Melbournia

We spend the last several days of our visit in Melbourne. I had never been here before, and wasn’t sure what to expect. I was surprised at the size – even though it’s smaller than Sydney, it’s still enormous.

Stayed at the Nunnery in Fitzroy, big city prices but a nice place, very convieniently located. Wandered down Brunswick Street and discovered the excellent Souvlaki King and a few doors down a late night bookstore. On Saturday night we check out a mod night Blow Up at the Old Bar, a very cool and friendly small venue, and dance the night away to Motown classics. Ace!

Melbourne has an amazing music scene, the amount of stuff happening reminded me of London. In fact, the city reminded me of a warm, less crowded and ugly version of London as well. The feeling was less hard edged than Sydney, but with a real clothes/music/food thing going on. We let ourselves be sucked into the consumer spectacle as gaping onlookers for a while at Prahran and in the central city. I buy a $15 country and western shirt at Wild Monkey and we have lunch at Sushi-A-Go-Go and their excellent sushi train.

Went down to St Kilda on Sunday, pleasant enough and crowded, and received a quick blast of reality when approached for money by an extremely fucked up homeless man. Underneath the prosperous surface . . .

We flew back to NZ on Monday. We were both feeling kind of tired and glad to be on the way home. Probably too much travelling in a short time, but after visiting Perth, Sydney and Melbourne we took away some interesting impressions. What struck me is how large and cosmopolitan the cities are . . . certainly providing the urban zap without having to venture back up to the Other Side of the planet.

Sydney seemed to have the most frenetic, busy feel – especially in the central city. Great food. Harbour is surreally beautiful on a sunny day from Circular Quay. Perth seemed laidback and small scale in comparison, but with a distinctive feel, very multicultural and strangely isolated at the same time. Melbourne wins for general hipster values, trams and the urban experience.

It’s always nice to arrive back in the paddock and shed that is Dunedin International Airport though.

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