Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Melbourne Is the Place to Be

Michelle from Emzeegee and the Hungry ThreeToday's guest post travel tour comes from Emzeegee and the Hungry Three who blogs from Melbourne, Australia. I really don't need much convincing to know that I really, really want to visit the place.

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Greetings from Down Under! One of the great advantages to living in Melbourne, Australia is being able to take visitors and friends to some of the hidden (and not-so-hidden) gems around this beautiful, cosmopolitan city of ours. From affordable, world-class international food to beautiful landscapes, Melbourne and the State of Victoria are great places to visit for those of us traveling with ankle biters.

Given that I am a parent to triplets, adventures have to be exciting and affordable all rolled into one–and I’m lucky to live in a place with plenty of opportunities for exactly that! In no particular order, here are some fun, inexpensive things we like to do in the heart of the city.

1. Melbourne Museum: With everything from giant whales to the Aboriginal Cultural display, you can spend an entire day at the Melbourne Museum without trying very hard. I love it because there is a lot to see and do even if you’re over the age of 10. The attached children’s section is equally interesting for all ages, and it seems like every time we go there we learn something new. It’s a great rainy day activity, and as a bonus all kids are free! Adults are only $8 so it’s affordable as well. If you’re after yet more to do, the IMAX is right next door. The Melbourne Museum is a great introduction to the animals, ecosystems and social history which make Australia unique.

2. Public Transport: Trains, buses and Melbourne’s historical trams are a fabulous way to see the sights of the city without having to spend a fortune. Buy an all day ticket and get on and off as you please–we’ve been known to get on a tram and just ride until the end of the line and see where it carries us. It’s not only a great way to see the city but a great opportunity to people watch! Smaller kids especially love the trams as they are rattly, colourful and have big windows to peer out of. You can also take the City Circle tram for free as it winds it way around the centre of the city. The City Circle tram also has voice commentary about the sights you’re passing along the way.

3. Have a Culinary Adventure: Melbourne is filled with fantastic restaurants of all cultures and price ranges. One of the best kid friendly meals is called ‘yum cha’–the traditional Asian banquet made up of small dishes brought to your table by waiters pushing little carts. Usually a brunch/lunch experience, it’s a cultural, delicious experience and you would be amazed at the things kids will try when they are distracted by the excitement of another trolley coming past. Have a wander through Chinatown, you’re sure to find plenty of yum cha to try (our family likes the Shark Fin Inn as they have yum cha daily).

4. Botanical Gardens: Victoria is the Garden State, and it’s easy to see why. Wandering through the lush gardens, you might be surprised to find that we’re in the middle of a drought! There are actually 16 major parks and gardens in the Melbourne city centre alone, but “the Bot” wins my vote for most kid friendly. Among its 36 hectares, it’s got the Ian Potter Children’s Garden, several fabulous cafes, plenty of paved areas for kids to run around, and my personal favourite: loads of rolling green hills to roll down while shouting with glee!

5. Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG): If I didn’t mention the MGC any Melbournians reading this would tell me I had an incomplete list! Built in 1853, it can now hold a crowd of 100,00 people and has been home to all sorts of major events from the Olympics to some totally fabulous concerts (best ever: Billy Joel and Elton John!).

With the recently opened National Sports Museum you can really experience not only the thrill of a roaring crowd, but learn all about why sport and sporting events are literally the lifeblood of Melbourne. Admission to the museum also gets you an MCG tour, which is well worth it as this giant stadium has a fascinating history.

6. Melbourne’s Chocoholic Tours: I’ve saved the best for last--we did one of these a while ago and I can’t say enough about what a great experience it was. Chocoholic Tours operate six different choco-centric tours of inner city Melbourne–with plenty of free tasting along the way. What better way to tour the hidden gems of Melbourne’s laneways than clutching a bar of premium chocolate? Best of all, if you’ve got a group, they’ll organize a tour especially for you so even the kids will enjoy the experience. A must-do for everyone.

Those are only a few of the literally hundreds of things there are to do in marvelous Melbourne. I’ve lived here for 13 years and still find there are things I have not seen, and with a constant festival schedule happening (short films, comedy, food and wine . . . ) this truly is a place that is worth discovering over and over again. . Bearing in mind that Australia is the same size (in land mass) as the continental US, that’s a whole lot of exploring you can do!

For more information about what to see and do in and around Melbourne, I highly recommend the That’s Melbourne! website–not only full of useful information but also quite fun to navigate (not unlike Melbourne itself!).

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If you'd like to write about the activities in your area you can see the details at Your Chance to Play Tour Guide.

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Technorati tags: Melbourne, Australia, travel

3 comments:

Jenny86753oh9 said...

I have always wanted to visit Melbourne, but now that I know about the Chocoholic tours...the plan is being made!

Carol @SheLives said...

OOOooo...Now I really want to visit, too! Sounds like a trip I should add to my Bucket List!

Thank's for sharing Melbourne with us!

Janet said...

I want to go too. I think I'd need to plan to be there for a couple of years to even begin to see all the places I want to.