Day 1: Weekend City Tour of Melbourne

I had a weekend in Melbourne which became my time to go around the city. I planned my Melbourne itinerary the night before and carefully thought of my route. Going around Melbourne is not that hard because there are tourist information centres around and streets are mostly parallel.

I was lucky to have stayed in a hotel that is very easy to find. As mentioned in my previous blog post, I stayed at the Seasons Botanical Gardens in St. Kilda Road. The hotel was opposite the tram station so it was very easy for me to go to anywhere I want to.

Tree at the Royal Botanic Gardens
Tree at the Royal Botanic Gardens

Tree at the Royal Botanic Gardens
Tree at the Royal Botanic Gardens

Sculpture at the Royal Botanic Gardens
Sculpture at the Royal Botanic Gardens

At the Royal Botanic Gardens
At the Royal Botanic Gardens

My adventure started at the parks opposite my hotel. Since it’s spring time in Melbourne, it’s a good time to see colorful flowers and lots of green trees. I just needed to cross the street and voila, I am already at the Royal Botanic Gardens. This garden is really big (35.4 hectares). I can’t help but be amazed by the beautiful flowers. There were birds everywhere.

Flowers at the Shrine of Remembrance
Flowers at the Shrine of Remembrance

Shrine of Remembrance
Shrine of Remembrance

Then I visited the Shrine of Remembrance, which was just nearby. The shrine is actually a war memorial that was built from 1928-1934 to commemorate the thousands of great men and women who died during the Great War in 1914-1918. The structure itself was so enormous and can’t help be enamoured by its grandeur.

Tower at the Shrine of Remembrance
Stone of Remembrance

Trees at the Shrine of Remembrance
Trees at the Shrine of Remembrance

Opposite the Shrine of Remembrance is The Stone of Remembrance and the trees leading to Anzac Avenue.

Sculpture at the King's Domain
Sculpture at the King’s Domain

Sculpture Near Sidney Myer Music Bowl at the King's Domain
Sculpture Near Sidney Myer Music Bowl at the King’s Domain

Sidney Myer Music Bowl
Sidney Myer Music Bowl

I continued to walk and eventually landed at the King’s Domain. I saw the Sidney Myer Music Bowl where concerts and big events are being held.

Fountain at the National Gallery of Victoria
Fountain at the National Gallery of Victoria

The Arts Centre
The Arts Centre

After that, my feet eventualy led me to the National Gallery of Victoria and the Arts Centre which are part of the Arts Precinct. It was still very early then (around 9 am) and so I wasn’t able to go inside it. I just walked around it and then, the nearby structure of it is the Arts Centre. This is where theatrical plays and shows are held. One must pay the entrance fee depending on the kind of show that you’ll watch.

Melbourne City Free Tourist Shuttle
Melbourne City Free Tourist Shuttle

Now the reason I walked towards this area is because I wanted to see the Melbourne City Tourist Shuttle. This is free for all tourists who would like to visit the key tourist spots around Melbourne. The Arts Centre is their first stop. Below is the list of  the Tourist Shuttle Stops:

  1. The Arts Precinct – Performing Arts Museum, National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) , Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) , Malthouse Theatre and Melbourne Recital Centre
  2. Federation Square – Melbourne Visitor Centre, Australian Centre for the Moving Image, Australian Racing Museum and Hall of Fame and the National Design Centre.
  3. Sports Precinct – National Sports Museum, Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne Park, Olympic Park, Fitzroy Gardens, Cooks’ Cottage, the Fairy Tree, model Tudor Vilage and Conservatory.
  4. Chinatown Precinct & Theatres District – Her Majesty’s Princess and Comedy Theaters, Treasury Gardens, City Museum at Old Treasury, Chinatown
  5. Melbourne Museum and Carlton Gardens – Melbourne Museum, IMAX Theatre, Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens
  6. Lygon Street Precinct (home of the Italian community)
  7. University of Melbourne
  8. Queen Victoria Market
  9. Waterfront City, Docklands – Pearl River Road and Docklands Drive, Southern Star Observation Wheel, Harbour Twn, Waterfront City Marina
  10. Docklands Stadium & Victoria Harbour– Harbour Esplanade, Victoria Harbour, Telstra Dome (Etihad), Docklands Park
  11. William Street – Immigration Museum, Melbourne 360, Melbourne Aquarium, ANZ Gothic Bank
  12. Southbank and Yarra River – Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, Crown Entertainment Complex, Eureka Skydeck 88
  13. The Shrine and Royal Botanic Gardens – Shrine of Remembrance, Royal Botanic Gardens, King’s Domain, Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Government House and La Trobe’s Cottage.

