Monday, December 29, 2014

Meet me under the Clocks!

In India, Cricket isn't just a game. It is a religion. A religion where cricketers are Gods and every victory is a festival that is celebrated big! Because of the recent Test matches with Australia happening at MCG and International Cricket Council (ICC) announcing Melbourne to be the prestigious host of opening ceremony and finals venue for the most expected cricket event of next year 'World Cup 2015', I've been hearing about 'Melbourne' quite often these days. Being a  cricket fan and a curious traveler myself, I did a bit of reading about this cool cultural capital of Australia. Guess what? as I read more and more about this city, I virtually fell in love with it! Now my bucket-list certainly has a new city to meet and greet for its friendly attitude!!
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"Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody."
~ Jane Jacobs

First and foremost, everyone knows that cities are defined by its people and not by its numerous tall buildings. People can help define their city only if the city is capable of providing them all the support. Only few cities in the world meet this success criteria and to my surprise Melbourne has been successfully snatching the coveted title of "World’s most livable city" for the fourth straight year awarded by Economist magazine! This is a fascinating news for anybody who wishes to visit this city in terms of friendly people, places to satisfy varied interests, safety and sustainability; literally ticking off all the basic expectations in a traveler's checklist! Hear it yourself from the horse's mouth :)


Next, not every person travels to a place with similar interests. There are different kind of travelers with multitude of interests! From all my reading about this city, I can definitely say it has all it takes to satisfy different kind of travelers! In fact, I was astonished by the choices in offer for people with different travel interests! Hmmm as a traveler I think it is wonderful to be spoilt by choices!! :)


Now as a budget traveler myself with multitude of interests ranging from culture, history, photography, food and adventure, here are my top picks why I think Melbourne is cool and lovable!


First of all what attracts me is that public transport is cheap and well connected for any kind of traveler to get around the city in an economical way. Imagine getting a whole day pass for less than $10 for a unlimited travel around the city!! Very notably, 'the vintage' city circle tram goes around the city connecting all the iconic places offers hop-on hop-off service totally FREE OF CHARGE :) I think this is a golden egg for anyone who wants to get around the city and get a feel of it in the first place!!

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Next, there are plenty of local attractions both indoor and outdoor to keep a tourist busy on a family vacation! My favorite picks in this category would be

Eureka Skydeck 88, the highest viewing platform of the southern hemisphere that offers indisputably best views of Melbourne! It would certainly feel crazy to be standing at the very edge of the building and watch the entire Melbourne slowly crawl below!!

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Old Melbourne Gaol, for a fun historical trip to a old prison to understand the earlier OZ system of crime & justice and especially for those fun photo-opportunities with its old prison & cell setup :)

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Queen Victoria Market to observe and shop the way Melbournians shop for the local produce. For me, it is a wonderful way to understand the lifestyle of the local people!

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The shark and ray center for a truly unique experience of standing in the knee deep water and feeding the sharks and rays. Sounds crazy isn't it? :)

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No trip to Melbourne is complete without a visit to MCG or "The G" as the locals call it! :) Their museum with extensive and exclusive collection of sports items will truly satisfy any sports loving person! It will be a dream come true for any Cricket fan to sit and watch a game of cricket played by their favorite team. I can only imagine how the atmosphere would be during the 'World Cup' next year!! Only wish I could be part of that crowd!!

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It is said if you walk up to any Melbournian and ask what makes their city? undoubtedly their answer would be 'art and culture'! Being a cultural capital of Australia, art and culture makes this city truly unique. As a lover of arts, I adore the impressive urban street art of the Hosier Lane, could easily spend hours together appreciating the art work at National Gallery of Victoria and Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. And most importantly Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) with its rare collection of film, TV and digital media for an unique experience on moving media! I can't imagine all these being in a single area - 'Fed Square'! As if it is not enough there are plenty of free entertainment events for public that happen there through out the year! Now tell me who wouldn't want want to spend all their evenings there??

