Taken For a Ride in Melbourne

After staying up until 3 o’clock in the morning watching Premiere league football (I will NOT call it soccer! the Aussies picked the wrong horse with that) I was a little bleary eyed behind the wheel the following morning. After about an hour driving, my eyelids said “No”. So I swapped seats with the wife.

Next thing I knew, we were surrounded by tall buildings. I hadn’t seen any of those for some time. As we drove in on the main road and without too much notice, we were electronically zapped and told to pay the $12 toll at a post office within 3 days or be fined. Welcome to Melbourne. I’m sure you can get in for free, if you know the way. We didn’t.

I liked Melbourne despite this. It’s vibrant, colourful and it has trams. I always like places with trams. How about this? My daughter wanted a tram ride. “Sure” I said. So we jumped on the first tram that came along. I explained to the driver we just wanted a little tram ride and that I had no idea where his tram went. He told me his “end of the line” was about 10 minutes away and then he would turn around and come back. Perfect! “How much?” He pointed to the ticket machine was but I didn’t have the $3.70 in change I needed. “That’s OK” he said, “Have this one for free.” So, Melbourne is friendly too.

Like London, Melbourne has a Docklands. It all looked pretty new and shiny and err…. deserted. Apparently it hasn’t taken off as hoped. But I remember what the London Docklands was like in the early days of the 90’s. It all looked pretty new and shiny and err…. deserted. So there’s hope for this one.

The City As Viewed From Docklands

The City - Viewed From Docklands

Like London, Melbourne has an “Eye”.

The Melbourne Eye

The Melbourne Eye

My initial research into this (I spoke to some Aussie bloke on the tram going to Docklands) suggests there are only 3 of these “Eyes” in the world and London’s is the biggest and this one second. “Never talk to strangers” my mum used to say. Good call! Turns out there are many more. The current top four, from biggest to smallest are Singapore, London, Nanchung and then this one in Melbourne. But there are many more and at least two bigger ones under construction in China and Germany. If Ferris wheels are your thing, read more over at the Wiki page

Like London, Melbourne has a river running through it.

Yarra River

Yarra River

But, unlike London, Melbourne backs onto an ocean.

Melbourne, With Ocean Views

Melbourne, With Ocean Views

This is two pictures pushed together. Bet you can’t see the join.

Yes. I liked Melbourne. It was hot for both days we were there, around 86°f (35°c), but for a city, it wasn’t a stuffy heat. It was quite pleasant. If we’d have had longer, we would have liked to go see the penguins at Phillip Island. But we didn’t have longer. We had a schedule. I think we’ll be coming back to Melbourne at some point. But right now, we’re all looking forward to the Great Ocean Road.

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