Gayle Beveridge is a past winner of the Boroondara Literary Awards and her work has appeared in Award Winning Australian Writing. Gayle is passionate about family, writing, photography, and with Victoria’s beautiful Bass Coast which she now calls home.
Published October 17th 2016
You're Too Special To Stick With The Norm
Things to do, places to see, events and activities in Melbourne are so plentiful as to seem limitless. So dare to be different, choose something unusual, something that will have you friends oohing and aahing in envy as they view your Facebook and Instagram posts.
1. Take a Punt Ride on the Lake. If you've dreamed of riding a gondola in Venice but can't make the overseas trip do the next best thing and ride a punt on the lake at Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens. A punt is a shallow, flat-bottomed boat propelled by a pole instead of an oar. So hop aboard and enjoy a slow ride in beautiful surrounds as you punter moves you about the lake.
A taste of Venice in Melbourne (Photo from Punting on the Lake Facebook Page)
2.Go Plane Spotting. On the corner of Sunbury and Oaklands Roads, just north of the Melbourne (Tullamarine) Airport the parking area has long been a popular spot for plane watching. The planes fly low over this area as they approach the runway for landing.
3.Be a Train Driver for a Day. Imagine yourself as a train driver for a day, in the front seat of a charming old steam engine chugging and whistling along the line, or of a diesel train, its giant engines roaring. Don't dream about, you can do it. Train Driver experiences are offered by Puffing Billy, Mornington Railway, Bellarine Railway and Victorian Goldfields Railway.
Be a Train Driver for a Day (Photo from Bellarine Railway Facebook Page.)
4.Go Star Gazing. The night skies have captured our attention for time immemorial. They have inspired myth and legend and remain a wonder for exploration and discovery. The stars are humanity's final frontier and our next great adventure. Victoria's public observatories with astronomical telescopes cater for those not content to simply gaze skyward from their own back yard. Planetariums and virtual reality theatres bring the universe to you.
5. Handle A Snake. Do you have a fascination with snakes or perhaps you want to confront a fear by holding one of these creatures. Would you be surprised to find they are not slimy but dry to the touch and that their bodies although flexible are not limp but firm and strong? See for yourself on a snake encounter at Moonlit Sanctuary, or Maru Koala and Animal Park.
Get acquainted with a python if you dare (Photo copyright Roger Marien)
6. Search for Lyrebirds. The joy of seeing a lyrebird in the wild may not be as elusive a dream as it first sounds. The superb lyrebird is commonly found in Eastern Australian native forests in Victoria and New South Wales. Melburnians are spoilt for choice as there are a number of places in the Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges and in South Gippsland which are known for lyrebird sightings.
7.Learn About Beekeeping. Have you ever thought you might like to keep bees, to have your own backyard hive. Imagine drizzling your breakfast toast with honey collected in your own garden. There are a number of courses and training packages run around Melbourne where you can learn about beekeeping, get an insight into this rewarding pastime and judge your passion for it.
Learning the basics of beekeeping (Photo in the Public Domain via Pixabay)
8. Go See a Waterfall. Aren't waterfalls wonderful? Is it the thunder of the water, the fine mist rainbows, the rugged cliff faces, the pools, the rivers, the moss covered rocks, the ferns or the forests that capture our imagination? Victoria is rich in these natural wonders, some easily accessible with amenities and others along picturesque walks.
9.Explore a Cave. Caves have a certain mystique about them. In myth and legend they are the home of fairies and the hiding place for pirates' treasure. Today it is the natural wonder of them that beckons. In Victoria we have some outstanding caves which are accessible to the public; Buchan Caves, Princess Margaret Rose Caves, Byaduk Caves, and Tarragal Caves. All are set in scenic surrounds and each and every one is a wonder to behold.
Calcite rimmed pools at Buchan Caves (Photo copyright Gayle Beveridge)
11.Enjoy a Mobile Dining Experience. Do you have a special occasion coming up and you're thinking of a nice restaurant meal but you want that little something extra, that pizazz? Melbourne has you covered with a selection of unique mobile restaurants. Enjoy your meal on a tram, a train, a plane or a boat. So don't let the grass grow under your feet, get moving on one of these tasty trips.
