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.
Months before our cruise we had to choose our day trips. The one I knew immediately that I wanted to do was to go to Highfield House in Stanley. Although we visited a few other places that day, Highfield House was the one I was looking forward to the most.
The house was built in the Regency Style in the 1830’s for the chief agent of the Van Diemen’s Land Company. We were given a guided tour of the property by the lady that manages it now. The front facade of the house has recently been painted along with some of the interior. This was paid for by a film production company who wanted to use it for a movie set. The parts of the house that weren’t required were left unpainted and undecorated as you can see from some of the photos below.
The house sits on top of a hill opposite The Nut so you get a perfect view. When we arrived the weather was nice but we could see a storm approaching. Soon after, when we were in the chapel, the storm hit and hit very hard. Every time we wanted to go back outside it would get heavier. We only had a limited time there so, in the end, I decided to brave the elements with the help of an umbrella. It wasn’t much help though because the wind had picked up. Unfortunately my camera lens got a bit wet so there are some shadows and water marks on some of the photos.
The photos below are of the interior of the house. These parts were not renovated as you can see by the walls. The house hosts these tours so they can raise money to complete the renovations.
After a great sleep on our first night, we awoke to find the ship docking in Burnie. Burnie is situated on the north-west coast of Tasmania. It’s a very blue-collar town with a population of about 20,000. They have a lot of farming, forestry and heavy manufacturing in and around the town. I believe there is also a high rate of unemployment so a lot of the town is looking at ways to develop tourism as a source of income and jobs. It is the only destination we were asked to do a survey about our experience. Having the facilities to allow cruise ships to dock in port towns can provide a huge benefit to their economies so they are keen to develop this side of their tourism industry.
The ship moves quietly towards the dock and before we knew it we were there, docked and ready to disembark for whatever activities had been organised for that day. We were going to do a bus tour to Stanley so had to wait until our time to leave. We went to the Horizon Court Buffet for breakfast. It was like organised chaos in there. Due to a health scare on board about a month before our cruise, hygiene was more of a priority as usual. There are hygiene stations all around the ship and at the entrance to all eating areas. Everyone is expected to use liquid sanitisers before entering restaurants. They were very strict for the first few days, even spraying our hands themselves. After the first few days we were able to use the dispensers ourselves.
We arrived on a cold, drizzly morning. You wouldn’t know it was just past the middle of summer.