04 June 2010

My Longest Walk Trail in Australia: How I Left Thousands of Footsteps in Melbourne

It would be my last FULL day in Melbourne and there would be a few more places to go. As an afterthought, I decided to walk instead of taking a tram.
My first stop was at the Old Treasury Building which was once home to the Treasury Department but is now a museum of Melbourne History known as the City Museum.
Knowing that there’d be more museums right on my track in my days to come, I was actually more interested in checking out the architectural design of the exterior of the building than what there were inside.
Earlier on, I bumped into this and I really didn’t know what to say about it. :-D
There are probably dozens of statues like this scattered all over Melbourne.
They are like everywhere I’d probably have to allocate at least a couple of days to check out what they are all about. Unfortunately, I didn’t have that much time.
It wasn’t long before I found myself standing right in front of the St. Patrick’s Cathedral.
And what kind of God would keep the people out of His house with something like this?
Kidding. It was on the other side of the road. In fact, you are most welcome to join in any of their services. I was actually there for the Sunday Mass.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral on the INSIDE is just so amazing I was instantly captivated by its beauty and elegance. It was so beautiful I had to remind myself over and over again that I was there for the mass or rather God and not for the church. LOL!
But then, I just couldn’t help it.
For a moment, I felt like crying. How I wished my mom was there with me. I knew how much she would have liked it there. She would have been happy.
And when could be a more perfect time to make your mom happy than on a Mother’s Day?
May be I should start (seriously) planning my trip to the Vatican City with her. It’s been like her lifelong dream. Amen? AMENNNNN!! :-D
Coming to church means you have to be ready to surrender at least fifty bucks out of your wallet to give out during a session called ‘collection’. So you now know why many people don’t come to church on Sundays – because they don’t have money!
Hehe. The Pope is gonna kill me for this. Of course it was a joke. You can give whatever amount that you’d feel like you can afford giving, or you can just pretend not to notice the collection sacks being passed around. The choice is yours.
Oh well, since Mr. Gov for some reason hasn’t been kind enough to allocate money for the construction of any houses of worship other than the one that begins with M, it is quite understandable that churches in Malaysia are left with no choice but asking for the generosity from the church-goers as a source of financial support. I didn’t know they also do it here in Australia.
I only got to check out the EXTERIOR of the building when the mass was over.
Noticing the existence of so many roses in the landscape, I didn’t know that roses could get this big.
And they come in many different colors.
And what is a church without statues?
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is probably best viewed from here.
Since a group of Japanese tourists were all over the place taking photos like the church was gonna blow up in an hour, I had to wait for at least half-hour before I could this photo taken. *look at how clear the sky is!
Ohh, and I was partly inspired by this guy here. Somehow he gave me some idea on what to do if I ran out of money in any of my travel trips in the future. Errrkkk! Palis2 though.. LOL! *Knocking on the wooden table.
Getting into the only shop that I found at the church of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, I was quite happy to see what a variety of religious items they had had to offer to its visitors.
But my excitement died almost instantly the moment the prices registered into my auto-currency-converting mind. Seriously, I could easily get a tiny piece of metal like this for less than RM1.50 in Sabah.
Buying this for my mom, I knew it would be the most expensive rosary in my mom’s collection of rosaries so far to date. Phew!
Walking away from St. Patrick’s Cathedral, I made my way off across the adjacent Fitzroy Garden. It knew it would be the beginning of a VERY long walk across a series of gardens that dominate most of Melbourne City’s landscape.
The combination of all the gardens in Melbourne is actually so huge I was convinced that it is like 10 times bigger than the Hyde Park in London or probably 50 times the park at the Suria KLCC. You see, it is so huge it was impossible to cover it all in half a day without turning my long walk into, err, a camwhoring spree.. ? :-P
A little bit of asking around had led me to this little building here.
Located in the Fitzroy Garden, it was actually the Cooks’ Cottage.
Captain James Cook has brought such a huge significance to the history of Australia for being the very first mat salleh to have found and did the very first RECORDED landing on the Australian land.
