Australia Day 2016



Dave and I woke up on Australia Day with absolutely nothing planned, which wasn’t ideal because we were meeting up with Josh – one of the friends we made during our 12 day stay in Port Elliot over the Christmas New Year period in 2012. He’d come to Melbourne for some sort of work training in Gembrook and we offered to spend time with him on Australia Day.


Dave drove out to Pakenham to pick up Josh and we all met back at home for a quick cuppa and some Tim Tam slams to discuss what we were going to do for the day.




We decided to do a mini tour of Melbourne and finish up at a pub in Fitzroy.  We set off shortly after midday in Dave’s old Holden Premier.


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Our first stop was at the Brownstone Brewery for lunch and a beer.  Our burger meals were perfectly portioned and went down a treat, and while they were out of their signature Pilsner, we settled for a pot of Little Creatures Dog Days Summer Ale to get us started.




We then cruised through Dandenong and headed for the coast. We’d heard of a craft brewery called True South in Black Rock. When we arrived, the venue was bustling, but they didn’t have any of their own brews on tap so we settled with a Stone & Wood Pacific Ale stubbie and some pints of James Squire 150 Lashes.  We hung out on the balcony and looked out at the haze on the horizon – from all the Straya Day BBQs we assumed.


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Back on the road, we did a quick stop at Red Bluff lookout, and watched all the Aussies sunbaking on the beach, cooling off in the clear waters of Half Moon Bay, zooming over the water on their jet skis or simple lazing on their boats in the bay. It was a magnificent sight.


Red Bluff Lookout


The next leg of our cruise lead us through colourful St Kilda. Luna Park was open for business and there were plenty of people hanging out on the foreshore or at one of the many pubs. We also saw that the Espy Hotel had closed down– it’s always sad when a live music institution closes down so hopefully it’s reopened to maintain its legendary reputation.


Once we got to the northern suburbs, we knew it was time to sit and chill out.  We met up with our old mate Parksy at the Rainbow Hotel for a few beers. The luscious beer garden was full but not packed and the cold beers were constantly flowing.





Dinnertime rolled around quickly so we made our way to the Commercial Club for some great pub grub. Dave satisfied his pork schnitzel craving while Juz and Josh had the chicken parma. Another perfectly portioned meal.




With the sun setting over the still-hazy horizon (from all the Straya Day BBQs), we set off towards Pakenham and dropped Josh off. It was great to hang out with him on Australia Day. We hadn’t seen him for three years, since we left Port Elliot in January 2013, and maintaining that connection is really special to us.


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Happy Australia Day to everyone – we hope you had fun, celebrated with the people you love, and demonstrated the true colours of Australia Day.



Melbourne 2015 2015-04-13 014

Melbourne Hiatus 2015

It was hard to believe that it had been an entire year since we were last in Melbourne, so when it was time to fly home for Dave’s sister’s wedding, we were excited about seeing everyone.  It just so happened that another wedding was on in the same two week period so we had two bucks, two hens, and two glorious weddings to attend.  And let’s not forget all of the breakfasts, lunches, dinners and drinks to catch up with friends and family.


We had an absolute blast and we can’t wait to see all our loved ones again soon.  Until then, our eyes are set on the east coast of Australia.


Up in the air Melbourne to Cairns



Twee's Hut Vietnamese Favourites

Eating Out : Twee’s Hut Vietnamese Favourites, Melbourne VIC

Twee's Hut Vietnamese Favourites


It was our first day in back Melbourne and Juz wanted nothing more than a big bowl of pho.  Even though we’re travelling around the country, she’s still interested in the Melbourne food scene, curious about which restaurants are on the top and whether there are any new places taking Melbourne foodies by storm.


A few months ago, Juz received an invitation to try out a new Vietnamese place in the CBD, and since we were in town, it was an offer she couldn’t refuse.  So, for our first day in Melbourne, we found ourselves driving into the city during lunchtime to sample the offerings of Twee’s Hut Vietnamese Favourites.  Now, maybe we’d been a bit spoilt in Darwin, because we had completely forgotten how frustrating and painful driving in the Melbourne CBD can be.  Not to mention finding parking!


However, when we walked in to Twee’s Hut, all was forgotten with the sultry aromas of Vietnamese cooking.  It was evident that the lunchtime rush was over and this gave us the perfect opportunity to introduce ourselves to Ricky.


