It is still 2014, and I’m already dreaming about the places I want to visit in 2015. I made dozens of wishlists of things I want to try and food I want to gorge on. But I threw those lists out of the window when somebody told me I could do it all in one place! Last month, my friend from Melbourne flew down to Mumbai and he couldn’t stop telling me about all the lovely things one can find in Victoria. He flew back to Australia but left me dreaming about that city down under…
Breathtaking Drive on the Great Ocean Road
That magnificent stretch of silver is surrounded by pure gold – the golden sun above, the golden reflection of the sunny skies on the Pacific Ocean, and the Twelve Apostles jutting out of the waters from a golden era! What wouldn’t I give to go on a long, long drive with my best buddies (a la ‘Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara’! 😉 )
Top Secret: The 12 Apostles change colours at sunrise and sunset! Those rock statues sure know how to rock! 😀
Squeal at the Seals or Point at the Penguins
Now, there are some birds and animals you don’t get to see everywhere. When in Victoria, make the best use of the opportunity and head to Phillip Island! If you go on a boat cruise, you’ll get to wave your hands at the slippery seals barking from the rocks. And once you’re on the Island, you’ll witness the wondrous sight of thousands of little penguins wading across the sand to head to their burrows on Summerland Beach! (Yes, you don’t always need snow to spot penguins! 😉 ) While we’re on the topic of wildlife, let’s not forget koalas! These cuddly furballs are only found on this continent. You can take a peek at their joeys in their pouches at koala conservation centres or treetop boardwalks that let you watch the playful marsupials scurry along trees and bushes.
Slurp some Chocolate or Swirl some Wine
If you are on Phillip Island, you might as well drop in at Panny’s Chocolate Factory and feel like Charlie from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. If the brown elixir is not your cup of tea, head to The Coffee Collective for your shot of caffeine in this coffee capital of Australia! For wine lovers like me, Melbourne has acres and acres of lush vineyards and a whopping 850 wineries! The cool climate and fertile lands of Victoria make it one of the best places to produce fine quality wines. Take a tour of a winery and indulge in some wine tasting with a sommelier.
Fly Over the Yarra Valley
Touring this beautiful wine region shouldn’t all be about walking. One can zip through the estates on a Segway, or even better – float in the air on a hot air balloon! The best thing about the ballooning experience is that you get to test your own balloon and watch how the hydrogen-filled giant is propped up. Yarra Valley has an ideal terroir. The harvests produce the country’s best wines with fruity notes. And, there’s always grape-stomping for the teetotallers! 😉
Pick Your Own Strawberries and Relish them with Cheese
For the ultimate “farm-to-plate” experience, spend a day at the Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm which is open from November to April. They’ll let you pick strawberries straight off the ground! You can either eat them on their own or try some exotic strawberry liqueurs and jams. Melbourne also produces some interesting artisanal cheeses. You might want to try the deliciously creamy sheep-cheese varieties! However, if your are on a budget and wish to try everything under the Victorian sun, catch a tram to the Queen Victoria Market. It is the largest open air market in the Southern Hemisphere and sees footfalls of over 10 million a year!
Melbourne is not called cosmopolitan for nothing! You will find almost every cuisine you crave for. Cafes and restaurants dot this megacity where fresh organic produces are in demand. You cannot visit Australia and not try barbecued dishes or craft beers! Microbreweries and streetfood are insanely popular with the local crowd here. And the variety you can have is mindblowing! There’s Greek souvlaki and Indian samosas in the same block sometimes! 😀
Relax in a Thermal Pool
Too much travel can tire me out. This is why I shall pre-book a session at the Peninsula Hot Springs and let my body and soul unwind with a mud wrap and hot stone treatment. The natural spas in this region have therapeutic properties in their minerals. After I’m rejuvenated, I shall get back to more activities in Melbourne! 🙂
Gawk at Artsy Streets
Melbourne is very progressive when it comes to street art. This is so liberating for budding artists and expressionists! Hosier Lane and a few others are dedicated to creative and edgy street art. One can lose oneself in this maze-like place full of messages displayed through spray-paintings. Even the street-name is a work of graffiti!
