Ever since I started travelling international destinations in 2005; places around the globe have fascinated me. The fascination is from the point of view of how ‘different’ these countries and cities are as compared to my very own country and its cities. I have lived in Switzerland, Malaysia & UAE and visited Malaysia & Mauritius. It has been a very interesting experience… an eye opening experience in fact and has given me a wider perspective of life.
As you can see, the places I have visited/lived besides India are not only spread geographically but also at different stages of development. Sorely missing from the list are the US and Australia; two countries which are furthest from India geographically and which offer yet again a very different outlook as compared to the ones I have already visited and lived in.
For this reason (and one more); Australia has been hot on my places to visit since 2005. The other reason is of course an old friend who studied with me in Engineering during 1996-2000. He had gone to Australia on a 3-month work related engagement which got extended and then extended and then he found that place so attractive that he found a job there and settled there. In the past 12 years, I have met him but once when he visited India and then over a period of time we have lost touch. A visit to Australia would definitely include meeting him in the itinerary. Yet another reason is of course Matthew Reilly, one of my favorite authors who is from Australia. Don’t know if it would be possible to meet him but then who knows how he responds when I write to him that I am visiting from India and would love to meet him, if possible. 🙂
Coming to my Australia plans … I have heard quite a lot about Australia and its famous tourist destinations and I am sure to visit them … but I am always more bent on the unconventional and off-beat places to visit in any new place. If you (the reader) has any clues / ideas on off-beat tourist places in Australia .. do drop a few elaborate words in the comments.
A simple google search and visit to Australia Tourism sites tells me that there is a lot to see in AUSTRALIA. But considering my own budget, the leave I would get from my office to spend time away from work and my own propensity to keep pleasure visits restricted to under 10 days at a time … I would have to focus on a few places (at least in my first visit) …
The top things that come to priority are the New South Wales (Melbourne-Canberra-Sydney belt) along with Brisbane and the Gold Coast. I could go on and on about why these are a priority over the rest of Australia (since I have visited literally 50+ different websites in search of Aussie Tourism info and I have a truck load of info on these places), let me restrict to Melbourne in this post since that is the place which has triggered this post.
The wikipedia page (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melbourne) could offer you an introduction to Melbourne but let me suggest you do a ‘google image search’ with Melbourne as key word to meet the city visually. A visit to the dedicated Melbourne website http://www.visitmelbourne.com/in will give you very specific info about Melbourne and what you can expect out there. Just one look at the visual photographic results and you won’t need to read this blog post to be inspired to plan your next trip to Melbourne / Australia.
When my wife saw the pics above as well as Google Image results for Melbourne … all she said was “it’s your time to visit Melbourne NOW!” … I so wish I could make that ‘NOW’ part a reality right now.
I am sure you will easily find the popular places to visit by a simple google search so let this post be about what experiences I want out of my own visit … My way. My style, My experience.
Exploring the city on foot as well as public transport (bus, tram, metro) gives you a whole new perspective of the place. It brings you in touch with the real life and culture of the place and your experience is more personal and real; leaving a very deep impact on you. Such are the things unforgettable stuff is made of. If you haven’t experienced it yet, you should try the above along with cycling across the city.
Melbourne has a bicycle sharing system which utilizes a network of marked road lanes and segregated cycle facilities. It would be a delight to cycle around the city of Melbourne. Tie this up with visiting the ordinary streets and laneways of the city and what you get is a priceless grounded experience. You see a different Australia in those streets; the Australia that is probably just like your own country at the core; stripped off the façade of tourist attractions where real life meets real world. < image source: Australia.com >
Another interesting thing in Melbourne is experiencing the city from Rooftops. Rooftop cafes and bars and even a rooftop cinema/movie theatre can give you an entertaining view from the top. Definitely Worth experiencing. (Don’t forget the blanket / warm clothing on chilly evenings though) …
Yet another aspect of Melbourne off-beat tourism would be to explore the Melbourne street art and public art around the city … catch some more info about it here … a look at some of the pics from www.visitvictoria.com will definitely elevate your interest …
And yes, how can i forget the mention of Phillip Island which is home to an astounding array of wildlife, including Australia’s largest fur seal colony, the Little Penguins and cuddly koalas. www.VisitMelbourne.com
The ideas and the pictures above, a road trip along the gold coast, the walking and cycling trips along the less-frequented streets of Melbourne, rooftop experiences, the quant experience of living real Melbournian life through their public transport and visit to off-beat places … all captured through the 5 senses, the amazing memory bank in our brain, the thousands of photographs and videos … just a few of the many experiences of a lifetime that I would love to bring back from Melbourne.
Of course, these memories will be shared with friends and fellow travelers through the various travel blog posts on my blog, facebook updates, tweets, Lonely Planet and other travel site updates and so on.
Before I close, I think I need I need to write something on the weather in Melbourne. Due to the peculiar geo-location of Australia as well as specifically the city; Melbourne has a pretty peculiar and unpredictable climate. Although it is supposed to have a nice climate all thro the year, there can be bouts of extreme heat in summers and ice cold winter days along with anytime showers and not to forget the fog and frosts in winter. This unpredictability adds to the charm of Melbourne. Of course, these variations in climate dont last long and you are back to normal weather in a matter of a day … So depending on your weather preference, plan your trip to Melbourne / Australia accordingly after adequate research on current Australian weather.
So now I have to plan my own trip to Melbourne / Australia. I have close friends who have visited Australia as well as my friend who is settled there. They can easily provide me with all their experiences and tips. Google and so many travel sites will hundreds of fellow travelers are always there to provide theirs. Of course, I need to get my leave planning done and put together the monies for the trip (from what I have heard, a leisure trip to Australia can be quite expensive).
Well … I will end the post with my wife’s words as a message for you … “it’s your time to visit Melbourne NOW!”