Twee's Hut Vietnamese Favourites


Ricky and his wife Thuy used to be office workers, bound to their desks day in and day out.  While they had thought about changing the scenery and opening up a Vietnamese restaurant, it wasn’t until a cancer scare opened their eyes and made them realise how short life is.   After a lot of planning and hard work, Twee’s Hut was born in November 2013.


Their story really resonated with us – our situation was fairly similar before we decided to pack up all our belongings and travel around the country.


The philosophy behind Twee’s Hut Vietnamese Favourites is revealed in the name – to showcase the favourites of authentic Vietnamese home cooking and create a very warm and familiar atmosphere that’s just like home.  Their passion for great food drives them to produce dishes of high standards, and Thuy won’t send anything out unless she’s happy with it.


Twee's Hut Vietnamese Favourites


On that note, it was time to order.  While Juz was certain she’d have the beef pho, Dave was seduced by a piece of roast pork with crackling in the window.  He ended up ordering some with rice for now and some in a Bánh Mi ‘Captain Baguette’ pork roll for later.  We also got the signature dish – Soul Bowl – which is a combination noodle dish that consists of two kinds of noodles, pork, prawn, a little quail egg, crushed peanuts, fried shallots and coriander with a side of chicken broth.


Everything was amazing in its own way.  The flavours and textures of the Soul Bowl were fantastic, especially when you scoop a spoonful of pork mince, peanuts and fried onion into your mouth for an explosion of flavour.  Juz’s beef pho was clean and very well balanced, with the sliced raw onion amplifying the savoury flavour and the lime juice provided the perfect amount of tang to contrast the subtle sweetness.  Dave’s roast pork was the star of the show with its mighty crunch of crackling.  The meat was super juicy and not oversalted, so the flavour of the pork really stood out.


Twee's Hut Vietnamese Favourites


We had definitely eaten our fill and thanked Ricky for his warm hospitality before we headed back to the car with pork roll in hand.  Later that night, after a catch up with friends at the pub, we got home and Dave found the roast pork roll in the fridge.  The crackling still had its crunch and that unmistakably addictive flavour, and the roll disappeared in a flash.


Twee's Hut Vietnamese Favourites


We’re glad that we accepted Ricky’s invitation to visit Twee’s Hut.  We really enjoyed their story because we could relate and it validated our reasons for setting off around Australia. Ricky was also a great host who warmly greeted customers and wished a regular all the best with their new baby.  It was really heart-warming to see someone being so genuinely interested in his customers, but after all, Twee’s Hut has another purpose other than serving delicious food.  They want to provide an experience that revolves around caring and sharing, and promotes happiness and health.  They even donate a portion of their sales of Fru-G Lifters to the Cancer Council!  If only we had room in our bellies for one of those…


So if you’re in the CBD and hungry for a delicious meal made with love, visit Twee’s Hut – you won’t be disappointed.



A Week In Melbourne 2014

We recently had the pleasure of being in Melbourne to attend the wedding of our good friends Kieran and Maria.  During our one week visit, we tried to see as many loved ones as possible and eat as much delicious Melbourne food as we could.


This was possibly the last time we would conveniently fly across the continent for an event, so we tried to make the most of it.


Here is a little gallery of our week…



And here’s a picture of Dave – who actually spent three days in bed due to Melbournitis.


Sick Dave


The view from Flinders Street

Hiatus in Melbourne 2013

It was planned months before we left Melbourne that Juz would fly back to Melbourne to be a bridesmaid our mate’s wedding in March.  It wasn’t planned that Dave would come too until Juz’s mum offered to sort out his ticket so that we could both be at her big 60th fancy dress birthday party the week after the wedding.


We couldn’t refuse the offer, and decided to keep it a secret so that we could surprise Dave’s mum for her birthday, as well as the bride and groom and all of our friends and family.  Keeping the secret was the hardest part.  Juz kept slipping and said ‘we’ instead of ‘I’ many times, trying to cover it up with a fumble of words while Dave’s tactic was to be honest and only talk about what I was doing, without mentioning that he was going to be there too.



The 10 days we spent in Melbourne were intense.  After Juz’s mum picked us up from the airport, we went to Dave’s parent’s place on the other side of the city and presented Dave’s beardy face to his mum.  She was ecstatic and we left Dave there to settle in.  Juz spent the night at her mum’s place, giving Ali the cat and Funny Face heaps of sneeze-inducing cuddles before finally going to bed.



