I live about 30 minutes drive from Melbourne so I have never felt the need to stay in the CBD or surrounds before. If I go to a restaurant or event in the city I normally just drive home because it’s not far. However when friends of mine decided to come to Melbourne for the weekend I didn’t hesitate to say I would stay there as well.
I suggested we stay at the Travelodge Southbank which is just south of Melbourne’s CBD and right in the heart of the restaurant belt of Southgate and Crown Casino which is my favourite part of Melbourne.
The rooms themselves are small, but very fresh and comfortable. Prices are very reasonable considering their location a few hundred metres from Crown Casino, Southgate, Federation Square and Flinders St Station. From my room on the 9th floor I could see a glimpse of Flinders St Station through the gap between the Langham Hotel and Mobil building.
Last Friday my Mum and I went into Melbourne to watch the A-League semi-final between Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City. We went in early so we could have dinner. Federation Square (aka Fed Square) is one of the great meeting places in Melbourne despite being very controversial in design.
Feddish overlooks the Riverwalk and the Yarra River. It would be lovely to sit outside in Summer. We sat outside because it wasn’t very cold. It is quite protected from breezes on that level and they have heaters on nearby.
We arrived in time for Happy Hour with house wine only $6 per glass and quickly chose two meals from the Sharing section of the menu. One of my favourite dishes is Salt and Pepper Calamari with Lemon Aioli so we chose that and also Traditional Arancinni. Both dishes were very light and delicious. I can’t wait to go back there for a full meal.
Each year on the night before Mother’s Day, the MCG hosts the Pink Lady Match. The aim is to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research. The Melbourne Football Club hosts this event that over the years has raised millions of dollars. This year my team, the Sydney Swans, played Melbourne. It’s the first time we have played in this game so my first opportunity to experience the night. I’ve only watched it on tv before.
As I walked towards the MCG from the train station I noticed the exterior of the ground was lit up pink. It looked really good lit up in the dark. Not knowing what to expect, I got to my seat and sat down to watch the players warm up before the game. Once the players left the ground I realised the light towers had been switched off. Soon after the lighting within the ground was also switched off, plunging the ground and stands into darkness.
On the way in we were given free torches that shone pink light. Once the ground lights were switched off we were all asked to point our torches on to the ground. It created the effect you see below. During this part everyone stood for one minutes silence as a mark of respect for all those that have died from, or receiving treatment for, breast cancer.
Earlier this year I went on my first cruise. I have been toying with the idea of going on a cruise 13 night around New Zealand. My Mum suggested going on a smaller cruise to see if I liked it. So we decided to do a cruise on Dawn Princess from Melbourne to Hobart to Melbourne.
We left on January 24th at 4pm. It was a beautiful summers day although looking at the photos now it was also a little cloudy.
The Seabourn Odyssey and Spirit of Tasmania were also docked at Station Pier.
Mum has been on cruises before and wanted a balcony stateroom which turned out to be one of my favourite things about the cruise. Just being able to open the sliding door when we wanted some fresh air or to see what we were sailing past without having to go up to one of the open decks was priceless. We were able to sit on our balcony waiting for the ship to move away from the dock. It is such a smooth process that I didn’t realise straight away that it was moving. It took a few hours to sail through Port Phillip Bay. We were able to unpack and have a look around some of the ship before settling upstairs in the Horizon Court Buffet while waiting to approach Port Phillip Heads. We were able to sit at a table at the front of the door and near the door so we could go outside to the front of the ship when we were approaching the Heads. It turns out we approached the Heads during the equivalent of peak hour. There were several ships entering the Heads so we had to patiently (well maybe not THAT patiently) wait our turn. It was fascinating watching the ships entering and how we had to manoeuvre to stay out of their way.
When it was our turn to sail through the Heads the sun was beginning to set. I have always wanted to sail through the Heads. I have done it once before coming back on the ferry from Tasmania but that was before dawn so I didn’t get to see it. I have been as close to the Heads on land on both sides as is possible so the last thing was to actually sail through them. It was magical and well worth waiting for.
Watching Melbourne disappear as we began our cruise
The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge for March 13th was Wall. This photo is of Melbourne Town Hall’s Christmas projection. Each loop rang for eight minutes. It was very spectacular.
Melbourne is well-known for it’s street art. Although it is still shunned in many areas, in Hosier Lane it is embraced. It’s the sort of place you need to visit regularly because it changes every few weeks.
I took this photo yesterday at the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix yesterday in Melbourne. The Roulettes fly over every year and do a series of acrobatic moves. The beautiful blue sky provided the perfect background.
Ambrosia Restaurant in Berwick in south-east Melbourne is a favourite and go-to restaurant when we’re not sure where we want to eat. It’s mostly only known to locals (which I’m not) but a friend introduced me to it years ago and we’ve been going ever since. I won a magnum of sparkling wine there one year. Their food is excellent and so is the service.
This time I decided to order an entree-sized main meal so I could have dessert. I made my decision as soon as I saw the Affogato on the dessert menu.
Lemon pepper & sea salt calamari with lemon aioli. The lemon aioli was especially delicious.
My friend order the Eye fillet steak on mash potato with potato croquettes and mushroom sauce
In November I went to Melba’s Restaurant for the first time in a long time. They offer an upmarket buffet overlooking Melbourne’s skyline. There are so many different stations it’s hard to eat from all of them (but many give it a try). Among them are: Sushi and Seafood, Indian, Asian, Italian, Carvery, Salads, a chocolate fountain and of course the Dessert station.
I enjoyed everything I tried, especially the Naan bread that was made by the chef while you wait. I chose the one with garlic, potato and spiced lamb. It was delicious. I was too full to try the chocolate (I can’t believe I’m saying that now lol).
The restaurant is very elegant and refined. The staff very friendly and courteous and it made the dinner so much more enjoyable.
In Australia we are currently holding our annual T20 Big Bash cricket tournament. One of the teams, Melbourne Renegades, have motorcross bike stunts as their pre-game and half time entertainment. The display of jumps is awesome. One day I’ll have to go to a proper Motorcross event because they are limited in what they can do.
Every year the Melbourne Town Hall shows a fantastic light projection on to its exterior. As often happens with these projections, they get better each year. I took a video that showed all the colour and movement but couldn’t upload it unfortunately.
November is Good Food Month in Melbourne and this is the 2nd time the Night Noodle Market has been run. It’s one of the feature events on the calendar. Held at Birrarung Marr, on the banks of the Yarra River, there are around 50 stalls run by well-known restaurants. You can wait an hour or more to get a table at some of these restaurants so just being able to walk up to a stall and try a few sample dishes is great. We got there quite late so some of the restaurants had sold out.
We only had a chance to buy one meal so we chose the dumpling from Let’s Do Yum Cha. I introduced my Mum to the pork bun. They are an acquired taste but I have grown to like them.
Fedeles is a great Italian restaurant near where work in Melbourne. It has been around forever. Everyone remembers it from a long time ago but no one remembers when it opened. We were there for a work dinner. We were offered a limited three-course meal.
The Antipasto entrée contain an oyster, prosciutto, goats cheese, salmon and frittata amongst other delicious bite-sized pieces.
The salmon was advertised a grilled fish of the day. The menu didn’t even mention that the fish was salmon and I didn’t ask what it was. I was so happy when it arrived and it was salmon.
The Christmas Pudding was absolutely delicious and so was the custard. I’m going to keep the presentation in mind for Christmas lunch this year. Adding the strawberries and blueberries added a nice, different touch.