And Do A Million Other Things…
Melbourne cannot be seen in a day. Not even in a week. And no, even a month won’t suffice! This multicultural city has SO MANY SURPRISES that you will want to move here permanently for a couple of years to truly enjoy the spirit of this place. There’s something for every kind of traveller. The budget tourist can take the hop-on-hop-off City Circle tram which is free! The well heeled can book a helicopter ride over the Southern Ocean to watch the 12 apostles from the sky. The sports enthusiast will find the Aussie Open, the ICC World Cup and many other matches to keep her busy. The History buff can take the Gold Mine Tour at Sovereign Hill, and the architecture-phile can awe in wonder at the sweeping arches and towering skyscrapers. Even little kids can let their feet hang out of a window on the Puffing Billy! 🙂 It’s hardly a surprise then that Melbourne has been titled the “most livable city in the world”! You wouldn’t just live here, you would THRIVE!!!
When I woke up from my daydream, I was so amazed with the variety of activities I could take part in that I decided to pull my friends into this dream too. Without re-creating any scenes from Inception (the movie), I simply asked them a few questions:-
My tweet got my followers dreaming on Twitterland! 😉 And I picked out some replies for you to see:-
Surfing was something even I did not think of! And even though I’m not a big fan of cricket, I love stadium tours. This virtual interaction taught me I could dream better if I spread the dream to more spheres. So I threw the same questions to my fans on my Facebook page:-
The number of replies I received did not even fit into a screenshot! 😀 See how community dreaming is better than fantasizing on your own? I don’t want to leave my WordPress followers out of the excitement, so I have a special New Year Contest for all of you!!! 🙂
All you have to do is answer the following question and send in your replies as comments to this post:-
Which of these places would you want to visit in Melbourne and why?
(Psst… You can reread this article to make a decision. 😉 ) The most creative reply will win a shopping voucher worth Rs.500! (Yay!! 😀 ) Send in your entries by 5th Jan, 2015.
Great post! After reading your post & watching all the videos, I’d most like to visit the Dandenong Ranges for it’s scenic beauty, breathtaking view and cool breeze blowing through my hair. 😛 I’d give anything away for driving through the winding roads which are present throughout the ranges. I’d love to stay at one of the bed and breakfast cottages and go on frequent excursions in the forests with my camera which provides excellent views. And not to forget the famous ride in the Puffing Billy, a day reserved especially for that. To add to that, there are also several picnic spots for me and my friends to spend a fun-filled day and the ranges are a perfect spot for hiking and cycling.
Wish you and your blog a happy new year! 😀
Thank you, Abhishek! 🙂 The Dandenong Ranges are beautiful indeed! I hope you make that trip soon! Happy new year to you too!
Nice post. And pretty well explained. I absolutely loved the way you described the places in detail. Your post gives me a feeling that I’ve been there in Australia for myself. Of all, I would like to go and experience the hot air balloon ride. Would be an awesome experience, that too one, memorable for an entire lifetime.
– Ranjith (http://www.alightheartedtalk.com)
I agree with you, Ranjith! The hot air balloon ride will surely stay with us for our lifetime.
Some of the most interesting places which I shortlisted to visit after watching Tanmay and Rohan’s videos is here. This comment space would be very less in order to keep on giving the reasons to visit these places once in life, but I am trying to be as short and crisp as possible and these are the must visit places if at all I go to Melbourne in my life.
Yarra Valley for Great Day out and Excellent Wine Tasting tour which seems totally magical. Driving around Yarra Valley in a beautiful and breathtaking places seems like a great country getaway from Melbourne city and so much to see, visit and taste.
Going for a Seal Watching Cruise and Observing those inquisitive & graceful creatures close up, is a trip one will not forget I guess. It seems to be a totally a worthy place for young and old too. So many seals getting close to them could be an absolutely thrilling experience.
Another place I wouldn’t want to miss is Sunny Ridge Strawberry farm for some AMAZING Strawberry ice cream and strawberries, it seems like a strawberry heaven with delicious, succulent and mouth watering strawberries ever. I am sure this place visit would be a great experience for the kids too.
Have you watched Penguins parade ? If not, I guess this is the place to visit which is Phillip Island Nature Park. The experience to watch these penguins is Out of this world, a must see for great experience and its awesome
for Animal lovers too. Its like cute litte faires coming in from Ocean. I guess, this is a MUST do experience when I am in Melbourne.
