Melbourne – day 277

None of us were in a hurry to get up this morning, all waking up gradually around 9am. Pottered around, getting showered, dressed and enjoying the nicest hotel room we have stayed in during our entire time travelling and the room has probably ruined us for the rest our our trip around Australia, especially as we are only going to be staying in youth hostels!! Packed up our bags, including the champagne and chocolates that we never got around to consuming, before checking out and heading to the tram stop. Travelled down towards the Main Street in St. Kilda for a bit of good ol’ people watching. The Art Deco buildings were beautiful as we wandered down Acland street, looking at backpacker hostels sat beside fine dining restaurants and Polish bakeries next to designer clothes shops. Found ourselves a table outside one of the cafe bakeries and we each ordered the biggest fruit Danish any of us had ever seen – Jayne had raspberry, Tracey had apple crumble and I had blueberry. Clearly novices in the area, the ladies at the next table looked and laughed as we tried to organise our tiny table to accommodate our pastries, meringues and coffee – ending up with stuff balanced on our laps. We only ate the Danish and put the rest in our bag for later on. Feeling slightly nauseous from our brunch, we walked towards the beach passing by Luna Park. Built in 1912, it retains the feel of an old-style amusement park, with the creepy Mr Moon’s gaping mouth swallowing you up as you enter. It is home to the heritage-listed scenic railway (the worlds oldest operating roller coaster) and a beautiful baroque carousel. We kept walking along the palm-fringed promenade, looking at the market stalls that had braved the grey storm clouds to set out their merchandise. Crossed over the road and headed towards the beach, walking down the St. Kilda pier enjoying the beautiful view of the city across the water full of yachts and boats. We even saw some people snorkelling and swimming in the water whilst we spotted starfish from the pier. The kiosk at the end of the pier is an exact replica of the original which burnt down on 11th September 2003 (a year short of its centenary). We then walked amongst the rock wave breakers, looking for small penguins and rakalis that make their nests in the gaps between the boulders. Saw a rakali, a native water rat which is often compared to otters or ring-tailed possums.Got back on the tram to Southern Cross station and stored our bags in a locker for the day before catching the City Circle Tram. Designed primarily for tourists, this free tram service travels around the city centre, stopping at many sights along the way with an audio commentary. We fortunately got window seats straight away so enjoyed the hour long circle ride without being squashed as it got busier in certain sections. Hopped off one stop short of the full loop to visit the Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium. A really beautiful aquarium, it is home to rays, gropers and sharks, all of whom live in a 2.2 million-litre tank which could be viewed from a seated area and a see-through tunnel. Spent time chatting and eating our meringues on the steps whilst watching the fish swim by and teaching Tracey how to tell the difference between female and male sharks and rays. The aquarium is also home to one of the largest Australian saltwater crocodiles as well as two different types of penguin in the icy Antarctica display. We went to the recommended 4D cinema towards the end to watch ‘Ice Age: No Time for Nuts’ which was slightly strange as there was no relevance to the aquarium – seemed more of a money making scheme to get people inside (it was included in the admission ticket price). Not sure what our favourite display was as there were so many fantastic ones although it was nice to see a huge amount of walk through tanks and pop-up bubble sections throughout the aquarium for kids (or grown up kids like us!!). A quick stop in the gift shop at the end for the obligatory silly hat photo selfie…Ran out of time to visit the Eureka Skydeck as we needed to eat something proper for dinner (having consumed nothing but pastries and coffee all day). Headed back to the restaurant in the train station that Tracey and I went to the day of the AFL game, making sure we didn’t over order like last time! Caught the 18.30 train back to Shepparton, unfortunately having reserved seating so we were sat in the overcrowded carriage next to a bunch of cackling teenagers who squealed, laughed and were generally annoying for the 2.5 hour train journey. Tracey stuck in her headphones to drown them out with music and Jayne fell asleep (clearly still slightly broken) as I took the occasional selfie, much to the amusement of the Indian woman opposite us. 

Back at home, we watched a little bit of TV before heading to bed. 

Sunday 10th July 2016