Archive | November 2012

Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne

The Royal Exhibition Building is in the Carlton Gardens and was completed in 1880 for the Great Exhibition, similar to the Great Exhibition in London.  Its grand, Gothic architecture was designed to show how rich Melbourne was at the time.  In fact Melbourne was known as Marvelous Melbourne.  The building also hosted the first session of Parliament in 1901 after Federation.  In 2004 the building was placed on the World Heritage List. Nowadays the T-shaped building is used for exhibtions and dinners and has been restored to it’s opulent best.  It is surrounded by the beautiful Carlton Gardens.

Is this the steepest escalator?

It’s certainly the steepest escalator I’ve been on.  When Parliament Station, Melbourne opened in the 1980’s these were the longest escalators but didn’t seem to be the steepest.  They create a huge talking point with anyone especially visitors who travel on them for the first time.  They are quite scary but you get used to them. I’d love to know what the gradient is.  The advertising boxes on the side give an indication of the gradient.

Kitchen Workshop, Crown Melbourne

A friend recommended the Kitchen Workshop as it has an all-you-can-eat buffet with different stations which feature foods such as salads, seafood, teppanyaki and of course, the dessert station.

The buffet which costs $35.50 includes your choice of 300g of prawns or half a dozen oysters.  My friend and I both chose prawns.  300g of prawns is a huge number  We could easily have left after eating them.  We had to peel and strip them which was really messy but they tasted beautiful.  We then chose from the teppanyaki station although the cook wasn’t keeping an eye on what he was cooking and who he was serving to so we both got someone else’s meals.  Luckily there wasn’t too much in there I didn’t like.

The staff were very efficient.  They kept clearing our plates and even took our wines glasses before we finished.  We would go to one of the food stations, come back and find our table cleared so we had to get more cutlery.  Towards the end they completely cleared the table, took away everything.  The manager heard us complaining so made us sit down again and gave us complimentary wine.  We weren’t going to say no to that.

Westgate Park, Melbourne

Westgate Park was developed on unused land in 1985.  The Westgate Bridge (one of Melbourne’s major road arterials) was only completed in 1978.  The land that the park is on used to be an airfield.  I first learned of it when I was googling walks around Melbourne.  Before that I’d occasionally drive across the bridge, oblivous to what was underneath it.

The park is often used for location shoots for crime shows.  Location scouts seem to think it’s the perfect place to dispose a dead body.  I recognised several parts of the park from those shows.

When we arrived it was grey and overcast but slowly the sun broke through the clouds.  It was really nice walking around looking at the locally indigenous plants.  They also collect the seeds and propogate them for the park.  There are numerous bike and walking tracks as well as sculptures placed around the park.  The only thing needed is more seating so you can sit and take in the view.

One of the three sculptures we came across.

I love this view of Melbourne’s skyline.  I used the 200mm lens on my camera for this photo.

Why should you ‘like’ the Facebook page of your favourite restaurants?

You may win a free meal.  That’s why.

The Lobster Cave in Beaumaris, Melbourne is my favourite seafood restaurant in Melbourne.  They run several competitions each year and I have been lucky to win twice.  The first time I was served lobster tails with several sauces (worth approx AU$100) and tonight dined there and was served Salt and Pepper Squid (value unknown as it’s normally served as part of a banquet).

My friend, Mel, ordered Whiskey Cured Smoked Salmon & Pearls and we had both as share plates.


I looked at the wine list and didn’t have to look past the first choice.  It was Moet Chandon Imperial Brut, one of my favourite wines.


A Word a Week Photo Challenge: Flower (2)

I could post a thousand photos of flowers.  I love taking photos of them.  This is another one taken at the gardens the other day.  I think it’s a hippeastrum or amaryllis.  If you know for sure please let me know in the comments below.


A Word a Week Photo Challenge: Flower

A few days ago I took my new camera to some gardens and took 113 photos just in my lunch break.  I’ve fallen in love with the camera.  It’s a Nikon D3100.  I tried to pick a favourite photo out of so many and came up with this one.

The plant is a Bird of Paradise and a lot of people don’t understand why they are called this until they see the flower.  It’s a gorgeous flower.  I think it is native to South Africa.

Myer Christmas Windows – Russell’s Christmas Magic

Myer Christmas Windows

This year is the 57th year of the tradition of the Myer Christmas windows at their Bourke St, Melbourne flagship store.

Each year the process that takes more than one year to prepare (yes they are already planning the windows for next year).  This years theme is Russell’s Magic Christmas, a book I hadn’t heard of before visiting last Saturday night.

The story, written by English author Rob Scotton, is about Santa’s sleigh breaking down in the woods.  Santa thinks he won’t be able to deliver all the presents in time.  That is until Russell the Sheep comes along and helps fix everything and gets the presents delivered to the children in time.  The illustrations in the book are brilliant and they have been brilliantly recreated in the windows.

Mum and I caught the tram to Bourke St Mall after the soccer last Saturday night to see the display.  They had only been revealed eight days earlier, and still being November, the crowds were quite small.  I’ve been there in previous years and had to queue up for around an hour just to see them.  I’ve known people from interstate come to Melbourne just to see the windows and they certainly won’t be disappointed this year.

