Wednesday, July 17, 2013

3 Nights In Melbourne

 I have a soft spot for Melbourne, may be it is because the best part of my 6 years were spent in this city as a student, or is it because Melbourne has been ranked No.1 as the world’s “Most Liveable City” for the second year in a row by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s liveability survey?

That's yours truly on the left, at the Melbourne Essendon Airport; 1967.

46 years after that picture was taken, me and Le General heads for the city I love :)

We landed at Melbourne Airport, Thursday; at 8.30 am.

We got a mild shock when we join the Q at the immigration check out, a couple of planes from China must have arrived at the same time; we were swamped by hundreds (look more like thousands) of Chinese tourists!

Took us 90 minutes to pass through the check point!

We made our way to the Sky Bus stand, we bought a return ticket; A$28.00 each. Don't even consider taking a cab, unless you just won Lotto ;)

The BIG, fast; Sky Bus took us to the Southern Cross Station where we changed to a smaller hotel transfer bus. It is very efficient, and in 40 minutes we were outside our hotel.

 Novotel Melbourne on Collins, a 4 stars hotel is perfectly positioned on stylish Collins Street.  

There is a nice food court and shops just below our hotel!

Collins Street is a major street in the central Melbourne running approximately east to west. It is notable as Melbourne's traditional main street and best known street. It is also often regarded as Australia's premier street, with some of the country's finest Victorian era buildings and most prestigious boutiques and high-end retailers.  - Wikipedia

We were delighted that the famous Block Arcade is next door from our hotel!

The arcade which was erected between 1891 and 1893 was designed by architect David C. Askew whose brief was to produce something similar to the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele in Milan. The result was one of Melbourne's most richly decorated interior spaces, replete with mosaic tiled flooring, glass canopy, wrought iron and carved stone finishings. The exterior facade of the six storey office has near identical facades on Collins and Elizabeth Streets and is one of Australia's best surviving examples of the Victorian Mannerist style. -Wikipedia

You can have a nice cup of coffee or look for a special doll at Dafel Dolls!

Operating since 1945, Dafel Dolls and Bears is in the Block Arcade. Find collectables including dolls, bears, wooden toys, miniature cars, miniatures, doll’s houses and toys there!

Or may be you prefer what 007 is wearing on his wrist?

 Since neither of us won any Lotto, we can just admire and drool ;)

The famous Hopetoun Tea Rooms is right at the entrance to The Block. 
I never seen so many sweet tooth queueing for afternoon tea!

According to their web site...

"The site was purchased for 18 pounds in 1891, and a small tea room was set-up for the Victorian Ladies Work Association. Named after its founder Lady Hopetoun, The Hopetoun Tea Rooms continues the proud tradition of quality, combining old world charm with the heritage of fine food amidst the tranquil beauty of the fully restored Block Arcade."

Sweet Sensations from Hopeturn Tea Rooms!

Like New York, there are lots of heritage buildings in Melbourne...

That was then... memory. Overlooking Flinders Street Station, 1968 with friends and brother.

This is now... Flinders Street Station, 2013.  When I was a student in Melbourne, I must have been in and out of this majestic station thousands of time!

Opposite Flinders Street Station is the majestic St Paul's Cathedral, when I was a photography student at RMIT I shot some pictures inside; this time round a sign informed that you have to pay A$5.00 to use your camera in the cathedral!

The Melbourne Town Hall and building opposite.

Ever changing art scene in Melbourne...  ;)

Hosier Lane is a bluestone cobbled vehicular and pedestrian laneway on the southern edge of the central city grid of Melbourne, Australia. Hosier lane is a much celebrated landmark in Melbourne mainly due to its sophisticated urban art. - Wikipedia

Shopping in Melbourne...

Without winning Lotto we only shop at places like the Queen Victoria Market...

At QVM you can buy a didgeridoo to a glamorous silk stocking!

We are also cheap skate enough to shop at Target ;)

Oh My GOK!  GOK hit Australian Target!

Le General spend some time at Myer, I hang around outside...

Watching the birds go by ;)

I also noticed a lady busker outside Myer singing really well!  Turn out she is kind of well known in Melbourne :)  Robyn Mills also sell her cd for A$10.00, I bought a copy. I requested her to sing this world famous Maori love song Pōkarekare Ana for me. Thanks Robyn! You have a lovely voice :)

But the most important mission of our short stay in Melbourne was...

FOOD, GLORIOUS FOOD! Especially Malaysian dishes that we cannot get, or not as good in Wellington ;)

Jalan Alor Malaysian Cuisine is a little shop at 7/206 Bourke St, we had skate fish with sour assam curry and Ipoh chicken with bean sprouts. Both came with rice and cost A$21.00 for both.

We find the chicken ok, of course you cannot compare this to the famous fairdinkum Ipoh one ;)

The curry skate with tomato and lady fingers was really yummy though!

Good value!

At the same arcade  is Jerky House :)

You don't have to be a jerk to enjoy all the different preserved jerky meat in this shop!  Le General just cannot resists the jerky BBQ pork that we can only buy in Auckland ;)

However, the Malaysian food joint with the best value; we think, is the Straits Of Malacca Malaysian Cuisine at 162, Swanston Street!

That WHOLE fish with special sauce and rice, PLUS a small mug of teh tarik (pulled tea) was A$13.00!  Was that great value or what? The fish was firm, fresh and taste great!

We also ordered a Penang prawn noodle (A$12) and a mixed "lor bak"and deep fried bean curd (A$8.50).

We will be back, next time :(

On this trip, we have the chance of catching up with my second brother Dr. A Leow; who came back from Romania. As usual, catching up means more good food!

With my brother, third left; Dr. A Leow and wife Lee Ping. Second left, Olivia Leow and hubby Jack Wee. The crowded shop, PapaRich; a Malaysian franchise making it big in Australia.

We lined up for an hour to get in ;)

The food at PapaRich was good but not exceptional. I think the place is over hyped ;)


Our holiday came to an end, and I just have to try an Australian burger! Ha ha ha!

Burger Edge is very popular in Melbourne, according to their web site...

"Burger Edge is one of Australia's fastest growing gourmet burger franchises. Born in Melbourne, Burger Edge is located in food courts, shopping centres, urban villages and regional centres. We deliver a superior dining experience for one of the world's favourite foods without misleading gimmicks or pretentions."

Got to try that!

I settle for their OKKER, man that was a TALL burger!

An Australian version of our Kiwi Burger, with beet root; onion; egg; tomato; lettuce and something our Kiwi don't, thick slice of bacon! The beef is Australian, but not Angus I don't think... it was really yummy!

At A$13.00 it is not cheap, good value for their size though ;)

So with a brink of an eye, our 4 days in Melbourne gone. We flew back Sunday night RIGHT INTO what's left of a Wellington hale storm!  After some avid Rock n Roll in the air, we got home to...

May be we should pack our bags again and go back to Melbourne! ;)

1 comment:

heather said...

Sky bus? a cross between a train and a bus? Melbourne must be huge compared with Wellington