Oh well, I actually didn’t expect there would be an entrance fee to enter such a small cottage whose existence might never even been known to Mr. Cook himself. The cottage, which was dismantled to bricks, is said to have been shipped all the way over from Captain Cook’s kampung in England and it was actually done AFTER his slaying on the Hawaiian island back in 1779.
I decided to skip it but not before taking another camwhored picture right in front of its entrance. You know, just as a proof that I was there. *coughing
Fitzroy Garden had turned out to be much bigger than I had expected I was actually having some difficulty in deciding which way to go next when a city council personnel came up to my rescue with a big map in his hand.
You see, Melbournians can get quite too friendly and overly helpful than you probably want them to be. The problem with having a map in your hand is, every time you make a stop to check your map out, it is more likely than not that somebody will come up to you to offer some help! How sweet you say? Not really. If fact, I found it quite irritating after quite awhile. I mean, I need some adventure at times. :-P
My walk had later led me to the main entrance of Melbourne Cricket Stadium.
Looking so modern and futuristic, it was probably one of the most beautiful stadiums that I had ever seen.
Then on to this long and beautiful pedestrian crossover. 
I had come find out that it actually spans over the railways.
Reaching the riverbank of Yarra River, I was amazed to see how Melbournians really know how to spend their weekend. Oh yeah, Melbournians are very much into weekend picnics that walking along the river bank of Yarra River was like walking though a Pasar Malam in Malaysia. Smells of food fill the air I suddenly felt quite hungry. 
I had to trust my sense of direction before I managed to find this. 
It was actually one of quite a number of entrances to the sprawling Royal Botanical Garden – another one in the list of must-visit places in Melbourne.
Then problem came in the form of this.  
The whole 4GB had all been used up I was forced to take some of the photos off. Even a worse shit came when the battery was running low. 
You see, imagine if I didn’t bring a spare battery. I would have missed taking this.
Royal Botanical Garden in Melbourne can be legs-breaking if you want to cover every corner of it in one day.  
Its sprawling size gives space to just about everyone that comes to Royal Botanical Garden to spend some quality time with their family. 
When I was in Vietnam earlier this year, I happened to be on the same tour bus to Halong Bay with a Vietnamese man who had migrated to Australia 20 years ago. He told me how he moved his family of three children to Melbourne from Sydney because Melbourne is much more family-friendly. Being at the Royal Botanical Garden, I couldn’t agree more. 
I mean, I’d never seen so many families doing picnic in such a big number before. 
And it is such a perfect playground for kids. 
Oh probably even a purrrfect spot for some gossiping sessions amongst the makcik-makcik :-D
And quite true to its name, Royal Botanical Garden offers you with the sightings of some rare botanical plants such as these, errr, kangaroo plants here. 
And this weirdly-branched tree. 
Believe me, there are many more of them. Ohh and I was too late to find out that the Shrine of Remembrance is actually part the Royal Botanical Garden. Cissss!
My next destination would require me to go across a road. 
Being in Melbourne, you should keep reminding yourself than you’re not in KL or Penang or KK where you probably can get across a road anywhere your ass would want to. Melbourne is known for its heavy traffic fines so be a smart traveler.
Believe me; any of your I-am-not-from-around-here excuses wouldn’t work on any traffic officer, not when you’re here in Melbourne.
Ohh, and I actually believed that this thing here was nothing more than just a dummy so being the only one around, I REFUSED to press it. I must have waited for at least 10 minutes before I finally gave up waiting and gave it a slam. So, this thing DOES work; you gotta give it a press or the lights would never turn green.
Just across the road from the Shrine of Remembrance is actually the Victoria Barracks.  
Oh well, it might not be in the list of top destinations in Melbourne but it is quite worth a visit if you’ve got some extra time to kill.
Its heavily-grassed façade makes it a perfect filming set for some Halloween movie.
Or probably for some photo-shooting session for a model wanna-be like me.
Com'on. Just admit it. It's not bad mahh hohh? :-P
Hehe! A little walk from the Victoria Barracks had led me to The Victorian College of Arts.
Quite true to its name, the Victorian College of Arts really knows how to turn these chunks of metal scraps into some kind of art, if it is art at all. And the spider cow-web adds on to its errr, artistic look? Hehe. Whateva.. :-P
Good thing about being a well-recognized college of art is, you can put anything on the lawn and people would still look at is as an art.
