We almost didn’t make it to Melbourne. As I attempted to check on my newly-installed Air NZ app a message told me to check that my passport/visa was valid for my journey. Oh f*ck.
When we were booking our flights we’d thought to check that our NZ working holiday visa would also grant us access to Aussie and then completely forgotten about it. All non Australians/Kiwis need a visitor visa even for a short stay. Luckily, I frantically filled in a form online for our eVisitor visa that afternoon and the approvals came through the next day – Rob’s only arrived at Wellington airport!
After a four hour flight it was a relief to pass through Oz immigration with only a few questions. We caught a shuttle to our accommodation in South Yarra and got caught in rush hour traffic on the way out of the city.
We finally arrived only an hour before our dinner reservation. I’d booked a pizzeria that has been awarded the best Margherita pizza in the world. We dashed straight out to the train station and, in true tourist-style, got on the wrong train. When we realised we jumped off and into a taxi to the restaurant. The driver dropped us on the street, a few doors up from the address that we had. Half an hour late, we darted up and down to try and find the place before popping into a take away to ask for directions. It turned out our pizzeria was on a street of the same name but 3-4k away in a different district. Admitting defeat after our best efforts, we settled for Australia’s ‘oldest pizzeria’ and were so glad to have a beer and rest our weary legs.
South Yarra river
On our first full day we walked from our hotel into the city centre. We visited Queen Victoria market, a vibrant and vast landmark with areas for meat, seafood, delicatessen, fruit & veg, clothes and souvenirs.
After a wander around the market we went to the old Melbourne Gaol (jail). We had a self-guided look around the 19th century cells and read about the prisoners that were incarcerated and executed there, including the infamous Ned Kelly. It was a similar design to the jailhouse hostel we stayed in in Christchurch.
We had an ‘arresting experience’ in the Watch House next door, which had been used as a city jail until 1994. Our group were processed like prisoners and some people took better to the role-play than others. Sitting in a blacked-out cell, it did help to imagine what it would have been like to be held there.