Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Suki Jezz in Melbourne, Australia - Day 1 with I'm Free Tour Melbourne



Beautiful? Using panaroma view with my phone - the Melbourne city


22 April 2016 - After spending 2.5 hours in the Melbourne Zoo, I looked at my phone and it says "1:30pm" ...Hmmm wasn't expect to finish my zoo tour that fast, and I didn't make any other itinerary for the remaining hours. And then, I remembered that I'm Free Tour Melbourne operates everyday, at 10:30am or 2:30pm. and then, I was like, "Let's do it, let's go for I'm Free Tour then. A little intro about I'm Free Tour.

"I’m Free tours is an independent locally owned and operated small company made up of the young, vibrant local in Sydney and Melbourne. We are completely unfunded by any government or private body. Wishing to remain unbiased and independent, we strive to inform all participates of the BEST LOCAL sights, stories, transport, activities, restaurants and bars to help them get to know our cities like we do."

I would say, they really do a good job. The tour guide has all the introduction, history, recommendation all in their heads, talking along as the tour guide bring us. the tour guide service is free, but they do appreciate a little tips in return of appreciation and the work they have done throughout the tour.

Okay, back to my trip. It was mentioned that the meet up point is the statue of Sir Redmond Barry in front of the State Library of Victoria. I was like how the heck should I know which tram should I take from Melbourne Zoo to the State Library? End up I just blindly take the Tram no.35, keep on asking tram drivers and luckily, some friendly passengers guide me, and even one Spanish lady says: "Hey, follow me, I'm going to the State Library." Phew, thank god!

By the way, if you are planning for your Melbourne trip, travelling using the public transport: http://ptv.vic.gov.au/

Okay, I reach the State Library probably around 1:50pm, and I haven't had my lunch. Browsing around, I was like this Vietnam food - M-Kitchen, looks alright. Hey, first Asian food in Australia I shall try!


Ordered the grilled squid, it was okay.




and then I ask: "What do you recommend at here?" The server just said: "Hey, try our egg wrap cakoi.



I was like, interesting....big portion for me. I managed to eat finish the 1st roll, but had to throw the 2nd roll. Too much carbohydrate and oily, make me vomit. It was nice because of the aromatic black sesame seed, but other than that, yuck! nope, I don't recommend M-Kitchen.




The State Library of Victoria is the central library of the state of Victoria, Australia, located in Melbourne since 1856.

http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/
I went to the State Library and saw Desmond in his go green t-shirt, indicating he is the tour guide for I'm Free Tour.

I was like, hey Desmond, can you take photo with me please?




He was like, okay! with his thumbs up.



As you can see, many tourists really excited to see Melbournre joining the city walk tour. Estimation of 50-60 pax per tour.

And later on, at 2:30pm, and waiting for probably for another 10 minutes, in case there were late comers, Desmond and Courtnay were the tour guides of the day, and they split the group into two. So, that each group is not overcrowded or perhaps, some might be lost following the big group trail.



Saw this big chess and checker, with the quiet players moving the big game, near the library.



Courtnay was my tour guide on that day. Self-intro, and quickly he talked about Sir Redmond Barry as per the statue, as well as a general intro about the State of Library. Sir Redmond Barry (7 June 1813 – 23 November 1880), was a colonial judge in Victoria, Australia of Anglo-Irish origins.







Behold with the old Melbourne Gaol (Jail)



For it's once, had executed Ned Kelly, the famous Robin Hood in Australia.



A monument commemorates the 8 Hours Movement which was initiated in Victoria in 1856. The Eight Hours League campaigned for an eight hour day on the basis of eight hours work, eight hours for rest, and eight hours for recreation and education. No wonder, people enjoy working in Australia!
More info: http://monumentaustralia.org.au/themes/culture/social/display/32235-eight-hour-day-monument




The lost metal grills designs as per these old houses.




Ah ha! The Carlton Gardens! Didn't realize The Carlton Gardens is a World Heritage Site until I googled about it! Located on the northeastern edge of the Central Business District in the suburb of Carlton, in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.
http://www.thatsmelbourne.com.au/Placestogo/ParksandGardens/AllParksandGardens/Pages/4446.aspx




Question, do you know why was some metal materials surrounding the trees trunks?




Look closer and you get to see funny little fur animals in between the branches. eating the leaves, I think Courtnay said it is possum. The metal thing was supposed to stop the possum to climb up the trees to eat all the leaves, guess it didn't work, haha!




Do a quick selfie before running back to the group.




Carlton Garden is really beautiful with all the trees, autumn welcoming as the autumn leaves fall.




so, this is the Royal Exhibition Building designed for the Melbourne International Exhibition of 1880. The Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens is one of the world's oldest remaining exhibition pavilions.

https://museumvictoria.com.au/reb/





Reach Princess Theatre, a 1488-seat theatre in Melbourne's East End Theatre District, and the oldest continuous entertainment site on mainland Australia. If you are in love with theatre, you can get all tickets at half price if the theatres fall on the same day of your purchase. Need to walk in and find out more. Ehem, there is some spooky friendly ghost about Federici, who has died of a massive heart attack on March 3rd 1888 after a performance of the Opera, ‘Faust’. A seat is left empty for him, and good luck if you see him.

http://www.marrinergroup.com.au/theatre-princess.php







Here is State Parliament of Victoria. Seat of Victoria's parliament built in 1856 with 2 legislative chambers and grand colonnaded facade. As you walk down the street, the street was used to be the red light district. Heard rumors that there used to be a secret path/ tunnel connecting the State Parliament to the red light district, tsk tsk.

http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/



Now, here's the Chinatown, probably the oldest Chinatown in the world. Look similar everywhere huh, Chinatown entrance gate?

http://chinatownmelbourne.com.au/




I am so proud of Dr Sun Yat Sen, seeing his statue in China Town. (12 November 1866 – 12 March 1925), Dr Sun Yat Sen was a Chinese revolutionary, first president and founding father of theRepublic of China, and medical practitioner.