Even this errr, 'sandwiched' fork and coffee spoon.
And what the hell is this?
Hehe. Walking past the Victorian College of Arts, I reached over what was yet another Melbourne main attraction – the National Gallery of Victoria.
Welcoming me at the entrance were these.
Coming closer to them, I heard myself muttering ... What the hell? I mean, look at those dangling boobs!
But then, Melbournians that I notice put humorous elements in most of their arts. While photography is probably allowed in most parts of the museum, you might not be allowed to use the flash. And it is quite wise to always ask because some of the janitors might say YES while some might say NO. Seriously, they confused me many times.
And looking at the vast collection of Chinese artifacts at the National Gallery, they really made me think that Australia probably knows more about the Chinese history then those ‘real’ Chinese people in China.
They keep records of things from as early as the Bronze Age and even the Neolithic era.
I happened to know more about jade here.
There really were so many things to check out at the National Gallery including dozens of ancient artifacts that were related to Buddhism and Hinduism.
Most of the collections of arts at the museums that I went to in Paris and London had somehow lacked in details and information I had to do my own research about them through the internet after I returned home. What I like most about museums in Australia is that, they put up detailed info just about anything that they display.
The painting section is something that you shouldn’t miss out on.
This section of the museum features some of the finest paintings that Australia has ever collected.
Errrr, but then, that is probably what they want us to believe. In fact, I couldn’t help but saying SILENTLY to myself how some of the drawings didn’t seem to belong there AT ALL.
I mean, I was quite sure I could draw something like this here but would this drawing by any chance be here at the National Gallery if it was sketched by me and not Pablo Picasso?
I think there are times when big names decide whether an art is an art.
But then I can say this sketch here is definitely an art.
In fact, it turned out to be my favorite painting in the whole museum.
Very much adjacent to the National Gallery is one of the most iconic buildings in Melbourne.
Seriously, Melbourne that I noticed is a city that is willing to put in EXTRA money to make its buildings stand out, errr, architecturally.
I was quite sure that the total cost to construct a building in Melbourne would mostly go to the architectural purposes and actually less on its structural. LOL!
I was quite lucky to be there on a Sunday when the weekly Arts Centre Sunday Market was taking place.
Taking place in an area called The Southgate, this market is all about art commercialism.
Paintings, fridge magnets (ehem!), coloring tools, drawing pads, portraits, etc. But then, you know how they put the prices on things that are related in one way or another to arts. For sure, they are not cheap la..
Apparently, Southgate which is located on the riverbank of Yarra River, is so lively on a Sunday. They are restaurants and cafes for you to spend your day lepaking around and taking in the beauty of river view while watching the weekend go vibrant right before your eyes. 
Vibrant indeed, there were street performances everywhere. 
And some small people with BIG talents that were so worth stopping for. 
Ohh, and they do have animals strolling on the roads in Melbourne. SO many of them actually. 
So guys, whenever you come down to Melbourne, do not miss taking some time checking out the Southgate. It is just sooooo cool there. :-)
By then, the sky was darkening over Melbourne. 
Ohh, and being there during the autumn season, night comes quiet too early in Melbourne.
Returning to my hostel later, I was actually eyeing if I had a chance of using the free internet to keep myself updated with my family and friends back home. Oh well, if they are Asians, chances are, you’ll get tired of waiting before they even bother to turn their heads to you. If they are mat salleh, you may save a few of your hours. Seriously, some of them can write an email that is even longer then probabably a Uni assignment can be.  
Getting tired of waiting, I carried my lap top around in search of a free internet connection. Unlike here in Malaysia, Starbucks in Melbourne don’t give you a wireless internet connection for free. In fact, I found their charges rate quite amusingly funny. AUD3 for an hour, and AUD6 for 24 hours. You see how they force you to pay AUD6. LOL! The problem is, they close early (around 9pm something). 
Most of the McDonalds in Melbourne are covered with free wi-fi though. The problem is, you wouldn’t find any plug-in sockets around so you can only surf up until your battery runs flat. 
