MEL

Melbourne with a cooler climate than the rest of Australia has lots of rail transport, which makes this an easy city to visit.


MEL

Member Rating 0 out of 5 by panda2 on November 28, 2004

Melbourne Museum, City Centre, Spencer Street Railway, Flinders Street Station, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Federation Square, National Gallery of Victoria, Town Hall, City Baths, Queen Victoria Market, Royal Exhibition Building, Treasury Building, State Parliament House, Scots and St. Michael's churches, Rialto Towers (with an a 55th floor observation deck), and the Old Melbourne Gaol.

Of the three cities visited on this trip of Australia, Melbourne would be my pick, with its cooler climate than either Sydney and Adelaide and higher deployment of light rail.

${QuickSuggestions}

Resources: MD Travel Health, City of Melbourne, CitySearch Melbourne, Gaytravel, and Google Search=gay melbourne

Ask your hotel for suggestions, attractions, and any discounts available.

${BestWay} Metlink Melbourne provides clean and efficient public transport. Taxis are available, but the meter moves up rather quickly. A car rental is available, but not advised, as walking can be done, depending on how far you’re going.

Ibis Hotel Melbourne

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by panda2 on November 28, 2004

Ibis Hotel is part of a worldwide chain of Accor. We were able to walk in off the street and get their lowest price room of AUD99, with a choice of one queen-size bed in a non-smoking room or a double and a single bed in a smoking room. We picked the queen-size bed in a non-smoking room.


The hotel chain uses swipe cards for keys. Of the two cards issued, one didn't work and had to be reprogrammed at the front desk. The hotel staff was pleasant.


The shower in the bathroom here is clear glass, enclosed up to the ceiling, and the rest of the bathroom doesn't necessarily get steamed up. On the downside, ventilation for the rest of the bathroom was poor. The shower head has a hard-pulse feature, and it is a removable handheld on a European-style mount that is vertically adjustable along the wall.


A small horizontal desk space is available for writing/laptop use. An electric hair-dryer, electric water kettle, small electronic room safe for an extra charge, and mini-fridge are available for use. It is A$.90 for each local call made from the room. Internet is available in the lobby at $1.50 for fifteen minutes. Ice is available through the restaurant, and there are coin-operated drink dispensers. Their own restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and the buffet is just under AUD20 from 6pm to 9pm.


The beds were comfortable, so sleeping wasn't a problem. The TV reception was of a rather poor quality. There was complimentary coffee and tea for two each day.

Hotel Ibis Melbourne
15-21 THERRY STREET
Melbourne, Australia, 3000
61-61-96660000

Victoria Hotel

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by panda2 on November 28, 2004

Victoria Hotel is part of the Accor worldwide chain. We were able to walk in and book a room for their lowest rate of AUD85 for two twin beds. It was a non-smoking room with a shared shower. A private shower room would have been AUD115, but none were available.


This hotel uses a metal key for entry to the room and the toilet/shower. Only one key is issued, and it is recommended to turn in your key when going out. There is only a single shower stall in the facility, but fortunately it wasn't very busy, so there wasn't any queue when I needed to take a shower.


There's a coin-operated laundry, Internet café, rooftop gym, pool, sauna and spa, restaurant and bar, and foreign exchange and safety deposit boxes.


The room was rather small, with a minifridge, electric kettle, vanity sink, and no desktop workspace.


Of the two twin beds, mine was softer than the other, but even I had trouble sleeping. It has a great central location. The receptionist, Alice, who checked us in, was very nice and had a pleasant personality.


Email: stay@victoriahotel.com.au

The Victoria All Seasons Hotel
215 LITTLE COLLINS STREET
Melbourne, Australia, 3000
61 03 96530441

Zenith Cafe-Bar

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by panda2 on November 28, 2004

Zenith Cafe and Bar has a blackboard special -- ribeye steak with mixed salad for $14.90 -- which affected my partner's senses as we walked by and smelled the food. About fifteen minutes went by as he continued thinking about this place, and he had to come back to eat here.

