Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Melbourne, Victoria.

Chapter 1. Meat flavoured party pies.

I read about an official music walking tour (and pub crawl) around the 'legendary' live music hub, St Kilda. With a map that I had tattooed in a key of stars and other scribblings we hopped on the tram. Starting with pints of bulmers and blue moon at a chain British pub, Elephant and Wheelbarrow. Then we headed to the George Hotel, now a collection of bars and pubs. Back in the 1970's and 80's, it was a major punk-rock venue. We shared a jug of Carlton beer in The White Room. Next (and probably my favourite) was St Killda Cellars. It may be a bottle 'o' (bottle shop) but it is also a bar and live music venue. I ordered a pint and noticed the sign behind the bar that said "PARTY PIES - ONLY $1" Cat grabbed a bottle of cider from the fridge and arriving at the bar she asked the half cut barman what flavour was the party pie? He replied "meat flavoured"

"With free Ketchup!"

We stop off at Prince of Wales Hotel for yet another beer at this long standing rock venue. Evidence of its punk glory days adorn the walls of the public bar. The esplanade Hotel (The Espy) is another long standing rock venue and its where a TV rock 'n' roll trivia show is filmed. Half way through our beer, a band start playing. They have definitely seen better days but they could still put on a show. Just before we arrive at our last venue we stumble into Claypots. The black board informs us that we have just missed the Elvis impersonator. We grab a mulled wine (it really is winter here). Finally we get to Pure Pop Records. The perfect venue to end - or continue - our pub crawl. Pure Pop is a record store and live music venue with a beer garden out back. We caught the end of a really cool solo show. It was a single launch by a local musician. It was topped off when the cutest dog walks in and sits right at the front wagging its tail as the musician continues to croon.

Chapter 2. Phillip Island. (Written by Cat)

I had seen the Phillip Island trip advertised in Cairns and really wanted to go. Up to now we'd been in Australia a couple of weeks & hadn't even seen a kangaroo! The trip I chose was 9am - 8pm and consisted of lots of different stops. The first was Maru wildlife park where you walked amongst the animals and bought food to hand feed them. I also paid to have my picture taken with Diesel the cutest koala bear ever. We walked around and I hand fed wallabies, a donkey, llamas & lots of kangaroos. Russell didn't feed any - scaredy cat. This was my favourite part of the day so I was gutted when I accidentally lost loads of pictures from that day so pictures are minimal.

Kangaroo Selfie
The rest of the day was spent checking out various beauty spots on Phillip Island. We saw some brilliant surfers, great coast line, extinct volcanoes and a chocolate factory. At one point the guide decided to randomly stop at a nice spot for photos, we took a few photos and were ready to go when someone spotted 2 whales! The guide was super excited, he said he had never seen whales there before. It was a mother & cub & they were jumping in & out of the ocean, Amazing - I've always wanted to see whales in the wild.

The whole day was a build up to the penguin parade where you watch thousands of little penguins come out of the sea & back to their cosy little huts. It was cool seeing them waddling over the beach but you couldn't get a very good view so we left after about 15 minutes. On the walk back though they were walking at the side of us, the cutest little things ever.

Chapter 3. Lost in the labyrinth of laneways.

In this city, laneways, street art and food go hand in hand. Quickly drinking Espresso's and sharing a panzerotti while being amazed at (in my opinion) the worlds greatest street art. At times they were hard to find, but half the fun is discovering them. Art galleries are always fun but limiting and usually have an entrance fee. Walk around the streets of Melbourne and art is everywhere. Displayed on the sides of buildings, light posts, rubbish bins, roads....

Hosier lane is the most impressive of these laneways. We were immersed in the vibrant patterns that literally cover every surface. As we were lost in the labyrinth of laneways, we were lucky enough to catch an artist in the 'act'

Vintage shops and boutiques are also found within these laneways. Though they were a lot more expensive than, say, Blue Rinse back home. It rained pretty much all day. We obviously grabbed beers while sheltering from the down pours. Shebeen on Manchester lane was the best. It really ups the ante on unique as the first non for profit bar in Australia. All profits going to the developing world. We enjoyed a Mexican beer and made a difference.

Melbourne is where our good fortune with the weather ended. It rained pretty much every day. It is winter & Melbourne is known for being the city with four climates in one day. The rain did not stop us from doing too much, but it would definitely have being better in Summer. Picnics in the Botanic Gardens are not the same with soggy sandwiches.

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