Of Koalas, Kangaroos and Penguins

I expected to see lots of them when we set foot on Australian soil. Kangaroos, kangaroos and more kangaroos. Maybe not in Melbourne, but surely along the Great Ocean Road and other parts of undeveloped Victoria. "Kangaroo crossing" signs along the roadways didn't lessen the expectation. Yet, we never saw a single one. I should... Continue Reading →

Cathedral of Commerce and the Gothic Bank (Melbourne, VIC)

It's seems rather odd when walking along Collins Street, Melbourne's swanky avenue lined with boutique shops, restaurants, historic churches, some of Australia's tallest buildings and its banking center. For such a commercial and financial avenue, one wouldn't expect to find the city's best examples of Victorian-era architecture. It seems that the 19th-century captains of finance were in the habit of erecting and working in grand,... Continue Reading →

Great Ocean Road and Victoria’s Coast

It isn't a particularly casual drive along the Great Ocean Road, considered one of the great drives of the world. When you're the driver, the curves and hairpin turns are enough to turn your hair gray and prevent you from gazing at the spectacular scenery offshore. The journey is even more suspenseful when you're accustomed to driving on... Continue Reading →

Degraves Street: Melbourne’s Café Culture

We were getting weary of the “big breakfast,” as Aussies and Kiwis refer to their eggs, bacon, sausage, roasted tomato, sautéed mushrooms and hash browns combination. There’s nothing wrong with it; it's just that we wanted variety. Our hotel offered a buffet; components of the big brekkie were the extent of the savory offerings. We were going... Continue Reading →

Barking up the Tree: Textures of the Royal Botanic Garden (Melbourne, VIC)

The Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne is one of the finest in the world, an easy walk across the Princes Bridge from Federation Square. This being nearly the third week into autumn, most all the flower blossoms were spent. Still, there was much to admire here. As you would imagine, there were many native trees of Australia on... Continue Reading →

Turks in Melbourne, Börek on Elizabeth Street

I’d never heard of börek before, but as we were walking along Elizabeth Street recently, we came across a café, Borek Bakehouse. It happens that there is a significant population of people of Turkish descent in Melbourne, estimated to be around 300,000 in 2013. This explains why we'd seen börek at more than one place as we walked... Continue Reading →

Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market

How does one describe the largest market in the southern hemisphere? Just big doesn’t seem adequate. The corner building as you approach it on Queen and Franklin Streets is rather ordinary, easy to walk past if you weren’t looking for the signs. The mass of people outside is no different than the crowds anywhere along Elizabeth.... Continue Reading →

Gum on the Road

The gum trees of Australia are everywhere. They lined the roadsides as we drove to and from the Bellarine Peninsula from Torquay. Otherwise known as eucalyptus trees, there are 700 varieties in Australia.

Melbourne’s Elizabeth Street, Coconut House for Dinner (Melbourne, VIC)

Elizabeth Street from Federation Square to Queen Victoria Market is as noisy, overcrowded and vibrant as any commercial avenue in the world. Think Times Square with its convenience stores, hair salons, tourist shops, electronics and adult stores and ATM machines, with abundant traffic and streetcars noisily making their way. The hustle and bustle were in... Continue Reading →

Lorne and Lunch at Chopstix Noodle Bar (Lorne, AU)

Of all the towns along The Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Lorne is possibly the most popular vacation destination. Galleries, boutiques and bars populate the main drag through town. Lorne also appeals to families as the beach park, much of it covered in grass, has picnic areas, playground, trampoline center, swimming pool and skate park.... Continue Reading →

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