As part of our ongoing quest to see as much of Australia as possible, we took off on Easter Sunday and flew to "Mel-bin" for the first leg of our week long family holiday.
There was a near disaster at the car hire counter when the frazzled attendant informed me that the full size car I had reserved was not available and I would have to take the equivalent of a 2-door Speck instead. As you can imagine, this didn't go over well with me. Fortunately, another car showed up just as things were about to go from bad to worse, and soon enough we were heading toward Melbourne and ready for adventure!
After checking into our hotel (isn't it funny how kids are ALWAYS excited about a new hotel room?) we decided to take a walk through the city and grab dinner in Chinatown. Let's just say it looked a lot closer on the map, and my big pregnant self was seriously struggling to keep up! We finally found the restaurant recommended in our guide book and decided to eat there even though it was way too quiet and fancy for our crabby, tired three year old. Predictably the dinner ended with a minor meltdown and a sleepy boy in the taxi back to the hotel. I vowed to seek out kid friendly restaurants for the rest of the trip!
Old Melbourne Gaol (jail) which was seriously creepy, and the Melbourne Museum which was full of great exhibits. (Somehow we missed the stuffed race horse Phar Lap- bummer). We even took in a How to Train Your Dragon at the IMAX (which was the perfect place for the Little Buddy to get his afternoon nap).
We finished the day with a stroll around Federation Square and a trip to the Skydeck of the Eureka Tower for stunning night time views of the city.
The next morning we headed straight for the Royal Botanic Gardens. My kids love Botanic Gardens (they would be thrilled to spend every weekend at the one in Sydney) so we knew this would be a big hit with them. What we didn't know was that the Melbourne gardens have an amazing Children's Garden. It is filled with streams, pathways, bamboo hideouts, tree "caves" and water features. We couldn't drag them away. It was little piece of paradise right there in the city! Yes, we are those kind of parents who let our Little Buddy run around in his underpants when his jeans got soaked. But- hey, we weren't the only ones!
Unfortunately, we never got to see the rest of the Royal Botanic Gardens. We had to head out to Phillip Island to catch the Penguin Parade that night!