The next two days was all about the wedding.  After over two months of training and conscious (and at times, mindless) eating for Operation Bridesmaid, Juz got the chance to try the dress on for the first time since November.  The zip went up and there was a huge sense of achievement and relief.   Friday was dedicated to helping the bride prepare and relax, and Saturday started nice and early with hair, makeup, bubbly and photography before tumbling into the limo to get to the chapel.  The rest of the day was magical…



Dave’s involvement in the wedding was a little different.  While he was supposed to be a surprise, we didn’t want to steal the wedding couple’s thunder, so we had to pick the best moment to unveil the beard.  During the ceremony, all the guests had their eyes on the bride and groom while Dave slipped in via a side door and snuck up to the balcony to watch. After the “You may now kiss the bride” part, Dave took a couple more pictures before exiting the chapel like a bearded ninja.


Dave takes a ninja photograph of the wedding ceremony


The surprise would be saved for the reception later that evening. Dave waited outside until the bridal party were all seated and once the entrees were being served, Juz called him and handed her phone to the groom.

“It’s Dave,” she said. “He wants to congratulate you and Janet…”


While congratulating the groom, Dave started walking into the party, smiling at the astonished looks and pointing fingers of friends. As he neared the bridal table, the best man was pulling on the groom’s sleeve.

“Seb! Seb! Dave’s here!”

“Shut-up man, I’m on the phone with Dave!”


It wasn’t until Dave was a few meters from the newlyweds that Seb looked up, looked back at the phone and smiled “You bastard!”  The bride and groom were really surprised and Seb nearly ended up in tears.  Happy days!



The rest of the week was filled with family and kitty reunions, café breakfasts, pho lunches, casual dinners with friends and BBQs that flowed into the early morning hours.  Juz also made time to work on her Olympic snatch with dungeon master, Andrew Ellem at Pivotal Health and Fitness in Murrumbeena, and visit her krav crew at Guardian Defence in Brunswick.



Wednesday night was put aside for the Our Naked Australia VIP Night.  The party was so exclusive, there were only four people there – Dave and Juz and the Strong Intent & Co. crew who built the website, Cyn and Matty.  The night started off with a glass of Chimay and quick dip on the 23rd floor of the Rydges building before heading out for dinner and drinks at Trunk Diner.  After a great feed, we got a bit fancy and enjoyed some period cocktails at 1806.



The fancy dress party was a great success.  Juz’s mum stood out from the crowd as the Queen of Hearts while Dave and Juz went as Ned Kelly and Nigella Lawson. The party was also attended by big names like George Clooney, Kate Middleton, Penelope Cruz and Rove McManus, and great characters like Zorro, Mary Poppins and The Joker.



On the day of our departure, we had a big Easter lunch with family and gorged on lasagne, prosciutto and Dave’s mum’s amazing sticky date pudding.  It was a great way to wrap up our time in Melbourne and we were more than ready to get back to Perth and continue the Our Naked Australia story. We loved seeing our family and friends but our journey is nowhere near finished.  The best part is still coming – Broome, The Kimberley, Darwin, Uluru!  We cannot wait to get out there…


Sunset over Flinders Street Station

Experience : Touristy things to do in Melbourne

Sunset over Southbank


It doesn’t matter what you’re into, there are heaps of things to do in and around Melbourne.


Explore St Kilda & Melbourne’s Luna Park

Located about 7km south of Melbourne, St Kilda is a vibrant and active coastal suburb. A haven for young travellers and backpackers, it springs to life in summer with festivals, twilight markets and live music. Go for a walk along the beach, enjoy the view on St Kilda Pier or have a BBQ in Catani Gardens.


Melbourne’s Luna Park is the most colourful attraction in St Kilda. It opened in 1912 and is now the oldest theme park in the world and home to the Scenic Railway – the oldest continually running rollercoaster. Grab yourself a cloud of fairy floss and a bag of their awesome beer-batter chips and take a look around – entry is free!


While you soak in the sun and the sea air, you could even wander as far as Albert Park Lake, a popular location for jogging, dog walking and various boating activities. The road around the lake is the track for the Melbourne Grand Prix.



Learn stuff at Melbourne’s various museums

The Melbourne Museum is located just north of the city in the Carlton Gardens. They have various exhibitions on throughout the year and IMAX Cinema is also part of the museum complex.


