themainmane asked: I'm thinking of going to Melbourne for a month or so in October, and you seem well versed on travel and are from the area to boot. Would it be acceptable of me to pick your brain? I'm currently going through your tags about housemates, travel, etc. but I figured I'd send and ask to see what that gets me. As of right now, since I'm waiting to see what I gather from your posts, I only have the one question: What's the weather generally like in October/November?
I will answer your question: Melbourne’s weather can be ridiculously unpredictable, but it is very likely to be gorgeous in October and November. It should be warm, though not unbearable.
I will also ignore you and give Melbourne touristy advice.
It used to stump me, wondering what tourists do when they come to Melbourne. But now that I’ve spent nearly two months in Hawai’i, surrounded mostly by mainland Americans, I’ve realised that there’s a lot to do that I’ve taken for granted. I know you’re Canadian, but these things might still apply.
Things in Melbourne (or a day trip away) that I previously did not appreciate enough:
- The penguin parade at Philip Island.
- Max Brenner. Californian roommate tells me she’s never heard of a chocolate cafe! Or a chocolate and banana pizza! Churros are not such a big deal to Americans (or Canadians?) but I’m even crazier about the hot chocolates at San Churro than Max Brenner, for the record.
- Sucking tea through a Tim Tam. And Tim Tams, generally.
- Crunchies, Picnics and those new Cadbury blocks with jelly and honeycomb bits.
- Paton’s Macadamias (there is a lolly store in Northland, between the entrances of Coles and Myer, that sells them cheaply in plastic bags, shh!)
- Healesville Sanctuary.
- The ability to hug a koala and feed a kangaroo (where is the best place to do this by the way, Melbournians? I haven’t since I was a kid but I’ve spent so much time overseas that I want an Australiana fix when I come home).
- The trams!
Then there’s the things that are clearly unique and excellent:
- The Great Ocean Road and the 12 Apostles (and Mariner’s Lookout on the way, just before Apollo Bay)
- Federation Square
- Sovereign Hill
- The laneways (start with Degraves St, have a coffee, go get lost).
- Southbank at night.
- T2’s Melbourne Breakfast tea. With milk and honey.
And things that are maybe not entirely unique concepts but are just lovely anywhere in the world, and have an Australian edge:
- The Botanical Gardens and the Moonlight Cinema (bats!!)
- The Carlton Gardens next to the Exhibition Centre. In October and November the flowers will be beautiful and there will be so many ducklings. I’m excited already.
- In the same vein, Fitzroy Gardens for Cook’s Cottage. And ducklings.
- Brighton Dog Beach (just me?)
- St Kilda Beach
- The many bike paths into the suburbs (maybe also just me?)
- The Night Cat and the rooftop bars like Madame Brussels and the Carlton and the Rooftop Cinema bar (there seem to be no institutions like these in Hawaii, there probably are elsewhere in North America, but just in case).
- Strolling along the Yarra, basically anywhere.
- Melbourne Zoo
- Melbourne Museum
- Scuba diving with sharks at Melbourne Aquarium is fun but expensive. I still recommend it. How else can you say you got a hug from a sting ray and lived to tell the tale? (I got a hug from a sting ray btw.)
And excellent food. I avoid eating out because of budget constraints (has there been a time when I have not been saving to go overseas in the last three years?) but favourites from my limited experience:
- Shanghai Dumplings (cannot stop thinking about those vegetarian dumplings, only Japan’s gyoza can compare in excellence. And pumpkin pastries! Ohgod).
- Wild Yak for decor and coconut chicken curry and an excuse to get you to visit Northcote. (Then pick a band and see them at the Northcote Social Club!)
- Boundary Espresso for green eggs and ham and chai lattes and an excuse to get you to visit Preston. Best preceded by a trip to Preston Market and its incredible hot jam donuts and turkish bread and produce and poffertjes and general excitement.
- Is the Queen Vic Night Market running by November? I recommend that if it is.
- If you’re cashed up, a Gingerboy banquet. I am perhaps biased because a Gingerboy banquet was basically my awakening to what dining can be.
- Auction Rooms in North Melbourne.
- Trampoline! Or GeloBar! Or 7 Apples!
- Choukette on Sydney Rd because those crossaints! Those macarons! So good. And while you’re in the area you might as well get some incredible honey chicken from Green Field Vietnamese for lunch.
- Sitka Foodstore and Café in Macedon. It’s not Melbourne, but it’s so worth the train trip or drive.
The fact that half of those places are local to me or to where I worked is, I think, proof that Melbourne just has really great food. The chances that you’ll go anywhere and be disappointed are pretty slim.
There’s galleries and art and culture and music but I’m terrible at that stuff - not that I don’t enjoy it, I do, I just don’t understand its relative significance or what I should recommend. Any questions about that should be deferred to thenextstation, andwhenithappens, etc.
That is the list I’ve had floating around my brain of places I would love to introduce to take the friends I’ve made here in Hawai’i, so thank you for giving me an excuse to write it all down. I wish they could come visit so I can be a tourist in my own home town.