A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE // Melbourne, Australia

Despite living in Melbourne for well over four years now, I still find myself playing tourist on a regular basis. Sure, Chris might roll his eyes when I stop to take photos of something novel in the city, but it is refreshing to see the place where you live through a new light.

Last weekend we ventured down to the strange, yet beautiful, Docklands precinct, to indulge in a dinner cruise. We received a voucher for Christmas, and we were 99% sure we were the only Melbourne locals on the boat.

The dinner and drinks on the cruise were as expected, but the highlight was definitely seeing Melbourne from the water – something we had never done before. The boat left Docklands and went under both the Bolte and West Gate Bridge, before emerging into Port Phillip Bay and heading towards St Kilda.

The views from the Bay were absolutely stunning, even the clouds that were hanging overhead didn’t impact the beauty of it.

Not featured – the dance floor directly behind our table.

Turns out my phone takes a pretty average night time photo – you will just have to imagine how wonderful the city looked at night.

One of the unexpectedly interesting parts of the cruise was going through the sea ports. There were a few container ships pulled up, and they are just as big in person as you would imagine.

Melbourne, I love you.

– Reanna

PINK LAKE // Melbourne, Australia

Finally, a post not heavy with photos! These are just some quick snaps I wanted to share of a little Melbournian adventure Chris and I took a couple of weekends ago. Since moving to the southside of the city, we have been trying to get out on our bikes more, so after seeing yet another photo of Melbourne’s Pink Lake I decided this was the perfect afternoon mission.

Our bike ride took us along the Bay Trail towards Williamstown, but we stopped at Sandridge Beach in order to detour to a look out I chanced upon on Google maps. Turns out it was a good find, providing perfect views looking back over the CBD.

The bay was also full of sail boats, so it was great to sit down for a pit stop and take in the surrounds.

The famed ‘Pink Lake’ is located at Westgate Park, a strange little nature reserve under the Westgate Bridge that I am fairly sure had only gained fame due to this lake. One of the lakes in the park turns bright pink during the summer, one of the few lakes in the world to do so. The exact cause of this colouration remains unknown, but it is thought to be a result of sunlight and algae. Either way, it looks pretty spectacular and certainly draws a crowd of people desperate to take a selfie with it.

 

The lake was slightly less pink than I anticipated, but I guess that is to be expected when we were visiting at the end of summer! It was still pretty amazing, and it certainly made me appreciate how strange and beautiful nature can be sometimes.

– Reanna

WEST SIDE // Melbourne, Australia

Despite officially being Spring in these parts, the sunny days remain few and far between. Every time we encounter blue skies and temperatures high enough to not justify a coat, Chris and I head out the door. Last weekend was such a day, and without much of a plan we spent our afternoon wandering over towards Footscray and Melbourne’s west.

Walking to Footscray from our home in North Melbourne involves winding through Kensington, one of our dream suburbs. I mean, city views, warehouses, cute cafes and terraces. What isn’t to love? The price tag perhaps.

After crossing the Maribrynong River we stumbled across the Heavenly Queen Temple. I had only previously seen it from a distance, so it was interesting to get a close look. Plus, it just made me all the more excited for my upcoming return to China!

The Maribrynong River is not the prettiest! Given the sunshine we weren’t too fussed though.

Footscray is an eclectic melting pot of Melbourne’s multicultural heritage, as well as being relatively up and coming in terms of development and cafes. We admired some local street art and wandered through the Footscray Market, which was as insane as you would imagine for a Saturday afternoon!

Our final destination was a brewery we had come across online earlier in the day, whilst searching for another brewery. Hop Nation is relatively new on the brewing scene, and has recently opened up a bar in the warehouse converted brewery! Located down the above street, it honestly could not have been more hipster Melbourne. But then a food truck pulled up out the front and it out-Melbourned itself.

Despite the over top Melbourne vibes, the place was fantastic and the beer delicious. It is days like this that make me truly appreciate living in this city. There is always something new to discover/eat/drink!

