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Melbourne:The journey that mattered

Melbourne:The journey that mattered
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Highlights

It is often the journey that is more interesting than the destination. And some journeys do stay in your mind, especially when they are as pleasurable as the destination. Remember the fun train journeys we looked forward to as kids, on annual vacation to grandparents’ homes?

Melbourne is a city that’s both dynamic and cosmopolitan. The city’s personality comes from its sophisticated style combined with friendly people, with an impressive calendar of high profile international events

It is often the journey that is more interesting than the destination. And some journeys do stay in your mind, especially when they are as pleasurable as the destination. Remember the fun train journeys we looked forward to as kids, on annual vacation to grandparents’ homes?

Sometimes it's worth lingering on the journey for a while before getting to the destination. My trip to Australia was one such. Off I left one fine day, hopping onto a Malaysia Airlines flight that started conveniently in Hyderabad, which was in fact, one of the incentives for my choice.

Graffiti on the walls of MelbourneThank God, I did not have to go all the way either to Delhi or Mumbai, which I often do, though unwillingly. I certainly don’t enjoy changing flights, long layovers (which can be actually avoided, with some intelligent planning) endless hours spent in queuing up at the check in and finally those cynical security checks (I have yet to come across someone who loves all this!!).

Melbourne is said to be world’s most livable cities, endorsed by the many Indian (read Punjabi) cab drivers I met there. The city’s personality comes from its sophisticated style combined with friendly people. With an impressive calendar of high profile international events, including “The Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival” and the Australian Open Tennis Championships, Melbourne often attracts international visitors as well.

From Hyderabad I went to Melbourne and my layover was at Kuala Lumpur (as it was Malaysia Airlines, it had to go to their hub) which was luckily not long I thought, only to realize later that my flight was delayed for five hours. Who did I curse? No one. In the Golden Lounge their friendly staff looked after and pampered me with all the goodies. While I slept the blues away in the Slumber Room, I thought that flight delays too can be passable at times.

I realised that Melbourne with its inner city quarters that range from the famous city centre laneways to the bayside chic of the south and the diverse north- it is a city of constant discovery where fashion, food, sport and entertainment, shopping, heritage, the arts and good living, all come together to create an enviable lifestyle. Food and wine lovers in particular find a lot to explore in Melbourne. Eating experiences may range from award winning celebrity chef restaurants to farmers markets selling locally sourced wines and fresh produce.

I spent five fabulous days in Victoria, going around Melbourne on walking tours, eating in the gourmet restaurants, taking adventure trips to Phillip Island and going on the wine and cheese tours in Yarra Valley.

Fine Dining in the Golden LoungeMy next stop was at Adelaide, the capital of South Australia. It is a well loved city with small population, set on the banks of a river, vibrant, easy to get around and is called the “20 minute city” as everything is so close and easy to get to. For the cricket fans, the famous Adelaide Oval is an irresistible attraction.

But while coming back from Adelaide, my layover was much longer (and no flight delay this time please!), say more than 7 hours. Back to the cozy lap of the lounge: chatting with the petite lady staff strutting in floral printed long dresses, Ainun spoiling me with lovely food, coffee and lots of her pretty smiles of course! I had no reason to complain of boredom.

Nurul took me around the Rain Forest which is in the midst of the airport. I thought it is another cool feature. Without even leaving the airport, I could experience the fabulous feeling of being in the rain forest, under the tall trees with lovely canopies and pretty foliage as the gurgling waterfalls provided background music.

Fact File

Getting there: Malaysia Airlines offers some amazing fares and operates from major Indian cities.

Visa: e-Tourist Visa Facility available

Currency: Australian dollar = around 50 INR

Stay: Hotel Lindrum in Melbourne and Mayfair Hotel in Adelaide are good options

Eat: Fabulous sea food

Drink: Exotic wines

Buy: Aboriginal art

By:Vijaya Pratap

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