All posts filed under: living in melbourne

Moonee Ponds Creek Trail

We Melburnians are fortunate souls. I felt this particularly keenly the other day as I cycled the Moonee Ponds Creek Trail for the first time. Surrounded by green, and with frequent easy access to public drinking taps, we cycled all the way from Brunswick to Tullamarine hardly ever seeing a car. I’ve long been a fan of the beautiful Merri Creek Trail, but the Moonee Ponds Creek Trail turns out to be equally lovely, even if it’s not quite as well maintained. As the trail winds along the creek, it takes you through stark industrial underpasses and lush parkland, including one of the prettiest picnic spots I’ve yet come across in Melbourne. The trail is 25km long, linking the Docklands with Tullamarine, with only a short on-road section in the quiet backstreets of Essendon. If you are in the mood for a full day’s ride, there are also connections to the Merri Creek trail and the Capital City Trail. For more information on the trail, visit the Moreland City Council website. Advertisements

Spring Gardening in Melbourne

Ah, spring. My favourite time of the year in Melbourne. Sun, blossom, green shoots and a winter’s worth of compost ready to be put to use. Although the weather’s still a bit temperamental, there are dozens of herbs and veggies that are suitable for planting in September. Herbs like basil, oregano, parsley, mint, coriander and dill are great to grow in pots if you have limited space, while those lucky enough to have big backyards can go for veggies like beans, carrots, broccoli, potatoes, pumpkins and zucchinis. For a full run-down on what to plant this spring, the Gardening Australia website has a great planting guide. (Here’s another handy one.) Melbourne sits in the southern temperate zone, and these guides are tailored specifically for our city’s climate. For some more general tips on gardening in Melbourne, click here.  

Werribee Gorge

After living in the city for a while, it’s easy to forget how therapeutic nature can be. Surrounded by the bell-like sounds of Australian birdsong and the gorgeous range and depths of nature’s colours, you begin to feel a peace rarely found in cities. On the weekend I spent a day at Werribee Gorge. About an hour’s drive (65 kilometres) from Melbourne, this state park is a lovely place to go picnicking, hiking or even rock-climbing. There are several walks you can do, ranging from a leisurely river walk along the bottom of the gorge to the 4.5-hour (10 kilometre) hike up and down the hills surrounding the valley. There are some beautiful views here, and if you keep your eyes sharp there’s every chance you might get lucky and spot some local wildlife. Unfortunately there is no way to reach Werribee Gorge by public transport — car is the only option. If you’re planning a trip here, make sure you bring supplies as of course there are no shops anywhere nearby. There are toilet facilities and …

Feral Fruit Trees Melbourne

Recently I heard about Feral Fruit Trees Melbourne, a local blog that plots the location of fruit trees growing in (or overhanging) public spaces in this city. The blog includes a Google map to which punters can add public fruit trees they’ve spotted around Melbourne. The blog advocates exercising restraint in your fruit-picking endeavours — don’t pick more than you need — and in the case of picking fruit from a privately owned tree that’s overhanging a public area, do the right thing and ask the owner if possible. There seems to be increasing momentum around the sustainable food movement lately, and this is just one more illustration of the fact.

Regent Honeyeater Project 2014

It’s that time of the year again, folks. Last year I wrote about the great work of the Regent Honeyeater Project, a volunteer conservation group that works to rebuild the habitat of endangered species in the Lurg Hills of North Eastern Victoria. As we slowly approach springtime, the RHP is once again calling for volunteers to help dig holes, plants trees and generally get together for a weekend of good clean fun. Some food is provided, and there’s free accommodation in the Benalla Scout and Guides Hall (mattresses are provided but bring your own sleeping bag and pillow). You can find all the details on the RHP flyer here. The planting weekend is hard work, but it’s also extremely rewarding and a lot of fun. If you’re a city dweller, it’s rare to have the opportunity to escape the concrete and get your hands in some dirt. Here’s your chance — plus you’ll be helping to save several endangered species at the same time.   Regent Honeyeater Project 2014 Planting weekends: 9–10 August, 23–24 August, 6–7 September, …

