Good evening from NOLA!
I’ve been back from my Australian vacation for one week officially. I flew back from Australia early morning May 31 and arrived home to NOLA the same day after 10pm (a total of about 24 hrs of flying, 15 hours from Melbourne to LAX, and about 6-8hrs flying from LAX to NOLA. After I arrived back, I had on full day off before heading back to work for 3 days before being off 2 more days. Let me tell ya, even after the last 2 days, I’m still a bit jet lagged and I’ve got 4 more days of work to go and I at least have a couple more days off from work.
Due to the jet lag, I’ve been so tired, that I barely can stay away while I’m at work.. but I was able to organize the majority of my pictures and videos from the trip into 2 separate files…one for Melbourne and one for Sydney. Now I’m ready to share. I apologize in advanced for the lenght of this post, but I had a lot of pictures, so majority of the length is picture galleries. You have been warned!
First up Melbourne!
We arrived at Melbourne Tullamarine airport early morning May 21 after a long day of flying, including a day of travel for me from NOLA to Dallas on May 18 (ICYMI, you can read about that day of travel and arrival here: Journey to the Land of Oz…or…BlackNOLAGurl in Australia…Day 1 ) May 21 was a total jet lag catchup day. I ended up checking into my room early, and basically sleeping the entire rest of the day and then ordering room service instead of going out to eat..I was THAT tired (and my leg, especially my calfs were bothering me a bit from the amount of walking I ended up doing before and in between all the flying to Melbourne).
The next day on May 22, me and my travelling companions for the Melbourne leg of the trip (I flew to Sydney on my own for 5 days in between and returned for the final 2 days to Melbourne for our return flights) went out into the city together and did some walking and sightseeing. Melbourne is the 2nd most populous city in Australia. It’s a modern city, with a lot of beautiful old world architecture mixed in with some very new modern architecture. Our hotel in Melbourne, the Doubletree Hilton on Flinders St is located in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD/City Centre. It was in walking distance of many beautiful attractions, restaurants and shops, and with close walking distance to the TRAM, buses and trains that you could hop on and see other attractions farther than walking distance. It was also walking distance from the Southbank of the Ybarra River where a number of restaurants and shops and other businesses are.
For the first 3 days in Melbourne I was on the 6th floor of the hotel. You can see some pics of that room here:
For the last 2 days of the trip, I was back in Melbourne at the Doubletree, but then I was on the 4th floor here’s a few pics of that room here (the 4th floor room was a lot smaller than the 6th floor room, but for my 2 final days in Melbourne, it was big enough:
We visited a number of places in Melbourne during my 5 days there.
First up, we visited the National Gallery of Victoria, we were particularly interesting in seeing the exhibit inspired by the Aboriginal history of Australia, but we also walked around to see other installations as well. Here are some pics from our museum visit…sorry they are not in any particular order, but if you have a question about a particular one, let me know, and I give ya the extra info.
The most interesting thing from the aboriginal inspired exhibit was this piece of art titled “If I was white…” it hit the most close to home..
Next up, Rod Laver Stadium: We walked along the Birrarung Marr and crossed the Tanderrum Bridge to see the Rod Laver Stadium, where they play the Australian Open every year. Along the outside area of the stadium there are bronze busts of the Australian Grand Slam champions. Of course, we kept calling it the Serena stadium, LOL. Here the bust for good ole Rod, and a bust of Ms. Evonne Fay Goolagong Cawley for no other reason than because in a sea of busts of white champions, Ms Evonne looked like she might be more “family” than not…and hey since we couldn’t have Serena, we’ll take possible “family” too…LOL
Next up, the Eureka Tower Skydeck 88. The Eureka tower is almost 1000 feet above Melbournes, so it’s views of Melbourne are from the highest public viewing point in the city. The Skydeck includes a feature called The Edge Experience, The Edge extends from 88th floor and suspends you nearly 300 meters over the city in a see through glass cube! You have to pay to go up to the 88 floor for the Skydeck, and then there is a separate charge if you want to do the Edge Experience!. I didn’t do the Edge experience (on the one hand, I didn’t want to pay the extra fee, on the other…um…no…no…no..)
I did take some great pics from the observation floor though. Here ya go:
Next place we went to was SEA LIFE Melbourne. This place was awesome. One of the BEST if not THE BEST aquarium experience I’ve ever had (sorry NOLA Aquarium). I’ll just let the pics and videos (yes I have video) speak for themselves. In a few pics, some of the animals are “hiding” let me know if you can’t see them, and I’ll tell ya where they are…ENJOY!
You can check out a few short video clips from SEA LIFE links here: SEA LIFE Melbourne, Assorted Clips
Finally, one of the best places we went to during my 5 days in Melbourne was the Melbourne Zoo. It was really cool, and like no zoo I’ve ever been to. You were sooo close to each animal enclosure, in some case only separated from the animals by a glass wall or even just a kinda ditch separating the elevated ground from the visitor walkways and in some cases, like in the lemur enclosure, you are actually inside the enclosure with the animals running around you freely. The most interesting thing about the lemur enclosure, to get in and out, you had to go through a 2 door “lockbox”, where one door had to be completely closed before you are allowed into or out of the enclosure, so that the lemurs couldn’t get out. I think the lemurs and the seals were the best things about the zoo, among a number of great things.
Check out some pics here:
On May 30, our last morning in Melbourne, we visited the Royal Botanical Garden, and for lunch, I went to this chinese restaurant for lunch (Red Emperor Chinese Restaurant it was really good, still San Francisco was the best Chinese so far) and just hung out on the river for a bit, ’til I returned to the hotel to get ready for our return flight on May 31st.
I had a great time in Melbourne. It was a very hip, urban city, with great old world architecture mixed with some of the most modern architecture I’ve seen. Even though we were in the CBD, the alleyways and side streets mixed together some hipster type restaurants and shops mixed in with more mainstream department and convenience stores. The weather was actually pretty mild, with some days of colder weather, but never freezing nor did I need a heavy coat.
As a brief aside, as a traveler of color, in a predominantly “white” city, I never felt like I was being followed or judged, nor was anyone out right rude or standoffish. I was as comfortable walking solo through the city as I was when I was with my friend and her husband. So if you can handle the 15hr flight and being a day ahead of the US, and you are looking for a laid back city with character and sites, but not some hectic hustle or bustle, Melbourne is def the city for you.
So that was my 5 days in Melbourne (a bit abbreviated, I didn’t take as many pictures as I could have taken, BTW). Again, sorry for the length of this post, but I hope you enjoyed it.