Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market is busy and bustling enough as it is, but on Wednesday nights during the Summer it takes on a whole new life. In addition to the hundreds of market stalls where you can probably buy just about anything, there is live music as well as bars and food stalls from around the world which fill the market with delicious smells at every turn. Unfortunately it’s only on until the end of March when the Night Market closes for the Winter, but lucky for me last Wednesday I was given a last minute night off. I came home in the afternoon to find the kids’ mum had finally got out of hospital, was told to take the night off and go party, and given a huge box of sushi. Standard. Sadly after devouring my sushi on the tram ride into the city I wasn’t really up to eating anything else, so I didn’t get to try any of the amazing food on offer, though apparently Taki’s Balls (little doughnut balls smothered in Nutella) were damn good and can also attest to the flavoured iced tea by Those Girls. Definitely something to check out if ever you’re around in the Summer months.
I had heard a lot about the penguins at St Kilda Beach, which apparently come back after sunset every night to sleep, but on Friday morning when I mentioned to the family that I was going to try to see them that night they gave me skeptical looks and said they had never heard of such a thing. Undeterred I decided to go anyway, and to just spend the day at the beach and exploring the area beforehand. The walk to St Kilda from where I live is only about 7km, and from there I went back to Albert Park to see how it is without all the Formula 1 stuff going on. I didn’t realise that the race track is normally open to the public, so once I’ve got the car I’ll definitely take it for a drive around there! But for the time being I was content to walk around the lake, which is a really nice 5km walk.
Back in St Kilda I watched a truly spectacular sunset, which funnily almost coincided with the UK’s solar eclipse. I had been a bit gutted to be missing it, but sitting on a beach in Australia with such an amazing view definitely made up for it!
As soon as the sun set we headed along the pier to the breakwater, with fingers crossed but not feeling very hopeful about actually seeing any penguins. When we got there I had a chat with one of the penguin experts who are around to give information and to keep the penguins safe from idiotic tourists. She told me that because the penguins were currently molting it was unlikely that we would see very many, as during this time they can’t go in the water or eat; but just as she was speaking we spotted one hiding in the rocks, and just after a small crowd gathered on the other side of the rocks as one emerged from the water. Further along the breakwater I found two hiding under the walkway and was able to get really close up to them.
On Saturday a couple of friends wanted to do a free walking tour of Melbourne, and even though I’ve already explored a lot of the city myself I decided to join them to maybe learn a bit more about the history and things that I might have missed. It lasted about 3 hours and was actually really good. It was through I’m Free Tours, who do 2 tours every day for however much you want to pay them, and I would highly recommend it. After the tour we visited the Shrine of Remembrance, a war memorial in King’s Domain just South of the CBD, which apart from offering fantastic views back to the city is an amazing homage to everyone who has died fighting in the various wars, and we were even lucky enough to be there for a short memorial service.
Sunday was another gloriously hot, sunny day. In the morning I went with the kids to their school fête, which put any of my old school events to shame. While not exactly the coolest Sunday activity it was a nice way to spend the morning. From there I headed into the city to meet some friends and check out the Viva Multicultural Festival in Fed Square, which had some banging tunes and great food from around the world. We then attempted to go to a free rooftop pool party, but with a 2 hour wait to get up we decided to hit the beach instead. Having already visited a few of Melbourne’s beaches we opted to try a different one, Melbourne Beach, which surprisingly turned out to be one of the nicest so far.
While I don’t feel like I’ve really done anything huge this week, I am utterly exhausted! Definitely looking forward to a couple of days of taking it easy, and trying to make some travel plans for the coming weeks.