– Reanna

BAY TRAIL // Melbourne, Australia

Things have been rather uneventful around here lately, as life continues to rush by in a blur of work, class, assignments. Rinse and repeat. It is officially less than two months until I submit my last assignment, which is an incredibly exciting prospect. Fours years of university done, for now anyway.

I found myself in desperate need of some time outdoors today, something more than just a quick walk around the block or a ride into the city. After some vague online research, I decided to put aside study for the sake of some self care and rode down to St Kilda, where I jumped onto the Bay Trail.

The Bay Trail looked so familiar that it felt like I had ridden along parts of it recently, but the only time I can recall riding along it was when I was far younger.

The trail itself follows along Beach Road, which is incredibly popular among cyclists (i.e. my father and brother). I stuck to the shared bike path, as my cheap little bike wasn’t going to get me places quickly. The path meandered a bit closer to the coastline, offering great views and the opportunity for me to pull over frequently for photo stops.

I did have my camera, but I decided to try out my iPhone (yes, I finally return to the modern era). The photos came out alright, but I think I prefer the quality of my usual camera – some photos have come up quite dark! Despite how gloomy these photos look it was actually quite a pleasant mid-afternoon ride.

The trail was busy the entire way, with other cyclists, runners, walkers, and (much to my joy) numerous dogs. My latest obsession is deciding every second dog I see whilst out with Chris is the one we should adopt. Perhaps one day, when we don’t live an apartment…

I wasn’t quite sure how far I would end up riding, but the track was relatively flat and made for an easy journey. In the end I made it as as Mordialloc Beach, where I was able to jump on a train back to the CBD. Some other cyclists I had seen along my way made a similar move!

In the above photo you can see the far end of the Mornington Peninsula, where Rye and Sorrento are.

All up I clocked around 33kms, or so google tells me (sorry Dad, no Strava). To me, that seems like a very long ride, but to the true cyclists out there it is probably a walk in the park. Admittedly, by the end of the afternoon I was pondering buying a proper road bike. Who knows, maybe I will be back soon to take on Beach Road like everyone else!

– Reanna

WINTER WEEKEND // Dandenong Ranges, Australia

It seems be getting increasingly harder to find day trips from Melbourne, as Chris and I are slowly working our way through all the closest locations. I think this day trip ended up being a very last minute decision, and I can’t believe we hadn’t been here earlier! The Dandenong Ranges are only an hour away from the city, and have so much to offer! I honestly thought there was nothing but houses and the 1000 Steps there, but we were so wrong.

Despite the sunny 15 degrees we were treated to whilst walking to our local coffee shop (or selection of, I should say, we are blessed in North Melbourne) in the city, we were treated to a much crisper 10 degrees in the ranges. Our first stop was the Kalorama Lookout, which boasted views of the reservoir below and the surrounding hills.

A few minutes further down the road was Olinda Falls. We had come ill prepared for not only the freezing cold weather, but the amount of mud on the walking tracks! You can be I was gripping the rails on the way down to the lower falls.

After checking out the upper falls, we followed a side track for a couple of kilometres before popping back out onto the main road. As we were already covered in mud (not to mention walking through mud makes for a very slow pace) we wondered back along the road to our car.

Our lack of research led to me deciding we should pull over at every place of interest we passed. William Ricketts Sanctuary was one such place. It turned out to be a bit of a gem!

The Sanctuary was essentially the outdoor gallery of the late William Ricketts. A well known sculptor, he had purchased the block of forest and set about incorporating sculptures into the natural environment. His artwork largely drew from local indigenous culture, as well as some references to religion. It was fascinating walking along the paths and noticing little paths off to the side covered with his work, rocks with sculptures attached to the side, and little statues hidden away in the undergrowth.

