Heading to Melbourne

I had another encounter with kangaroos on Wednesday, this time, I must admit, as dinner in the Queen Victoria night market in Melbourne.

I flew from Sydney to Melbourne in the morning, arriving at my hostel around lunch. The Skybus is easy to find at the airport and goes express to Southern Cross station. Trams going around the CBD area are free (which, can I say, is fantastic), but I opted for the 20 minute walk to start to get a feel for the city.

I’m staying on Flinders Street, right across from the beautiful Flinders Street Station. I lucked out with an upgrade to a private room with en suite bath. While I wouldn’t have minded meeting some new people, I really do appreciate my own bathroom. While I was waiting to check in, I grabbed some lunch at one of the plethora of tiny restaurants in Degraves St right around the corner. Turns out it’s one of the quaint laneways Melbourne is known for. So many options for food – Asian noodles, sandwiches, Italian food, doughnuts, and, of course, coffee everywhere – and lines that reflect how popular some of these places are.

I grabbed a sandwich to eat on some steps in Federation Square, giving the stink eye to more seagulls who kept approaching hoping to steal some lunch. Then I grabbed a lot of brochures at the tourist office and learned to my dismay that getting to Phillip Island would be next to impossible this time of year via public transit. If I wanted to see the penguin parade, I would have to book a tour.

So I did. I returned to the hostel, got that tour and one for the Great Ocean Road planned, and picked up my complimentary tickets for Sea Life Aquarium and the Eureka Skydeck (complimentary since I had booked two tours).

Sea Life has some wonderful animals, including an enormous salt water crocodile and delicate sea horses. And there were two baby king penguins, as tall as the adults but roly poly and covered in grey fluffy down. The aquarium also is right on the river, with a lovely view.

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I walked to Eureka Skydeck (the tallest building in Melbourne), getting a little lost and circling around the whole Melbourne arts block before arriving there. Looks like there are some good exhibits and performances coming up! Even with getting sidetracked, I made it in time for sunset.

After, it was time for dinner. Queen Victoria Market is not normally open in the evening, but I lucked out in that there was a Wednesday night market.

I followed the streams of people to find this rather overwhelming sight. So many people! And food stands of many varied cuisines – Sri Lankan, Vietnamese, Creole, Italian, and one “outback” food stall. Of course I had to try that, and ended up with a strongly spiced grilled kangaroo sandwich. I can’t say that it tasted terribly exotic, but it was tasty.

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