Are you a chocolate lover ? I guess Pannys Amazing World of Chocolate is a must visit place for enjoying some mouth watering chocolates. Also, just watching the huge waterfall of chocolate cascade down is breath taking. And watching the live chocolate making is fun.
If you are a drive freak and love to drive around in some scenic spots, this is the place to visit which is “The Great Ocean Road”. Seems like it would be a Great tour, great food and fantastic view.
Some more places which I love to visit is Montalto Vineyard & Olive Grove, Loch Ard Gorge beach, Chateau Yering BBQ for some amazing Australian BBQ and definitely a hot air balloon ride for spectacular sightseeing and experience in life.
Whoa! That’s a long list, Prathap! 🙂 I hope you get to do it all!
If I get a chance to visit Melbourne then
I would like to spend my time in the Great Otway National Park, because I love watching animals. I would love to take a city tour by travelling on the Tram’s of Melbourne. By travelling in tram’s I want to explore every nook & corner of Melbourne. Besides this I would love to watch the amazing architectures of Melbourne like Eureka Tower, Royal Exhibition Building, etc. And without enjoying festivals, my journey would be incomplete so I will celebrate Australian Festivals.
And how can I forget The MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground). As cricket is my favourite sport I would love to watch the Cricket world cup final which will take place at the largest stadium of Australia, that is, MCG.
Harstuff Travel – http://goo.gl/6t4oZy
The free tram ride is on my list too, Manu! 🙂
Hey ,Superb post ,so all set to pack bags to have a thrill at Melbourne,Now being high on my wish list .U’ve very well covered the best of Melbourne and for the entry in contest ,there cannot ever be a single place for me.It has to be a bouquet of places to calm down my zest to explore it.So naming ,first comes the Great Ocean road not just to linger or have a decent walk but to amaze myself with Jetskiing ,Scuba diving and to try swim with Dolphins,seal Yay,these beautiful creatures would be lucky to share a swim with me.ha ha.Then it would be Eureka Sky deck, to have an awe inspiring experience to be closest to sky and get the sky deck view of this liveable city, MCG to watch and cheer the players on one of the worlds best cricket ground!
Wishing u Best of Luck & a great year ahead.
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I’m sure you will have the opportunity to try out scuba diving, jetskiing and everything else on your wishlist for Melbourne! 🙂
Nice post 🙂
As for answering your question, I would love to visit the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Being a cricket enthusiast, I don’t think I would getter a better thrill in Australia than watching a Boxing Day Test Match live at the MCG. The Australian cricket fans are very hostile towards opposition players but are the first to appreciate a good player. I would want to sit amongst the 100,000 fans and cheer for my team. It would be even better if I got a seat next to Anushka Sharma so that if Virat Kohli scores a century and blows a kiss at her again, I would be on TV 😀
A cricket enthusiast like you should surely visit the MCG! 🙂
I would love to go hot air ballooning in melbourne. The clear blue skies with the undulating carpet of candy white clouds seems too inviting to miss. Of course, I’d lavish extra attention on the little penguins and baristas but if I could, I would figuratively die for the chance to go skydiving from the hot air balloon.
Kangaroo watching in the bush, with binocs and a guide, would be unmissable too, but the best thing?
Drifting high above the clouds, powered by hot air, for sure!
That’s a fantastic choice, SFscient! 🙂 I hope you get to do all of that!
Congratulations, SFscient! 🙂 You are the winner of the contest! I thought it was unique of you to mention the kangaroos. How funny nobody else thought of these marsupials which are in fact endemic to Australia. I too think it’s a great idea to kangaroo-watch in a country famous for kangaroos! Your prize should reach you by the end of this month. Cheers! 🙂
Given a chance to visit Melbourne, I would absolutely make a run for Eureka Skydeck 88..Imagine the view of the city from such a great height of over 300 metres and while you are suspended in air in a glass box!
This is an experience not to be missed and I hope I get a chance to visit Melbourne and go explore Eureka Skydeck 88 soon 🙂
Nikita, I wish you soon get to explore the Eureka Skydeck 88! 🙂