Planet View: S37°54.534’ E144°59.236’
Street View: S37°54.534’ E144°59.236’
After a jam-packed few weeks with Gina and Chris we took a little time to lay low in Melbourne, joining Ben and Bronte in their new apartment on the beach at Brighton. We also spent a night in Torquay with Ben, Bronte, Greg, Jarrod and Stacey at Jarrod McCabe’s family’s beach house, fantastic weather and great company (but I unfortunately left my camera in Melbourne so no photos!). Ben and Bronte were brilliant hosts for our time in Melbourne, opening up their home to us and touring us around their locale whenever they had a chance. We made an outing with them to nearby Saint Kilda, taking a walk along the jetty for some great photos of the Saint Kilda Pier and also a trip down the bustling main Barkly Street where we lucked onto Tecate cartons for $31.99. Between Bronte and me we left the bottle shop with four cartons!
We spent a day exploring the city of Melbourne, taking the train in from Brighton to the central Flinders Station in the heart of the CBD. We’d organized to catch up with a mate of ours for lunch, Greg toured us around the ANZ trading floor (where he works) and then on to a swanky Italian restaurant in the South Bank precinct across the Yarra River from the city. At Bronte’s suggestion we toured some of the alleyways littered with quaint coffee shops and restaurants for which Melbourne is famous, stopping off for an afternoon coffee in Centre Place with Greg before he had to return for work. We also ventured north of the city to the Queen Victoria Markets, a huge expanse of stalls selling everything from Aussie souvenirs to fresh fruit and vegetables. We unfortunately arrived a little late in the afternoon to catch most of the vendors, interesting to see all the same…
We took a day trip south along the Mornington Peninsula to explore some of the beautiful beaches and wineries for which the area is renowned. A friend of Lisa’s with whom she worked in California recently moved to the Mornington and is winemaker for Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove, a beautiful piece of property with an acclaimed restaurant at the southern end of the peninsula near Flinders. Simon treated us to a fantastic lunch overlooking the vineyards, we also met his lovely wife Belinda and 16 month old twins Liam and Oliver. After catching up over lunch with a bottle of Montalto Pinot Noir we explored nearby Flinders and stopped off to try our hand at some squid fishing off the Flinders jetty, unfortunately no calamari for us… The enclaves on the northern side of the Mornington Peninsula are escapes for the rich and famous of Melbourne, seaside homes in the prestigious town of Portsea often come with a multi-million dollar price tag. We ventured along the coast from Rye, through Sorrento and onto Portsea to take a look at the beautiful beaches and luxurious holiday retreats, unfortunately most of the larger estates weren’t visible from the outside but from the entrances we could tell that there were some serious mansions overlooking the ocean along the northern coast.
Hallsy organized tickets for himself, Jarrod, Stacey, Lisa and I to attend the Australian Open tennis while we were in Melbourne; Greg works at ANZ bank and they’re a major sponsor of the 2010 Grand Slam tournament. Justine Henin, Jelena Jankovic and Andy Murray were all playing in one of the two arenas at the tennis that day so we lined up to reserve seats for the day before venturing into Degraves Street for stellar breakfast at one of the hole-in-the-wall cafes. Even though our seats were towards the back of the rows in Hisense Arena we still had an amazing view of the games, the match between Justine Henin and Alisa Kleybanova definitely one for the ages, awesome to see the former world number one (Henin) in action in her first tournament back from retirement. Our passes allowed us to venture to any of the 10-or-more courts on which there were games for the day, pretty much everywhere except the main Rod Laver Arena, Lisa managed to weasel her way into the front row of the Margaret Court Arena to see the Williams sisters slaughter a couple of challengers in the doubles tournament. She didn’t want to take the camera because it’d be too heavy and is kicking herself a little now at the shots that could have been… Our seats in Hisense Arena were only good for the day session, so we spent the late afternoon and well into the evening watching games on the big screen in the Heineken Beer Garden with a few beers. A fantastic day, I’ve been wanting to see the Australian Open for many years so it’s great that we could organize our schedule to be in Melbourne for the event. And what would we do without Hallsy getting us all tickets through his work?! Thanks Greg!
This entry was posted on Saturday, January 23rd, 2010 at 5:41 AM and is filed under Australia, Victoria, Wines. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.