Melbourne: Arty, stylish, cosmopolitan, cultural, athletic and sports obsessed – She may lack the natural beauty of her big sister (Sydney), but Australia’s ‘most livable’ city is far from the ugly little sister. She’s grown. Matured. She boasts beautifully preserved colonial buildings, sky scrapers, colorful lights, endless restaurants and retail excitement. Melbourne is something to look forward to when your norm is smaller, quieter towns. Tommy was especially excited to hit the ‘big city’ continually asking us, “When are we going to Melbourne?” Being huge AFL fans, a tour of the MCG was a must. Guided by an experienced and enthusiastic guide, we entered ‘restricted access areas’ including the players changerooms, MCC Members bar and library, commentary boxes and we generously granted the media an exclusive press conference.
Standing on the hallowed turf was a highlight and we could hear echoes of the late and great man, Ritchie Benaud in our ears: “Welcome back to the MCG”. We finished at the National Sports Museum which is dripping with memorabilia of magic sporting moments and filled with hands on exhibits for the kids. Tip: School teachers’ tickets are free (show ID) and children get 10% off with their MYKI transport card. If you love your sport, you can’t miss this!
No visit to Melbourne is complete without a drop-in to St Kilda Beach. Being school holidays, Luna Park was incredibly busy so it was nice chilling out down at St Kilda beach watching around 100 kite surfers before filling our stomachs with famous Chicken Parma!
Another must see is the Melbourne Market. Wow! Jess was in heaven! Aisles of fresh fruit and vegetables. Meats of every kind and amazing fresh seafood was enough to make our heads spin. The food hall offers delicious cooked foods from all over the world and Market Lane Coffee always serve up a cup of silky-smooth bev. If all that wasn’t enough, the aisles of items for sale made for a very entertaining day from akubra hats (yes, Trent couldn’t help himself) to crystals, and runners to clothing of all types. You will find it at the markets! We even managed to pick up some genuine Aboriginal boomerangs (made in China).
Melbourne has some of the best restaurants around. Being on a family budget, we highly recommend the Melbourne institution that is Stalactites: a renowned Greek restaurant in the CBD. The authentic lamb souvlakis were soooo tasty and big enough to feed two! If Greek isn’t your thing, you will be spoiled for choice with cuisine from all over the world throughout the city and suburbs. If shopping is what you are desiring, you can’t go past the DFO outlets at South Wharf: Great range of big label shops in a lovely, modern setting, surrounded by amazing restaurants and outdoor areas, and only a short tram ride from the Bourke Street Mall. Luckily, there was a NAB branch close by which was perfect, as we needed to refinance the homeloan after Jess gave the credit card a ‘good old fashion bashin’.
Discovery Parks Melbourne
After an action packed, tiring day, there’s nothing better than a quality caravan park with easy car access and transport links. Discovery Parks Melbourne is just this. The bus stop is located outside the park entrance and a short 30-minute bus ride to the middle of the CBD. There are also plenty of nearby train stations. It’s a tropical oasis hidden in the urban sprawl. The park is filled with the quality facilities we’ve come to expect at such a blue-ribbon chain, and we particularly enjoyed the swimming pool to cool down after a hot action-packed day. For just $70 (with G’day discount) for an ensuite site, we will definitely be back!