Recently I traveled to Wangaratta in Victoria, and in the process passed through Melbourne. As most of our family lives in Victoria this was not the first time I had used Melbourne as a stop over to other destinations; it was however the first time I had decided to stay there for a few days and explore.
Before the trip I researched the what to do and where to go. My particular interests are in design, art and culture, and according to the internet Melbourne is a hot spot for all of the aforementioned. We only had two days total to spend sightseeing so I wanted to visit at least one gallery and one garden. Luckily for tourists Melbourne is also home to the largest urban tramway network in the world, with one specific line completely free and stopping at all of the major inner city spots. So utilising my gathered recommendations and the free tram system we spent two full days exploring (only some as we found out) of what Melbourne has to offer.
Over the course of the two days we visited shopping centres, the Melbourne Museum, Federation Square, the Fitzroy Gardens and its conservatory and the RMIT art gallery. My favourite places were the Conservatory and the RMIT art gallery (along with a few delicious restaurants). The Fitzroy Gardens Conservatory was a wonderful place to sit and look at the spectacular floral displays. The time of our visit in May meant the Conservatory was showing its Tropical/Poinsettia display and it was beautiful to see and photograph. I was able to bring out sharp contrasting colours and then soft macro focused frames, whilst also creating a few abstract images as well.
The RMIT gallery was an unplanned venture as I had intended to visit the Centre for Contemporary Photography only to find out it was closed for both of the days I had to see it. So thanks to Google Maps I was able to find a gallery near me that was open and it happened to be the RMIT University gallery. Inside were three floors of exhibition artwork, Chaos and Order, 120 years of collecting at RMIT. It was as their website puts it "A riot of painting, sculpture, photography, sound and new media". It was exactly what I had hoped to find, and I was able to discover many works that I loved and many more that surprised me. A favourite was Southern Cross – To Bear and Behold, 2009, by Jill Orr.
It was during the first day that we stumbled on an alley covered in graffiti, filled with people and lined with shops and restaurants happily co-existing together. It turns out that this was one of the many public art streets scattered around Melbourne, in particular ours was Hosier Lane, arguably the central point of the city's street art scene. It was a great show of the city recognising street art and providing a safe spot for artists to express their work and have it be seen, and at the same time providing a tourist attraction for the area and shops.
By the end of the second day, our last to explore Melbourne, we thought we had done a good job of visiting the popular attractions. However after we found another section of the city with unique clothing stores and interesting restaurants, all off the main streets, we realised there was even more to look at. Unfortunately we ran out of time to walk through the newly discovered area, which leaves me thinking that Melbourne is definitely a place I could visit again. Considering I only saw one gallery and one garden and was impressed with both, the many remaining possibilities should prove to be just as lovely when I hopefully visit again!
For a look at more photos from the trip, visit my Behance!