Magnificent Melbourne

What can I say about this glorious city? The OAT Australia itinerary was recently changed to include an extra day in Melbourne and I’m so glad it did. We could have easily spent a week here and not run out of things to see and do. No matter what interests you, you’ll find it in Melbourne!

Incredible Architecture

Melbourne has it all: the old, the new, and everything in between.

This photo of the very futuristic buildings in the Docklands area was taken with the wide angle lens of my iPhone 11, without any editing. The sun just happened to be in the perfect spot.

The beautiful reading room at the Melbourne Library is best viewed from the 6th floor.

Where else can you find a shopping mall built around a preserved tower, where ammunition was once made?

For those yearning to learn more about 19th century ammunition, you can duck through one of the clothing stores in the mall to visit this Museum.

Is this a cool city or what?

Glorious Gardens

It seems like everywhere I looked, there was a park, a square or a garden with jaw dropping plants and flowers. MY digitalis never gets this tall!

The Royal Botanic Garden truly is a special place, which is why it was not surprising to stumble onto this photo shoot. The model was as gorgeous as the setting. once again, my iPhone rose to the occasion and handled very trucky lighting quite well.

Street Art

Walking through a random alley, we came across this wall of remembrance. The plaque tells the story better than I could.

Churches

After traveling for a few years, and making the mandatory church visits, the interiors all start to look alike– but Melbourne’s St Patrick Cathedral had something I’d never seen before–a spectacular entrance–with a water feature.

What I’m calling a “water playground” is right nearby the church. Can’t you picture the kids running through the fountains in their Sunday best, right after Mass?

You all know what food looks like, so I won’t share photos of our meals. Let’s just say Melbourne is like a giant Alice’s Restaurant. “You can get anything you want” as Arlo Guthrie so aptly sang.

There’s more to say about our stay in the Melbourne area, but that will have to wait till the next post.

Getting High Down Under

At OUR age, getting high usually means getting to the top of a mountain, using whatever means available to us. But admit it, the title got your attention.

And, to be honest, some of the scenery we encountered around Cradle Mountain reminded me a bit of a different kind of trip that I took in my youth. No passport required.

We were warned that Cradle Mountain temperatures could be in the 30’s (that’s F, not C) with the possibility of snow.

We were not misled!

A trip with so much variation in temperature demanded that we make hard packing choices. Do I bring my waterproof hiking boots or my Keen Sandals? I didn’t want to lug one while wearing the other. My decision? The snow and cold weather should only last a day or two, so I decided that my keens, fortified with two pairs of wool socks and hotel provided shower caps would do the trick, and they did!

I’m pleased to report that my feet remained warm and dry during all of our treks. I WAS going to bring my silk long underwear, but forgot it but two pairs of pants worked quite well. As Laura, our Patagonia guide, stated, “There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing choices”.

We hiked to the top of that white rock in the distance, then down to the water’s edge. The views were spectacular!

We also earned bragging rights for “experiencing” one of the great walks on this planet: The Overland Trail. Well, at least we posed by the sign…

Our final Tasmanian destination was Launceston, where we visited The Platypus House, Seahorse World and Cataract Gorge.

The platypus were smaller than I expected and challenging to photograph, so I resorted to video. The echidna, however, were quite fearless and were content to waddle among us.

I had mistakenly thought that after visiting the wonderful Aquarium in Monterey, I wouldn’t be impressed with Seahorse world, but I was wrong. Seahorse World breeds and supplies these wonderful creatures to aquariums throughout the world.

But my favorite was this Sea Dragon.

We will be boarding our flight to Melbourne shortly, so I only have time to upload a shot or two of Cataract Gorge taken during our hike, before we say goodbye to beautiful Tasmania.

No time to proofread for typos!

Enroute to Cradle Mountain

Sometimes it’s both the destination AND the journey. This is one of those times.

Our drive to Cradle Mountain was punctuated by multiple stops, all of which were notable for reasons that were thoroughly explained by Mike, our tour guide.

Check out the windows on our chariot! Our bus would have been comfortable even if it had been filled to capacity. With only five of us on the tour however, it was quite luxurious. A bonus? Gordon, our driver (and bus owner) also provided commentary. Were we lucky or what?

Our first stop in Oatlands was really just a “comfort” stop, but I thought the windmill and espaliered apple trees were photo worthy.

Ross, our next stop, is famous for its main (only?) intersection. On its four corners are buildings representing Temptation (the hotel), Recreation (city hall), Damnation (the jail) and Salvation (the church). Am I the only one who thinks it’s pathetic that CITY HALL is the source of the town’s recreation?

Ross’ City Hall and our bus.

Ross is also the site of one of MANY bridges built by convict labor. The finished product was thought to be so beautiful that the grateful townspeople pardoned the stonemasons.

Our next stop, Campbell Town, memorialized the convicts’ infrastructure contributions via one of its many tree carvings. In between the convict and the soldier you’ll see a good replica of the bridge. I was quite impressed because in New Jersey, we just carve squirrels and other animals out of OUR dead trees.

Moving right along, to our lunch stop in Deloraine, our guide pointed out the numerous little sculptures sitting atop posts. I particularly liked this one, entitled “balance”. It made me think of yoga class.

We also visited Railton, Tasmania’s topiary “capital”, where the citizens have whimsical creatures in their front yards,

and Sheffield, where you can spend hours walking around, ogling the murals on the buildings. How cool is the one on this record shop? I suspect this is a self portrait of the shop’s owner.

Every year, Sheffield holds a mural contest, and the entries are hung in a little public park so that viewers can vote for their favorite.

Sadly, I didn’t pick the winner.

Here’s the accompanying description:

Pretty timely, wouldn’t you say? I chose it even before I noticed the artist is a woman from the good ol USA.

Here’s the winning mural:

Which one do YOU prefer?

As is frequently the case with my posts, my blogging is bumping into happy hour, so a description of Cradle Mountain will have to wait till tomorrow.