Saturday, May 31, 2014

Wicked Melbourne adventures

Earlier this month I spent a day and a half in Melbourne enjoying the sights.  I did a bit of geocaching throughout the day, but also did my best to soak in my last days in Australia.  The entire reason I went to Melbourne in the first place was because, on a whim, I bought a ticket to go see Wicked mid-week.  Once I had my ticket, I decided to make it a full day of fun!

Travelling to and within Melbourne is actually pretty easy (now that I've done it a few times).  The hour-long train ride from Geelong to Melbourne is only $7.88, and it's quite comfortable if it's not too busy and there are seats available.  Then once you get into Melbourne, the MiKi cards you use to pay for the train also pay for the metro and trams through a tap-on/tap-off system.  I'll admit I did take the tram a few times, but part of the experience was walking around and enjoying looking at stuff, so often I would skip the tram.

My tickets to see Wicked were for May 14th, and I'm told that the show had just arrived in Melbourne on May 7th, so there were tons of ads all over the place about the show.  Throughout the day I had multiple reminders about how fun my evening was going to be.  It was fun to continually get excited throughout the day as I walked around and saw Wicked posters.

My first little errand - I paid for a passport stamp back in July 2013 when I originally got my Visa, but I never actually got the stamp (logistics didn't work out before I left).  I still had no trouble getting into the country because my visa was digitally linked to my passport, but I had already shelled out the cash and had my receipt, so I figured I would at least get that one thing done.  I had the whole day available to wait in line, but thankfully it only took about 20 minutes.  Success!

Since the show was going to be over late, I booked a room at a hostel in Fitzroy that I stayed at last Christmas when Dad and I visited Melbourne.  It's a cozy old nunnery (called The Nunnery) full of young international travelers.  I shared a room with a young German girl and an older Russian lady.  It was cheap at $35 a night, and worked absolutely perfect for my situation.  The funniest thing about staying there was the signs they had put up about "house rules".  The Nunnery was a convent at one time, but hadn't had nuns in it since the 70s, yet all the signs had references to the nuns.  "Keep quiet for the nuns" haha


With my bag dropped off, I set off to enjoy some scenery.  During the time in which I visited Melbourne, Victoria was enjoying the last few weeks of warm fall weather before it started to get a bit cool (and I say cool, not cold for their winter).  The beautiful Royal Gardens across from The Nunnery had trees that were slowly turning brown.  I remember much more vivid colors (more deep yellows and rusty reds) from enjoying fall in the New England area, but I didn't expect to see fall colors in Australia.  It was a bit odd because it was a really warm day and plenty of flowers were blooming in the garden as well.

Melbornian Autumn
I continued along through the CBD checking out shops here and there and enjoying the architecture.  Melbourne has a really interesting feel to it - there are these massive modern skyscrapers next to old-fashioned brick buildings from the 1860s.  It's highly contrasting but really fun as well.  I love the old storefronts that look like they were old-timey general stores at one time.


My favorite building in Melbourne is in the heart of the CBD.  I have no idea what the building is for, but when the sun hits the colored panes just right - it's so beautiful.  Like walking through a rainbow.

Rainbow trails

My favorite!
Another thing on my list of things to enjoy that day: Affogato.  I found a coffee bar actually named Affogato and got my very own Affogato along with a delicious lunch.  I asked for an Affogato with Frangelico (shot of espresso, scoop of vanilla and shot of Frangelico), but evidently it had been a busy day and they were all out of liquor, so I went without the booze.  Still a very delicious treat on a sunny afternoon in Melb.

I continued strolling through the CBD for the rest of the afternoon.  There was just so much to see and experience!  Beautiful architecture, cute little shops, and I loved the street art!  Every large city has it's fair share of graffiti, but it felt like true street art in Melbourne.

Love the bright color

Street monkeys :)
Later on I found myself in Federation Square, where a display was set up celebrating Wool Week.  They had a few small exhibits set up as well as a corral with lambs and a very famous sheep: Fred.  Evidently he had performed for the royal couple who visited the month before, and #imetfred was trending.  Due to work restrictions, I had to keep a safe distance from the animals, but I still enjoyed watching the kids pet the small lambs.

Famous Fred
Across Federation Square is Flinder's Street Station, a very impressive station with an old-fashioned face.  They had a cool photo next to the wool exhibits showing a bunch of sheep that were run through the square in front of the station back in 1985.  Keep in mind this is a very busy metropolitan intersection, so I'm sure running the sheep through there was no small feat.

Caption reads: "Tim's reputation for breeding sheepdogs is internationally known.  His team of kelpies herded this flock of 1,500 merinos, in orderly commuter fashion, to celebrate 150 years of sheep in Melbourne and the arrival of the Melbourne Show.

Flinder's today
Excitement was building for the show as I enjoyed a tasty dinner at a traditional Japanese restaurant.  Of course I got to the theatre really early - I had my ticket all ready to go but I was just too excited.  The foyer was deliciously green!

I scored a terrific seat when I bought my ticket - very front row all the way to the right.  I'd seen the show once before so I wasn't to worried if only 90% of the show was clear from my seat, but I ended up having only one or two times where my view of the main character was obstructed by a cast member.  The show was absolutely fantastic!!  For some reason I expected the characters to have Aussie accents but they certainly didn't - the American parts were played with an American accent and the few English characters had appropriate English accents.  I sang along (only in my head) to every one of the songs and loved every single second.

When everyone exited the theatre, the CBD surrounding the theatre had been all lit up in green.  I wasn't sure if it was for the show or they normally use green, but it make my walk home to the hostel extra-enjoyable.

All-in-all, a fantastic day.  I had a very comfortable night at The Nunnery and walked to the train station the next morning after a leisurely breakfast.  If you ever get a chance to visit Australia, I highly recommend spending a few days in Melb to take in the sights!!

In front of the Royal Exhibition building


  1. I'm impressed at your ability to sightsee solo. I'd be so afraid of getting lost. Looks like loads of fun.

    1. It's a skill I recently acquired out of necessity, but it's also nice because I can linger or leave at a whim since I'm on my own. And I always had my phone to use google maps in case I got turned around. Sometimes getting lost is part of the adventure ;)