His order came promptly, as he handed his order to the maitre d'. I, on the other hand, came along maybe five minutes later and ordered through one of the waiters, and my order didn't show up till much later, when my partner was just finishing up his meal. A glass of red wine was about $6.

The steak and salad were good, the service was very slow, and the outdoor seating was too cold, as I starting shivering. Though there were heat lamps outside, we were sitting too far from the nearest one to feel its effects.

Zenith Cafe-Bar
90 Acland Street
Melbourne, Australia
+61 (03) 9534 4244

Dragon Boat Restaurant

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by panda2 on November 29, 2004

We dined at the Dragon Boat Restaurant.  We tried to minimize the amount of fried foods in our selection. The prices were found on the food bill ticket-it adds up.

Ginger pork dumplings, steamed barbequed pork buns, tofu stuffed with shredded duck rolls, fish cakes, tofu stuffed with pork rolls, shrimp dumplings, shark fin dumplings (I didn't taste any distinct difference from other dumplings), and the mango pudding were all good, but not great. The dim sum standard was $3.70, the special was $4.70, and the deluxe was $5.70.

Dragon Boat Restaurant
203 Little Bourke Street
Melbourne, Australia, 3000
+61 (0)3 9662 2733

Sunbury Football Social Club

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by panda2 on December 8, 2004

The Sunbury Football Social Club has Jackpot's Bistro offering lunch Monday to Friday for $6.50 and dinner Monday to Saturday for $9.50. It's a limited menu, but the food is good and filling. There's an espresso machine for making your own espresso or hot water for tea and coffee.

Someone in your party needs to be a member of the club, as we were asked to sign in on a register as we entered.

Email: contact@sfsc.com.au

Sunbury Football Social Club
Clarke Oval and Riddell Road
Melbourne, Australia
+61 03 9744 5468

Madonna's

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by panda2 on December 14, 2004

Madonna's is a small Italian café located on Level 3 in store no. 3162. Our hosts took us for breakfast, but we arrived and waited till they opened at 9am. It was a nice breakfast with eggs, ham, sausage, bacon, tomato, mushrooms, and tea or coffee for $7.99. They also cook their eggs sunny-side up in too high a heat.

Hours coincide with the shopping centre: Monday to Wednesday 9am to 5:30pm, Thursday to Friday 9am to 9pm, Saturday 9am to 5pm, and Sunday 10am to 5pm.

Bus

215 Deer Park West - Braybrook - Highpoint
223 Williamstown Road - Footscray - Highpoint
406 Footscray - Highpoint - Keilor East
408 St Albans - Sunshine - Highpoint
468 Essendon - Highpoint
407 Milleara Road - Avondale Heights - Highpoint

Tram

57 West Maribyrnong - Ascot Vale - Melbourne CBD
82 Footscray - Highpoint - Moonee Ponds

Madonna's
Highpoint Shopping Centre
Melbourne, Australia
+61 9317 8432

Reading Sunbury

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by panda2 on November 29, 2004

Reading Sunbury Cinema is in a suburb. Here we watched The Polar Express on its first day of release at a relatively expensive price. The website link above is confusing to me regarding the movies that are currently playing, preferring instead Yahoo's for a more straightforward screen.

The movie is very good, with Tom Hanks playing several characters, and probably will become a classic. On its first day of the first showing, there were only a handful of people watching this viewing, but in the city of Melbourne, the movie is being heavily promoted, which, I would guess, would bring in lots of viewers. I'll be getting a copy on DVD when it becomes available.

The screen is sharp, the audio sound is good, the popcorn was burnt, and the soda was all gone by the end of the movie.

Phone: 03 9744 8744

Reading Sunbury
Sunbury Central Shopping Centre, Horne Street
Melbourne, Australia

Steamworks

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by panda2 on November 29, 2004

Steamworks is a very large sauna for gay/bisexual male clientele, with five floors, sauna, steam, gym, small pool, video room, maze, and coffee shop. Open midday-5am weekdays and all weekend. Popular after business hours during the week and all weekend.

