travel

Alternative Melbourne in summer: What to do if you want to avoid tourist traps

Having lived in Melbourne’s inner northern suburbs for several years now, we are sometimes asked for ideas for travel activities and recommendations from friends and family members. While the Lonely Planet and other guidebooks are helpful, the people who seek us out are usually looking for something a bit different. Here are seven of our favourite places to point travellers to Melbourne to for fun and off-the-beaten-track activities in our city.
Eat at Welcome to Thornbury – a vibrant food truck park & bar in a converted car wash away from the city but accessible by tram. They have different selections of food trucks every night but always enough variety to satisfy everyone.
 
Friday nights at the NGV – see the National Gallery of Victoria in the evening with live music and a bar. Your $30 ticket includes the special exhibit (right now it’s Degas but that might change by December) and sometimes a special talk about the art on display.

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My Best Tips for Long-Haul Flights

If you ask a North American what a long-haul flight means, most will tell you about the torture of a 7-hour flight to Europe or the time they spent 16 hours in transit to South America.

When you ask an Australian, that’s a short flight! A flight from Sydney to LA takes about 15 hours, and that’s not counting any other destinations on either side. Getting to Europe usually means going through the Asia or the Middle East for a longish layover.

Between the two of us, we’ve done dozens of these types of trips now. It never gets any less annoying, but I’ve found a few good tricks to make the experience of flying long distances a bit more bearable:

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My 11 Favourite Travel-Related TV Episodes

Excellent news for those of us who love television: the US networks are about a week away from premiering many of our favourite shows for another season. I’m personally looking forward to Masters of Sex Season 4 and I’m still waiting for M.’s return from Europe so we can start Stranger Things.

In honour of the most wonderful time of the year, I’ve rounded up 11 (couldn’t stop at just 10!) of the best travel-related episodes of my favourite TV shows, as well as their real-life locations that are officially on my travel bucket list.

Friends – Season 4, Episode 23: The One With Ross’s Wedding

friends london travel chandler joey map travel

The gang head to London to see Ross get married, leaving a pregnant Phoebe and heartbroken Rachel behind. While Chandler and Joey explore London and get on each others’ nerves, Rachel decides to fly to the wedding to tell Ross she loves him. A classic!

Best Quote

Monica: “You guys, hurry up! The flight leaves in four hours! It could take time to get a taxi! There could be traffic! The plane could leave early! When we get to London there could be a line at customs! COME ON!”

Chandler: “Six hour trip to London– that’s a lot of Monica.”

Real-Life Location: London, baby!

Bonus Episode: Season 5, Episode 23: The One In Vegas, where they take advantage of all the casinos have to offer: gambling, breakfast buffet and mini-bars included.

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Mongolia in two weeks: our whirlwind itinerary

You’ve seen the insanity that was our two days in Hong Kong last month… and now here’s what we followed that up with.

I think we felt like we’d slowed down mentally and emotionally when we reached Ulaanbaatar because it was just a slower city than Hong Kong, but we really didn’t. It wasn’t until several days into a trip to the Gobi desert that we realised how exhausted we had made ourselves. That’s reflective of our personalities, though– I don’t admit to myself that a To-Do list is too long until I’ve spent all day working through tasks 1-7 with 10 left to go; M. has to be delirious with a fever of 102 before he admits that he’s sick. Maybe next holiday we’ll try to do something that tunes us into our emotions and energy levels.

Anyway. Here’s what we did in Mongolia for just under two weeks:

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Why you should leave your books behind as you travel: J.K. Rowling on travel reading

I couldn’t agree more, on all counts.

Next time you travel, try taking a book or two that you got at a secondhand bookstore and leave it behind somewhere for someone else to find, whether you liked it or not. You never know what someone else might think of it.

I discovered so many great vintagey children’s books on my travels when I was a kid, and M. and I always try to duck into at least one used book store on our trips. Have you ever found a gem (or a stinker!) while on holiday?

Eat Melbourne: Aussie Donuts and Coffee at All Day Donuts in Brunswick

Melbourne has recently had something of a renaissance of American food. With more people travelling than ever before and lots of great deals on flights to L.A., New York, and San Francisco, more varieties of food have made their way to our restaurants and cafés.

It’s not quite up to the standard of what you can get in a major city or down South, but there’s a huge variety of barbecue, burgers, po’boys, you name it popping up in my Aussie city. When I moved to Melbourne five years ago there were two diners and one bar that served U.S.-style meals.

As much as I adore burgers, the foodie trend I have really gotten behind these last two years is the rise of the donut.

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