Right next door to the Melbourne Museum is the Royal Exhibition Building, a world heritage landmark that was completed in 1880. It is one of the world’s oldest exhibition pavilions and is the site of various shows and expos.


The Immigration Museum is located on Flinders Street, just west of the station, and focuses on Australia’s multicultural identity. Learn about how and why people came to Australia, and how their culture helped shape Melbourne’s diverse way of life.


If you’re dragging rugrats around, tire them out at Scienceworks. Learn about the environment and how the body works. It’s both fun and educational, and parents might even learn something new.


General adult entry fees to the Melbourne Museum, Scienceworks and the Immigration Museum are only $10.





Connect with nature in the Dandenong Ranges, attempt the 1000 Steps, go SkyHigh, or take a ride on Puffing Billy

The Dandenong Ranges are located on the eastern border of Melbourne, about 50 minutes drive from the city. This mountainous area is home to quaint villages, craft shops and cute tea houses, and there are some stunning forest walks available through Sherbrook Forest and Olinda Falls Reserve.


At the foot of the ranges are the 1000 Steps, a Kokoda Memorial Walk dotted with plaques that describe the experiences of Australian solders as they marched along the real Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea. We don’t recommend this walk if you’re not physically up for it as it can be a bit tough…


If you want a total railway experience, catch the train to Belgrave from the city and follow the blue line to get to Puffing Billy – a century-old steam train that travels through the Dandenong Ranges from Belgrave to Gembrook. It’s a unique experience to be carted around in a massive steam train with your feet hanging out the windows and the sound of the WOOO WOOO! Adult ticket prices start at $18.50.


SkyHigh provides a fabulous view over the entire city and Port Phillip Bay, and on a clear day, you can see the skyscrapers of the city centre. There is also a café and restaurant that is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, with surrounding gardens and a maze made from native plants. This is a romantic hotspot – get there just before sunset with a hot pizza and your make-out buddy. Entry is $5 per car.



Have a picnic in the Royal Botanical Gardens

This enormous park just south of the CBD and can be the perfect place to spend the afternoon, sitting on a blanket in the warm sun. It is also home to several Melbourne landmarks, like the Shrine of Remembrance, the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden and the Sidney Myer Music Bowl.


If the night is balmy enough, check out Moonlight Cinema, an open air cinema that operates during summer and screens all sorts of films, from new releases to cult classics. An adult ticket is $18 but they also have a $33 Gold Grass option that includes a bean bed and premium viewing location.



Spend the day at the Queen Victoria Markets

Open on Tuesdays and Thursday through to Sunday, the Queen Victoria Markets are 130 years old and is still an active and busy market.


Everything is available, from leather belts, clothes and shoes to fresh and organic food and delicious deli meats. In fact, the market is so big, it has precincts, including the meat hall, F Shed Laneway and String Bean Alley.


If you’re hungry, you can’t go past the Borek Shop in the Deli Hall. You know you’re in the right place because the crowd out the front at lunchtime is about 4 rows deep. Get one with cheese and spinach, or lamb, or all of them – they’re all $2.50 each.


Catch a tram to Fitzroy and go on a pub crawl

A stone’s throw north of the city is Melbourne’s first and smallest suburb – Fitzroy. The culture revolves around street art, live music, good coffee and its plethora of pubs.


All pubs are within walking distance of each other so it’s perfect for a pub crawl. Some crawls start from the bottom at the Builders Arms and work their way up towards Palookaville, while other crawls zig zag across Brunswick Street, from the Union Hotel and Little Creatures Dining Hall to the Standard, then back to the Napier and the Rainbow.


If the pub scene isn’t your thing, they also have some great cocktail bars like the Alchemist Bar and Polly, and Latin clubs like The Night Cat and Arepa Bar. You will also find some tremendous cafes in the area, such as Atomica Caffé, which roast their own beans, and Sonido! with their exotic South American influence.



Go for a stroll along Southbank Promenade and try your luck at Crown Casino

Southbank runs along the south side of the Yarra river between St Kilda Road and the Crown Entertainment Complex. Apart from being a great place for a pleasant stroll with a nice view of the city, it also has buskers, pubs, restaurants, and a cool eatery in the middle of the river called Ponyfish Island.


The Crown Complex is open 24 hours a day every day of the year except Christmas Day, Good Friday and Anzac Day. They do have a dress code, so if you’re planning to hang out, make sure you dress nice. Inside, there are beauty spas, restaurants, pubs, bars, nightclubs, big brand shopping, cinemas, bowling and a massive arcade area with laser skirmish.


