Saturday, September 15, 2012

Myriad Melbourne

I often day dream and conjure up adventures like Alice in Wonderland. Many a times my fantasying lands me in exotic places. The other day after watching a rerun of Masterchef Australia, I fell into one of my reveries. I dreamt of getting selected by the people of Masterchef for a sneak peek behind the filming of Season 5. I accepted and was flown to Melbourne with kids and hubby in tow. I  was surprised and asked the production team "Why Melbourne?" and to my delight I learnt that the show has moved its production from Sydney to Melbourne.

On reaching the lively city, we were greeted by the team of Masterchef Australia. This highly popular cookery show has a huge fan in me. The contest showcases the culinary skills of amateur chefs across Australia and is a right mix of  action & drama. Laced with humor, warmth and camaraderie, the show tugs the heart. The team of Gary, George and Matt *2  are a riot. My daughter was delighted to meet them and was busy collecting autographs and posing for pictures. Looking at the larger than life Masterchef Kitchen as well as the pantry to die for, the adrenaline buzz in me was mighty high. I itched for whipping out something for the crew and dished out yummy Mysore Pak. The judges and the crew enjoyed the dish so much and we chatted & pottered around for some time and bid an emotional goodbye. 

(Pic Courtesy: Masterchef

Before leaving, we got an insiders view of the city and proceeded to enjoy the city thoroughly.

(Pic credit: Wiki)

Before going any further, the foodie in me was compelled to look at the food and wine scene of Melbourne . And why not? Melbourne is the home of the Australian food culture.  With an eclectic choice of fine dining options, the city is a potpourri of global cuisine. Dotted with restaurants, bistros, bars and cafes, the food and wine teases the palate like nothing else. What is it you crave for - Thai or Mexican? How about Indian or do you yearn for some middle eastern magic? This city is just the right place to indulge in your food fantasies. What I also loved is the mobile food van culture that treats you to the most dizzying varieties of street food. Having pigged out heartily, we tapped into the Melbourne Café culture. The city is indeed the coffee capital of Australia and is strewn with cafes from which emanates aromas divine. Sipping an espresso, I let out a hearty and happy sigh of contentment.

With the rumbling tummy satiated it was time to explore the vibrant city. This bustling metropolis, the second most populated city, is the capital of the state of Victoria. Brimming with energy the city oozes a sophisticated lifestyle and an exciting blend of modern as well as ancient heritage. There is no doubt that the city is a melting pot of cultures. Boutiques, galleries and spacious parks give the city the stylish edge.

The kids hankered for visiting the koalas and so we landed up in Heallesville Sanctuary. Watching the wildlife in their natural habitat was a different high and we had an up & close view of the enchanting wildlife including wombats, koalas, dingoes and various exotic varieties of birds. Also on our agenda was the Melbourne Aquarium housing giant sharks and stingrays. It was so much fun and what is not to be missed is the live feeding presentation that is held twice a day.

We took a break for the day and ended up in a hotel rejuvenating ourselves for the next day. And the second day was action packed with a whole lot of sight seeing. We began with the Melbourne Museum, this is a must visit for experiencing Melbourne's rich history. The museum showcases the indigenous culture, art and architecture and was a visual treat. The children has great fun in the children's gallery while hubby and me had a refreshing walk in the forest gallery.

Next on the agenda was the Melbourne Cricket GroundHubby dearest was looking forward to standing on the mecca of cricket. MCG as it is popularly called was a fun trip. Taking a tour of the sacred ground we relived the great sporting memories associated with the grounds and savoured all the memories for reliving later.

Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
(Pic Courtesy:Visit

We also packed in the Melbourne Planetarium and finished the day with a flourish by  enjoying the Docklands.

The third day was equally frenetic. Visiting a place without shopping- you got to be kidding right? We were headed to Melbourne's shopping mecca - Queen Victoria Market. Enamored by the various market precincts we shopped till we dropped. Souvenirs, clothing and toys made our wallets lighter whilst we ogled at all the fresh local produce. 

Visiting 12 Apostles was our next agenda . Driving  along the Great Ocean Road we looked forward to watching the  magnificent rock stacks that rise up from the Ocean. And we were thrilled. It was a sight to behold. A very cherished visit.

12 Apostles, Great Ocean Road, Victoria, Australia
 (Pic courtesy : Visit

The last day we explored the Yarra Valley Wine region Melbourne. As we sipped and sniffed wines we learnt a thing or two about wine making. We also made the best use  of the city being cycle friendly and savoured the thrill of losing ourselves in the cobbled laneways and marveled at the infrastructure. I have also to tell you about the rather temperamental weather. All the four seasons at varying times of the year shapes the city to a traveler's delight. We so did not want the moment to go away and savoured every moment of it, promising ourselves to come back to the place again. 

And while reliving our experience back in the hotel we ruminated as to why the city is so happening? It has to be attributed to the diverse yet harmonious communities living in it.  The people of the city are very warm, welcoming and very generous too. Their lively spirits rubs on you and the city almost becomes a home away from home. With so much happening it is no doubt that Melbourne has been ranked as the world’s most livable city for the 2nd year in row.

As I was lost in my dreamy holidays, I was snapped back from my reverie by my hubby who had come for lunch. Lunch was the last thing on my mind as I was abuzz with the Melbourne magic.I narrated my dream as vividly as possible and he remarked that it's your time to visit Melbourne NOW!

Just then my daughter pitched an innocent yet poignant question - Mom, 'What if you don't win'?

Hubby reassured her with "We are Melbourne bound anyways sweety !"

This post is for Indiblogger - Visit Melbourne contest

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