Trip Start Mar 03, 2007
Trip End Apr 2009

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Flag of Australia  ,
Saturday, March 15, 2008

After a week or so here its easy to see why people rave about Melbourne. Its so more diverse than any city in Australia that I've been to. It has marks off for not being car friendly at all and at times can seem like quite a grotty city, but it has such an vibrancy about the place, a wide array of things to get up to, you can shop till you drop here and I loved the CBD Skyline a weird coalition between the old and the new. Then untop of that there are also the suburbs such as St Kilda and Richmond that absolutely

Our first night in Melbourne was typically messy with us hitting the local bar with Ben's cousin who we were staying with. Friday night and Saturday morning were a write off but we eventually got our act together and headed into St Kilda to the Belgian Beer House to meet Kate, a mutual friend of ours. The beer house had its main bar buildings but also most of it was open planned outside in a park. After a while we decided to visit Big Scotty, who we know from the Walkabouts in London at his new bar just around the road. There we also meet up with a friend of Ben's and together we all head off into St Kilda to hit a few of the bars which were typically going off.

The NZ Warriors rugby league team that I support were playing their opening game of the season against the Melbourne Storm at the Telstra Dome the next night and the tickets were pretty cheap so four of us ventured out to take in the game. Melbourne is first and foremost an AFL town so even though Melbourne are the current defending champs they still don't pack out the stadium. This means there are plenty of tickets available and the fact that whilst standing in line to get our tickets two of my friends were given free tickets by separate people says it all. The stadium had a crowd of just over 20,000 but unfortunately my team didn't really show up on the night so the game was a bit disappointing in that respect. Such a frustrating team to support.

I tagged along with Canada the next day to meet Jen and Michele, twins he had meet whilst in the U.K. It was our first day really navigating the trams and before long we were sitting with them at the Vineyard which is a funky bar/restaurant right beside Luna Park. We polished off a few bottles of beer here before being taken on a little tour of some of St Kilda's more interesting bars in search of cheap booze. St Kilda buzzed pretty much every time we ventured in and that night we hit a fantastic restaurant named La Roche that we would return to the following night as well.

At last we felt it was time to make the trek into the heart of Melbourne, something we had managed to avoid mainly due to our socializing over the past few days. Canada and I decided to visit a friends shop in Fitzroy first. The shop called ......... owned by herself and her siblings is a pretty funky shop housing a lot of retro and collectible gear. Check out the link.......... After that we made it pretty hard for our selves and got really confused with the Tram stops. Eventually however we made it into Flinders Station and Federation Square. Federation square is hard to describe with the huge ornate facade of the station and huge St Pauls Cathedral juxtaposed next to the funky works of modern architecture. There are people buzzing about, trams criss crossing and the Yarra River ambles along beside at its own pace. We had a map and took to the streets for a walking tour to cover all the central sites. After Federation Square we headed up to Union Street, one of the many small alleys containing the world famous street graffiti and stencil art, such an explosion of coulour in an otherwise grey mass on concrete. After here we headed into some of the main shopping precincts on Collins St, Bourke Street and Swanston Street before venturing into China Town. After this we headed over the other side of the yarra to the bustling regenerated Southbank and then back into St Kilda to meet up with the others for dinner at La Rocha again.

The next couple of days we were staying in Richmond which was a lot closer than we had been to the CBD. We ventured in a few times, visited a few parks and also hit the Victorian Markets. The markets are huge and really good for a bargain. Food, clothes and tourist items all featuring prominently.

Easter Sunday we decided to hit an exhibition called Game On at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, which is situated to one side of Federation Square. The exhibition was all about the history of video games and for $15 we got to play 125+ games. All the classics were here from Pac Man, Pong, Space Invaders through to Street Fighter, Sonic the Hedgehog through to the latest games such as Wii. We spent a good few hours here before heading to get a bite to eat in China Town and then heading back until we were booted out at 6pm.

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