As Friday evening approached, we decided to head out early with the hope of getting a table at a restaurant we really enjoyed last time. Of course, we should have booked, but we were lucky enough to get a table at +39 on Little Bourke Street. The name derives from the international dialing code for Italy, and it is a lovely, unpretentious place serving good food. I opted for the gnocchi of the day, which came with salsiccia (a pork based sausage) and friariella (also known as rapini, a green, leafy vegetable). It was excellent, and the chianti that I chose to have with it, complemented it well. Karl really enjoyed his lasagne.
As it was still early, we stopped for a drink and some people watching. There were lots of pre-Christmas/Friday night groups all out for a good time shall we say!
We, however, retired early, and also rose early to head off to the Royal Botanic Gardens. Stopping briefly at the Shrine of Rememberance, we then headed off for a good stroll around the gardens. The weather was slightly dull to start with, but it soon brightened up.
View to the city
The Botanic Gardens in Melbourne was established in 1846 by Lieutenant Governor Charles La Trobe. The ‘Royal’ prefix was added in 1958. There are more than 10,000 species of plants, from various locations around the globe.
We stopped for a cooling drink at the cafe next to the Ornamental Lake, where you can hire a punt and sale across the water or admire the black swans. There were lots of moorhens, who were clearly used to people in the cafe. I managed to capture 2 of them meeting under a neighbouring table.
Punting on the lake
Two moorhens stopping for a coffee
On returning to town, we stopped for lunch at Riverland Urban Beer Garden I had a salad with quinoa, mung beans, charred corn, tomatoes, coriander, smoked almonds and chicken with a ‘manchego crips’ perched on top which was actually full of different flavours. Karl had a burger, which which at least brought a smile.
Before going back to the hotel to pack and rest before dinner, we stopped for another cold drink (it was 30C!) at The Mitre Tavern, one of the oldest in the city.
The Mitre Tavern
We ended our trip with fish and chips down by the river with friends, before flying back early Sunday morning.
Verdict: Melbourne is a great place to visit. There is lots to do from shopping to sightseeing to eating and drinking well. This is my third trip there, and I look forward to going again. Getting around is easy. Walking is great as you see so much and discover new things, but there is a free tram service in the city centre, which is a brilliant idea. V-line tickets and top-ups for the tram can be bought at any Seven Eleven store, though we got our initial card/ticket at our hotel.