I based my whole itinerary from the list of the shuttle stops even though I didn’t really ride the tourist shuttle all throughout weekend. I felt like it’s much enjoyable when I’m walking than riding the bus and waiting for the next stop.

Flinders Street Train Station
Flinders Street Train Station

Australians Heading to the Horse Races in Flinders Street Train Station
Australians Heading to the Horse Races in Flinders Street Train Station

Federation Square
Federation Square

Anyway, to continue with my journey, after riding the shuttle bus I arrived at the Federation Square. It’s probably one of the busiest intersections because this is also where Flinders Street Train Station is. Lots of people travel to and from this station. When I was there, it was the season of the Melbourne Cup (horse races). It has been a tradition of men and women to dress up for the said event. Women have to accessorize with unique hats along with their dresses.

St. Paul's Cathedral in Flinders Street
St. Paul’s Cathedral in Flinders Street

Across the Flinders Street Train Station was the St. Paul’s Cathedral. It looks very gothic and it’s in the middle of a very busy intersection.

Federation Square
Federation Square

Film Watching at the Federation Square
Film Watching at the Federation Square

The photo above is the Federation Square which is just across the Flinders Street Train Station. This area is a public area where people can just sit down and chill out. When I was there, Harry Potter 5 was being shown in the big screen. It’s totally free and no one will bother you.

Australian Racing Museum
Australian Racing Museum

As mentioned earlier, Australians are very fond of the horse races. It’s rooted in their history and culture so I decided to drop by the Australian Racing Museum at the Federation Square. The entrance fee is AUD $9.00. The exhibit area is just one floor, just to give you a glimpse of horse racing history. The most interesting part of their horse races is the evolution of women’s dresses throughout the years. Unfortunately, I couldn’t take a picture of the things inside the museum so to know the history of women’s fashion, you may refer to the article here.

History of Film, Television and Digital Culture at the Australian Center for the Moving Image
History of Film, Television and Digital Culture at the Australian Center for the Moving Image

Old Film Projecter in ACMI
Old Film Projector in ACMI

Another interesting place to visit within the Federation Square is the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI). It is the home of independent cinemas in Melbourne. They hold international film festivals and they also have queer cinema festival (for the LGBTs) during March. At the second floor, they have an interactive exhibit of the history of film, television and digital culture. This was a fun place to visit because they have old projectors, televisions, family computers and many more. The best of it all is that you can actually use them, like the old Nintendo family computer 🙂 .

Television During the 80's at the ACMI
Television During the 80’s at the ACMI

Star Wars Figures at the ACMI
Star Wars Figures at the ACMI

So if you’re a someone who is a popular culture enthusiast, this is a place you should not miss. The entrance is free and you can take photos (for as long as you don’t use flash). They have a booth wherein you can be like Keanu Reeves in the Matrix. You can send it to yourself (which I did) and you can see the video here.

Street Performer at the Federation Square
Street Performer at the Federation Square

After going around the museums, I saw this Aussie street performer near the Melbourne Tourist Information Centre. He did some tricks and even had people from the audience participate. There are lots of these in the city, all you have to do is just give a little amount to show your appreciation.

Deli Aisle in Queen Victoria Market

Deli Aisle in Queen Victoria Market

Cold Cuts at the Queen Victoria Market
Cold Cuts at the Queen Victoria Market

Fruits in Queen Victoria Market
Fruits in Queen Victoria Market

Fruits and Vegetables at the Queen Victoria Market
Fruits and Vegetables at the Queen Victoria Market

It’s already lunch time and I totally forgot to eat because I was still enjoying the city. I decided to go to Queen Victoria Market to have my lunch there. I wasn’t really hungry at all but I felt that I needed to eat something, so I just had a Borek.

