Adventures in Melbourne, Australia
We’ve been enjoying our adventures in Melbourne, exploring the area, and, most of all, spending time with our daughter and getting to know her friends and neighborhoods. A bonus has been also hanging out with our middle son who is winding down his three-month stay in Melbourne and about to head home.
Our almost two-week stay has ended. There are so many things I’d love to share about the area: fun things we did and what you might want to do if you find yourself in Melbourne, give you an idea of what things look like, my impressions of the city, and, of course, what I ended up wearing while here (important stuff, right!?). There is so much! I’ve decided to do this in two posts, and this is #1.
Here are glimpses into some of our expeditions.
Out and About in Melbourne
We’ve been enjoying our home away from home – an apartment is located in Brunswick. Brunswick a laid-back multicultural suburb of Melbourne popular with a young, alternative crowd, and known as a destination for live music, upbeat pubs and beer gardens, and small shops. It’s fun and busy and vibrant. And very central for a lot of what we are doing. There’s two large parks a five minute walk away, Princes Park and Royal Park, which we’ve been frequenting for walks and John’s runs. There’s lots going on there – people walking dogs, runners and walkers, and footie, Australian football recreational clubs. It’s been really nice that it doesn’t get dark until close to 9:00 pm – it’s summer here!
In addition to an abundance of pubs, Brunswick is known for craft coffee shops, and, being coffee lovers, we’ve been having fun visiting different ones (we can literally smell the scent of roasting coffee the minute we step outside our apartment).
Melbourne Central Business District (CBD)
This is “downtown” Melbourne – a blend of businesses, tourists, galleries, and lots of activity. We have had a great view of the city landscape from the apartment (you can see our view in a couple of photos in this post).
Melbourne is a diverse and very international city. There is quite a lot of construction taking place in the central business district, evidenced by the many cranes that we’ve seen topping high rise buildings. The Yarra River runs through the city. It’s quite scenic, with bridges that cross it and places to sit, eat, and drink alongside it. There’s a mix of historic architecture and modern, which seems to be prevalent throughout Melbourne.
I was curious about what styles and fashions I’d see in the city, and I guess I shouldn’t have been too surprised to find people wearing everything, from casual to dressy, trendy to classic, high style to grunge.
Koorie Heritage Trust
Aboriginal Australians are the various Indigenous peoples of the Australian mainland and many of its islands. There is so much to learn about the indigenous people when visiting Australia, and we spent a little time at the Koorie Heritage Trust a small but powerful exhibition housed in downtown Melbourne. It was established in 1985 with a commitment to protect, preserve and promote the living culture of the Indigenous people of south-east Australia. The Trust boasts extensive collections of artifacts, paintings, photographs, oral history recordings and library materials to protect and preserve the collection for future generations. The collection is also used to promote Koorie Aboriginal culture through an active exhibition program. The Centre’s motto is Gnokan Danna Murra Kor-Ki (“Give me your hand my friend.”) and Bridge the Cultural Gap.
The history of Aboriginal Australians after colonization of Australia by the British is predominated by genocide and taking of land. Less than 3% of Australian people now identify as Aboriginal.
It’s very sad to see how this kind of history has repeated itself in different parts of the world. There are organizations in Australia whose efforts focus on supporting those of Aboriginal origin, and the situation is complex; there is still no official recognition of the indigenous people in the Australian constitution.
We spent a lovely afternoon at St. Kilda, a waterfront suburb of Melbourne. It felt very vacation-y with restaurants, palm trees, a picturesque harbor, and kite boarders.
We had a nice lunch at the Esplanade Hotel (know as The Espy), an historic location with a long history. We strolled down the St. Kilda Pier and I learned about the penguins that reside in and among the man-made breakwater .
I felt very lucky that we got a peek at a “Little Penguin” (adult height is only about 13 inches) nesting in the breakwater at the end of the St. Kilda pier. Little Penguins are the smallest of the 18 penguin species; they seek refuge between the rocks of the breakwater to hide from predators and build nests to raise one or two chicks. This site is one of only two breeding colonies on a man-made structure in the world.
It was quite windy the day we visited St. Kilda – reminded me a bit of the San Francisco Bay along the Embarcadero. The area is very picturesque and had the day been less windy, we may have spent some time on the beach.
I’ve really enjoyed taking in the residential architecture that is Melbourne. It reminds me of a cross between Victorian and the French Colonial style that’s in the French Quarter of New Orleans. Scattered among these historic homes are more recently designed homes with less than interesting profiles. These are in all kinds of neighborhoods – ones that seem middle class as well as those that seem upper class. I was curious about the history of the architecture so did a quick search to learn a little about it and discovered that the architectural history of residences spans many periods in history and a variety of styles. Here are a few photos of architecture that’s intrigued me from our walks around Melbourne.
Further Adventures in Melbourne
Stay tuned for more Melbourne adventures . . .