Oh well, despite that little difficulty encounter over the wireless internet connection, everything seemed to be quite so easy in Melbourne I actually got bored after quite awhile. I mean, there are times when I need some adventure in my travel trips. Problem came on the very night before I was set to fly off to Sydney the next day. 
A domestic flight via Jetstar would require you to take off from Avalon Airport which is about 2 hours by bus from Melbourne City Centre. EACH flight has its own bus to transport its passengers from South Cross Station to the Avalon Airport. 
It is strictly a one-bus- for- one- flight policy. You can’t miss your bus or you’ll risk having to pay more than AUD100 for a taxi to the airport. You’ll be required to show your flight ticket when you’re buying a bus ticket at the counter. 
OH well, the hostel management has been so kind by putting up the time schedule of departure for the buses at the lobby. 
The problem is, I couldn’t find my flight number there! Getting quite panic, questions kept streaming into my head. I wondered if my flight was cancelled or probably postponed and they failed to inform me. I was looking at the possibility of taking the 12-hrs bus ride to Sydney. Checking out the JetStar website, it turned out that there should be another page of departure time schedule apart from the one that they put up. My flight no was in that missing page. Phew! 
Waking up on the day that I was set to say good bye to Melbourne, I actually walked out to the Yarra River to watch the sunrise. 
Watching the break of dawn and the sky brightening over the city of Melbourne was quite fascinating. 
While our Datuk Mayor would call those who throw trashes on the streets of Kota Kinabalu as KUTU SAMPAH, I noticed how Melbourne has its own KUTUs (lice?).
 Luckily they have this to 'mow' the trashes away.
 And I found the mechanism concept of this litter trap to keep the Yarra River clean was quite simple yet so inspiringly smart. 
Yarra River provides such a clean habitat for a large number of geese..
And birds..
Ohh, and these birds are so comel it made me wonder if they were edible or not.. :-D
 And I actually returned to the wind-blown bells..  
And the wooden pedestrian bridge..
And the Birrarung Marr plague..
It really so easy to fall in love with Melbourne it didn’t feel good to finally having to say good bye to this marvelous city.
After checking out from the hostel, I decided to take my one last tour around the city by taking the free City Circle Tram. 
And of course, free means you’d have to expect not to get a seat. 
I was lucky I got one. :=D 
I actually stopped here – The Southern Cross Station.  
And promptly proceeded over to the counter and bought a ticket for my airport transfer. TADA…
Being there quite too early, I had at least a couple of hours to kill before the scheduled time for departure. By then, I was beginning to get hungry. 
I actually ordered the biggest meal that they had to offer at the Hungry Jack’s – it was called The Ultimate Double Burgers. 
How I overestimated myself and my small and tight (ehem!) Asian belly. :-P
This is the best I could go and I had to stop before I might choke myself to death.  
But then, how could I ever finish it all when this beautiful 'lady’ here kept strutting her butt around right in front of me? For a moment I got confused whether I should get seduced or throwing up. LOL!
Kidding. I‘ve got nothing against THEM actually. They deserve some respect. I had to return down to the basement when it was announced that the bus that I would be getting on would be arriving in 10 minutes. And sure enough..
Hopping on, I was quite taken aback finding out how comfortable it was being inside the bus. So, spare your money over taxi, it WAS NOT BAD at all. 
Pulling out of the Southern Cross Station, I was choked with some emotion as I saw the city of Melbourne looming away as the bus took me further and further away from it. Oh well, there was no way of telling when I would be back again. Uhuks!
The bus took me across a wide expanse of beautiful countryside and for a moment I was hoping to see kangaroos dashing across the road and probably koalas hiding into the bushes but no. There was none. 
Finally after 2 hours or so, the bus arrived at the Avalon Airport. 
Avalon Airport was nothing like how I had expected it to be. For one thing, it was in the middle of nowhere.  
Then the airport terminal turned out to be much smaller and less crowded than I had expected. In fact it was so scarce with people.
Thumps up to our airports here in Malaysia, Avalon airport offers no free internet, let alone free foods. LOL! 
I had to wait for another hour or so before I finally bid my farewell to the Victorian land. 
Melbourne had been great but somehow, I couldn’t wait to see what Sydney had to offer to me.
Dubbed as the most iconic city in the world, with so many iconics buildings and world reknown beaches, you gotta check out how this kampung(an?) guy from Malaysia hit into Sydney quite in style actually, all in my next posts!  For now, let me say it out loud, Hello Sydney!!!!!!! :-D