Some of the street painting, there is those are licensed to do so, and some are illegal.




This is the Lonsdale Street serving all delicious Greek food. Notice the white Greek Geometric, like a continuous maze? Yes, this is the Greek Food territory.

http://www.greekprecinct.com.au/



Remember the infamous criminal, Ned Kelly? Edward "Ned" Kelly was an Australian bushranger of Irish descent. See his paintings on streets.



Another beautiful street art portray.







Myer emporium, the largest Australian departmental store.



Next, we go to Melbourne’s Arcades.



The Block's Arcades, since 1892, was used to be the high elite society meet up places, where everyone with their noses high, elegant smart clothes, to social around the rich and elite societies, the most popular place to be seen.

Full directory list at http://theblock.com.au/





It was only Friday afternoon, and people are filling up the space at this Hopetoun Tea Rooms. Lots of delicacies, sweets, savourys waiting for you. Mind you, it was a long queue and people are just waiting for their teatime.

http://theblock.com.au/retailer/hopetoun-tearooms/




Ah ha, church right?




have a quick snap of the pigeons drinking water along the street.



And we are here, the mural street art in Flinder Street.


Something divine with this lady.




Some funny accessories that wasn't explained why it was there.



So far, the oldest street art maintained - the abominate child painting. Courtnay said the painting always changed from time to time.






Courtnay recommend Movida NextDoor, Spanish tapas plates, sangria and wines served along the grafiti wall art exterior.

https://movida.com.au/movida-next-door/




Church again.



The Flinder Street Station, where you can take train to suburbs.



Federation Square - a mixed-use development in the inner city of Melbourne, covering an area of 3.2 hectares and centred on two major public spaces: open squares and one covered, built on top of a concrete deck above busy railway lines. Or to be simplify, Abstract buildings with interesting architecture, flank this block-size plaza, filled with restaurants, museums and arts venues. Heard the locals are not happy about the designs, when out of so many hundreds of design, the government choose this design with dull colors, oops!

http://www.fedsquare.com/




Yarra River - The Yarra River Melbourne features the events and activities happening in and around Melbourne City's Northbank and Southbank precincts. some travellers enjoy taking a boat ride along Yarra River to visit attractions in Melbourne.

http://yarrariver.melbourne/




Eureka Tower is a 297.3-metre skyscraper located in the Southbank precinct of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Construction began in August 2002 and the exterior completed on 1 June 2006. Some say it looks like a SIM card, LOL!

Well, when you have skyscraper, of course you will get to go up and see the view of the whole Melbourne city, and dine with such beautiful atmosphere. 

https://www.eurekaskydeck.com.au/



The Arts Centre spire, a Melbourne landmark, that looks like Eiffel Tower, in Paris. However, nothing much to talk about the spire in the internet, probably people remember it as a landmark, it is more into promoting Arts Centre Melbourne actually.





Finally we reach the last point neat the arts centre, where we can see the beautiful city and Yarra River.

After 2.5 hours of walk, Courtnay says thank you and appreciate if we can give him tips as our own will. I asked what is the recommended tip price? Aussie 10 per person as a personal tip shall be ideal; a normal city walking tour with tour guide service might need Aussie 30 dollars. So pay as your own will. I see most of the participants didn't take much action, probably was just thinking how much should they pay. I made the first move since I already know the tip rates, and boy, I am super satisfied to see Courtnay wisdom and explanation about the places, histories, and share some jokes for ice-breaking session.


That was end of the tour, guess how many destinations did I learn in this tour? *calculating....wow, at least 18 places, as per the destinations they mention in their website! Cannot believe they really bring us to so many places, even my god brother, Edmund says it is almost impossible to do that; and ah ha, remember to put on your sport shoes and comfy clothes as you walk around the city.

If you are in Sydney or Melbourne, do take up I'm Free Tour:
Website: http://www.imfree.com.au/

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/imfreetoursmelbourne (They respond as fast as they could)
no need to pre-book, nor to contact. they will be at the in front of the State Library of Victoria in their I'm Free T-shirts, everyday except Xmas day 25 December. There is two tours in a day, one at 10:30am and one at 2:30pm, start at the State Library, finish at Arts Centres.

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I finished my tour at 5pm sharp, and was wondering if I would need to take the free city tram to head back to hotel, but seeing the massive traffic jam, I end up walking back to hotel instead. People here just love to walk and boy, they do walk fast! They are friendly by giving their very best in the directions, or show me via the map. I couldn't do this if I am back in Malaysia, haha!




Pass by the tick tock clock, and just wanna take a photo of the building.



Hmm....there were rumors of 'There's used to be few dogs and cats around the street, and now they were kept in the big peach purse', eerrr, what?!



The motorcycle and big purse were displayed just outside the H&M building, nah...didn't really get to shopping around though...Did my shopping in Victoria Market.

Did you get a good city tour? Share with me your experience or recommend more lovely things to do in Melbourne City!

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