic farm currently occupying the site.
There are no tours from the city to French Island. You need to take the Frankston Line train all the way to Stony Point and then hop on the Inter-Island Ferries for the 15 minutes journey across the waters. Tickets are A$10 1 way. You can bring along your own bicycles.
Rod also manages a Lodge on the island for folks wishing to stay over.
Aussie chow is essentially a mish-mash of external influences - Italian, Greek, Asian and in recent years, Northern African. This truly melting pot of culinary influences leave plenty of virgin grounds for one to go and fully explore what is essentially "Aussie" cooking.
I recently went for a North African cooking class. Well, I was there to replace another colleague who couldn't make it but hey, since it was already paid for by the company, why waste it?
The class was conducted by the "The Essential Ingredient" Cooking School inside Prahran Market where I have a chance to refresh my memory on Moroccan cooking (having already done a class in Marrakesh)
4 hours on getting my hands all dirty with squeezed tomatoes, chopped garlic, onions and bellpeppers before eventually sitting down as a class to eat the food.
As far as I know, there are other cooking classes available though there are other cooking schools as well for you to choose from.
Wanna catch an exhibition but not willing to split a buck? Fret not. The State Library does hold exhibitions from time to time and most importantly, for purse strings conscious folks, they are free!
The building itself is an architectural marvel, built in 1856 and designed by celebrated colonial architect Joseph Reed. The much-loved domed reading room, built later in 1913, is the dominant feature. Natural light actually pierces the dome after a renovation in 1990 and now floods the reading room. Seen in an askewed way, it kinda reminded me of a starship!
Do note that this is a Library afterall....so this is not a place for you to be ooo-ing and ahh-ing your way through.
Entry into the Library is free but you are not allowed to bring bags in. You'll have to deposit your bags into lockers and depending on the size of the lockers, cost you from A$1 - A$3 per 6 hours.
Hmmm....leave your bags in the hotel room then?
This is a most intriguing activity...possibly a great way to draw the crowds out on a cold miserable wintery day to see a side of Melbourne most folks will never do.
For 1 day, free of charge, a number of Melbourne's buildings open up sections that the public would never get to see on a given normal day. You'll get to wonder through these buildings, realise and experience a side of the city you probably never knew existed.
Take 2008, 8 buildings in the CBD participated in the inaugural Open House Day.
1) The 6-stars "green" CH2 (Council House 2)
2) Melbourne Town Hall
3) Capitol Theatre
4) Manchester Unity Building
5) Plaza Ballroom, Regent Theatre
6) The Chapter House, St. Paul's Cathedral
7) St.Paul's Cathedral
8) The Labyrinth, Federation Square
Certainly hope it would be repeated in 2009 and beyond on a grander scale.
The rites of becoming a honarary "Melburnian" is only complete after you have been to your first Footy match.
For the uninitiated, it is not something kinky.
The Australian Football League (AFL) governs the game of Australian Rules Football, or as it is commonly known, "Footy", a mutation from Rugby and extremely popular in the state of Victoria. It has a long history that could be traced back to 1857. It is a sport that tugs at the heartstrings of every Melburnian household, men and women; young and old. I have never seen women spoke so passionately and fiercely about sport in my entire life! It's almost like life and death.
This is a sport that occupies the Autumn and Winter calendars of Victoria. Families deck out in their team colours, chant and rally to support their teams in stadiums around Melbourne (as well as in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, as there are inter-state teams) - all 16 of them in the League, during the weekends.
And going to a match is always something special - lots of sights and sounds - as expressions and human emotions explode around you abundantly, always vibrant but never hostile. This is a family game, mind you.
There are 4 quarters to a game and it's a fight to the finish. Teams try to send as many balls through the posts (6 points through the middle, and 1 point through the sides ones) - nothing too complex!
And the atmosphere on the trains can be electric as train loads of winning team supporters could break out into jubilant songs and cheers, which well, could colour your memories of Melbourne a shade sparkling!
Not as famous as Victoria Market, The South Melbourne Market, opened in 1867 is still one of Melbourne's most popular markets. It hosts a huge range of stalls including food, clothing, footwear, giftwear and produces.
Being less touristy, it goes by the moniker "The Local Economy", and Melbournians can go about their daily purchase without brushing shoulders with the "you"s and "me"s.
The surrounding Clarendon area is also home to much of Melbourne's alternative lifestyle culture. Incidentally, though not necessarily coincidental, it is also home to a number of cafes, restaurants and lifestyle shops.
The South Melbourne Market is located at the intersection of Cecil and Coventry Streets in South Melbourne.
Normal Opening Times:
Wednesday, Saturday & Sunday: 8.00am - 4.00pm
Friday: 8.00am - 6.00pm
CLOSED: Monday, Tuesday & Thursday & some Public Holidays.
To get to the Market:
* The City - catch the St Kilda light rail No 96 from Bourke Street, and get off at the South Melbourne Market stop. Ask your friendly light rail conductor if you are unsure.
* The City - catch the No 112 from Collins Street which take you along Clarendon Sreet, and get off on the corner of York St.
* The City - catch the No 109 from Collins Street which takes you to the corner of Clarendon Sreet and Normanby Road. Then transfer onto the No 96 or walk up Clarendon Sreet.
* St Kilda- catch the Fitzoy Street / St Kilda Beach tram No 12 from the corner of Park Street and Fitzroy Street St Kilda, which travels along Clarendon Street, and stops at York Street on the corner of Dorcas Street.
Side notes: If you are a lover of eggs and coffee, check out Cafe Sweethearts (which served great eggs!) and St.Ali Cafe (tucked incognito along Yarra Place).
Melbourne is home to long stretches of beaches, just an hour by trains from the city. They don't attract many tourists since they tend to be local beaches (and guidebooks tend to leave them out) but hey, if you are just dying to be roasted alive in front of the locals, well, slap on some sunblock, grab your trunks/costumes (and in the cases of some South Asian tourists, just their daks) and go spend some money on a train ticket!
The 2 train lines you should be considering will be the Sandringham and the Frankston Lines.
The Sandringham Line is home to Brighton Beach. Have you seen the 08 cover of the Lonely Planet Victoria? On it, it's a picture of an Australian flag painted onto a beach shack. Well, these (A$100000 and rising) shacks are on Brighton Beach.
Beaches littered the last few stations of the Frankston Line. So take your pick and pray for good sunny weather!
Come and discover the immigration history of Australia right down to settlement by the Europeans.
Located in the stately Old Customs House, the museum re-creates the real-life stories of coming to Australia with a rich mix of moving images, personal and community voices, memories and memorabilia.
As Australia grasps with its identity, walk steps backwards towards how Australia becomes what it is today: British settlements, Gold-rush triggered population explosions, "The White Australia Policy", The waves of Romanised and Grecianised immigration and finally, the arrival of the Asians.
There is a gallery, created to replicate the bunks in the ships that carried immigrants to their new homes, and relive their dread, sadness, misery and hope.
Read about personal experiences. I almost cracked into laughter reading about the story of an Italian wife, worried that there would be no condoms in Australia and had a suitcase of them. Read about racist treachery as you try "The Diction Test", used to deter no English speakers from entering "White Australia" of the 40s and 50s. Read about aboriginal sadness at the loss of their land. I remember the passage (in gist) that goes ..."As Australia celebrates its bi-centennial, the Aboriginal groups mourned".....
Opening hours and admission prices
Open daily 10am - 5pm
Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day.
Adults $6, Concessions and Children free entry.
Additional charges may apply for temporary exhibitions.
Phone: +61 3 9927 2700
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