The Dickson’s head to Melbourne
Since we started the Head2Head Walk back in 2012, Anj and I have always planned a post-event trip away, to recover from the months of planning, managing and stress which organising a fundraiser of this scale includes. Over the years we have slowly headed further afield; Raglan (a mere hour and a half drive away), the Wellington (a mere hour flight away) and then this year we took it up a notch. Back in May, I received a notification from Air New Zealand that their flights to Melbourne were on sale and that got us thinking.
We had both heard great things about Melbourne and at the time of booking the flights, I had never been to Australia. I know, how crazy was that having been in New Zealand for seven years, I’d never made it across the ditch. Having booked the flights, I started looking through Instagram at all the cool places to visit in this fine city and I just couldn’t wait to jump on board the plane.
The fundraiser came and went, raising $15,000 in the process for OKE and we started packing for escape. We had heard good things about the shopping in Melbourne, hence we packed very lightly and managed to fit everything into a small case, which we then packed into a larger empty suitcase…yep, we were going to hit the shops hard.
Traveling with a toddler…
I’ve heard and witnessed plenty of horror stories about traveling with toddlers, but I have to say, the combination of Taylor and Air New Zealand makes for pretty chilled flying. It does help when he nods off just minutes into a flight and wakes halfway through, but all the same, he’s a good little traveler, which I like to think is a genetic thing. I have to give a shout out to the head steward on the flight, who just happened to be a balloon artist and made funky balloon animals for all the kids on the flight.
It’s always a little daunting visiting a new city and trying to navigate your way around. It is, of course, a lot easier these days with the help of Google Maps on your phone, but this doesn’t help when you’re trying to carry a toddler, pushchair, car seat and all your luggage…the tech industry may be evolving rapidly, alas we still only have two hands. Having collected all our luggage, we were directed to three different places to catch the St. Kilda Express bus, which was to take us to our home for the next few days. We finally found the bus stop and within minutes we were speeding towards the Cosmopolitan Hotel.
Exploring the great city of Melbourne
All the great reviews for the Cosmopolitan Hotel were well founded and it is in such an awesome location, just off the main drag in St Kilda, literally five-minute walk from the tram station which takes you into the heart of Melbourne. I’m glad we chose to stay on the outskirts of the city, as it was great to be able to have a stroll along the beach after a day exploring the city. Plus Acland Street is a great place to get pretty much all the food fixes you need, from fish n chips to good ol’ fashioned soul food. Oh and shop windows of the bakeries along this street are insane.
Now a little tip for when you get to Melbourne, grab yourself a Myki pass as soon as you can. The public transport in Melbourne is up there with the best cities in the world, with the option of tram, bus, trains etc., to get you around. In fact, once you get inside the CBD limits, public transport is free! Amazing. Admittedly, like any public transport system, it gets packed out during peak travel times i.e. when people are heading to/from work, which can make it a little tricky when using a stroller. Solution – avoid these times.
The majority of our trip was spent eating, shopping and looking up! Although it’s not the cheapest place in the world to eat, probably 20% more expensive than Auckland, the quality of the food is really good in this city. Our first meal of the trip was at Jacky Jones, a delicious plate of fish and chips, which was just the beginning of a week of great eating. The one other place I have to mention for food is Stalactites, as the staff were awesome with Taylor and their food could have come straight out of a kitchen in Greece!
Anj and I love to get off the tourist trail when we’re traveling, however, on this occasion we were quite happy to see what Melbourne had to offer it’s visitors. We pretty much stuck to central Melbourne, as there was just so friggin’ much to see. As I mentioned, there was a lot of looking up, as the city really knows how to build very cool looking buildings. It was as if architects are just given free licence to design whatever their creativeness desired, rather than just designing to for functionality. Well done.
My personal highlight from our time in this part of the world, was visiting the Queen Victoria Market. The one thing I miss the most about Europe, are the markets and the Queen Vic Market just made me feel homesick. It just reminded me so much of the markets back home, with stall holders engaging with all the customers in merry banter, the stalls themselves stocked with amazing produce and just the general feeling that this place had avoided the technological onslaught and kept true to its core value, of selling good quality items to the everyday shopper, whilst having a laugh along the way.
And then of course there was the shopping, which really did live up to all the hype. We probably spent far too much time inside shopping malls rather than checking out the historic beauty of Melbourne, but when you’re starved of good shopping as we are here in Auckland, you really do have to make the most of the opportunity. There were plenty of great shops, but the stand out for me was UNIQLO! I can’t remember the last time I want on a shopping blitz like I did in this store, as mens clothing goes, this is the place to shop.
All in all, the Dickson’s loved Melbourne and we’ll be back for sure. For a start, we have to go back to finish looking around Melbourne Zoo, as we only managed to get half way around in the four hours we were there. Plus we have other suburbs of the city to explore, as well as more great eateries which were recommended throughout our trip. Bring on 2017 and more exciting travels.