In 2008, we embarked on our RtW trip, visiting seven countries. Leaving behind the awe-inspiring Uluru and the cosmopolitan Adelaide, our next place on the map was Melbourne to say hi to relatives. Another F1 track was calling, but so was lush forest walks and Philips Island to see some cute penguins
We arrive into Melbourne in early hours on a Sunday. Waiting to greet us at Melbourne bus station was a man Catherine and I had never met before. Well, we must have stood out (either because of our mildly-tanned British skin or our crumpled clothes) because he rushed over and greeted us with a warm hug.
Tang had been waiting for us to arrive for a while and hence, whisked us off to his car. Tang was married to Ruth (a relative on my Welsh side) and they had been in Melbourne for 40 years or so. Tang was from Malaysia and he and Ruth had met in a London hospital and they both decided to emigrate.
During the drive, introductions were being played out and then he drove us to their bungalow. After settling in, Ruth took us to see where Pin Oak Court in Vermont South was, which of course is famous for being Ramsey Street in the TV show Neighbours.
This little cul-de-sac has been shown on British TV since the ‘80s. After having a look around, it was back onto the road and off to Kokoda Memorial Walk, where Ruth took us along a nature trail among the huge trees and song birds.
Back at Ruth’s, we met their children and went out for a meal at Queen Victoria Market. This was great as we got to know this welcoming family that I had heard about but have never met. Afterwards my relatives took us out to a few bars and we enjoyed Melbourne’s great night life.
The next day, nursing a hangover, Ruth and Tang took us to Philips Island. The drive was about 1hr 30mins. Once we got there we could see why they loved it so much. The beaches and coastline where brilliant and the evening penguin observation drove Catherine wild. Watching these little birds come back to the shore to feed there young was very special.
Back home Catherine and I needed to plan our next part of our trip in Australia, before ending up in Sydney. We had decided to go to Tasmania for a couple of days after Melbourne. Ruth and Tang had visited the island and gave us good advice on places to go and see, so we used Ruth’s computer to book a couple of flights.
In Melbourne Catherine and I got dropped off at the Convention and Exhibition Centre to see the Australian International Motor Show, (Catherine was thrilled!) This was a great show of cars from all over the world.
After a drink on the waterfront, we wondered up the Yarra river into the centre. Flinders Street Railway Station was gleaming in the sun with its golden facade. We had a little downtime there to catch up with ourselves.
Life had been going by so fast that it was good to stop and take it in. Downtown was vibrant with lots of music and people. A spot of lunch and we were off to our next port of call, Eureka Skydeck. Of all the observation decks Catherine and I have been to, the views form Eureka are amazing and really helped to create an understanding of where we had been and where we were going next.
Finally, we caught a bus to Albert Park. You might have realised by now that I have a rather unhealthy relationship with Formula 1 and this beautiful park is where the season opener is held. As luck would have it, just like in Adelaide, all the barriers and trucks were getting in place, putting the event together.
A train ride back to Ruth and Tang’s, where a nice diner awaited us. Staying at family’s residence is like an oasis in between dorms and sweaty travel seats. It’s also a relief to have a washing machine!
The next morning, we were off to Melbourne International Airport where Ruth and Tang waved us off for Hobart.
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Adelaide bus station to Melbourne bus station 8 hrs
House (a very nice one)
Things we did:
Pin Oak Court
Kokoda Memorial Walk
Queen Victoria Market
National Gallery of Victoria
Convention and Exhibition Centre
Flinders Street Railway
Checking out J & C