One thing about traveling to Australia from Japan that is nice is that there are no jet las issues! This was great because I went to bed at my usual time (I am only 1 hour ahead of where I was in Japan) and then was able to wake up early without too much trouble. The reason I was waking up early was because I had booked a morning tour of the city to help me get acquainted with it early on in my stay. This means that someone from the tour company was picking me up at 7:30. I booked my day trips online using a website with all kinds of tours. This happened to be a tour offered by a company called AAT Kings. The driver picked me up right on time and then we left from Federation Square right on time. Not only did I sign up for the bus tour, but I also added on the river cruise down the Yarra River.
Most of the pictures I have to share from this day were taken while on the bus tour, with many someone obstructed or side ways because I took the pictures on the bus through the window.
This is the County Court, which is next to the Supreme Court.
We passed by the University of Melbourne area. It started off as a very small school and now it is one of the biggest in Australia.
This is an exhibition hall.
Then we took a short stop at St. Patrick's Cathedral, which is the largest in Melbourne.
The front has a waterway running down the walkway.
This is another fountain that was at the cathedral.
More interesting designs with water.
Next we stopped at Fitzroy Garden. We only have a short time here, so most of us took a look in this conservatory, and then moved on to Captain Cook's cottage.
The conservatory had beautiful flowers inside.
Can you see me in there? My grey jacket almost camouflages me.
I spotted this tree and really liked how it looked, so I took a picture.
Next up is Captain Cook's cottage. It was brought brick by brick from England and reassembled here.
It was very small inside. Just a kitchen and a small bedroom downstairs, and then a larger bedroom upstairs.
This is the big bedroom from upstairs. Looks like it doubled as an office too.
This is the house as we were leaving.
This picture is for my friend Mer. I always take elephant pictures, but these are extra neat. They are all over the city as a celebration for 2 years since there was a baby elephant born at the Melbourne zoo. Each elephant looks different.
This is Melbourne Cricket Ground, MCG, where Australian Rules Football is played.
Here is the Yarra River.
The city off in the distance.
This is Flinder's Street station. The tour guide told us a tale about this place. The designer created two stations. One for Melbourne and one for Mumbai. The saying, or joke, or myth, whatever you want to call it, is that the designs were switched and Melbourne wound up with Mumbai's station.
This is a monkey sculpture on a street corner.
Ferris wheel, which is currently out of service and has been for sometime. It had cracks in the metal from expanding in the heat, or so that is what our tour guide told us.
Looking at the city on the Yarra River.
This is the ferry that goes to Tazmania. Next time I come here, I want to add in some time in Tazmania.
The last stop for this tour was the Royal Botanical Gardens. This is the Shrine of Remembrance.
The Botanical Gardens were on my list so I was glad to see this was part of the tour. I was able to walk around a good bit because we had around 40 minutes here.
These were little animal looking sculptures out of bushes.
I took a lot of pictures of trees and flowers.
There is even a Herbarium here, but I did not get a chance to check that out.
Down below is a lake. This is a great park area to come and bring a picnic and a good book.
I thought this leaf was so huge that I had to take a picture.
Here I am! If you look closely you can see there is something in my hand. I was drinking a coffee!
More of the beautiful park area.
The city again with the Yarra River. At this point the sun came out and it warmed up. The pictures started looking much better and a lot less dreary.
Gotta love it! Batman Avenue! The guy who founded Melbourne had the last name Batman.
One last city shot.
We returned to Federation Square and were escorted to where the boat would pick us up (us as in the people signed up for the optional cruise). Here is the boat.
The next shots are of Melbourne from the River.
Sculptures on a bridge. There are 60 (I think that is what the guide said) bridges that go over the river.
Some of those bridges were very, very low and we almost didn't make it through some because of the tide. You can see how low this bridge it.
This is the aquarium.
Another low bridge. Crazy! We were so close to it.
These are so hard to see because of the lighting, but these are million dollar town homes right on the water.
This is a pedestrian bridge designed to look like an eel in an eel trap.
When the whole tour was over, I was starving. Maybe you noticed there was no breakfast mentioned. Yeah, I didn't figure that part out yet so I ate an Odwalla bar that was in my purse. I wasn't too hungry, but I knew I needed to eat something, and then by the time the tour was over, I was starving. I decided to head to the Arcades, which Melbourne is known for. These aren't arcades like video games, but rather small alleyways, covered and filled with stores and restaurants.
Walking over that way I took this picture of the Forum theater.
This is (I believe) St. Paul's Church. The pictures look crazy because of the sun.
More of those elephants! I told you they were all over town.
Here is the Royal Arcade.
Just inside I found this place called Caffe e Torta. I took a quick look over the menu and decided it was definitely somewhere I wanted to eat.
I ordered the frittata made with spinach, pumpkin and cheese (plus eggs, of course). It was served with a nice side salad. Yummy! But it was way to much and I couldn't finish it.
After lunch I did some walking around the Arcades and a little shopping. I spotted this macaron kiosk, and I love macarons, so I bought one.
These looked so good, but I didn't go crazy, and stuck with just a regular macaron.
This was orange filled with chocolate. Yum!
Then I made my way to the Block Arcade.
Here I found Haigh's, a well known chocolate store here.
I didn't want a box of choclates, so I was glad that I could get just one. I asked the store clerk for her suggestion, but unfortunately it was mint and I told her I was allergic so I had to pass. But she did recommend the violet creme and the vanilla cream. I was able to try out both. These were really good chocolates. I love good quality chocolate.
My last stop was in a mall. I loved that all these colorful umbrellas were dangling from the ceiling.
After a short rest in my hotel room, I was ready to find some dinner. I passed by one place earlier in the day and thought that was a possibility, but I still wanted to walk around a bit in the area and see if anything jumped out. I came across a lot of Japanese restaurants (and even a Japanese bakery, which I love!), but I was trying to hold out on food that I get all the time in Japan. Of course there is a large Asian population here, so Asian restaurants are really popular, and I am very close to China Town. Then it started to rain, and rain, and rain, and before I knew it I was getting soaked and needed to get inside. I went with my original idea and went back to the microbrewery at the Portland Hotel.
The whole ordering of food was a new concept to me and I ended up having to ask a local for assistance. He was helpful, but sent me back inside to have his sister help me get my order placed. So, why was a having a hard time? You go and order from the bar, get a number and sit down. Ok, that's nice and all, but I am just under 5 ft tall and with a bunch of taller (guys) people standing up front, it is hard to get someone to take your order. I could barely see any employees and I nearly gave up. That was when I received some help. In the end, I ordered beer battered barramundi and chips. Yum! I also enjoyed a nice beer to go along with it.
Dessert was also something I spotted earlier in the day, but couldn't eat it because I was still full from lunch. This is a frozen yogurt place. They do it just the way I like it with the plain yogurt and you can add toppings.
I went with plain (they did a few other flavors) and then topped it with chocolate cereal pieces and strawberries. What a great end to a wonderful day!
QUESTIONS: Do you like fish and chips? What's your favorite fro-yo topping? Have you ever taken a river cruise to sightsee?