7th, 8th, 9th November
When in Melbourne brunch is apparently the thing to do, and when better to brunch than after a heavy night of celebration and cider.
Brunswick St – apparently the hippest place in town for brunch and it soon became clear why, everything was organic, dairy free, gluten free, paleo – avocado everywhere – all super hipster.
Today we thought we’d embrace tourist-hood and go on the free walking tour of the city. Obviously, being free, the word had spread and the crowd grew and grew. Far from subtly we all set off as a crowd of tourists ogling at the city.
It was a really good way to see everything and after three hours we had actually lost our tour guide, but we had seen a lot of the city. The tour offers not only history and insights into the streets of Melbourne but uncovers bars, cafes, places to eat and shop, perfect for travellers thinking of settling there.
After a couple of weddings distracted most of the tour group we became slightly more conspicuous. As we reached halfway our group was considerably smaller.
The alleys of Melbourne are truly what makes this city so unique, the famous street art, artisan cafes on ever corner, food stalls selling the latest vegan/lactose/gluten/fat free snack and right next door to the most extravagant cake shops.
For dinner we decided to head down to urban market, a food court we’d found on our walking tour this morning. It was here that we discovered Max Brenners Chocolate Bar, a cafe selling all things chocolate. So obviously we had no choice, dinner would have to be salad and chocolate would have to be pudding.
The queue as you can imagine was long and at the other end the hot chocolate was disappointing. Overly sweet and watery, it was definitely not what we’d been expecting. On top of this it was served in a jug without a handle (or a ‘hug mug’) boiling hot drink, no handle, not my cup of tea. Personally I prefer Cotswold Chocolate Company but then again I am a smidge biased :).
The next morning was our first greyhound bus which we’d be taking to Australia’s capital Canberra. In both Melbourne and Sydney we had come to realise that Canberra had a bit of a reputation of being a bit of a ‘boring’ city.
Anyway it was time to make up our own mind. We can only hope that we’d find out that Melbourne and Sydney were just jealous of Canberra’s title of ‘capital city’.
Nope. Canberra seemed pretty deserted both when we arrived late that night and on our exertion into the city the next day.
We walked for a good hour before seeing any form of shop, cafe, or supermarket (we later found out that had we turned the other direction out of our hostel we’d have walked straight into a shopping district). At this point we assumed that Canberra was simply full of businessmen and women and students. Where these people went after work or school we could not yet imagine.
We did however discover the the best place in Canberra. Pattisez is a small unassuming cafe until you order one of their speciality ‘freakshakes’.
A mason jar smothered in sauce and then further covered in either fruit or nuts, and topped with mousse and cookies. They really are quite spectacular. The guilt of having something quite so unnecessarily extravagant is quickly extinguished when you start unceremoniously licking the outside of your glass but you don’t care because it tastes so good.
Gina was lovely; cuddling babies from every table, chatting, and even gave us a free dessert for our journey back. All the staff were brilliant and couldn’t do enough for us, taking time to google a bus route home for us. 10/10 from us, we definitely recommend.
That pretty much sums up our time in Canberra. Walking and milkshakes is really all we managed to achieve. Perhaps staying there longer you would discover the hidden gems of the city but when compared to a city like Melbourne, Canberra did feel a little quiet.
The novelty of our hostel having its own pool meant the the evening was spent forcing ourselves to sit in the freezing water before cooking ourselves in the sauna.