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Melbourne and the Great Ocean Road

One of the first things I noticed about Melbourne was its unique and contemporary architecture.  Curves and colors, angles and lines all blend together remarkably well.  Purples, blues, gold and various shades of grey combined with geometric shapes. Angles, cones, and wavy walls make for an interesting skyline.  

1909 Flinders Street Station, the first rail station and said to be the busiest in Australia

Combining the old and the new, the Central Shopping Center and underground rail hub is built around Coop's Shot (lead shot) Tower, itself built in 1888.  

Looking down at the reading room of the Victoria State Library

St. Patrick's Cathedral, was built during the late 1800's and is the tallest and largest church of Australia

Queen Victoria Market has supplied Melbourne with fruits, vegetables, produce, meats, and cheeses, for over 100 years.  Today you can also shop for arts and crafts, clothing, or get lunch at a deli with gelato for dessert.

The shopping centers are beautifully constructed with vaulted glass ceilings and creative interior design.  Have a seat at one of the coffee bars and enjoy the entertainment.  The shops were pretty nice, too.


Melbourne joins other international venues in celebrating artistic innovation through lights and music in a variety of ways.  We were lucky enough to be part of the 500,000 or so people that wandered through the streets and gazed upon this spectacular festival of art.  It goes from 7 pm to 7 am all through downtown Melbourne (those that had a street view room can attest to the music playing all night, too).  It was a wonderful experience and so peaceful a gathering, too.  I saw very little police presence.  It was also Chinese New Year so there were a LOT of people out and about in Melbourne.  


The Melbourne Gaol housed and executed some of Australia's most notorious criminals between 1842 and 1929.  In all, 135 people were hung, including outlaw Ned Kelly. 


Ned Kelly, legendary bushranger best known for his suit of armor, is the most famous prisoner who was hung at the Gaol.  We saw his body armor and death mask at the Victoria State Library

The Great Ocean Road

A highlight of my time near Melbourne was a day-long trip along the Great Ocean Road, a scenic drive along the south-eastern coast of Australia.  First conceived in 1917 as a tourist destination and to connect settlements along the coast, road construction began in 1919.  About 3000 returning WWI serviceman handbuilt the road using dynamite, wheelbarrows, picks, and shovels.  Dedicated to the soldiers who died during the war, it is the world's largest war memorial.

The view is spectacular with its beaches, vertical cliffs, and limestone and sandstone rock formations protruding out of the ocean.  We stopped along the way to see koalas and brightly colored birds at a campsite, walked in a lush rainforest, ate a delicious lunch (the strawberry crepe dessert was the best!), and thoroughly enjoyed our day.

The Twelve Apostles in the background


We were so lucky to see a koala run across the road and up a tree!

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