The Travelling Teacher: I saw penguins in Australia – YES, penguins!
What’s it all about?
I’m continuing my time in Melbourne this week. I slow down the pace and take some lovely strolls along St Kilda Pier, where I get to see the smallest penguin in the world. I also continue my strolls and will telling you all about some of my top walking spots with amazing scenery! As well as sharing my experiences in St Kilda, I also pop along to laid back Brighton – which I LOVED! This place set up my retirement goals! There’s also a few animal mentions in this blog, each amazing in its own right. Carry on reading to find out more, as I have only skimmed the surface in this introduction!
Melbourne: St Kilda Pier
It’s definitely worth rising early one morning here, walking down to the beach and taking a troll along the front and the Pier. I felt so calm! I loved smelling the fresh sea air, hearing the birds in the background and listening to the gentle lapping of the sea. I tried to see if I was lucky enough to spot any penguins here, but no luck. Yes, penguins. It’s not something I thought I would find in Australia! Though I was lucky (if you can call it that) to see some sea rats.
I’d read about the St Kilda penguins and we didn’t want to miss out on seeing them. So, one evening at around 7.30pm we got a taxi from St Kilda main street to the pier. We’d left early to ensure we didn’t miss them. It was already busy at this time and people were waiting for dusk. We took a seat on the edge of the wooden platform that lined the end of the pier and waited. The people built up around us. Even though it was busy, it was so beautiful watching the sunset by the harbour. There was even a black swan swimming around – I’d never seen one of these before! It wasn’t until around 9pm that a solitary penguin arrived, so small and cute as it darted around in the water and played around on the edge. These penguins are called Fairy penguins and they are the smallest penguins in the world (SO ADORABLE!!!). After a long wait for more to arrive, it seemed that for that night, the show was only a ‘one man show’. We got the tram back home and got off at Batman Park- named after the first name given to Melbourne – Batmania. Can we take some time to appreciate how cool this name is?!
As I enjoyed it so much I took to walking along this pier a few times during the day. The pier didn’t have any rails on the sides so I walked as close as I could trust myself to get. I was pleased I did as I saw so many jellyfish! So many people seemed too busy or didn’t think to look. It wasn’t until people saw me taking pictures that they too flocked to the sides to take pictures for themselves. I believe that the majority of jellyfish I saw were Lion Mane jellyfish or the name I prefer, Blue Blubber Jellyfish. Apparently, they aren’t poisonous but they will cause an irritation if you come into contact with them.
Melbourne: St Kilda Esplanade Market
Feeling in the mood for walking (again), one morning I strolled to the Sunday Esplanade Market. This was just adorable!! A row of stalls up along the bank, surrounded by palm trees with such a variety of goods for sale. With Rasta goodies, candles, food and many handmade crafts, there’s something for every-one! Then my walk continued! I walked onwards to Elwood reserve.
Melbourne: Elwood Reserve
I continued my walk along the coast. I ended up walking to Elwood Reserve. As I walked into this place there were so many butterflies fluttering along the bushes. It was amazing! Butterflies are one of my absolute favourite animals! Anyone else with me on this?
Elwood Reserve is a popular walking and cycling spot with designated walking and cycling paths. As the paths are kept separate, you won’t find yourself veering onto the wrong one! The view here is fantastic! You can walk along the park area whilst gazing over the sea and rocks. My little legs carried me to Point Ormond and then after a brief pit stop there (this is pretty much the highest point here), I headed back. This is a great viewpoint. This point is up a hill and to one side you look out with the beach and the other you see a great city view.
Melbourne: Botanical Gardens
Having experienced St Kilda’s gardens, I was keen to see what else Melbourne had in store for me. Though I often try to do my own research, if I see something of interest to me I do quite like to have someone knowledgeable to inform me. So, I booked my partner and I onto an Aborigine tour of the Botanical Gardens. We were given some great insight into aborigine life and shown many wonderful plants they used and some that are still in use to this day. If you get the opportunity to experience the beauty of Melbourne Gardens, I would most definitely suggest booking in on this tour. It doesn’t last long and you learn so much! Plus, you get a free cup of tea!