Admission on the weekend, $16

Phone: (03) 9602 4493

Steamworks
279 Latrobe Street/Elizabeth Street
Melbourne, Australia

Diva Bar

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by panda2 on November 29, 2004

Diva Bar is a relatively small bar with several mirrored balls reflecting light and with a smaller upstairs for lounging. The music was fairly good, but no one was dancing, just standing around and perhaps chatting. It's a fairly nice atmosphere, and it wasn't too crowded.
Diva Bar
153 Commercial Road
Melbourne, Australia

Xchange Hotel

Member Rating 1 out of 5 by panda2 on November 29, 2004

Xchange Hotel was overpriced, with a ten dollar cover, I wouldn't have gone in on my own. The music was loud, and I didn't care to dance to any of it. After going around the place, I just wanted to leave. It's a large place with a large dance floor, large lounge area, and three Internet work stations with access for drinking customers.

There's drag and men in the mix. It was crowded with customers, but I didn't care for it from the get-go. Stayed there too late for the last tram. Took a taxi for another $11 ride, but at least it got us somewhere.

Xchange Hotel
119 Commercial Road
Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne Museum

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by panda2 on November 30, 2004

This is about the Melbourne Museum. They had sensory exhibitions; dynamic displays; and a learning center at the InfoZone, with access to library and internet facilities for individual research. Phar Lap seems to be very popular with the public.

Daily 10am to 5pm, except Good Friday and Christmas.

General Enquiries: 13 11 02 (within Victoria)
Bookings: 1300 130 152
Within Australia: 03 8341 7777
International: + 61 3 8341 7777

Melbourne Museum
Carlton Gardens, Nicholson Street (carlton)
Melbourne, Australia, 3053
13 11 02 (Local call

National Gallery of Victoria

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by panda2 on November 30, 2004

The National Gallery of Victoria has three levels of exhibits, including a collection of chairs of the past.

Going in the entrance, there is a display of a street artist from the Mission district of San Francisco. No photography was permitted inside the gallery areas.

On our way towards the gallery, there was a small cluster of street vendors, one of which was selling Aussie leather hats. We purchased one for $55. It's lightweight, portable, and waterproof.

Daily from 10am to 5pm; closed Good Friday, Christmas, and Anzac Day (April 25) from 1 to 5pm.

Phone: +61 3 8620 2222, Fax: +61 3 8620 2555
Email: enquiries@ngv.vic.gov.au

National Gallery of Victoria
180 St Kilda Road
Melbourne, Australia, 3000
+61 (0)3 9208 0203

The Rialto Towers

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by panda2 on November 30, 2004

Rialto Towers has a public circular observation deck on the fifth floor, with a café to purchase food and drinks.

It has a nice view, particularly at twilight, as the sky starts to darken and the city lights up. It's better to go around the city prior to going up here so that you can recognize the sites you've already visited.

We ordered food and drinks there, but we didn’t need dessert for $7.50, which was overkill.

Afterwards, we rode back down on the elevator, where there's a gift shop with things we don't need, and watched a presentation nearby before leaving.

Admission: adults are $12.50, children are $7, and a family (two adults and up to four children between the ages of 4 and 15) is $35.

Phone: +61 3 9614 5888, Fax +61 3 9629 3936
Email: info@rialto.com.au

Rialto Towers & Observation Deck
525 Collins Street
Melbourne, Australia, 3000
+61 (0)3 9629 8222

Highpoint Shopping Centre

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by panda2 on December 8, 2004

Highpoint Shopping Centre is a shopping centre we stopped at for breakfast after leaving the city of Melbourne. There are many stores here, but we arrived when many of them were still closed, including the place for breakfast.

My partner went to withdraw some money from an ATM, but while the money was dispensed, he took too long to retrieve his cash and the ATM swallowed it back up. That'll teach him for being slow.

Monday to Wednesday 9am to 5:30pm, Thursday to Friday 9am to 9pm, Saturday 9am to 5pm, and Sunday 10am to 5pm. There is entertainment, including bars and cafés that are open late.

Trams: no. 57 West Maribyrnong to City or no. 82 Footscray to Moonee Ponds.