Our last stop, due to beginning to question if we would survive the cold, was the National Rhododendron Gardens. Neither Chris or I had ever heard of the place, but we arrived to find it bustling with other sightseers. This magnificent garden was far bigger than I anticipated. I can only imagine what it must look like in spring: we are already planning a picnic lunch for when that time comes around!

There were still many more locations we could have explored in the areas. The small townships were also packed with tourists and families for the weekend, so we will definitely be back in the warmer months.

Any suggestions for day trips (preferably under 2 hours drive) from Melbourne CBD? Our list is running thin!

– Reanna

 

ART OR SOMETHING // Melbourne, Australia

Colder weather sadly means weekend hikes are becoming less appealing, much to my dismay. Sure, we could still hike in the rain and freezing winds, but I am honestly not that much of an adventurer! As such, Chris and I are on the hunt for weekend activities that allow us to get out of the house in this colder weather.

Last weekend we drove out to the Heide Museum of Modern Art. I didn’t even know Melbourne had such a museum until Chris commented he saw a sign for it one day. We put it on our list of ‘we-will-visit-it-one-day-maybe-eventually’ places, and promptly forgot about it.

We knew next to nothing about the museum, not to mention we are not particularly artistically inclined (i.e. completely ignorant). However we were able to happily spend two hours wandering around the various exhibitions and grounds. None of the exhibitions in particular grabbed my attention, but more of my attention was drawn to the grounds (the Heide is nestled near the Yarra parklands) and the buildings. The Heide is spread across three buildings that were built and lived in by the original owners. The pink house above is the very first house that was on the property, whereas the buildings Heide II and III were modern, grey buildings. I enjoyed looking around Heide II in particular, with all its minimalist nooks and crannies.

The grounds surrounding the museum must be the perfect place to explore in summer. As well as just being generally beautiful and lush, the grounds are also dotted with various artworks and sculptures, as well as the odd napping couple and picnicking family.

Another small Melbourne experience ticked off our exploration list! It is always fantastic to discover something new about this city.

– Reanna

LONG TIME COMING // Melbourne, Australia

Well this has been quite the extended hiatus. As my luck would have it – conveniently at the beginning of what everyone tells me will be my hardest year at university – my dear old Macbook has given up on life. To make matters even worse, this happened about three years and one month after I purchased it, so my Apple Care had just expired. Sure, my Macbook still turns on, but it crashes constantly. Thankfully all my university work is on Dropbox, and I can use Chris’ computer in the mean time. Stupidly I uploaded the photos for this post onto my Macbook, and then it crashed (again) so I have been putting off trying to get them back for a couple of weeks now. I managed to scrounge a few off yesterday in the two minutes my computer stayed on!

Luckily the photos weren’t overly exciting – they are from the open day of the Victorian State Parliament House. Despite having lived in Victoria my entire life, I had never gotten around to visiting parliament (I missed Grade 5 Camp). I have been mentioning to Chris over our years living in Melbourne that we really ought to visit, then as our luck would have it we found out about the open day they day before it was on.

It was a hot day, and the building was absolutely packed with other tourists. I imagine it would be much nicer to visit on a private tour, but we made do with following the crowds and desperately trying take photos that didn’t include other people taking photos! Selfie sticks were not seen.

Possibly my favourite room in the building was the library, but unfortunately I seem to have lost all of those photos. It was one of the more crowded rooms, but there is something about perfectly organised books in a grand room that really appeals to me.

The main building was quite grand (always great to see where tax payer money goes), however as we followed the stairs down the basement we found the MP offices continued. Again, I lost those photos, but it was quite odd going from regal wooden doors to modern glass ones in the dank old basement. I wonder how they decide who gets an office where…

The gardens of Parliament were also quite beautiful, but you guessed it, I lost the photos.

Things are certainly gearing up in terms of university around here, and we have a few weekends away lined up. We are off the Perth next weekend for a whirlwind three days. I feel very ‘adult’ flying interstate for a wedding, if that is such a thing!

Today’s lesson: fix my computer.

– Reanna