Melbourne Transportation Card: myki. My most common method of transportation using this card was tram. Be careful when getting off! Some of the trams let you off in the middle of the street near lanes cars can come in. By law, they need to yield to you but it's also good to look both ways. PS Australia drive on the other side of the street, like the UK.
Weather was HOT! I definitely wore my most summery items in my suitcase. Like Sydney, it wasn't humid which was nice. I feel like it was dry, if anything.
Find my Map here!
My wonderful hosts, Grace and Martin, used to host guests at their place via AirBnB + they're designers so it looks super hip.
I spent my first morning at a juicery called Urban Projuice and ordered an acai bowl. Met a lovely lady, a new mother, who gave some additional recommendations and shared some insight on motherhood.
Since I was in South Melbourne, I took the tram into the city centre and started my tour at Federation Square. Went through St. Paul’s Cathedral, the Treasury Gardens, the Old Treasury Building, and through some of the larger streets of Melbourne. I found a cute shop called Melbournalia that was full of local crafts and goodies! I bought these hilarious greeting cards that featured puns made from the various Melbourne train stops.
Lunch was at Chin Chin, probably the most anticipated restaurant on my trip. It's mostly Thai fusion, although I did see more Asian influences. I had seen it featured on tons of websites, and was recommended by multiple friends. Confirmed by three people that "everyone on their menu is good." I can honestly say: confirmed. We ordered the pat see ew, the crab fried rice, and barramundi salad. To my surprise, the barramundi salad was my fav. It was incredibly flavorful and delicious and I'm craving it now that I'm thinking about it.
I continued my self guided walking tour through Swanson St, Bourke St, Block Arcade, Royal Arcade, Walk Arcade... basically just a bunch of "arcades" AKA shopping centres haha.
One thing I love doing before I travel is looking for local events to the place I'll be visiting. To my luck, there was a night noodle market happening (free admission, woot woot). I've realised early on in my travels is that traveling alone doesn't give you the benefit of ordering multiple things on a menu and sharing it. Thus, I was limited to ordering just one item at the market. There were three different sections of the market, and I probably walked through each section at least twice to make sure my decision was the right one. I ended up getting the Oz Special Yakisoba(which means it had egg on it) from a Teppanyaki place. The portions were so big I ended up refrying it the next morning for brunch.
I spent half the day wandering around Fitzroy, which was supposed to be the hip, grungy neighbourhood of Melbourne. I visited a great deal of stores, but to be honest, I didn't find Fitzroy to be as amazing as people made it sound. Some of my friends went back because they didn't get to see everything, but I ended up finishing earlier than expected, which was kind of a bummer.
I did get to eat at a restaurant in Fitzroy called Alimentari. We ordered a small salad (which is basically a sampler because you're able to choose 3 salads from the menu) to share. The veal and pork meatballs over polenta seems to be the most popular dish on the menu, so we ordered that, of course. I also ordered the meatball wrap(panini pressed), which was freaking bomb. It was actually my favourite from everything. For dessert, we ordered a few items off the bakery menu and they were delicious! I highly recommend this restaurant, particularly the meatball wrap!
Since I finished Fitzroy early, I decided to go back to the city centre. I got to visit the State Library of Victoria, which was gorgeous. There were plenty of tourists and as well as people actually trying to read and study. The state library had plenty of beautiful reading rooms, a museum, air conditioning, and free wifi.
Next was exploring the shopping malls of Melbourne: Emporium + Melbourne Central. One of the items on my bucket list for Australia was to buy myself some jewelry. To my luck, I found a shop with jewelry that I might like. Looked around and fell in love with their items. I ended up buying myself a ring and gifted a dainty necklace for a friend. By the way, the store's name is Francesca if anyone is looking for some new nice jewelry!
I made a pitstop at Shortshop Donuts and got their Australian honey and Sea Salt. It was good, but too soft for my liking. It looked like a churro so I thought it’d be crunchy but it wasn’t... I would, however, go back to try another donut next time.
Later that night, I walked along the boardwalk of St. Kilda and made my way to il Casio ii for dinner, a very authentically Italian restaurant. We ordered the quattro formaggi pizza, and the mushroom pizza, a salad, and their house wine. I'm the type of person that will happily eat mushroom pizza but never really order it on my own will so I was worried about what the mushroom pizza would taste like. But to my surprise, it was spectacular. Easily the best mushroom pizza I've ever tasted.
We made it back to St. Kilda Pier in time for penguin watching. I've seen penguins at the zoo, but never in the wild so I was curious to see what this experience would be like. The penguins go out during the day to feed and come back around sunset. I saw a few of them coming in but they were pretty hard to spot at first. Once the sun went down, a bunch came riding in to the sand and would hid in the rocks. Some of the more confused ones would actually end up on the pier where people were so we got to see them upclose. There were some volunteers there with red flashlights to spotlight penguins, as well as sharing useful important regarding the penguins. I thought it a miracle that Melbourne even lets us see them so close, without putting up stricter borders, though I'm sure that would change if someone were to do something very foolish... My opinion is that it was mating season because I heard a lot of... noises from the penguins, and would see the male penguins running up against the back of a female penguin and then running away. It was quite entertaining. My friends said they've been a few times but never saw this many penguins so I count myself lucky. It was definitely a memorable experience and so happy to see this live for free!