Friday, June 17

Images of Melbourne

Garry and I enjoyed three days of sunshine in Melbourne although the day time temperature never rose above 14C.  Fortunately, we came prepared with winter coats we'd brought with us from London.  We spent three days enjoying great food, exploring central Melbourne's Fitzroy Gardens and leisurely cruising up the Yarra River past more of the city's picturesque parkland. Central Melbourne is far greener than I'd ever appreciated and the former Olympic precinct on the Yarra's northern bank has been dramatically transformed into an appealing public space.

Dinner on Saturday night was particularly enjoyable.  We caught a tram out to South Melbourne on the shores of Port Phillip to join a former work colleague for dinner. Much to our delight we discovered a completely new area of Melbourne. Who knew that Port Melbourne boasted such a large, expansive white-sand beach; less than 15 minutes by tram from the city centre?  Dinner was at The Graham, an contemporary gastro pub in a old stone building, located on a quiet residential street. The service was exceptional, as was the food and wine.

On our final day we came across Cook's Cottage in the midst of Fitzroy Gardens.  This small stone cottage, sitting in the heart of the gardens, was once the home of James and Grace Cook, the parents of English explorer, Captain James Cook. The cottage was originally built in 1755 in the North Yorkshire village of Great Ayton.  In 1933 the cottage was sold to Russell Grimwade, a Melbourne businessman and philanthropist, who arranged for it to be deconstructed and shipped to Australia. More than 253 cases and 40 barrels were required to transport the building to Melbourne where it was reassembled in time to celebrate the centenary of the city's European settlement in 1934.

We were also captivated by the street art in Hoiser Lane.  This narrow, cobbled lane of featureless buildings and back entrances has become a cultural institution.  Local and international street artists vie for the opportunity to “tag” its walls with fascinating spray paint art.  We were surprised to learn that its graffiti-covered walls and art-installations have become a popular backdrop for fashion and wedding photography.  Thanks to our hotel’s location we found ourselves wandering pass the lane’s entrance several times a day.

All in all it was a lazy few days where we simply kicked back and enjoyed the sights in Australia's second largest city.  Here's a few pictorial memories.

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