A rainy, grey day gives good reason to find shelter amongst the many indoor activities that Melbourne offers. One of the larger, more time consuming options is the Melbourne Museum. From my hostel, to get there I go to walk through the sizable Carlton Gardens. At the middle of the gardens sits the Royal Exhibition Building.
The Royal Exhibition Building has been standing here since the 1880s, and is actually a UNESCO World Heritage Building. Unfortunately with a trade expo going on inside at the moment, I couldn’t explore the insides. But, the outside was pretty enough to wander around.
Nestled behind the Exhibition Building lies the much more modern Melbourne Museum. Featuring both Victorian (regional) history and Australia history, as well as several other interesting exhibits, I figured I would spend a few hours here.
The museum was excellent. I especially enjoyed the areas on the evolution of the Australian Continent since the beginning of Earth – it’s a perspective I don’t believe I’ve seen before. Where as the North American/European museums feature the Northern hemisphere primarily (and understandably), it was interesting to learn about how the land of Australia had transformed, moved and existed for millions of years. Not to mention, lots of information on the unique animals and plants that exist here. They also had a very interesting exhibit on the mind and cognitive understanding. A great way to spend a few hours.
After all of that learnin’, I was getting hungry. Rather than go to a restaurant or sushi stand (my typical fare for lunch), I ventured over to the Queen Victoria Market. A permanent fixture in Melbourne and open more days than not, the Victoria Market is a massive sprawl of booths, food displays, fresh produce and fruits, numerous butchers and cheese makers. Not to mention other trade goods and quite a few stalls in one corner, of what I’d describe as ‘junk’ (ie cheap souvenirs, poorly made clothing, etc). Suffice to say, I had not troubles finding a bite to eat.
These are definitely days when I love having a big city at your fingertips – just because the weather is poor doesn’t mean there aren’t 100 things to do. New Zealand suffered a bit from being almost entirely an outdoors country. If the weather is fantastic, you hardly notice it as there is so much to do. But if the weather turns and you get an unlucky spell of rain and cold, there is a notable lack of options for travelers. Sure, you could venture out into the rain for a hike…but that just doesn’t seem like much fun, now does it?