I had one final walk in Melbourne I wanted to do before I left the city. This one encompassed the crown jewel of Melbourne’s Parks, the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Within the downtown area of Melbourne lie not only numerous parks, but several European-styled Cathedrals. Todays walk encompassed several of both types:
Alternate Titles Include: My Day at the Prom, and Kangaroos, Wombats and Emus, Oh My!
Wilsons Promontory is a large National Park located about 3 hours from Melbourne. As it is the offseason for tourism in Melbourne, a few of the local operators are running fairly good deals. Bunyip was one such operator, offering this tour for FREE when I took their 3-day Great Ocean Road tour to Adelaide. Since I was already planning to do the Great Ocean Road, this was far and away the best deal I saw. A day in a national park seeing wildlife and hiking? Sounds perfect to me!
Australia has a couple of major sports. It all depends on which region you are in. Rugby reigns supreme out on the East Coast, with huge support in centers likes Sydney and Brisbane. In Melbourne though, they play a different game completely – Australian Rules Football.
While it shares some similarities to Rugby, there are quite a few differences as well. If I were to say both Aussie Rules and Rugby were a combination of Soccer and American Football for comparison, I’d put Aussie Rules more towards Soccer and Rugby more towards American Football. That is NOT to say that Aussie Rules is any less tough or physical than Rugby – it’s just a different type.
Rugby is a very grinding physical game, often won by inch upon grueling inch. Aussie Rules is much more fluid, flowing, open running game. Players are much more often in constant motion, hitting happens less frequently and points are more readily scored.
The game itself is blissfully easy to follow for the uninitiated. There are two general rules for Aussie Rules, as far as I could figure:
Another day, another city walk! I’d already hit upon the Yarra River a tiny bit, but today I’d explore it more at length.
Generally, road rules here make sense. There is no goofy ‘Give Way’ rule in Australia that New Zealand had (recently abolished there as well!). As Melbourne is a large city, traffic is primarily controlled via stoplights rather than roundabouts. All in all, nothing too special.
Except when you factor in these things:
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.
My flight from New Zealand got me into Australia fairly late in the evening, around 8pm or so. After clearing customs and retrieving my baggage, I made it to my hostel by 9pm (actually 11pm for me, on NZ time). So pretty much all I did that night was I found my room and jumped into bed.
The next day however, I was up and eager to explore. The morning rains cleared quickly and I found myself in the downtown core. The central spot would probably be Federation Square. It had the visitor’s center and several large convention/exhibition/gallery type places, and it was pretty neat looking to boot, so I figured it would be as good a spot as any to start at!