With limited time, my friends and I knew that we had to move fast, and we had to know where exactly we were going throughout the entire day. We hastily planned our trip but it still went great, thanks to Melbourne's great public transport system. We got the day pass which only costs $6.80 and it covers all train, tram & bus rides. Talk about extremely cheap means of travel (Sydney sucks at this!!!).
Based on that lesson learned, here's a handy travel hint: if you ever go on a weekend trip, plan it out couple of weeks beforehand and make sure you've got the maps & means of transportation together as well. Know exactly what you want to see, and make sure each person has a contribution to the list of places to visit - this makes it all the more fun because it involves a mixture of different interests!
Anyway - I always end up going on a tangent here - my apologies.
On our second day, we first headed to St Patrick's Cathedral, which is in East Melbourne. We took the train from our place, getting off at Parliament station. It is a beautiful early 19th century structure, still very gothic, I would say. Here are some photos I took -
I'd have to say, St Patrick's looks really beautiful both on the inside and out, and it is well maintained. We didn't hang around for the mass but we all said our little prayers then headed for other equally worthy spots.
Our next stop: the Parliament House of Victoria (right across St Patrick's). It was still closed when we arrived, so we just took photos outside. It's another one of those classic buildings which (I suppose) has Roman influences, there being the presence of columns and such.
Approaching the Parliament House
The part I love most about the Parliament House's exterior: Mosaic-like tiling!
My 15 seconds of fame with Australian media. & I don't even know what channel it is. Oops.
Our next stop definitely isn't in any travel guidebook. We made a (rather long) trip to the toilet in Sofitel Melbourne. It isn't your regular toilet, I promise you that. Situated on the 35th floor of Sofitel, it has a really great bird's eye view of the city, where you see the Yarra, and all the other things Melbourne has in store for its visitors.
The 35th floor toilet view of Melbourne
The Yarra in sight
Now, with that view, who would pass up a chance to go have a toilet break here?!
Sofitel's atrium - isn't it lovely? :-)
When everyone was done with their business, we knew we had to explore the rest of the landmarks in East Melbourne. The City Museum was in sight, and that had to be next. It's actually in the Old Treasury Building of Melbourne, right next to the Victorian Marriage Registry:
We actually witnessed someone get married that day - cheers to that!
What the Old Treasury Building looks like across the street
Me sizing up my height against the City Museum sign.
The City Museum is the perfect place to go if you really want to learn about the making of Melbourne. Artifacts in the permanent exhibit go as far back as 1835, from old dentist chairs to vintage bicycles, the governor's toilet & clothes back in the day. It also shows the life in the Old Treasury, specifically, its old caretaker John Maynard & his family. In the basement is another permanent exhibit is Built on Gold which shows visitors the story of Victorian gold in 8 interactive "vaults".
Being a group of 5 we were able to avail of the Family ticket which costs $18. I reckon it's worth it. We spent heaps of time there just learning about Melbourne and its rich history. Get ready for an information overload as well. To avoid that though, follow my mantra: "Take photos now, read later". Haha.
After lunch (which needs to be reserved for another entry), we decided it was perfect weather to go for a stroll. The closest one was the Carlton Gardens which led straight to the Royal Exhibition Building as well as the IMAX & Melbourne Museum.
Me & my friend Erick in the background. Lol
I find this to be astounding, what do ya reckon?
At the end of the path is the Royal Exhibition Building. It's one of the oldest remaining pavilions in the world.
Right around this building is the IMAX theatre & the Melbourne Museum. Both of which are post-modern structures.
My friends Erick, Brenda & Nadine walking towards the museum
Exhausted after trying to tour the whole place in an hour
Yup, we came around the museum too late. You need a good 2-3 hours to see everything in this building, maybe even more. The perk is that if you're a student, you get in for free so long as you're able to present your student card. :-)
This is how our 2nd day in Melbourne ended, getting closed up on by the Melbourne Museum. Feel free to try the same route on your next visit, but maybe spend less time walking and hop on more onto the buses & trams, especially if you've got the day pass anyway. Then again, walking, getting a tad bit lost and seeing everything is so much more exciting. :-)