aud said...

Wah Jipp - this is a REALLY long post...it felt like I did all the 'walking' too, haha! A mini tour of Melbourne, done :)

The domestic airport is 2 hours away? Jauhnya. By the way, how much was the MEL-SYD flight compared to a bus ticket?

JIPP said...

hehe. I know. I wanted to break it into two and three entries but I know I'm gonna be so busy after this. Just look at it as a photo album tho. :-) I bought the flight ticket for around RM200. Errr, Mel-Syd bus ticket that I was told is about AUD70 but quite sure. :-)

JIPP said...

i mean, not quiet sure..

Kelvin said...

Whew, finally finish reading...i spent about 15 mins reading and clicking ur pictures to enlarge it.

**~Pu-3~** said...

Waaa~ super long post with sooo many pictures. But how come ALL the pictures very nice? :D :D :D

kenwooi said...

so envious!
melbourne is such a nice place, i wish to be there one day! the atmosphere is just nice.. i like the feeling of being at another country.. haha.. =)

chegu carol said...

hehe i always have to spare your entry the last so that i can read 'em without rush.

yabah, reading this makes me feel like i was with you during the travel. you described it as detailed as you can. i like.

just curious, who took the photos with you in it? Using tripod and timer?

And how's the fly with Jetstar..ok?

Ellen said...

Hey Jipp,

It's Ellen, Bridget's friend! I must say, I learnt a great deal about Melbourne from a short time reading your blog compared to the time I've spent living here (even though it's not long really!). You 'read' like you've had a great time - I thoroughly enjoyed your write-up and love the photos.

Come back soon for another visit, maybe we can do a road trip. Widgie and I are wanting to do a trip to the wineries sometime soon.

Looking forward to your post of Sydney! Here's hoping you're well.

thomas said...

wow!I just went on a long tour through Melbourne,
thks for your detailed post!

JIPP said...

Kelvin: hehe. Hopefully I didn't waste ur 15 mins. LOL.
Pu3: still can't beat u bahh. Still a lot to learn on LX3 but I'm so glad I bought it. LOL!
Kenwooi: Go travel again. :=)
Carol: Good question. Quite a number of methods actually. mostly tripod, some taruh mana2 and some minta tlg orang yg lalu lalang. he he he. JetStar was OK, it is probably the only airline where u're allowed to bring food openly on board. hehe.

JIPP said...

Ellennnnn!! I didn't expect I'd hear from u so soon. Oh yeah, it's only been a month and I miss Melbourne already. I'd definitely wanna go back there. Too many places didn't sempat go such as the GOR. Wineries sound so interesting to me. WE'll keep in touch k. :-)
Thomas: No problem. Hopefully I can help those who wanna go to Melbourne. :-)

Lizeewong said...

Buli tahan oh ko jalan jalan kan...You visited so many places! And by doing so, given me ideas where to go when I visit Melbourne. The churches are beautiful! Cheers!

JIPP said...

haha. Thanks Liz. that's why exercising is so important before going on a trip like this. :-D

Anonymous said...

... your granmar is horrible and you sound like a pompous arse (for no seemingly) valid reason.

you do not snap photos of a homeless man, make fun of him nor do you insult that woman then say "Just joking".

Seriously give Malaysians a bad name.


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