After the Aborigine tour we had time to take a stroll around the gardens here. I loved the gardens but it’s only now that I can appreciate just how amazing they are. There’s such a variety of flora here and it is really well kept. I had a great time exploring all the different areas and would definitely go back if I had the chance to! They have different themes to the gardens so you feel like each time you enter a different area you’re in a completely new place.
St Kilda to the CBD
We extended our public transport travel experience here by getting the tram from St Kilda into the CBD. I have to admit, I found navigating the city a bit confusing but luckily there were assistants there who were eager to help. It is a good idea to downloaded the PTV app – it helped give us insight as to where we were. The tram is a great experience and you get to see so much of the area without wearing out your legs!
Melbourne: Night Market
Melbourne night market is one night that is not to be missed. Every Wednesday from early evening until around 11pm this market will be buzzing with life! It has a really laid-back vibe with a variety of stalls from clothes, jewellery and an array of food and drink for you to choose from. The vibe here is awesome and it’s a really good night where you can let your hair down.
Our next move was to Brighton. This had a completely different feel to St Kilda. Whereas St Kilda had an up-coming, artsy and edgy vibe, here it felt much more relaxed and far more like a place where you would go to retire. I was in love! I’m old beyond my years at times and the lifestyle here of going for afternoon tea, strolling to the beach and sitting on the benches whilst watching the waves, suited me down to the ground. It was scary how much it was like something out of a movie here. It was quiet and quaint with the birds singing in the background and people in the street were so friendly.
Brighton has a family friendly vibe and there are plenty of nearby parks and child-friendly areas. We headed to Landcox Park, which was only a 5-minute walk from our accommodation. This park was small but adorable. It had an array of different trees and a lovely pond in the middle surrounded by shrubs with the ducks happily swimming along.
Travelling around here is easy. They have trains and trams you can catch depending on where you are. So from Brighton we often took the train into the CBD. We were a short walk from the train station so decided we would purchase a travel card. They do a special offer for travellers. You will have to purchase what is a ‘Myki’ card, which you need to ‘tap on’ and ‘tap off’ the station with. Train times were also easy to find thanks to online services.
Brighton: Bathing Boxes
I am going to sound like I am about 100 here but I was so content preparing our sandwiches and packed lunch, which I put in the freezer to keep it extra cool ready for our walk to the beach. I am not going to deny that I thoroughly enjoyed the walk to the beach, which was pretty much just a straight walk. Then sitting on the wall, looking out to see as we munched on our cheese and cucumber sandwiches (you can take the girl out of Britain but you can’t take Britain out of the girl!). After satisfying our hunger with a quintessentially English lunch, we took a leisurely stroll along the sea front pathway which also had a designated cycle path. We soon found ourselves at the Brighton Bathing Boxes! There were 82 distinctive boxes here each different and fabulous. They were built well over a century ago when Victorian’s would use these boxes for changing. Many of these boxes remain almost unchanged. This is an iconic beachscape that looks great!
Australia: Brighton – my first ‘encounter’
So, I don’t know about anyone else, but I’d heard lots of times that ‘Everything in Australia wants to kill you’… so when I saw a spider sprint across the lounge floor one night, I was petrified! I managed to get behind it and place a glass over it. It wasn’t big but I’d been warned that often the smaller ones are far more lethal! Using trusty old Google, we identified it as a White Tailed Spider – which do bite and can cause irritation….it’s safe to say he got taken outside!
As I mentioned last week, the internet is good here but don’t forget to check if your accommodation has any data caps in place and also remember to check the speed.
I found that the WIFI was particularly good in Brighton and was able to get on with work with ease!
Brighton was a much more ‘work friendly’ atmosphere as it was quiet and peaceful whereas there was much more background noise in St Kilda. However, this would have been different if we’d have chosen accommodation away from the main St Kilda street. So it’s always important to consider your location when thinking if it is a suitable work environment.
What’s up next?
In next week’s blog I continue my time in Melbourne and I’ll be sharing my experience of the amazing Great Coast Tour as well as writing about Melbourne CBD. I hope that you’ll come along for the journey.
Got a story you’d like to share or want to know more? Email me at – firstname.lastname@example.org .