All posts filed under: photos

Williamstown sunrise

Recently I happened to be in Williamstown at dawn. As an inner-north dweller, I rarely see the sea — particularly not at this time of the morning — so my bleary eyes were stunned by the gorgeous views across the water. Williamstown itself, sunrise or no, is a super charming part of the world with its lovely historic buildings, large yacht club, botanic gardens and funny little beach located on the western side of the peninsula. Coming here feels like stepping into a far-off seaside town; it’s hard to believe it’s just 9km from Melbourne’s CBD. These photos were taken on a phone and they’re completely unedited, so what you see is truly what you get. Even if dawn isn’t your thing, this sunrise over the city really is worth the effort.  

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 …

Captains of Industry

I have a new cafe crush. Captains of Industry couldn’t be more Melbourne. Tucked down a laneway off Little Bourke Street, this cafe sits one floor above street level, its large front windows overlooking the beautiful GPO building on Elizabeth Street. The space has a warehouse look, with painted brick walls and large metal roof beams, but it doesn’t feel cold or cavernous. A smattering of small wooden tables, a long dining table and window benches makes this a comfortable hangout whether you’re visiting as a group, a couple or alone. And here’s where the industry comes in. Branching off from the main cafe space are three tiny shops: a shoemaker, a barbershop and a jeweller. Each is the size of a shoebox, but each is filled with a fascinating array of tools and contraptions. Peeking through these doors is like catching a glimpse into the Melbourne of another era. While the website declares that ‘the practitioners of Captains of Industry are Practical Men of Wide Experience offering the Good, the True and the Beautiful …

Brunswick community space

Recently, a section of a short dead-end road opposite Barkly Square in Brunswick was transformed into a community space. I stumbled across an event here one day, where people were dancing in the street and painting the road with beautiful colours. You’ll also find some lovely street art here, including yarn bombs and gorgeous poster art. There are some large umbrellas and recycled crates to sit on if you feel like relaxing on Sydney Road. These community spaces only work if the community gets involved, so if you’re a Brunswick local why not check it out? Update: The Brunswick Community Art Space no longer exists.  

St Andrews Community Market

Every Saturday, a hillside in the small township of St Andrews is overrun with falafel stands, vaguely tribal-looking jewellery stalls and general hippy-happiness. Like-minded types come from near and far to soak up the market’s relaxed atmosphere and sip tea in the Chai Tent, while a few music groups gather with violins, drums and earnest voices to serenade visitors. Located about 45 kilometres north-east of Melbourne between Hurstbridge and Kinglake, St Andrews is a picturesque little place, surrounded by rollings hills, farms and thick native bushland. It takes about an hour to drive here from Melbourne’s CBD, and luckily on Saturdays it is also accessible by public transport (take the train to Hurstbridge then catch the free shuttle bus to St Andrew’s Market). The scenery is as much a drawcard as the small market — those with cars should also take the opportunity to explore the surrounding area (nearby Kangaroo Ground is, well, a prime kangaroo ground). Even if you’re not particularly excited about palm readings and hessian clothes, the St Andrews Market is a …

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 …

Acústico Café

Two years ago, Diego Iraheta opened a tiny one-room coffee stop called Acústico Cafe on Union Street, near Jewell Station in Brunswick. For a time, this place remained a somewhat hidden secret behind dark tinted windows — a caffeine pit-stop for a handful of locals. Gradually, however, Diego realised the cafe was outgrowing its premises, so he opened the back room to create a lounge area furnished with recycled bits and bobs, including a couple couches and a stripped-back piano. Here, the large industrial side-door is rolled up in warm weather for an ‘outside-in’ feel, and there’s a steady flow of well-chosen, laid-back tunes to soothe the ears. The coffee at Acústico is tasty and the food is delicious and reasonably priced. The Latin-American influenced menu rotates every few months to keep things interesting — check the Acústico facebook page for recent additions. This is where you’ll also find details of any gigs and other events happening at the cafe, which aims to be a hub for the local artistic community.   Acústico is the sort of …

How to make a garden (in Melbourne)

If you’ve never tried making a garden, now’s the time to give it a shot. As the weather warms, this is the perfect time of the year to plant some seeds and watch them grow. The internet is full of information and advice on how best to make a garden, but I’ll pass on a few small tips that I’ve found to be the most helpful. 1. Pots Those of us who live with small gardens (or no gardens) will need to grow our plants in pots or other containers. You can buy plastic pots very cheaply from Kmart; the bigger the better. I also use a couple of large wooden drawers that I found on the roadside. With a few holes cut in the bottom, they work perfectly as a garden bed. One advantage of using pots is that you can strategically place them in the spots that get the most direct sunlight — a crucial factor for growing most plants. 2. Compost Juicy, wormy compost is, basically, plant food. Without it, your plants …

Free jumping castle in Fed Square!

    Clear your weekend schedule immediately and get thee to Fed Square to play on the free jumping castle! Ok, so strictly speaking it’s not a castle — more a big squashy blow-up platform on which to jump around with reckless abandon. It’s like being four all over again. Adults and children welcome. Groups generally take turns for about five minutes at a time, but you can jump as often as you like. Only open until 8pm tomorrow, so get onto it, people!   JUMP  Dates: Until 13 October 2013 Time: 10am–8pm Venue: Federation Square, Melbourne