Foster a cat with Paws and Tails

Many of us love animals but find it difficult to commit to keeping a pet — perhaps we travel, move house often, or simply don’t know where we’ll be in a year’s time. If you’re a cat lover currently living in Melbourne, there’s an answer — one that involves helping others as well as feeding our own selfish need for cat cuddles. Paws and Tails (PAT) is a privately run organisation operating in the inner western suburbs to rescue and re-home cats and kittens in need. The organisation is always looking for foster carers to take in cats until they have found a permanent home. The carer is responsible for feeding the cat and worming it where necessary, but any vet bills are covered by PAT. My share-house has been fostering cats and kittens for almost a year now. In that time, we’ve cared for over a dozen animals. As some of these cats have come to us a little traumatised, the adjustment period after the move has sometimes been a bit challenging, but in the …

Free public lectures in Melbourne

“Learning never exhausts the mind,” said the great Leonardo da Vinci. Another wise man had similarly encouraging words for his readers: “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” That was Dr Seuss. We are never too old to learn. And, in Melbourne, not being enrolled in a university course doesn’t mean you can’t go to university. Several of the city’s largest universities host free public lectures on a weekly or biweekly basis. If you’re craving some juicy brain food, check out the public lecture series at The University of Melbourne in Parkville, Monash University in Caulfield or Clayton, and La Trobe University in Bundoora. You can find more info on talks and lectures in Melbourne (not all free, mind) by clicking here.  

How to survive a heatwave (in Melbourne)

Batten down the hatches, Melbourne. We’re in for a scorcher. With temperatures set to peak at 43 degrees Celsius today, and the next few days hovering around 40, I figure now’s the time to pass on some hard-earned advice on how to keep cool in Melbourne’s summer heat. Option 1: Fortify Assuming you don’t have air conditioning at home and you don’t want to brave the heat outside, the next best tactic is to keep your house cool by closing all windows and doors in the early morning, blocking out the sun, sitting in front of a fan and keeping a water bottle handy. Ice blocks and wet towels highly recommended. Option 2: Take a plunge Although a common response to 43 degrees is hitting the beach, this can be a mixed blessing. Yes, there is cooling sea water, but often there isn’t much shade, without which you will boil and burn. A tree-lined river or water hole can be a better option. You can find some lovely swimming spots along the Yarra River: check …

CERES Community Environment Park

If you love nature, gardening, organic food, bicycles or animals, or if you’re passionate about conservation and general do-gooderness, you should head to CERES Community Environment Park in Brunswick East. This place is like an urban lung, feeding Melbourne’s northern inner suburbs with oxygen and greenery and the smells of fresh dirt and ground coffee. Apart from being a lovely place to simply wander around and look at chickens, CERES has its own Organic Market, a Permaculture Nursery, and an Organic Cafe. CERES also offers a range of courses and workshops on all things green and sustainable; check the website for details of what’s on offer. There are also a bunch of volunteer opportunities here, so contact CERES if you’re keen to get involved. One popular and very handy CERES service is the team of volunteer bicycle fixer-upperes at The BikeShed. If, like me, you’re a little mechanically challenged, take your ailing bike along to CERES and the kind folk here will teach you how to fix it yourself. You can also buy new and second-hand bicycle parts …

Tram it in Melbourne

If you’re new to Melbourne, one of the best ways to get to know the city is by tram. Melbourne is home to Australia’s only tram network, which is also the largest urban network in the world. Trams service not only the city but also the inner suburbs, so ‘tramming it’ is a great way to explore Melbourne’s different neighbourhoods. Here are three of my favourite tram routes to get you started:   The Number 86: Bundoora RMIT — Waterfront City Docklands Jump on tram 86 on Elizabeth Street, near the GPO. You’ll travel past Parliament House, then up past the Carlton Gardens, which house the beautiful Royal Exhibition Building and the Melbourne Museum. Next you’ll travel along Gerturde Street, home to many boutique shops and restaurants, and Smith Street, a great spot for cheap shopping with its many factory outlets. Finally you’ll pass through Westgarth (look out for the lovely cinema) and up the hill to High Street in Northcote, famed for its great live music venues. Here I recommend finishing the trip — …