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For those who love exploring the city by foot and prefer to get lost like me, Melbourne with its safe narrow alleyways is a treasure trove of hidden secrets to explore! I would love to roam around the alleyways and arcades exploring, shopping and getting the local taste of the city in my own sweet pace :)

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Melbournians love their food and wine! So a foodie like me could very well celebrate my vacation treating my taste buds to sumptuous food and exotic wine. From authentic local cuisine to international cuisines there are plenty of restaurants to satisfy people with different budgets. Imagine there are even exclusive trips for strawberry picking and wine-tasting at some of the finest vineyards!! Another typical and local way to enjoy food in Melbourne is by doing the famous Australian barbie - Yep, the BBQ!! Oh god, don't I just love it!!


Ok, that's not the end of story. As if the local attractions are not enough, there are many interesting locations within an hour of driving distance. When one can go wine tasting at a vineyard, have a comfortable swim, drive a section of the great ocean road and then drive back to the city, it certainly explains the accessibility of all these great locations from the main city!

Nobody would miss the Great Ocean Road, the scenic west coast ride with the iconic 12 apostles and many interesting heritage towns. With just driving distance away from the main city, such places arouse the nature lover in me and will be a great treat for photography. It will be fun beyond doubts to take the great ocean walk to enjoy the rugged coastal scenery peacefully.

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Another place that is so of my type is the Yarra valley!! It will be dream-like to raise high up in the sky over the vast stretch of beautiful vineyards and enjoy the sunrise from a hot air balloon. One of a kind of experience that is not available in many cities with such easy accessibility. Now imagine getting down from the balloon to taste some exotic wine!

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Dandenong Ranges is another place that kindled the explorer in me with its vintage train passing through heritage villages and pristine forests. A perfect place to escape the hustle bustle of the city and enjoy hiking through secret villages and towering forests!!

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Beyond all this, at the end of day, vacation is meant for relaxing! Melbourne is a perfect place to even do nothing and relaxing :) With its undying love for Coffee, it is just the perfect place to sit by a cafe, relax with a cup of coffee, converse and just do people watching!! One of my favorite pass times when I am bored of doing a lot over a vacation.

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Uff these are just a few places that I found already matching my mindset and would love to visit when I get to visit Melbourne. But I am sure there are plenty more to explore and experience. So if you are still with me, I am sure you'll accept Melbourne has a lot for every kind of traveler to bring the feeling of world in a compact place!

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It is for this multitude of choices and the flexibility to plan and do things based on my own interest and pace I fell in love with this city even before visiting it!! And I would certainly love to visit it one day! :)

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Ok my dear reader! Here is an interesting contest for you, are you ready??? :)
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Go grab your favorite beverage, sit back and enjoy watching all the fascinating videos of Tanmay & Rohan's travel across different places in Melbourne! Then tell me by commenting to this blog post, if you get to visit Melbourne, which of these places would you want to visit and why?


It's that simple!! The best answer on every valid entry will win a gift voucher!! Awesome isn't it??? So hurry up before the contest closes on 4th Jan 2015!

If you are wondering at my title for this blog post "Meet me under the Clocks!", well, it's a famous phrase that fun loving Melbournians use to describe their favorite meeting spot under the clocks at Flinders Street Station! :)

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If I get lucky, I would certainly love to visit this place, meet a few OZs and interact with them for a grand personal experience!! :)

This blog post is entirely based on my own research on Melbourne and places I found interesting already. But there are plenty more to this place to suit your own interests and needs. If you are interested, you can refer to the official Tourism Victoria Australia website here (http://www.visitmelbourne.com/India.aspx).

This post is written for IndiBlogger campaign "What's your reason for falling in love with Melbourne, the most livable city in the world?"

14 comments:

  1. Well written. After going through your blog anybody would want to add Melbourne to their bucket list :) I can easily relate to you when you say 'multitude of choices'. Many a times places satisfy one or two members of the family while the others are left completely bored with nothing matching their genre of taste. I think it is an important factor that is often neglected but silently becomes a blocker for a happy vacation later!

