The city has an excellent tram system, and a very nice market, but as trams goes I come from Hong Kong so, ho hum. And as markets go, the parts that interest me are no bigger or better than Adelaide. The rest was garment and tourist tripe. The Melbourne museum was a real bore, with much of the exhibition space under construction and the rest mostly gallery style, and not interactive. I could learn more by reading a book. I was glad to see many area school kids in attendance, but would have been more impressed if they were interacting with science experiments or being immersed in history dioramas, rather than pressing hands to glass to see things they could not touch.
The food of Melbourne is first rate, with that I agree. Better still the service is also outstanding. Having come from the country towns, and even in comparison to Sydney, it is great to again see a maître d’ who is totally switched on and involved…interested in his business.
One thing though. I had it on very high advice to try Flower Drum, a noted Melbourne Cantonese eatery. I went to china town with every intention of following the advice, but the best laid plans and all that.
Cantonese food, like all great cuisine (Italian, French, Spanish, Middle Eastern) is blue-collar food. I just can’t abide a pretentious Italian Ristorante, a haute Brasserie, or uppity Mezze, and I sure can not tolerate pompous faux Cantonese, which is what Flower Drum seemed to me. From the door man with his put-on british lilt, to the dress code (Can’t abide those either by the way). We have those kind of restaurants in Hong Kong, but only a tourist without any local advice would eat there.
To all my Melbourne friends, I’m sorry that I am not head over heels in love with your city. As I said, maybe I am more a nature and wilderness tourist. My partner and I have a usual habit of spending all daylight hours out hiking or snorkeling or otherwise adventuring, and only spending the after dinner hours doing city things. Even then we are more likely to go to a night zoo than a shopping complex. Patong is our perfect place, so far. The beach the islands, the reefs, the hikes are a full on full day affair. And the nightlife of the streets stays up far later than we ever want to, giving us complete days every day.
I still have Tasmanian towns to get-to-know so this is not the final tally, but so far my ranking of Oz cities and towns is as follows (1 being my favorite):
4. Alice Springs