The Gas Brigades out the front of Crown expel a huge ball of fire every hour after dark until midnight. Check their website for the fireball schedule.



Relax at Federation Square and watch the sun set over Flinders Street Station

Federation Square was opened in 2002 as a cultural public square of Melbourne. While it serves as a popular tourist attraction, this could possibly be because of its ambiguous aesthetics. Could it be the ugliest landmark you have ever seen, or is it attractive and artistic in its own way? Who knows?


Before the sun goes down, eat a steak at Transport Hotel Bar and soak up the last rays of the day in their sunroom.


Before you leave, head towards the river and take the stairs down to Riverland Bar and Café for a relaxing beer. It inhabits the old Federation Wharf vaults, which were built in 1889 and is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.


Flinders Street Railway Station is the epicentre of the Melbourne public transport system and a major icon of the city. It is the oldest railway station in Australia, officially being opened in 1910, even though it was operating as a railway station since 1854! It has 14 platforms and services 16 train lines.


The clocks under the main entrance have been dated back to the 1860s and were put into storage after the old station façade was demolished and were installed in the new station building before its opening. The clocks were operated manually until 1983 – now they are computer operated.


Go on a mission to find the best coffee and discover the charming and secretive laneways and arcades in the CBD

Melbournians love good coffee and we’re certainly spoilt for choice! There are heaps of tasty brewers around Melbourne who take pride in producing a choice cup.


If you need a benchmark to set your standards to, try Seven Seeds in North Melbourne, 65 Degrees in the CBD or Atomica in Fitzroy.  Other popular cafes include St Ali in South Melbourne, Three Bags Full in Richmond, Proud Mary in Collingwood and Patricia Coffee Brewers in the CBD.


Have a wander around to see if you can find your own special place and explore Melbourne’s arcades and laneways.


Hardware Lane is great for food with Bao Now, Bentoya Japanese, Hardware Societé and Affogato Café, while Degraves Place transports you into another world with its European ambiance. After a stroll past the resident boutique shops, relax with a latte in one of its many cafes and soak up the sounds of a nearby busker.


The Royal Arcade was opened in 1870 and is absolutely stunning with its old time charm and stained glass windows. The drawcard for this arcade is Gaunt’s Clock, which chimes every hour. The arcade has a collection of specialty shops selling the most colourful and wonderful stuff, like Russian babushkas, artisan rock candy and magical oddities.


If you’re looking for something a little more rock ‘n’ roll, try AC/DC Lane and visit Cherry Bar for some late night head banging. This street used to be called Corporation lane, but was renamed in 2004 as a tribute to the Australian rock band AC/DC.



Eat a dumpling in Chinatown or have some gelati on Lygon Street

Chinatown is a colourful strip of red and gold, right in the heart of the Melbourne CBD. During the Victorian Gold Rush in 1851, many Chinese immigrants settled in Little Bourke Street, and thus the first Chinese community in Melbourne began.


If you love a good dumpling, there are a few places that will definitely impress, including HuTong Dumpling Bar, Nam Loong, Shark Fin and Shanghai Noodle House. Chinatown is also the stage for the Chinese New Year Festivities in February.


If you prefer Italian cuisine, wander up to Lygon Street in Carlton. Many Italian immigrants came to Australia after World War II and established Melbourne as the second largest Italian city outside of Italy. Affectionately named the ‘Little Italy’ of Melbourne, Some may argue that this is where Melbourne’s café culture was born.


The two must-visit places on Lygon Street are Brunetti for their authentic Italian cakes, and Il Dolce Freddo, an ice cream shop that lives in the heart of nearly every Melbournian. Their ice cream is creamy, delicious and available in a variety of flavours such as Durian, Ferrero Rocher, Tutti Di Bosco and Tiramisu.


Don’t expect to stick to diet while you’re in this part of town.



Check out a game of Aussie rules football

In Victoria, if someone says “football” they mean AFL – grown men in tight shorts chasing an oval ball on an oval field.


Invented in 1857 to keep cricketers fit during the winter off-season, footy now plays a huge part in many Melbournians lives. The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) has the capacity to hold 100,000 cheering supporters and tickets to a match during finals season are in high demand.


Matches are played on weekends from March to September, so why not pick a team, get rugged up in their colours, and go join in the excitement! Adult ticket prices to a match at the MCG start at $21.30 and vary across the other game venues.


