All posts filed under: see & do

Free V/Line travel

Victorians! As some of your may know, V/Line has been offering free travel on its services over this past week to make up for ongoing service disruptions. The offer was due to end today, but it has now been extended for another week — until the last service on Sunday 7 February. The offer includes all services, including Night Coaches. This is a great opportunity to get out and about the state and explore those places you’ve been meaning to visit — or just have a look at the network map and do a lucky dip! It’s recommended to book tickets early as trains and coaches are expected to fill up quickly. More info here. Happy travels!

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.

Queen Vic Night Market returns

Heads up, people. The Queen Vic Night Market returns next Wednesday (5 November) for another season of yum food, cool tunes, twinkly lights and sweaty crowds. Yes, it’s full of overheating tourists and it can be nigh on impossible to find a seat, but come here on a balmy summer evening and you’ll feel like you’re on holiday (or perhaps you are on holiday — in which case, soak it up!). The market runs every Wednesday night until 25 March 2015 except Christmas Eve and New Years Eve.   The Night Market Dates: 5 November 2014 — 25 March 2015 Time: 5pm–10am Where: Queen Victoria Market, Melbourne  

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 …

International Cup 2014

On Saturday I happened to be in the CBD when hundreds of uniformed sportspeople began streaming into Federation Square. There were teams from South Africa, Ireland, Sweden, USA, Tonga, Finland… the list goes on. As it turns out, 10 August was the kick-off of ‘IC14’, or the International Cup 2014. The sport? AFL. Having never been particularly interested in Melbourne’s home-grown sporting obsession, I had no idea that Australian rules football had gone global. Eighteen countries are represented in the cup, with eighteen men’s teams and seven women’s teams slugging it out in the mud over the coming weeks. I may not be a footy head, but I’m a culture junkie through and through. Footy just got a whole lot more interesting. You can catch games at the McAlister, Ransford and Western Ovals in Royal Park, Parkville during August, with the grand finals taking place at the MCG on 23 August. There is also a community round on 16 August, which will be played in various outer Melbourne suburbs and regional towns across Victoria. View the …

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, …

Top ten things to do in Melbourne (on a budget)

This isn’t going to be your average top ten list. Everyone can open a guide book and read about the Eureka Tower Skydeck, or the Melbourne Aquarium, or the latest glamorous restaurant. I’ll leave those ‘blockbuster’ attractions for you to discover on your own. Instead, this list is made up of personal recommendations from this Melbourne Local to you — specific aspects of Melbourne that resonate most strongly with me as a local. And, of course, they can all be done on a paper-thin budget. So, without further ado, let me present my top ten.   1. Walk the laneways. This is one of the first things I do with visitors. Melbourne’s laneways are one of its most characteristic features; this is where many of its most loved institutions — its street-side cafes, its hidden bars, its street art — can be found. So, try this short walking tour: Begin with the Platform Artists Group in Campbell Arcade, then make your way up through Degraves Street and into Centre Place. From here, ‘do The Block‘ in The Block Arcade, then …