Melbourne Explorin'

Eien Sykes Bidwell University of Wollongong, Australia


April 17, 2015

Last week was so exciting! My friend and I took an hour and a half plane ride to Melbourne on Wednesday and got back this passed Sunday. Our first day we went shopping and exploring, just to get a feel for the area. We we inside the center city of Melbourne, only a couple blocks from everything. Thursday we accidentally found our way to the National Gallery of Victoria; then made our way to the Shrine of Remembrance, a memorial for all those from Victoria that were lost to war, and the Royal Botanic Gardens (which was the original plan). So it was a lot of walking but also beautiful! I wish I could post more pictures because I took a couple hundred during those 5 days!

Friday we walked outside the center city to see the Melbourne Zoo. I had never been to a Zoo like this, so it was really exciting. We couldn't explore the whole thing in a day, so we focused on the things we wanted to see like: the Big Cats, Reptile House, Platypus, and Australian animal exhibit. I was a little upset about the Platypus because the exhibit was so dark (to simulate night for the nocturnal mammal) and I couldn't get any good pictures. But I got pictures of the Koalas, Kangaroos, and a Quokka. There were these funny Meerkats that were posing on top of rocks and letting everyone photograph them. After all that time in the zoo and walking back from it, we decided to just go to a bar, have a couple drinks, and unwind. This ended day three.

Saturday was a little more relaxed. Instead of being outside all day, we went to the SeaLife Aquarium. As we walked in the front doors we were asked if we wanted to join a behind-the-scenes tour, we figured we wouldn't do this again so we agreed! We ended up on the tour where you got to feed baby seahorses. First we got to see the lab areas where they prepare food, raise babies, and do research. Then we moved into this small room, lined with tanks, and full of seahorses. They gave us cups of sea monkeys and we got to pour them into the tanks and watch the seahorses pick them out of the water. After that we explored the whole rest of the Aquarium. On the bottom floor they had one of those huge floor to ceiling tanks (and the ceiling was really high) that lead into a tunnel with fish and sharks and sting rays all swimming around you. My buddy is about 5' 10” and these sting rays were bigger than her, along with the warning on the side of the tank that because of the curvature of the tunnel- everything looked 2/3 the size it really was. That was a scary sign. But I got some really cool shots of one of the sharks that was swimming around. This was the nice part of the day. The other thing we had planned was to visit the Sky Deck on the 88th floor of the Eureka building. One of those things with the glass floor that juts out over the city. But after the aquarium we were exhausted and I was starting to feel sick (now its just an annoying cold, but being tired and doing a lot of walking and stuff made it seem worse). So we headed back to the hostel we were staying at and packed for Sunday.

We had to be out by 10 AM, and right next to the hostel was a huge marketplace, so we grabbed our bags and made our way around the market. Being that we didn't have much money left at this point and we were carrying loads of stuff, all we bought was Kangaroo jerky as a snack for later. We then took a short time to explore Chinatown, and made our way to see the river one last time. The river had a lot of bridges that crossed at different points. One of those bridges was a “Love Lock Bridge” where you're supposed to go with whoever means the most to you and attach a lock to the bridge to signify the permanence of your relationship. I had decided to buy a lock (for just myself) and I wrote a thing like “don't stop loving you” and then attached it to the bridge. It was overly dramatic, much like I tend to be, but it felt really good.

That was the last thing we did before returning to the airport for our flight back to Sydney.

It was an exciting week. We did so much and got to explore (and get to know very well) a new city outside of where we would normally go. It was great. Except that I came back and had an assignment due in every one of my classes. That was less fun. I have yet to fully recover from last week and I'm making my way through all the pictures, but one of these days I will catch up to reality again. Thanks for waiting on this, it would have been impossible to post from an awkward street corner where I could find Wifi.