Tuesday, June 5, 2012

my melbourne

There was an article in the paper today complaining Victoria was short changed in the latest Australian tourism campaign. According to the paper, one of the attractions that should have made the list is a shopping trip to Chadstone. I couldn’t think of anything worse.

When people come to visit me, these are some of the things I like to suggest:

Penguin Parade

Fairy penguins are not only found at Phillip Island, but the Island is certainly the best place to see them doing their thing, and to see just how small they are.
There was a time people could just roll up and trample all over their burrows, but now we’ve done the right thing and taken steps to protect them which means entrance to the nightly parade is not free. But it’s worth every cent.
Standing out in the cold at Phillip Island is also a good way to prepare yourself for a trip to Ballarat.

The Queen Vic Market

This clip focuses on the food hall and fresh veg, but it does include a shot of the most important attraction: The 4 million year old van that sells hot jam donuts.
You won’t see Morris Dancers at the market every time you go, but there is often some big multicultural thingy happening, or interesting buskers.
Towards the end of the clip is a brief shot of “stuff”, and a Sunday trip to the market is a great opportunity to wander through miles and miles of stalls selling “stuff”. If you like "stuff".

Walking Melbourne

For such a young city Melbourne has some amazing old buildings, and setting out with a walking-tour guide-book in hand can be a great way to spend a day.

The Royal Arcade and the Block Arcade are a must, as is a stop in one of the old tearooms. [There’s even a rather pleasant tea room at Young and Jacksons Hotel].
Also on the must-see list is the old commercial and legal district, many of the buildings with interesting mosaics.
History is part of the appeal of these buildings, but you have to see them to feel the stories.


The Melbourne Zoo is a great place to spend a day, but a visit to the Healesville Sanctuary can be combined with a day trip into the country. From there, it’s possible to take some detours on the way home and maybe catch Koalas, Wallabies or Wombats doing their own thing au naturel.


My own personal weakness is Churches. [Our first trip to Rome was just Hell for The Other, so now we negotiate churches at the trip planning stage.]

St Patricks Roman Catholic Cathedral, East Melbourne
Although this is described in one YouTube clip as St Paul’s Anglican Cathedral, it’s definitely one of my mob’s, built with money from the gold rush days.

My motto is you should never be shy about going into churches, no matter what your background or conviction, so long as you are respectful. If you know you would visit St Peters if you were in Rome, then you should see this joint if you are in Melbourne.
The acoustics are astonishing, so I’ve no idea why somebody installed mikes and speakers around the place which just make the services incomprehensible.

This building grew out of a vision, is huge and impressive, and often empty.

St Francis’ Catholic Church in Lonsdale St Melbourne provides a stark contrast – small in scale, built smack bang in the heart of the city, and nearly always crowded. I’ve dragged lots of shy people inside over the years and, whether they were simply being polite or not, they’ve all said they were glad they went in.

More Religion

You can watch an Australian Open Tennis match on the TV at home without visiting Melbourne. 

If you are a sports-nut, what you really ought to see while you are here is an Aussie-rules football match. If it’s the wrong season, or if it’s winter and you can survive without the atmosphere, stay home with me and watch a replay of the 1993 Grand Final. [My team always wins.]

There’s a whole swag of things to see and do in Victoria, but shopping at Chadstone would be at the bottom of my list of priorities.


  1. As someone who lives near Chaddy and has watched it grow to demolish a beautiful historic convent, schools, a hotel, local houses and what not, I shudder every time I have to set foot in the horror and would never suggest it as a tourist mecca.

    1. I think I went there once. It was just like a big loud shopping centre. From what you say it sounds like it's bigger and louder now. Definitely off my bucket list.

  2. Something definitely went a miss last weekend being beaten by a lowly Melbourne or maybe its just a bump in the road on the way to our next flag the last being in 2000 :-).

    1. The 1993 final always makes for some rather satisfying viewing. No team that beats my team can be considered 'lowly'.. they have to be in really good form on the day to pull that off.
      I'm relying on you to let me know when it is safe to come out of the anti-football closet again :)

  3. I have never been to the said shopping centre but I have seen many of your other suggestions when visiting Melbourne. Don't forget your iconic trams and Federation Square. I did a tour of the famous MCG and was impressed but I don't follow cricket or AFL the only real football is Football played with a round ball and the feet. We happen to have the best team in the country-Brisbane Roar. But now that Melbourne Victory have poached our coach I'm sure they will be the best team next season.

    1. Please don't tell anyone, Diane, but I fail to understand the appeal of Federation Square. And the fact that cricket is too slow even for ME speaks volumes about its worth as entertainment. I agree the juxtaposition of the words "foot" and "ball" suggest the most football like game would be soccer rather than anything else. However, Aussie Rules does include kicking as well as catching and bouncing and running and smacking [the ball, preferably], so it's closer to football than rugby.
      I'm glad you told me about the poached coach - I don't know why I though Melbourne Victory is a basketball team, but now I'm glad Victory have got youse lot worried, he he.

  4. I like your list. Chadstone is a shopping centre. Do not cities around the world have such things? There is a animal park on Phillip Island, built primarily to cater for tour buses full of Asians I think, but it is great for a real hands on experience with our native animals. Most of the animals just roam around, a bit like Healesville used to be.

    1. I can't claim to have been to Phillip Island [for a look around, at least] in years. It would make sense to have an animal park there, as the number of bus tours for the night parade is unbelievable.
      I really don't get the shopping centre thing at all.

      I suspect YOU would make a great guide for a tour of Melbourne's buildings.

  5. I like your list of things to visit.

    Chadstone might be good for people who love malls and shopping.

    It seems to be more of a place for locals than tourists. So tourists might like it in terms of seeing what typical life is like (for SOME Australians).

    I enjoyed going to Target in Australia; and we liked going to a Target like shop in London.

    We love visiting grocery stores in different countries.

    We've been to a few malls in Australia, usually not for pure tourism purposes. Once we got lost, and another time we were seeking something we needed to buy.

    When our Aussie friends met us in Hawaii, they were very excited to go to Walmart to buy American junk food. Oh, and we also went to a mall and Costco.

    1. I must admit travel is better if you can get a taste of local life/lifestyle. Although I hate shopping, I do nose around to see where people post letters and boring stuff like that, and I always buy newspapers. If I was richer I would probably want to check out live theatre [including amateur]. Another thing I often do is buy all day public transport tickets and go up and down various lines. Bookshops can also say a lot about a place, and second hand markets.

      But I do know you are fascinated by food! So you should go for a drive to Sherbrooke Forest and have a [vegetarian] BBQ, then check out a little town called Sassafras. There is a shop there called Tea Leaves with an astonishing range of teapots for sale [not that I bought any].

      Victoria has a bit of everything.

  6. there's something to be said for taped games, especially ones your team won. sometimes after a long day at work, its the perfect mixture of familiarity and warmth to wash away the shame and regret.

    1. Well put, Icy. A safe bit of certainty goes a long way.

  7. Visiting a large new shopping centre in a major city is supposed to be a draw card? If I WAS to go shopping, I'd be looking for the unique little arty op shops and retro retailers that sell stuff I couldn't get at home!! Makes one wonder about the possibility of putting the words 'paid', 'advertising', 'by', 'developers' and 'corruption' in the same sentence!

    1. I'm sure the Herald Sun would never stoop to hacking, so the story must have come from someone's press release. At least there was no mention of whether or not there is a Harvey Norman outlet at Chaddie...