The Australia adventure has been seen as being in six different phases. Tonight I get on a boat to sail to Tasmania and I’m excited about getting on the boat and about exploring Tasmania. It has worked out that our time in the capital cities has been much more of the nature of downtime, relaxation. After the rush of doing things and seeing people in Sydney it was nice to take it easy in Adelaide and so, after the rush from site to sight on the Great Ocean Road tour, it has been nice taking it easy in Melbourne.
The first day was spent on the south bank of the Yarra, first off getting a coffee in the Southgate centre before walking a little then feeling like lunch. We stopped at Ponyfish Island a cafe/bar under the pedestrian footbridge connecting the south bank to the station. We were quite early and the place filled up and was quite clearly popular. The food was very good and sitting on the water there was a cooling breeze, which was welcome in the heat and sunshine. Later in the afternoon we walked past the conference and exhibition centre to a giant shopping centre containing outlet shops we had been shown on the trip into town at the end of the tour the day before. I wanted to get cheeper underwear to replace some that are getting rather elderly but the shop I wet to for them didn’t have any but, as is the way with these things, I did end up buying some new jeans at the Guess shop. Dinner that evening was free at the Backpackers we were staying at so, after pasta with a vegetarian sauce, we headed out looking for the bar where Manchester City fans gather to watch matches. My directions were dodgy and it turned out to be further than I wanted to go. It also meant I would not be able to get to it either on our return from Tasmania to see City play Napoli in their last away Champions League match. It had started raining so I sought shelter in a bar on Federation Square.
The next day was still sunny but there was a strong cool breeze so we spent the morning in the Immigration Museum where there was a very interesting display about the children sent from the UK on forced migration schemes. It was only last year that a formal apology was made by then Prime Minister Gordon Brown to the thousands of people sent to Australia, Canada and other countries. It is quite amazing that as recently as 1967 young people who were deemed as waifs or strays, people from orphanages, and earlier the Workhouse, even where families had just put them in temporarily because they could not cope, were sent off to populate, and work on, the land. We had lunch in a restaurant on Federation Square where we watched enthralled as a couple were directed through a small piece of theatre that was either an audition or a part of a larger piece that needed working on. Back to Southgate and dinner at Wagamama then back to the hos-tel as I’ve discovered it is pronounced in Australian English.
Today we were up for the cooked breakfast and checked out soon after but continued to use the facilities through the morning to keep in touch with the world. Coffee at Poneyfish Island in wonderful sunshine before lunch and then we collected our bags and headed to the tram to Port Melbourne, and I discover the stop is now called Beacon Cove, thankfully in time to get off before it heads back into Melbourne. A quick drink before check-in opens and we board the Spirit of Tasmania. Excited? You bet.