Day 32 to 34: May 20 to 22 – Melbourne
Daily Distance = 24.93km, Trip Total = 964.76km
It was a super early morning (alarm was set for 5:30am), but for some odd reason I was actually up and wide awake a few minutes before the alarm went off – must be excited to see what is ahead in Australia!
The flight was pretty seamless. Going through security they asked if I had cleaned my bike before packing it up. I honestly had no idea this was something I had to do! They said they’d let me through, but asked that I clean my bike with some detergent before I do any cycling.
Once I was through security I made a beeline to the Vodafone booth where I picked up an Australian SIM card and was quickly able to get online. I then set up shop at a bench and began the process of putting my bike together. Less than an hour later: ta-da! I had a fully functioning bike again!
I headed out of the airport and with the help of the map app on my phone and only 1 wrong turn I was able to find myself on some trails within 1km of the airport.
A bike path less than 1km from the Melbourne airport
From this bike path I had a short stretch on the road and 1 more wrong turn but then was quickly on an amazing trail that ran along a creek for several km’s. This trail also passed through several parks and lots of sports fields (probably close to a dozen). When I spotted a couple of baseball diamonds with people playing I felt like I was at home!
An afternoon cricket game
Baseball diamonds – how I missed thee!
Now I’m not going to lie, in the back burner of my mind I have been just a little (read a lot) paranoid about what it will mean to cycle in a country with kangaroo’s, poisonous snakes, poisonous spiders, crocodiles, etc. I shared these concerns with my hosts the other night to which they informed me of a threat I hadn’t even considered – the magpie. Apparently these birds have been known to swoop and attack pedestrians and cyclists. My hosts told me that this is just during nesting season (which I promptly googled is from late August to October), and that some cyclists have taken to fastening cable ties to their helmet to try to prevent attacks (sounds like the verdict is out as to whether this works). Regardless, I started keeping a close eye on the sky when the very first cyclist I passed on the trail had about a dozen cable ties fastened to their helmet.
Overall I was quite impressed with the volume of cycling paths leading into Melbourne from the airport. When I wasn’t on dedicated bike paths, there was a wide variety of bike lanes on the road.
Bike path following the creek
Bike lanes in Melbourne
Once I was checked into my accommodations, I popped out to the grocery store to get some lunch/dinner and then fell asleep at a ridiculously early hour.
The next day was all about Australian Football, or footy as they call it. My sources had told me that checking out a game at the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) was a MUST do, so I did!
Statue with a description of footy history
Outside of MCG before the game
I’ve never seen a game before, so I’m not sure that I really followed all of the rules, but I was able to pick up the general gist. Regardless, it was a close game and the crowd had a great vibe. And I happened to pick the right side of the stadium, so I ended up sitting with the winning teams’ fan club :). All in all, a great way to spend an afternoon!
North Melbourne fan club
North Melbourne vs Melbourne
The next day I headed downtown to pick up some supplies for the next lag of the trip (dehydrated food, protein bars, camp fuel, etc). Along the way I passed through Chinatown.
Melbourne museum – I’ve been really impressed with the volume and size of parks in Melbourne. They seem like they’re everywhere!
After getting my supplies, I meandered around a bit. Walked to the Docklands, and then followed the Yarra River on the Northbank to Federation Square and then back up to my hostel.
At the Docklands
Lots of cool and unique bridges crossing Yarra River
Afterwards I met up with another family member of a friend. We went out for a couple drinks at a laneway bar (pretty cool spot that I never would have found on my own!) and then found a dumpling restaurant for dinner. It was another great evening with great company and lots of tips and advice for my upcoming adventures! Thank you!!!!