Myer Christmas Windows

Myer Christmas Windows

Myer Christmas Windows

Myer Christmas Windows

Myer Christmas WindowsMyer Christmas Windows

Myer Christmas Windows

Melbourne Victory v Central Coast Mariners

It was an exciting 2-2 draw in front of just under 20,000 mostly Melbourne Victory supporters.  The media and match day commentators have widely said that the first half was the best of the season so far.  It was a great contest and had everything you want from a game; goals, exciting contents, flair, and (unwanted) also one red card for each team which will have an impact for both sides in their next game.  I’ll admit to being totally biased but Victory had more opportunities to win the game.  The ball spent much of the second half at the Victory end and if we’d had players in front of goal at crucial moments we could have scored at least two more goals.

sunset over Etihad Stadium

celebrating a goal

Melbourne’s skyline at night

I love walking around Melbourne.  It’s a beautiful city at night with the buildings lit up and reflecting on the Yarra River.

This photo is taken outside Crown Casino and on the other side of the Yarra is the Aquarium.  The tall building is the Rialto, one of the tallest buildings in Melbourne.

Giant koala for sale

In a previous post ( I wrote about the Giant Koala in country Victoria. Today I read in the newspaper that the tourist attaction is up for sale. It has also appeared in the Aussie movie “Charlie and Boots” starring Paul Hogan.  So if you’re interested you can own your own giant koala.

Fire display at Crown Casino

Every night outside Crown Casino, on the banks of the Yarra River, there is a spectacular fire display.  There are eight granite towers that shoot gas flames out every hour from 9pm to midnight.  There is also a brilliant glow and a lot of warmth coming off the flames.  It’s a great place to be in winter.

Luna Park turns 100 in December

Luna Park, one of Melbourne’s icons, will turn 100 years old next month.  It is the longest continually running such park in the world and has never closed.  Sydney’s Luna Park has closed at various stages.

Luna Park is one of the best places to take visitors to Melbourne.  One of the oldest and most popular rides is the Scenic Railway.  Not only does it give you a hair-raising ride but it also gives you some of the best views of St Kilda, Melbourne and Port Phillip Bay.   You can hear the screams from people on the rides for quite a distance.

When I was growing up, my great-aunt lived in Acland St, another of St Kilda’s famous streets.  As a treat we would sometimes be allowed to go over there.  My favourite ride is the Dodgem Cars.  I love crashing and bashing into other cars on the small circuit.

A program of events was launched today that includes a concert, staff dressing in replica uniforms from the past and a community event with invitations being given to local people and charities/organisations.

Solar eclipse


North east Australia was the place to be this morning.  Cairns, Queensland and the surrounding area was the best place to see the solar eclipse.  Apparently people began booking accommodation 3 years ago for last night to make sure they could be there to witness this big event.  Others who left it too late to book accommodation slept in their cars then turned and drove back the hundreds of kilometres they had travelled to Cairns.  It would certainly have been worth the night of roughing it.

There was a lot of cloud in the sky in the leadup but it magically cleared for the 2 mins the eclipse occurred.

In Melbourne, and on other parts of the east coast of Australia, we had a partial eclipse.  Despite the weather forecast being for a lot of cloud cover there were no clouds in the sky when I left the house for work.


Baking our Christmas cake

Years ago my Mum and I used to make our Christmas cake every year.  I’ve never been a fan of some that are sold in the supermarkets.  They are ok but when you’ve made your own you realise it’s often better.  Then we switched to regular puddings before making gluten free ones so my sister in law could enjoy them too.  Our whole family loves the GF ones because they are so much lighterr.  Which means you can eat more doesn’t it? haha   This year I felt like making the cake again so Mum dug out the old recipe.

The recipe is a simple one and one that doesn’t take too long to make.  The time is mostly in the cooking (3-3.5 hrs).

First of all I soaked 1 kg of mixed fruit in sherry for 36 hours (minimum 24 hrs).

Beat the butter and sugar together until light and creamy.  Taste testing this is the best part of making the cake.  Yum lol

Sift the flour and spices together.

Mix in the lightly beaten eggs.

Mix in the flour then the fruit with a wooden spoon.

Line the sides and base of the cake tin so the cake can be easily removed when cooked.

We don’t put almond icing on our cakes (because I don’t like it and it’s less fussy) so I lay some blanched almonds on top before cooking for 3-3.5 hours.  I test it after 3 hrs and then if it’s still moist in the middle put it on for another half an hour.  If it’s still not quite ready after 3.5 hrs I switch the oven off and let it cook wth the remaining heat.

Once it cools down you have to paint it with sherry then wrap it in foil and a cloth for a week before painting it with more sherry.  It’s best stored for a month before eating to let the flavours develop.  It smells beautiful and I’m glad that it’s at my Mum and Dad’s house because I would be tempted to eat it before the month elapses.  I know my Dad would love to eat it now.

Titanic Restaurant, Melbourne

Did you know there’s a restaurant in Melbourne dedicted to the Titanic?  If you live in Melbourne you probably do.  It has become an icon in the bayside town of Williamstown.  Being a theatre restaurant you have the option of booking your meal as either a First Class or Steerage passenger.  There is even a separate entrance for Steerage diners.

First Class entrance

Steerage entrance

I haven’t eaten there but I know people who have and they say it’s a lot of fun.  Guests are encouraged to dress up in period costume and join in the fun.  It’s on my list of restaurants to go to.

Weekly photo challenge: Renewal

Since the Black Saturday bushfires in February 2009, the town of Marysville has undergone an almost complete process of renewal.  So many houses were destroyed and the town is still rebuilding now.  Above is a photo of a sculpture at Bruno’s Sculpture Gallery 6 mths after the fire. Below is what the area looked just before the first anniversary of the fires.  I hadn’t visited the town, which is only 140 kms from where I live, before the fires but every year since I’ve visited to support the town that was virtually deserted.  The Bakery Cafe is one of my favourites.  I love their egg and bacon pie and lemon slices.