The perfect Melbourne trip
Blog :My Favourite Things...
Date: 8/23/2012 2:39:38 PM
Melbourne is on my mind these days. A lot.
You see, ever since Indiblogger announced its latest travel writing contest, I’ve been in thrown into a bit of a tizzy. The contest guidelines say: “Tell us about the experiences you would love to bring back from Melbourne . . . . ” Normally, writing about my travels has never been a problem. But this time I’m stumped — how do I write about a place that I have never visited and experienced?
whined about told this to Neena, a friend, colleague and someone who’s been to Melbourne, she said, “So what if you have not been to Melbourne. Just use your imagination and let the anticipation of visiting a new travel destination shape your words; the rest will follow.” And that is just what I did. With some help from Google, Melbourne-specific websites, a couple of books, and chats with friends who have visited Melbourne.
This post is all about that perfect trip to Melbourne born out of my imagination and based on the activities I love. Read on about what my trip to Melbourne will be like, the sights I will see, and the activities I will undertake to experience the history, heritage, art, architecture and contemporary culture that Melbourne has to offer, as well as Australia’s unique and famed natural history. So without further ado, presenting to you a no-holds barred way of how I want to experience Melbourne unhampered and unhindered by budgetary or tour itinerary constraints
The Melbourne skyline as viewed from the Rialto Observatory on Collins St.
Source: Diliff, wikimedia.org
The perfect way to kick off my Melbourne experience will be with a balloon flight over the city at sunrise. I can’t think of a better way to begin my first visit to this city than with an activity I am doing for the first time.
Walking, in my opinion, is the best way to explore a place. Melbourne offers a range of exciting guided and self-guided walking tours. I love walking and am keen on exploring Melbourne’s famous alleys and lanes; its unique street art; and Aboriginal history and art through these walks. I can already imagine the city coming to life for me .
I am a great fan of public transport and friends who have visited Melbourne have said that the city’s tram services are really good. And since I have never taken a tram ride, this is another first experience I will be very happy to have in Melbourne.
A city’s architecture not only indicates its character, but is also a historical record of its growth and development over the years. Though recent photographs of Melbourne promote its modern and contemporary face, its older buildings showcasing evolving architectural styles are also there. I look forward to exploring the different architectural styles in the city, and getting to know the city in this unique way.
One building that I am rather keen on seeing is the Flinders Street Station building. It is rumoured that the design of this building and that of the Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus (formerly Victoria Terminus) Building in my city of Mumbai were accidentally switched. I don’t know if this story is true, but it surely makes for a fascinating story.
A self-confessed art gallery, museum, bookshop and library junkie, visiting at least some of Melbourne’s art galleries and museums would be the way to experience this city literary, creative and artistic side. I am particularly keen on visiting the National Gallery of Victoria, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, the Melbourne Museum, the Johnston Collection and the State Library of Victoria—the websites of all these organisations promise hours of delight in browsing through their collections.
Melbourne, declared as a city of literature by UNESCO, is reported to have at least 70 bookshops in its central business district area. Phew ! While It will not be possible to see all of them, I would definitely like to visit a few.
Recently, I finished reading a book by Victoria Finlay on Colour, which has the entire chapter on “Ochre” devoted to the aboriginal art of Australia. I must admit that till I read this book, I did not know about much about aboriginal art; and I still don’t. That is the reason I want to visit the Grampians region to see the aboriginal rock art sites. I also want to visit the Melbourne art galleries that showcase aboriginal art.
Australia’s rich and unique natural history is unmatched in the world, and one I was introduced to through Gerald Durrell’s book, Two in the Bush. So I was quite thrilled to come across the Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park, which has reportedly been inspired by the work of Durrell. Now how can I miss the opportunity to “cuddle up to koalas, feed kangaroos and wallabies, meet other endangered species?” And how can also I miss seeing the Penguin Parade at Philip Island Nature Park ? This will be another of those special experiences in Melbourne as I have not seen any of these animals before.
And, finally, I want to go on an exploration of the Great Ocean Road and see the 12 Apostles, the Gibsons Steps, London Bridge, etc., and feast my eyes on the various shades of blue and green of the ocean. And to make this even more memorable, treat myself to a helicopter tour of the area for the ultimate experience.
No trip is complete without shopping, and I prefer to pick up my souvenirs and gifts from local farmers and arts & crafts markets. It also gives me a chance to interact with the artists and craftspersons, who give great insight into local culture and customs. The Queen Victoria Market, Rose Street Artists Market, Williamstown Craft Market and Maribyrnong Makers Market seem to be the interesting markets to visit.
Every travel experience, every journey to a new place is special. The Melbourne trip has many first experiences in store for me—a balloon flight, a tram ride, viewing rock art, seeing kangaroos, koalas, wallabies, penguins and many other animals, a helicopter ride… But the Melbourne experience will be extra special for an additional reason as well: I have never crossed the equator and visited any country in the southern hemisphere.
Imagination is a lovely thing and so are hopes and dreams. For you see, in dreams lie reality and that perfect trip to Melbourne holds the promise of being THE real trip of a lifetime.
I showed this post to Neena and asked her what she thought about my imagination of a perfect Melbourne trip. She said with a broad smile:
Sudha, …it’s your time to visit Melbourne NOW!
Filed under: Contests Tagged: Australian Aboriginal Art, Bucket List, Flinders Street Station, Grampians, Great Ocean Road, History and Heritage, Indiblogger Contest, it's YOUR time to visit Melbourne now, Melbourne, Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park, National Gallery of Victoria, Philip Island Nature Park, Queen Victoria Market, Tourism Victoria, Travel, Victoria Australia, Visit Melbourne