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Posts Tagged ‘Apollo Bay’

Even though I live in a big city, arriving in Melbourne after a week in sleepy Tasi was a bit of a shock to the system. I was concious of behaving just like those London tourists I ‘tut tut’ at all the time.

After an afternoon taking in the inner suburbs by car, we walked into Her Majesty’s Theatre and I knew instantly I was going to have a good time – the seats had been covered in gold, silver, turquoise and pink lurex. From then on, it was a riot of colour and the smile hardly left my face. True to his own 1992 film Strictly Ballroom, Baz Luhrman’s stage musical was warm-hearted, quirky and funny (and very colourful!). Little did he know its title would inspire a TV franchise that would lead to a resurgance in the dancing to which it is a homage. It was a great start to this second leg of the trip.

The following morning, I set off with my friends Gordon & Liz for Apollo Bay, taking it slowly along the Great Ocean Road, stopping occasionally, to their ocean-side home with 180 degree views of the said ocean, home cooking, too much wine (not a complaint) and a 4-day chill-out. Trips to Cape Otway and its lighthouse and resident koalas, the extraordinary Twelve Apostles rock formations at the ocean’s edge and a treetop walk in the temperate rainforst distraced us from the food and wine. Briefly. Four days later I was back in Melbourne.

When I revisit cities and find them better, I often wonder whether they have actually improved or whether I’m just a better traveller and get more out of them. Melbourne is a case in point; in truth probably a bit of both. It has certainly grown in the last 15 years, pretty free of the economic woes of other cities. Suffice to say I thoroughly enjoyed my revisit. I wandered the new Docklands, the expanded Southbank and the central core, uncovering architectural gems missed before like the shopping arcades and the bold new Federation Square next to Flinders St Station, now the heart of the city. The art bowled me over, both at the Ian Potter Centre for Australian Art and at the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria) International. Great permanent collections and some terrific temporary exhibitions, I was in my element.

A tour of the Victoria Parliament, spookily like our own, was both informative and funny and a visit to James Cook’s parents cottage relocated from Yorkshire 80 years ago somewhat surreal. The city has many new buildings, chief amongst them the Eureka Building on Southbank which provided terrific 360 degree views from its 88th floor, which I quickly followed by views up from a Yarra river cruise. I was lucky enough to catch up with three people from a former client over a dinner and a lunch and to catch favourite comedian Adam Hills stand-up show for the first time as part of the Melbourne Comedy Festival, which was very much the Edinburgh Fringe with just the comedy.

I’ve always thought of Melbourne as second best to Sydney, now I’m not so sure. In 10 days time I’ll be able to compare afresh. Before that, it’s time for a doubling of temperature, a huge increase in humidity and five days in the outback. More of that to come…..

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