The market is very popular not only to Australians but also to tourists because it’s a historic landmark, a tourist attraction and most of all, it’s the shopping mecca of Australians. You can find lots of things at the market from deli, fruits, vegetables, clothes, cafes, souvenirs and many more. The place is somewhat similar to our own Farmer’s Market in Cubao but this is much bigger and lots of choices to choose from. It’s about 7 hectare and was opened to the public on 20th March 1878. This is definitely a haven for foodies. They offer different kinds of tours such as:

  1. Foodies Tour – schedules are Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 10:00 am
  2. Group Tours – special tours and concessions for more than 10 people
  3. Heritage Market Tour – explores the colourful 125 year plus history of the Market and includes morning tea
  4. Combination Tour – combination of popular foodies and historical tours with coffee break half way through which is ideal for seniors
  5. Multi-cultural Food Tour – emphasizes the wonderful ethnic variety of Market produce
  6. Breakfast with the Vegies – breakfast tour
  7. Healthy Eating for Diabetics Shop and Cook – this is in conjunction with their cooking school
  8. Special Christmas Shopping Tours

If you want to book or ask about these tours, you may email them at qvmtours@melbourne.vic.gov.au. I was hoping to join the Foodies tour but I wasn’t able to because I was still wandering around Federation Square at that time. Oh well, it’s ok. Anyway, their market trading hours are:

  • Tuesday & Thursday 6 am – 2 pm
  • Friday 6 am – 6 pm (General merchandise to 4 pm)
  • Saturday 6 am – 3 pm (General merchandise from 8 am – Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday)
  • Sunday 9 am – 4 pm

To be able to go to Queen Victoria Market, I rode a tram from William Street that is heading north. Another way is to ride any north-heading tram from Elizabeth Street.

Melbourne 360 Sign
Melbourne 360 Sign

Sculptures at the Melbourne 360
Sculptures at the Melbourne 360

After my quick lunch and shopping for my friends and relatives’ gifts, I went to the Melbourne 360 in Collins Street. From Queen Elizabeth Market, I rode a tram in Queen Street to Collins Street. Then I walked 2 blocks before I reached the Melbourne 360.

View at the Melbourne 360
View at the Melbourne 360

The Melbourne 360 is located at the 55th floor of the Rialto. It only takes around 40 seconds to reach the deck. From there, you’ll see the full view of Melbourne. The photo above is West Melbourne. The nest-like shape thing you see there is the Etihad Stadium.

View at the Melbourne 360
View at the Melbourne 360

This is East Melbourne. The tallest building in the photo is the Eureka Tower which is also has an observation deck.

ANZ Gothic Bank and Westpac Building
ANZ Gothic Bank and Westpac Building

Now this is North Melbourne. The buildings above are 2 of the biggest banks in Australia, ANZ Bank and Westpac. The photo shows the ANZ Gothic Bank, where my former colleagues in ANZ Careers work.

Entrance fee for an adult in Melbourne 360 is at AUD $ 15.50 (approximately Php 660 +).

Hours of operations are:

  • Monday – Friday: 10am – 9pm (last entry 8:30pm)
  • Saturday: 10am – 10pm (last entry 9:30pm)
  • Sunday: 10am – 6:30pm (last entry 6pm)

Melbourne Aquarium Sign
Melbourne Aquarium Sign

It was already around 4 pm. I was so tired from walking and still carrying plastics of shopping bags from the Queen Victoria Market but that didn’t hinder me from going to the Melbourne Aquarium.

Penguins
Penguins

Penguin Swimming
Penguin Swimming

I love the Melbourne Aquarium because of the cute penguins and other sea creatures. It was actually my first time to see penguins in person and they are really very adorable! I suddenly remembered the movie Happy Feet when I saw them walking in queue.

Pinocchio Fish at the Melbourne Aquarium
Pinocchio Fish at the Melbourne Aquarium

Tortoise at the Melbourne Aquarium
Tortoise at the Melbourne Aquarium

Shark at the Melbourne Aquarium
Shark at the Melbourne Aquarium

Smiling Stingray at the Melbourne Aquarium
Smiling Stingray at the Melbourne Aquarium

I was like a kid stuck in a museum because of the wonderful sea creatures I saw all around the aquarium. The place is like Ocean Park in Hong Kong but this one is much smaller.

My day ended by having dinner at the Swanston Walk Cafe Bar along Swanston Street then, I rode a tram going back to my hotel. As much as I wanted to sleep early, I can’t because I have to plan my itinerary for the next day. I’m glad that my day was planned just right.

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