I am a freelance writer and photographer from Sydney who has now had five books published on fishing. I also write for the NSW Fishing Monthly, Visit the Shire, Fisho App & Tackle Tactics.
I also like to travel and experience new things to do.
Published January 14th 2015
Over the years I have visited Melbourne a number of times. Mainly for business, but there has been a couple of times where I have been able to mix business with pleasure and quite a number where I have stayed with a group of friends or my wife.
Just recently on one of those trips with a group of friends we tried to fit in as much as possible to a four day weekend in this great city. To achieve this a fair bit of planning needed to happen. Flights and accomodation needed to be booked, restaurants needed to be sussed out, where to go shopping (mainly for the girls), places to go and anything else we might like to do.
Two of the things we boys decided not to do was play golf and go fishing as we could do that at any time in Sydney. So the quest was on to work out our itinerary for the four day weekend.
In no particular order I have listed below six things that you could try and cram into a four day weekend in Melbourne.
1. Ride the Melbourne Star
The Melbourne Star is situated in the area called Docklands and is one of only three giant observation wheels in the world. It is 120 metres high and has 21 air conditioned cabins that can give you a 360-degree view of the city.
A ride (one complete rotation) takes 30 minutes and, according to the Star's website, provides uninterrupted 360-degree views of up to 40 kilometres, encompassing the Docklands precinct, Melbourne's CBD, part of Port Phillip Bay and as far as Mount Macedon, Arthur's Seat and the Dandenong Ranges.
Looking over Port Phillip bay from high atop the Melbourne Star
The Melbourne Star is open to the public every day from 10am 10pm, excluding Christmas Day and ANZAC Day when they open from 1pm. After you have gone for the ride you could walk through the shops adjacent to the Melbourne Star and do a bit of shopping, buy an ice cream or have a coffee.
To get there you could hop on the free tram or drive yourself as parking is available within walking distance of Melbourne Star. Access is from Footscray Road with car parks located on Waterfront Way and Pearl River Road. Parking is available from $10 per day.
Terry checking out the mechanics of the Melbourne Star
Even though as a kid I didn't own my own bike, I used to ride one all the time as I could always borrow one of my mate's spare ones. The reason I didn't have a bike as a kid is that I bought a boat instead.
Melbourne Bike Share is a form of public transport, designed for short trips across the city. All you need to do is to be able to ride a bike, know the road rules and simply hire a bike for a few hours, a day, a week or you can even get a yearly hire. Once you have finished using the bike all you need to do is return it to one of the 50 bike stations throughout the city.
Now that we have our Share Hire Bikes where are we going first?
You must wear a helmet at all times when riding a bike and one is supplied in the hire cost and you can now download a map with all of the bike stations, helmet outlets, along with formal and informal bike paths. You can either print the map or just keep it on your phone or iPad.
On the morning we hired out the bikes we used them for just over two and a half hours and by the end my little legs were fairly tired, but we did manage to see at lot and safely find our way back to where we started even though we got lost once or twice.
A short walk from the Melbourne Star down towards the water's edge you will come across a small shop called Motionators F1 Simulator that has something for the racing car enthusiast where you can get yourself close to the full motion F1 simulators the professional drivers use. The trip before I had noticed this shop and since then have always wanted to try out my driving skills on one of these.
Prior to going down to Melbourne Ian booked the three of us in for three ten minute races, as we all thought this would be an easy way of getting us to have ago on these simulators. How wrong were we? It's not as easy as it looks. Ian got out of the simulator after one lap and Terry managed to get in two laps before he too got out. I crashed before the end of the first lap, but managed to keep going for the whole of the first race of 11 laps.
My lap time started off at about 1 minute 56 seconds, which I got down to 1 minute 19 seconds. When I got out of the simulator I was a ball of sweat and after downing a bottle of water I was ready to go again. Did I manage to get my lap time down any further? No, as I didn't finish the second race as I started to make too many mistakes and crashed a number of times.
The next time I go down to the Docklands I am going to take a motion sickness tablet before I have another go (I never get motion sickness) and see if I can at least finish two complete races.
To be honest with you I had never heard of Shane Delia before I went to Melbourne and I had never heard of a restaurant called Maha before either. Since my first visit to this unbelievable restaurant I have been back again and I am sure that I will go back again.
Our first visit to Maha Restuarant was for Ruth's birthday
Shane Delia not only owns and runs the Maha Restaurant he has a TV show on SBS One called Shane Delia's Spice Journey, where he takes you on a culinary pilgrimage to explore his heritage and discover Middle Eastern food traditions that go back thousands of years.
Inspired by medieval Arab and Persian recipes passed down through generations, as well as simple rural and regional dishes, Shane then heads back to his Melbourne kitchen to put his take on some of the world's most ancient and influential culinary delights.
At his seductively lit subterranean restaurant, Shane Delia pays homage to Middle Eastern hospitality, ambience and cuisine. Choose something light for lunch, enjoy a lavish meal in the restaurant or private dining room, and try a puff on the traditional sheesha pipe in Maha's funky courtyard.
Please note - Maha is closed for renovations until 12 February 2015.
5.Take a tram ride to St Kilda
Located 6km from the city centre, St Kilda is Melbourne's seaside playground and is much-loved by residents and visitors alike. St Kilda is renowned for its expansive view of Port Phillip, safe sandy beach, palm-lined boardwalk, huge range of beach activities, big skies, gorgeous sunsets, lovely parks and gardens, great restaurants, bars and cafιs, fabulous old buildings, and its colourful past and present.
While in Melbourne you should take a tram ride down to St Kilda
All year round St Kilda is the place to head for fantastic things to see and do and great times to be had. With our great places to eat and drink and our wonderful sea air and it had been years since I had gone on a tram ride, so we decided to go to St Kilda on a tram and go for a walk out on St Kilda Pier, go shopping and go somewhere for lunch.
St Kilda Pier has some great fishing
What I didn't realize that there was so many ways and forms of transport to get to St Kilda. You can go by airport shuttle, bus, taxi, car, train, boat, tram or ride a bike. Getting there.
There is so much to see while visiting St Kilda that going for a day will only be the tip of the iceberg.
Melbourne's iconic Princess Theatre is regarded by many as Melbourne's most spectacular landmark. Dating back as far as 1854, the theatre was purchased by Marriner Theatres in 1986 and plans were put in place for its total refurbishment and to ensure its future viability as a live theatre venue. The Princess Theatre reopened in 1989 with the musical 'Les Miserables' followed by 'The Phantom of the Opera' which established a new record for the longest-running show ever staged in Victoria.
While down in Melbourne you may manage to squeeze into your itinerary a show at the Princess Theatre. One that Leanne and I have gone to was Jersey Boys, for the second time.
Click on the following for more information about the Princess Theatre: What's On
Well, there you have it! Six things to do while visiting Melbourne. Why don't you start planning your next trip to Melbourne now? I am sure you will come up with six different things to do, or maybe you will try out some or all of the things we did while in Melbourne.