Day 1! Raring to go! Let’s explore!
…. Yep, we overslept. My bad; I was in charge of setting the alarm and hadn’t realised it was still on Malaysian time.
We drew a line under it (we are the only people we know in this entire hemisphere, so it’s not really worth falling out), agreed we probably needed the extra sleep, and patted ourselves on the back for how well we’d beaten the jet lag (ha! More on that later!). Today was a big day. Today was BRUNCH DAY.
You come to Melbourne for one thing, and that’s to eat brunch. And there’s only one place to eat it: Higher Ground on Bourke St. Not really, there are literally hundreds of places to feast on a brunch of dreams, but this place had been on my list for months and it did not disappoint! (Sidenote: if you’re on instagram, I’ve created an account to share coffee shops that I love called @cdfcoffeecrawl).
We had to wait on their terrace for a table to come free, but only for about 20 mins,not bad considering it was a Saturday morning! And unlike the d*ckhead doormen at [insert literally ANY sought-after brunch spot in London here], they weren’t arsey about it! It gave us time to enjoy our first coffees of the trip (delish, of course) and wonder why we hadn’t packed more jumpers.
Inside… goodness me. Worth the hype. Worth the wait. Worth the 30 hours on a plane. Incredible! All concrete and brick and greenery (please can my house look like this?!), and the food was as delicious as it was gorgeous. Of course we had some #avotoast (up there with the Tim Tam and the Ugg Boot as the best things Australia has blessed this earth with), along with the prettiest bowl’a granola I ever did see. I am concerned we may have peaked too soon.
We walked up from Bourke St to the Queen Victoria Market and spent a happy half hour on the hunt for free samples. It was a bright a sunny spring morning, people were queuing down the block for hot doughnuts and Rob tactfully dissuaded me from spending $18 on a wombat hand puppet (“but look how cute it is!”). The cool thing about being in the CBD, apart from how close everything is, is the skyline; the mash up of achingly beautiful old architecture and once-lovely buildings nudged right up against sleek, soaring skyscrapers. It’s pretty easy on the eye, is Melly.
Next we headed back down into the CBD to explore the famous Laneways, a higgledy-piggledy mix of lanes, shopping arcades and street-art alleyways. Hosier Lane was my fave – the graffiti was just amazing, and the more you looked the more you saw! I love the idea that you could walk down it every day and it would be different each time. We stopped for coffee number 2 of the day on Block Arcade and planned what to do with the rest of the avo (as in -noon, not -cado).
We decided to cross the river and find somewhere for a late lunch, passing Flinders St Station and Federation Square. I really liked this area; it’s called Southgate and feels like the Southbank in London. I was desperately seeking vegetables after 48hrs of plane food (or lack thereof, thanks Air Asia) and was very happy sat outside in the sun with a big ol’ salad. Yum yum yum.
We did think about hopping on a tram up to Fitzroy, another neighbourhood, but while we stood looking at the map I could literally feel my brain saying, “…Nah.” So much for not being jet lagged!… Instead, we had a little stroll along the river to see the cricket and tennis stadiums (Aus Open 20…30? One day!) then admitted defeat and came back for a nap. I’d been worried we hadn’t allowed enough time in the city (2 days in the CBD, heading up to the Great Ocean Road on Monday) but it’s such a compact and walkable city that even with our accidental lie-in we saw loads in one day, without feeling rushed.
After a bit of a recharge and a scrabble around the suitcase to find anything that didn’t need ironing (!) it was time to take it to the rooftop. Melbourne has rooftop bars in no short supply, and we walked up to one above a tapas place called Bomba and enjoyed a beer and a chat about some of life’s big questions, like why on earth would you make your own cheese when you can just buy cheese, and what kind of animal is Crash Bandicoot? Then back down to Southgate for some dinner and vino. I am usually pretty good at navigating but just cannot get my head around the blocks here… Rob on the other hand is all over it, and loving being in charge! One last stop at
Dead Fish Pony Club Phoney Pony Dish Club Ponyfish Island, as recommended by Kyle’s Dad (thanks Kyle’s Dad), a pitstop at 7/11 for some omg-they-don’t-have-these-in-the-UK chocolate bars and home.
So far we just feel like we’re on holiday – we have to keep reminding ourselves we’re not going home! Feeling more and more excited for Welly!
Slang of the day: As a Linguistics MA / language nerd one of the things I love about Aus / NZ is the slang. And Aussie slang is often different from NZ slang, so by the time we’ve got our heads around this lot we’ll be getting it wrong again in Welly!
So far I have v much enjoyed: jaffle (toastie), macas (McDonald’s) and chocolate block (as in chocolate bar).
Tomorrow we are going on the hunt for the world’s best croissant… aka, living the dream.