A Travellerspoint blog

Melbourne

Three days of fun.

Our host Chung was waiting for us and made us some tea. I am sure he would have talked for hours. We learn he is from Hanoi and was a lawyer there. Now he is retired and they make a bit of spending money with letting out the rooms.

The place itself is very old. The Clement House, 1888 is engraved on the gable. We are on the top floor with very high ceilings. It is not fancy, but the price was right especially during the Melbourne Cup. We shall leave as the festivities start.

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Day one we wandered down through funky shops in an old part of the city to the beach where we wandered here and there towards the city. It is nice in the sun, but chilly in the shade. The winds blow fiercely here. We check out the pier where we will watch the penguins and a local quietly points into the rocks where one is peeking out.

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We pass Luna Park and it's wooden roller coaster, a lather tame affair. We wander past the Spirit of Tasmania which I had looked at as a travel option but then we would have had to cancel another part of the trip. We checked out the navigational lighthouses still used to gain entrance to the harbour. We get on a random tram towards the city and they guess as to where we get off only to find we have chosen the right stop, cross the tracks and catch our tram back to St. Kildas. Tired we opt for a walk with a stop for Souvlaki. We pop into the Anglican Church. It is the All Saints Day Service. It is a lovely old building, less than friendly parishioners, and a dead boring sermon....we popped out again. Here's to a 12 hour sleep.

Day two we rent bikes and ride away from the city. They have awesome bike trails down the never ending coast. We pass doggy beaches, sandy beaches, rough beaches and marinas. We walked sometimes and rode others, napped, ate our lunch and did some geocaching.

Friday was lovely and quiet, even Saturday morning was quiet, but Saturday afternoon as we headed back along the beach on our bikes the area exploded with people. There were people on the beaches, in the pubs, overflowed the caf├ęs and lined the streets. The party started and was still going on at ten when we headed home. This is Derby Day part of The Melbourne Cup.

A little penguin colony established itself on the St.Kilda Breakwater in the 1970's. We sat at the wharf an hour before sunset and struck up a conversation with three girls from a hostel. One from Ireland, the most chatty, one from Hong Kong and one from Germany who got cold and left. We staked our spot along the edge as more people arrived including the Penguin Guides, there to protect them from us. The guide was very informative before and during the penguin parade. If I were to go again, I would come later as many leave quickly, and bring a flashlight covered in red cellophane. We were lucky to be right where the first penguins came ashore.

The guides have called them the Hollywood Penguins because they like to parade around for the viewers. They are fatter than the commercial penguin site at Phillips Island because these ones have no predators. Their main issues are fishing line and garbage. They swim to the shore pop out and wander a bit before heading under the boardwalk into the rocks. After a time they come out onto the rocks to preen. We are so glad we went.

The last day is a city day. After we dump our bags at Southern Cross we go to Flinders info Center. What a great set up. We get a map for the lane walk, which takes us across town and back through less traveled, but very unique lanes. Some are historic, some wall to wall with dining, some are chic shopping spots. We finally hop on the free circle tram and head to the Melbourne Museum to see the new James Bond Exhibit. It is pretty cool with story boards, Bond gadgets, models on vehicles, actual vehicles, dresses worn by the femme fatales, different costumes worn by the different Bonds, scripts, stuff about Ian Flemming and more. There is just time to wander a bit in the regular museum. We take the tram the rest of the way around the city before heading to Southern Cross Station.

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Posted by Mari Anne 19:17 Archived in Australia Tagged melbourne beach st. bike penguins kilda

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