Whirlwind Weekend Away in…Melbourne!
Last weekend I was lucky enough to take a break from the heat of Brisbane and visit the amazing city of Melbourne.
My husband and father had tickets to the F1 and, along with some other friends, we had planned a jam-packed weekend in the stylish southern city.
If you have never been to Melbourne I can only describe it as one of the coolest cities in Australia. I have visited it quite a few times over the past 5 years (owing to having some very dear friends living down there) and every single time I go I don’t want to come home again. It has a thriving gastronomy scene, a vibrant art culture, and some of the most captivating man-made and natural landmarks in Australia. What can I say, I love it!
The problem for me with going to Melbourne, is that there never seems to be enough time to do and see everything. This particular trip was even more whirlwind than most (arriving on the Friday night and departing again on the Sunday!) and I had to think long and hard about how I would make the most of my two days away. My dad had not been to the city in a very, very long time, and I wanted to show him some of the things that make Melbourne (and the surrounds) so special.
Ryan had gone early to the F1 on the Wednesday, Dad had arrived during the afternoon on Friday and I was champing at the bit to have work over and done with and be on my way. The weekend started off with a bit of a whimper, however, as we had our flight delayed by nearly an hour – and not the fun kind of delay either, when you get to sit in the airport bar and drink – my friend, Ally, and I were forced to sit on the plane for the entire time while an engineer checked a fault with the air-conditioning. Not mentioning any names, but I will not be flying with a certain airline (rhymes with ‘get car’) for a while.
After we eventually arrived (at 10 at night) we quickly came up with a plan – we were very fortunate to have a friend’s car at our disposal on the Saturday and we wanted to make the most of our chance to explore further than the inner suburbs.
After a delicious breakfast at Seven Seeds (a hidden-away, exceptionally trendy cafe in the northern part of the CBD), we departed on the hour and a half-ish drive to the Mornington region – we had a lot of decadence on our agenda and we were keen to get started! Owing to a leisurely morning, we didn’t arrive at our first destination until about midday – perfect timing as we were planning on spending lunch at the Mornington Peninsula Brewery. Hidden away in an industrial area off the Nepean Highway, the brewery features humble surrounds with a small but varied beer menu. You can sit and enjoy a tasting paddle of 4 of the featured beers, and if it so takes your fancy (which it did ours) you can also indulge in a wood-fired pizza, fresh from the pizza oven located in the bar. If you want to know more about the process, you can even partake in a free brewery tour, starting at 1pm each Saturday. We decided to forgo the brewery tour in favour of our next destination – another half hour drive and we were at the beautiful Cape Schanck Lighthouse on the southern coast of Australia.
Unfortunately when we arrived we discovered that you couldn’t actually get near to the lighthouse without paying for a tour – we didn’t have time for that, so we instead decided to take a walk on the boardwalk down the cliff to the waters edge. This area of the coastline is perfect for rock-fishing, and we saw many a fisherman drag their gear up and down the walk, tirelessly making the trek for a chance to catch a delicious fish – or maybe something more. We were astounded as a man walked past (exhaustedly, I might add!) with an enormous eel slung over his back – it must have been at least a metre and a half long, and as thick as my thigh in the body. He didn’t look very happy, but graciously hoiked it up for me to take a photo – I’m sure he was secretly proud of his efforts and enjoying all the attention he was receiving! The highlight of the trip, however was the scenery, which was just spectacular.
On the drive back to the Melbourne CBD we stopped off in an amazing chocolate shop called Mornington Peninsula Chocolates (with one of the most impressively decorated easter eggs I have seen!), tasted some of the delicious cheeses at Red Hill Cheese, and couldn’t pass up the opportunity of visiting Mock Red Hill Cider Orchard when we spotted it on the drive past!
That night we met up with friends for a pub dinner at The Napier Hotel in Fitzroy. You really can’t beat dinner at a traditional Melbourne pub, with a traditional Melbourne pub meal – the parma. The Napier’s were so big that a friend and I shared!
The next day, sadly, went far too quickly. We met another of my Melbourne friends, Loretta, for breakfast – she had only arrived back from Bali that morning and we had to catch her on the way home from the airport! We didn’t have a car, and my dad had headed off to see the race at the F1 so Ally and I decided to make the most of it and do another activity that Melbourne is famous for – Shopping. We wandered the CBD, journeyed to Zara and H+M (Which Brisbane now has!), hunted down some boots (which it seemed EVERYONE was wearing) and dumplings for lunch, before finishing off the afternoon with a naughty chocolate waffle from Max Brenner. We relaxed in one of the many inner-city parks and lamented that our time was nearly over. Our taxi ride to the airport was bittersweet, but we knew that we would be back again soon!
One of the conclusions that we came to while we were away, is that Melbourne is not one of the coolest and trendiest cities in Australia because people are on the ball with all the latest fashions. It’s not because the weather keeps you on your toes, or because of the amazing food and drink available. It’s not even because of all the capital cities in Australia, Melbourne is the most European. Melbourne is an amazing city purely because, despite all the fashions, all the trends, that you see on a daily basis, when you’re in Melbourne you can wear whatever you want, do things however you want, and express whatever opinions you want (within reason) and it’s OK. It’s ok to be yourself, you won’t be judged, and you won’t be ridiculed and that’s awesome!
So if you haven’t been to Melbourne, I highly recommend it – you can have fun, even if it’s just for the weekend. I guarantee it!