Phone: 03 9318 1699

Bus
215 Deer Park West - Braybrook - Highpoint
223 Williamstown Road - Footscray - Highpoint
406 Footscray - Highpoint - Keilor East
408 St Albans - Sunshine - Highpoint
468 Essendon - Highpoint
407 Milleara Road - Avondale Heights - Highpoint

Tram
57 West Maribyrnong - Ascot Vale - Melbourne CBD
82 Footscray - Highpoint - Moonee Ponds

Highpoint Shopping Centre
120-200 Rosamond Road Maribyrnong
Melbourne, Australia, 3032
+61 (3) 9318 1699

Melbourne GPO (The Strand)

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by panda2 on December 8, 2004

The Australia Post has a post office and also serves as a museum exhibiting stamps of the past. It has a room displaying the printing technology for their stamps.

Monday to Friday 8:30am to 5:30pm, Saturday 9am to 4pm, and Sunday 10am to 4pm
Phone: 13 13 18

Melbourne GPO (The Strand)
250 Elizabeth Street
Melbourne, Australia

Restorers Barn

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by panda2 on December 18, 2004

Restorers Barn is a large store filled with hardware, antiques and collectables. Many one-of-a-kind items, or a box full of traps.

Phone: (03) 5470 5669

Restorers Barn
129-133 Mostyn Street
Melbourne, Australia

Castlemaine Central (or Northern) Market Building

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by panda2 on December 18, 2004

Castlemaine Central (or Northern) Market Building is the centerpiece of Neoclassical architecture for the island’s humble population of 7,500. This place swelled to a population of 25,000 within the first year after gold was discovered. The Mount Alexander goldfields were among the world's richest from 1851 to 1861. Castlemaine was established as a government camp in 1852, and most of its impressive buildings were built in the next ten years.

The town's surveyor, William Beyon Downe, designed this building in 1861, containing 22 stalls between the arches. His design proved to be so successful and popular that other nearby towns wanted to copy its design.

Castlemaine State Festival takes place over ten days in April in odd-numbered years. In odd-numbered years, Castlemaine’s district garden lots are open to visitors during the Festival of Gardens, which takes place during the Melbourne Cup week in November.

The building is available for booking functions.

Phone: (03) 5471 1795

Castlemaine Tourist Information Centre is resident here.

Open daily 9am-5pm
Phone: (03) 5470 6200; Toll free: 800 171 888 (within Australia only)
Fax: (03) 5471 1746
Email: visitors@mountalexander.vic.gov.au

Castlemaine
via Calder Highway
Castlemaine, Australia, 3450
13 2842 (Local calls

Woop-Woop

Member Rating 1 out of 5 by panda2 on January 8, 2005

Woop-Woop provides a sculpture garden, gallery and tea-room guided tour with Aussie lingo and humor. In the morning, they will provide scones and tea or coffee for $4. Lunch indoors provides bangers and bunny grub; barbeque lunch for $5 consists of sausages, salads, hunk o' dodger, and tea/coffee. Hot apple slice is $2.50.

It's full of Aussie adult humor along the guided tour, with opportunites to take photos along the way. The humor and the sculpture garden were low-grade and somewhat disappointing. Not for young children. The guide was friendly, and the lunch and dessert was decent. The older adult group we were with seemed to enjoy the entertainment more than my partner and I did.

Closed June & July. If coming from Melbourne, turn left onto Blackjack Road at the 119km post.

Phone/fax: +66  (3) 5474 2871

Woop-Woop
171 Blackjack Road
Melbourne, Australia

Maxim's Cake & Pastry

Member Rating 3 out of 5 by panda2 on March 20, 2005

Maxim's Cake & Pastry offers Chinese baked goods and desserts on Little Bourke Street. See what looks visually appealing, along with what you think you would like, tell the person serving what you want, pay and take your goods away.

Phone (03) 9662 1980

Maxim's Cake & Pastry
173 Lt Bourke Street
Melbourne, Australia

Monarch Cake Shop

Member Rating 2 out of 5 by panda2 on March 20, 2005

Monarch Cake Shop has been a popular bakery since 1934 and offers goods for when you want something sweet. There's some seating inside, but most purchases are for takeaway.


Tel: (03) 9534 2972

Monarch Cake Shop
103 Acland Street
Melbourne, Australia

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