Talk to the animals at the Royal Melbourne Zoo, Healesville Sanctuary, Werribee Zoo or Melbourne Aquarium

Melbourne Zoo is located just north of the city and is home to a variety of animals, from Asian elephants to Sumatran tigers. To get there, you can catch a train to Royal Park Station or jump on the 55 tram from Williams Street.


Healesville Sanctuary is about an hour’s drive east of Melbourne and focuses on Australian flora and fauna, as well as protecting endangered species.


Werribee Zoo is a 30 minute drive to the west of Melbourne and has a more African feel, as it is home to lions, rhinoceros, zebras, giraffes and African wild dogs. Admission includes a safari tour that buses you around the open range surroundings.


All zoological parks are open from 9am – 5pm every day of the year and adult entry is $26.10.




If you prefer to keep your head below the water, check out the Melbourne Aquarium. It is located in the Melbourne CBD along the banks of the Yarra River. It is open from 9:30am to 6pm every day and admission for an adult costs $35.



Give your feet a rest and take a cruise down the Yarra River

You’ve been walking all day, you’re exhausted but you want to see more. Then let Melbourne River Cruises do all the work for you. They have great sightseeing cruises that go for about an hour.


Prices for an adult start at $23 and it is a really relaxing way to see Melbourne’s docks and riverside attractions.



Noodle Kingdom - Fried Beef Dumplings

Melbourne : Do you love dumplings?

We love dumps – little bite-sized packets of goodness that can be either steamed, fried, baked or boiled.  They can be filled with meat, vegetables or sweet stuff and can be eaten in soups or on their own. Varieties include jiaozi, pot stickers, wontons, dim sum, gyoza and the Nepalese momo.


If you’re in or around Melbourne and you’re trolling for a quick and easy feed, look for dumplings and give these places a go.


HuTong Dumpling Bar

14-16 Market Lane, Melbourne

This is one of the fancy dumpling places in Melbourne, and while the service can be a bit shonky, their xiaolongbao (aka soup bags, Shanghai dumplings) are awesome. Classified as a bun in China, these delicious dumps are little sacks filled with pork and soup.

To eat it, put the dumpling onto a spoon, bite the top off and suck the soup out before devouring the rest.



North East China Family

302 Flinders Lane, Melbourne

NECF is a modest eatery on the south side of the CBD that does a great plate of chicken and prawn dumplings at a good price. Their salt and pepper squid is fantastic as well!



Shanghai Noodle House

Tattersalls Lane, Melbourne

The ultimate in poor uni student dining, this small eatery is very plain and basic but they know how to make fried pork dumplings with a nice, crispy casing and succulent filling. Pure perfection!



Noodle Kingdom

469 High Street, Preston

It’s fun to watch the cooks make dumplings in the window, but don’t forget to go inside and try some of their food. They have a great selection of noodle soups, but the fried beef dumplings are great. Big fat dumplings filled with beef and spring onion that are hot, fresh and full of flavour.




Do you have a suggestion on where to get good dumps?


Graffiti hidden in Melbourne's laneways

City Profile : Melbourne

Melbourne is a trendy city full of excellent restaurants, cafés and bars, artsy laneways, galleries and fashion boutiques, parks and gardens.   Melbournians love sport, festivals and food, live entertainment, shopping and art.



Fast Facts

  • Capital city of Victoria in the south east of Australia
  • Second most populated city in Australia
  • Founded in 1835 by Batman… John Batman
  • Population of 4.1 million Melbournians
  • Extends from the Dandenong Ranges in the east to Werribee in the west
  • Awarded Most Livable City 2011 by The Economist Intelligence Unit
  • It’s tramway system is the fourth largest in the world
  • Home of the world’s oldest amusement park, Melbourne’s Luna Park in St Kilda
  • The central business district is arranged in a grid, called the Hoddle Grid



The first foreigners arrived in 1803 at a place near Sorrento but this settlement was abandoned due to a lack of resources.


In 1835, John Batman met with aboriginal elders of the Wurudjeri tribe and negotiated the purchase of 600,000 acres so that he could build a village.  Two years later in 1837, plans for the Hoddle Grid were drawn up and Melbourne was officially named.


Prior to European settlement, the area was inhabited by three aboriginal tribes.  Unfortunately, as Melbourne grew, the aboriginal tribes were pushed out to live in camps with terrible living conditions around Melbourne.