    I would definitely want to visit all those amazing places when I get to visit Melbourne :) But of all, my top pick would be a visit to Yarra valley for a beautiful sunrise balloon flight. After seeing the video, I can't stop myself from dreaming a romantic magical flight above the scenic vineyards and watching the sunrise from up above! Throw in my favorite wine, I will doubly enjoy the ride sipping my glass and taking sensational selfies all the way :) Now I can't think of a better way of spending a vacation!!

    Next of course, cruising through the great ocean road in a open-top car to enjoy the coastal scenery and the iconic 12 apostles for the nature's amazing work at play. Then a ride around the city in the vintage trams to enjoy its urban splendor and the legendary puffing billy to enjoy its natural splendor. Finally a day at the hot springs to unwind and totally rejuvenate myself :)

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  2. Great post! After reading your post & watching all the videos, I’d most like to visit the Dandenong Ranges for it’s scenic beauty, breathtaking view and cool breeze blowing through my hair. :P I’d give anything away for driving through the winding roads which are present throughout the ranges. I’d love to stay at one of the bed and breakfast cottages and go on frequent excursions in the forests with my camera which provides excellent views. And not to forget the famous ride in the Puffing Billy, a day reserved especially for that. To add to that, there are also several picnic spots for me and my friends to spend a fun-filled day and the ranges are a perfect spot for hiking and cycling.

    Pingback: https://cruxrebels.wordpress.com/2014/12/24/melbourne-the-place-to-be-see/

    Wish you and your blog a happy new year! :D

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  3. Wonderful post and interesting videos that make me feel that
    Melbourne invites the eternal romantic in me to hold hands with my beloved and go see the Twelve Apostles .Go on long drives on the great ocean road. In the middle of nowhere in a vineyard spread a table and enjoy a meal and a glass of wine with my dear one. Enjoy the sunsets holding hands and do lots of shopping at the Queen Victoria Market and see all the graffiti being created at the hosier lane.
    Great Post and interesting videos watching them I am sure to visit Sovereign Hill for spending some time in the era gone by. The lure of gold and panning for some nuggets is a temptation that is too much to resist. After I have found the gold I am bound to celebrate it with some wine so I will visit the vineyards and enjoy some great wine from the Yarra region .Visit the Pannys Phillip Island Chocolate Factory and have my fill with this yummy delight.
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  4. Nice post. And pretty well explained. I absolutely loved the way you described the places in detail. Your post gives me a feeling that I've been there in Australia for myself. Of all, I would like to go and experience the hot air balloon ride. Would be an awesome experience, that too one, memorable for an entire lifetime.

    - Ranjith (http://www.alightheartedtalk.com)

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  5. Interesting Post
    After reading your post and watching all the videos
    I feel I have stepped into a kaleidoscope called Melbourne
    Where Vistas of experiences would unfold one after another
    The nature lover in me is enticed by the thought of watching the penguin parade.
    Traveling though the great ocean road, soaking up the freshness as the breeze ruffles my hair gets me in the mood to pack my bags for Melbourne.
    But before I can move ,Puffing Billy whistles and invites me for a ride. The kid in me jumps with joy at the thought of visiting Pannys Phillip Island Chocolate Factory
    Even before I can deside on the list of places that I would like to see in and around Melbourne.
    What’s that noise that I hear ?
    Oh its loud cheer from MCG as the cricket world cup 2015 is about to kick start.
    So many plces to see and so much to do.
    I am thetimetraveler ( http://goo.gl/wdXDzu ) and I have decided … Melbourne here I come ( http://goo.gl/RvUCQf )

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  6. Some of the most interesting places which I shortlisted to visit after watching Tanmay and Rohan's videos is here. This comment space would be very less in order to keep on giving the reasons to visit these places once in life, but I am trying to be as short and crisp as possible and these are the must visit places if at all I go to Melbourne in my life.

    Yarra Valley for Great Day out and Excellent Wine Tasting tour which seems totally magical. Driving around Yarra Valley in a beautiful and breathtaking places seems like a great country getaway from Melbourne city and so much to see, visit and taste.

    Going for a Seal Watching Cruise and Observing those inquisitive & graceful creatures close up, is a trip one will not forget I guess. It seems to be a totally a worthy place for young and old too. So many seals getting close to them could be an absolutely thrilling experience.

