Living and working in a rural town since January left us all missing the city life, so for Valentine’s Day and the weekend preceding it, Adam and I went for a weekend of activities back in Melbourne. The train from Shepparton to Melbourne is only 2 1/2 hours, and costs $24.50. A reasonable price for the distance and much more convenient than driving a car through the city streets and finding a place to park thats not extortionate. The only downside is the trains aren’t very frequent, only running two per day on a Sunday for example.
We arrived just before 10am on a Sunday morning, after our early morning train. We were lucky enough that our plans coincided with St Kilda Festival, a yearly event that sees the streets of St Kilda closed off to transport and turned into a huge free event with live music, activities, fairground rides, bars, food and market stalls. The event was only just getting started when we arrived and we couldn’t check into our hostel until 2pm so we took the opportunity to browse the market stalls and wander through the main event to see what was going on, grabbing as many free samples of food and drink as we could find along the way. None of the shops in the area were allowed to sell alcohol as it was a licensed event so we also took this time to take a trip back into the city centre, grab drink to have back at the hostel and a tasty lunch from Grill’d, before checking in, enjoying our wine and heading back out for some entertainment. The rest of the evening was spent meeting up with friends we’d met earlier in our travels and enjoying the music at the main stage mostly. We didn’t know any of the artists performing, though many of the locals clearly did (Horses by Daryl Braithwaite was a big hit) but had a great time regardless and really enjoyed the final DJ set at the close of the festival. It was an amazing day out for a free event and hope to be able to go back next year!
The next day was more of a chilled one, with the main plan of the day being an Underoath gig in the city, one of Adam’s favourite bands. We were staying in a private room at ‘The Ritz for backpackers’ in St Kilda, a great hostel, in a great location for a great price! Our double room was $35 each per night, which is the same price I’ve paid in the past for some dorm rooms. The also had various free activities on each evening, and provided batter and a hotplate for make your own pancakes every morning.
So with an easy day ahead of us, we had a morning of relaxing before heading to The Windsor Alehouse for a backpacker deal lunch, after seeing a poster in our hostel advertising meals. The pub was dead when we arrived (though was a Monday to be fair) and was in a strange location, right off a main road so it didn’t feel quite right going in. But it was lovely inside, nicely decorated with a big selection of beers on tap which made Adam very happy. We had to hunt down the backpacker deals as well, as they weren’t on the main menu. It was well worth the effort though, as the food was delicious and only around $5 a main dish.
Heading into the city, I then had a trip to Sephora and dragged Adam around while I looked at all the pretty things (and spent more than I possibly should have on them!). In the same shopping centre (Melbourne Central) was a Kit Kat Chocolatory, selling a wide variety of weird and wonderful flavours as well as allowing you to customise and make your own. Being one of my favourite types of chocolate, I had to give this a go and I opted for salted caramel, rice crispies and caramel fudge. It was pretty tasty and cool experience in the shop. After a small drama over losing my MyKi card and having to replace it at the train station, we headed back to the hostel and got ourselves ready for the Underoath gig at 170 Russell. It’s not my type of music at all, but I still enjoyed the atmosphere and Adam had a great time, saying it was hands down the best gig he’d ever been to.
After another nights rest, the next day was Valentine’s Day, the main reason for our weekend away. I had nothing to do with the days plans so it was all a surprise for me. We started the day with breakfast at Fitzrovia, one of the highest rated places for breakfast in St Kilda. The food was delicious and had a nice atmosphere inside, so it feel it rightly gained its good reputation. Next, we headed to the Sea Life Aquarium for a look around. Adam did good here, as I love looking at sea creatures and we had a great time here. They had a really cool interactive exhibit where you can draw a picture, scan it in and it appears on the wall swimming around.
After grabbing a quick lunch of sushi rolls, my next surprise was being treated to a rose and a ride on the Melbourne Star. Very similar to the London Eye, it’s a slow moving wheel that offers you views right across the city. It was amazing and luckily we had a beautifully clear day so we could see for miles right across the city. Unlike the London Eye though, we had no queue at all, and walked straight through and into our own private pod for the ride. This made it even better as we could move around and view the city in all directions without anyone else around, while hearing about what we were looking at over the speakers.
After all that excitement, it was time to head back to the hostel and get ourselves dressed up nice for a meal out, or so I thought. Turns out Adam had another surprise up his sleeve, and when we got back into town we had a stop to make before our dinner. He took us to Eureka Skydeck, the tallest viewpoint in the Southern Hemisphere. I’d already thought the Melbourne Star was amazing, but this was a whole other level! We went 297 meters up in the air, and had 365 views through floor to ceiling windows all around. With a small bar we enjoyed a few glasses of wine while taking in the scenery, and also opted for ‘the edge’ experience. This is where you head into a frosted glass cube which extends out of the building. Once its moved out and separated from the building, the glass clears and you can see straight down to the street below. It was really cool, and we were invited to sit down on the glass and look straight down which made it feel very real to being outside and floating over the earth!
To end of day it was finally time for our meal out. After some confusion in finding the venue, we arrived at Lûmé a hatted restaurant in South Melbourne. Adam had absolutely gone all out for the occasion and organised for us to have the 14 course meal with the wine flight pairing. I can’t fault anything about the experience, the staff we so professional and provided an unbelievable service to us in bringing out each dish and wine. Each dish was of course small, but surprising in its flavours and textures and we weren’t left hungry in the slightest by the end. Having been to a Michelin Star restaurant at home before, I thought that was the best dining could get, but this was miles above that in quality and service! I can’t say enough good things about the restaurant and our experience here, and would recommend it to anyone that wants to splash out and treat themselves!
The whole day was very well organised and I thoroughly enjoyed everything we did. It’s going to be hard to Adam to top it all next year!
Sadly the next day it was time to go home and get back to working life, but we managed to fit in a quick catchup lunch with my friend Iona from back home before getting the train back to reality.