Melbourne is the second most populated city in Australia, and it’s also steeped in history – so it was natural progression for us to make a quick trip here from Sydney.
The city is set in the state of Victoria, which has an interesting background. It’s in this state that Australia’s most infamous criminal – Ned Kelly – lived and ultimately died. Ned was what’s known as a ‘bushranger’ – killing policemen and robbing banks. He became Australia’s most wanted man and, when he was eventually caught and sentenced to death, he became a legend.
We decided to visit the Old Gaol in Melbourne, which is where the captured Ned was taken to be tried and sentenced. Before looking around the museum we managed to join in a tour (acted out by fellow tourists with the help of guides) which explained how Kelly’s case played out.
When we made it into the Gaol I was surprised to find the hanging trapdoor that was used to kill Kelly and others, still on display.
While we were in the Gaol, we’d heard that Ned’s famous armour was on permanent display in the nearby State Library of Victoria – so we popped in for a quick visit there too!
While we were in Melbourne, we were fortunate enough to meet someone who worked behind the scenes at national TV station, Channel 10. She very kindly invited into the studio audience of a live show called Project 10 and then gave us a quick tour of the studios, which was a fantastic and unexpected experience!
Dale, a huge sports fan, was disappointed not to be able to see a cricket match at the MCG while we were in Melbourne, but he was able to take a tour of the impressive grounds.
We also got to watch some of the sporting talent in the city for free because the Australian Open tennis tournament happened to be setting up while we were in town – so we saw some hopefuls having a quick practice on the courts before the tournament began.
Melbourne is great for those with large wallets as there is plenty of trendy bars, cafes and restaurants to spend all your money in – not having a huge amount of dollars left at that point, we were sticking to mostly free activities.
One of these was to take in Melbourne’s natural features – such as its Botanic Gardens…
…and the Beach where, if you’re lucky, you can see ‘fairy’ penguins (the same as the Blue Penguins we had seen in New Zealand) waddle up the beach at sunset.
Melbourne was an interesting and vibrant city with lots of things to see and do. I’m not sure we were able to make the most of it – as cash strapped as we were – but I was glad that we managed to fit it in, considering we hadn’t planned on visiting.