In 1847, Melbourne was officially declared a city by Queen Victoria.



If you like pleasant weather, the best time to visit is between October and April while the temperature wafts between 14°C and 30°C.  The cold sets in at the beginning of May in preparation for chilly winter, which doesn’t ease off until mid to late September.


The weather is often unpredictable, with regular displays of four seasons in one day.  Make sure you check the Bureau of Meteorology before heading out for the day and always be prepared!


Points of Interest

Parks and Gardens

  • Royal Botanic Gardens – covers about 38 hectares and includes the Shrine of Remembrance, Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Queen Victoria Gardens and Alexander Gardens.
  • Carlton Gardens – a World Heritage site located to the north of the city.  It’s the home of the Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne Museum and IMAX Cinemas.
  • Royal Park – The biggest park in Melbourne at 181 hectares and includes the Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens, as well as a golf course, soccer and footy field, cricket pitch and the State Netball and Hockey Centre.
  • Fitzroy Gardens – 26 hectares of parkland located to the east of the city.  Cook’s Cottage is one of the biggest attractions to the park, as well as Ola Cohn’s Fairies Tree and the Conservatory.

Historic buildings

  • Royal Exhibition Building – completed in 1880, it is a World Heritage Listed building and one of the world’s oldest exhibition pavilions.
  • Melbourne Town Hall – officially opened in 1870, the Town Hall becomes a venue during the International Comedy Festival.
  • Parliament House – located at the intersection of Spring Street and Bourke Street, the building was fully completed in 1929 after nearly 70 years of construction.
  • The Mitre Tavern – built in 1837, it is the oldest building in Melbourne, and is now a great pub and steakhouse.


Activities & Attractions

Crown Entertainment Complex – http://www.crownmelbourne.com.au/
Eureka Skydeck  – http://www.eurekaskydeck.com.au/
Federation Square – http://www.fedsquare.com/
Docklands – http://www.thatsmelbourne.com.au/Placestogo/Docklands/
Melbourne Comedy Festival (March to April) – http://www.comedyfestival.com.au/
Queen Victoria Market – http://www.qvm.com.au
Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens – http://www.zoo.org.au/melbourne
Melbourne Aquarium – http://www.melbourneaquarium.com.au/home
Melbourne Museum – http://museumvictoria.com.au/melbournemuseum/

Cultural Precincts

The Greek Strip – Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
The Italian Strip – Lygon Street, Carlton
The Middle Eastern Strip – Sydney Road, Brunswick
Chinatown – Little Bourke Street, Melbourne

Active Nightlife

Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Fitzroy Street, St Kilda
Chapel Street, South Yarra

Shopping Districts

Bridge Road, Richmond
Chapel Street, South Yarra
Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Acland Street, St Kilda
Collins Street & Bourke Street Mall, Melbourne


Visitor Information Centres

Melbourne Visitor Centre, Federation Square
Melbourne Visitor Booth, Bourke Street


Brunswick Street, Fitzroy


Getting Around

Public Transport System

Melbourne’s public transport system includes the world’s largest tram network, as well as bus and coach services and a railway network.  You can also take advantage of the free city circle trams that travel around Melbourne, passing major tourist attractions and serve as a connection between other tram, train and bus routes.  The trams run every 12 minutes from 10am to 6pm from Sunday to Wednesday and 10am to 9pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.


For information on how to get where and timetables, visit Public Transport Victoria http://ptv.vic.gov.au/



Ticketing System

Myki is Melbourne’s public transport ticketing system, and it involves a little plastic card that you ‘top up’ with your money.  You have to ‘touch on’ or swipe the myki reader when you get on public transport to validate your myki, and you have to ‘touch off’ at the end of your journey to get the lowest fare.


You can get a myki card from any ‘premium’ train station, 7-Eleven outlet or the myki discovery centre at Southern Cross Station, and they cost $6 for a full fare card.  You then have to ‘top up’ with some dollars before you travel.


For more information on myki and travel fares, visit http://www.myki.com.au/


Other ways to get around…

Melbourne Bike Share: a new form of public transport within the Melbourne CBD http://www.melbournebikeshare.com.au/



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Feeding the chickens @ Collingwood Children's Farm

Melbourne : Country Life in the City

Feeding the chickens @ Collingwood Children's Farm


There are a few places around Melbourne where you can leave the hustle and bustle of the concrete metropolis and surround yourself with the country life.  These inner-city farms are a great place to hang out for the day to learn about organic produce and sustainable living, or even just to sit down, have a coffee and interact with the animals.