The luxurious interior of Melbourne's Iconic Tramcar Restaurant. (Photo from The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant Facebook Page)
12.Tour a Cemetery. Visiting a cemetery is not something most people will have on their list of leisure time activities, particularly as graveyards tend to have spooky connotations. These often overlooked final resting places are historic markers to our past. Many of Melbourne's cemeteries, some of which date back to the mid-1800s, offer public tours where knowledgeable guides point out notable interments and tell the stories behind them.
13.Go Hot Air Ballooning. Ballooning is popular above the city of Melbourne and across the picturesque Yarra Valley. Urban or rural landscape, take your pick. Flights across Melbourne give a bird's eye view of the city skyline, the iconic buildings, the rail yards, the docks and the Yarra River before drifting across for views of the bay and the suburbs. Yarra Valley Flights soar above vineyards and farms, a beautiful rural vista with a mountainous backdrop.
Hot air ballooning for incredible views (Photo in the Public Domain via Pixabay)
14.Step Out on The Edge. Take the fastest elevator in the Southern Hemisphere and in 38 seconds you will arrive at the Eureka Skydeck 88 where you can take in 360-degree views of Melbourne. Daredevils can step up to The Edge, a glass cube that protrudes from the side of the building 285 metres above ground. Now here's the adventure, the floor is glass. Glance down at your feet suspended 285 in the air.
15. Drive a Stunt Car. Put a car in a spin, set it up on two wheels, or jump it. No, I'm not talking about a wild ride after a night on the booze. I'm talking about a stunt driving experience. You too can make like the movies, if just for a while on this stunt driver experience in Mini Coopers at Sandown Race Course.
Be a stunt driving daredevil (Photo from Stuntdrivingschool.com.au Facebook Page)
16. Go Geocaching. Pirates may be the stuff of fairy tales but there is still booty to be had. Geocaching is a hi-tech modern day treasure hunt where people use GPS coordinates to find a hidden container, the geocache. The hunter then enters their name in the log book and returns the geocache to its hidey-hole to await the next person. There are over 6,000 geocaches near Melbourne.
17.Dare to Skinny Dip. Woo Hoo, was that you running around in the nuddie in public? I'm sure it wasn't, after all, no matter how liberating it just isn't the done thing to stride about town in the altogether. But if it is a kind of liberation you're keen to try, a daring adventure you long to take, Sunnyside North Beach in Mornington, Point Impossible Beach in Torquay and Southside Beach in Anglesea all allow skinny dipping.
Do you dare to go skinny dipping (Photo by Gisele Porcaro from Brasília, Brasil (IMG_0130a) CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons)
18.Take an Urban Drainage Walking Tour. Take a 1 to 1.5 hour self-guided walking tour of some of Central Melbourne's water sensitive urban design. See raingarden tree pits, infiltration pits, permeable bluestone pavement, the Godfrey Street greening project, and Latrobe Streets permeable bike lane.
19.Engage in some Aerobatics. Did I hear you say you love flying? Of course, you don't just mean inside a comfy commercial airliner being served drinks and snacks do you, you mean real flying. Melbourne has a number of experienced businesses offering joy flights but forget about them. Instead, hook into the thrill of aerobatic flight; loops, barrel rolls, spins, stall turns, and G forces.
Aerobatics with Tiger Moth World (Photo from Tiger Moth World Facebook Page)
20.Take a First Aid Course. There are so many reasons first aid training is a good idea. Illness or injury are always stressful but it may be less so if you know what to do until professional care can be reached. Any day you may be called upon to deal with something as simple as how to clean and bandage a child's skinned knee through to performing lifesaving CPR.
21.Visit a Community Environment Park. CERES, the Centre for Education and Research in Environmental Strategies, is a community environment park that has a focus on sustainability education. CERES has working demonstrations of renewable energy technologies, buildings showcasing sustainable design, indigenous flora and organic garden plantings, a bushfood nursery and the largest display of household composting systems in the Southern Hemisphere.
It's a just a taste, the beginning of what could be a very long list, the beginning of some exciting and interesting weekends. If you know of something to do or see that is unusual, weird, or crazy why not leave a comment below. In the meantime get out there and have some fun.