    Another place I wouldn't want to miss is Sunny Ridge Strawberry farm for some AMAZING Strawberry ice cream and strawberries, it seems like a strawberry heaven with delicious, succulent and mouth watering strawberries ever. I am sure this place visit would be a great experience for the kids too.

    Have you watched Penguins parade ? If not, I guess this is the place to visit which is Phillip Island Nature Park. The experience to watch these penguins is Out of this world, a must see for great experience and its awesome

    for Animal lovers too. Its like cute litte faires coming in from Ocean. I guess, this is a MUST do experience when I am in Melbourne.

    Are you a chocolate lover ? I guess Pannys Amazing World of Chocolate is a must visit place for enjoying some mouth watering chocolates. Also, just watching the huge waterfall of chocolate cascade down is breath taking. And watching the live chocolate making is fun.

    If you are a drive freak and love to drive around in some scenic spots, this is the place to visit which is "The Great Ocean Road". Seems like it would be a Great tour, great food and fantastic view.

    Some more places which I love to visit is Montalto Vineyard & Olive Grove, Loch Ard Gorge beach, Chateau Yering BBQ for some amazing Australian BBQ and definitely a hot air balloon ride for spectacular sightseeing and experience in life.

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  7. What a lovely Post! After reading your post and watching all the videos, I feel I am witnessing a kaleidoscope called Melbourne! To answer your question, I'd love to go to the Queen Victoria Market, operating since 1878, to watch the locals sell fresh fruits and vegetables in such a vibrant environment :)

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  8. Great post.Just loved your blog post. I am in love with driving and road trips, The Great Ocean Road is the ideal place for the people like me. I will surely visit that place in Melbourne and enjoy the sea shore, sunrise and gorgeous mesmerizing view.

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  9. Thanks for the wonderful comments folks. We have the deadline extended till the end of day today! So go on, keep your comments coming :)

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  10. Given a chance to visit Melbourne, I would absolutely make a run for Eureka Skydeck 88..Imagine the view of the city from such a great height of over 300 metres and while you are suspended in air in a glass box!
    This is an experience not to be missed and I hope I get a chance to visit Melbourne and go explore Eureka Skydeck 88 soon :)
    -Nikita @Njkinny's World of Books & Stuff

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  11. Being a person who loves to travel this place has struck my eye.
    And here, Eureka Skydeck 88 is going to be first on my list.. i can just imagine the view after reading about it and i feel its going to be awesome.
    Then the St. Kilda Beach,the long walk on the beach during the sunset will be just perfect.. And finding gold is also there.. :D
    why not get my pockets filled with some tresure hunt..Laneways and Arcades is going to be the place to explore my "Lara croft" skills.. :D :D
    Melbourne is going to be a great place to visit and enjoy a holiday..

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  12. Thanks for all your wonderful comments friends. With so many people and so many different interests, all targeting one magnificent city with many wonderful choices of their own, it is very evident that my reason of falling in love with Melbourne is very solid!!

    Now as of 05-Jan-2015, 11:59 PM IST, this contest stands closed. Please check my comment below for the winner details.

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  13. Congratulations blogger Suji (http://www.blogger.com/profile/09863260784321567125) for winning this contest!! You have won yourself a gift voucher worth Rs.500 sponsored by Tourism Victoria and IndiBlogger for your comment below -

    "I would definitely want to visit all those amazing places when I get to visit Melbourne :) But of all, my top pick would be a visit to Yarra valley for a beautiful sunrise balloon flight. After seeing the video, I can't stop myself from dreaming a romantic magical flight above the scenic vineyards and watching the sunrise from up above! Throw in my favorite wine, I will doubly enjoy the ride sipping my glass and taking sensational selfies all the way :) Now I can't think of a better way of spending a vacation!!"

    I think that's a wonderful choice and your vivid description of the place makes me want to hop on and ride the hot air balloon right away!! Who wouldn't want to click selfies in such a setup :) Thanks much for your wonderful comment. Please wait till my further communication regarding your prize.

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    Replies
    1. This is so amazing. Thank you so much !!

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