CERES Environment Park

Cnr Roberts and Stewart Streets, Brunswick East

(03) 9389 0100 ● Free entry
Open every day except for public holidays


CERES is a community, non-profit environment park that strives to raise awareness about environmental issues that affect urban areas. They demonstrate environmentally friendly options and green technology that can be adopted by all levels of the community, such as solar electricity generation, eco-friendly housing and greywater systems.


There is a Visitor Centre that offers workshops, courses and tours, a nursery stocked with native and edible plants, and a large community garden for local residents. CERES is also home to over 200 laying hens.


There is a café on site that serves organic coffee, breakfast and lunch every day of the week, and an organic market runs every Saturday and Wednesday morning.





Collingwood Children’s Farm

18 St Heliers Street, Abbotsford

(03) 9417 5806 ● Entry is $4 for kids and $8 for adults
Open every day from 9am to 5pm


Established in 1979, the Collingwood Children’s Farm is a non-profit community farm that gives city people an opportunity to experience the country. There is a huge variety of animals to see, including goats, ducks, horses, pigs and even bees. There is also a cow that is milked twice a day (10am and 4pm) and everyone is welcome to give it a go.


There is also a café on site and a farmers market is run on the second Saturday of each month. You can also throw your kid’s birthday party on the farm, with a hosted farm party pack that includes pony rides, cow milking and feeding the animals.





Seven Seeds Cafe

Melbourne : Great places for Breakfast and Coffee

Melbourne is gaga for cafés and has the best coffee culture in Australia.  You can walk through the city streets and laneways and find the kookiest, cosiest cafés that take pride in making the best coffee and eggs on toast within a 50m radius.


In no particular order, here are our favourite places for breakfast and coffee in Melbourne.


Annoying Brother Espresso + Kitchen

650 Nicholson Street, North Fitzroy


A quiet little café with lots of fresh air and natural light. If you can’t decide what to get, order the Silly Eggs in a napoli and chorizo sauce with feta and sourdough toast.



Atomica Caffé

268 Brunswick St, Fitzroy – http://www.atomicacoffee.com.au/


Atomica was the first café in the area to roast their coffee beans onsite and after 15 years of business, their delicious coffee is in high demand. For breakfast, we recommend the El Gringo Eggs – two poached eggs, ham and spicy chipotle hollandaise sauce on top of a block of smoky potato hash – amazeballs.



Jackson Dodd

611 Gilbert Rd, Preston


A lively café in the northern suburbs that produces a smooth and creamy coffee, and the Jack’s breakfast is the most colourful meal you’ll ever eat!



Lady Bower Kitchen

1a Marchant Ave, Reservoir – http://ladybower.com.au/


Located 13km north of the city, this quaint and charming café brews a mighty fine coffee and their smashed avocado breakfast is to die for!



Las Chicas

203 Carlisle St, St Kilda – http://www.laschicas.com.au/


Right next door to Balaclava Train Station, this busy café is open most days of the year and often has a waiting line for a table. Their breakfast menu is available all day and includes the SLAB with salsa, lettuce, aioli and bacon on a Turkish roll, the BBB (Bikini Blowout Benedict) with avocado, bacon and poached eggs on a bagel with hollandaise sauce, and the Brekky Burrito – scrambled eggs, bacon and aioli wrapped in a tortilla and topped with avocado and salsa. YUM!



Old Barber Shop Café

251 Church St, Richmond – http://oldbarbershop.com.au/


A beautiful little café in the heart of busy Richmond that makes fabulous coffee and a scrumptious Croque-Madame filled with béchamel and ham and topped with a fried egg.



Tin Pot Cafe

248 St Georges Rd, Fitzroy North


Located on the corner of St Georges Road and Scotchmer Street, this eclectic café is filled with mismatch furniture that you’d expect to find at your old nan’s house. They make yummy breakfast and their coffee hits the spot.




669 High Street, Thornbury


Perfect for both vegans and vegetarians, this café is fresh and friendly with Atomica brand coffee on tap.




583 Gilbert Road, West Preston

This inconspicuous café makes great coffee and you just have to try the caramelised onion scrambled eggs.  It’s so good, you’ll want to park your camper out the front and never leave, just so you can eat it every day for breakfast.