Christmas over here is something strange… We arrive in Melbourne late afternoon in temperatures of 40 degrees, full summer. That evening we discover the city in the Christmas theme. Lots of locations are transformed into snowy landscapes with the tin soldiers, lights and stars and bells everywhere.
When you think of Melbourne some great events come in… The Australian open is held here every year near the city centre, Neighbours famous Ramsey Street lies in South Vermont, the harbour and Yarra river, fashion and street art, chocolate and coffee, multicultural eating, the IMAX theatre with the third greatest screen in the world and much much more.
With nearly 4 million people it is the second largest city in Australia. So fun and pleasure are never far away.
Lying in the shelter of Port Philip Bay, beaches and coastlines are even closer. Upon arrival with the Spirit of Tasmania ferry, we are greeted by numerous jet skis and sailing boats.
We debark and park our car on a free location quite some distance from the CBD – the Central Business District, like they call a town centre here. There we receive all of a sudden a free shower and sleeping location for that night from Suzannah and her family. A surprise and early Christmas we both welcome warmly.
After that we start our discovery tour of the city… But we need to go back and recollect our money and credit cards, which we all left in the car. Luckily Suzannahs husband picks us up and drops us later on the same spot, so he saves us lots of time.
Hungry after a day on sea and our long trip on and back to the city, we strand near Chinatown in one of the many Chinese restaurants where we enjoy a clay pot rice dish. Delicious! Before that we already tasted some parts of the Southern Esplanade, a couple of shopping streets and a street art spot. Both of us really like this first city wandering! It feels like a vivid, modern, cultural and inventive town.
After dinner we start our real discovery tour and the many Christmas locations the city has.
From Chinatown we head to the Parliament, pass some trendy bars – like MoVida and SanTelmo – and visit a beautiful street art site near Federation Square. From there we head to the real Christmas events. Under the Swanston Street baubles we stroll to the Christmas Square and the wrapped Town Hall. From there we walk under the Jingle Bells on Bourke Street and read Russell Sheep’s interactive Christmas Story on the Myers Christmas windows. We receive a Merry Christmas on Flinders Street Station and kiss under the Mistletoe on a bridge over the Yarra. After this magical events we return to our sleeping host.
Next day we visit some parts of Melbourne city. We walk in the tennis village and take a look at the Rod Layer Arena, we discover Federation Square and the South Bank in daylight. The Victoria Harbour, Melbourne Central and Southern Cross Stations and the free city circle tram around many points of interest.
After all the walking we enjoy dinner in a Japanese restaurant and end our evening with the Christmas by Candlelight event on Federation Square. Many famous Christmas songs and many others pass the revue, all of them singed by famous Australian artists. After that we sleep in our car to wake up on Christmas Day with sunlight and the sea two streets further.
So here we say, Merry Christmas to all of you.
Enjoy the light, love and peace of that event.
Bart and Ilse