Rewind a week from the Big Wedding Day and we'd just stepped foot into Melbourne town.
Our trip started with a taste of donuts from the new Donut King store at Wellington airport. We then headed on through to the new Rocks Terminal, enjoying a Coke Zero at Mojo while the boys climbed all over a plastic submarine in the kids area.
The plane ride was mostly uneventful except for Mylo having a wee meltdown about 1.5 hours out from Melbourne. Luckily we were eventually able to convince him to lay his head down for a brief 30 minute nap since he hadn’t managed one earlier in the day.
It was fairly smooth sailing picking up the hire car and driving into Docklands where our apartment was located. Although once we’d picked up the keys and navigated the gated carpark entry (almost taking the front off the car by being too close to the gate as it started to rise up), it took us four attempts to figure out which door we were meant to enter through, I felt like Goldilocks trying out every bed in the house except here we were trying out all the doors, and it was only the very last one we tried that thankfully turned out to be the right one.
Despite it being 6pm local time (or 8pm for the wee boys' body clocks) we walked all the way to Southern Cross station, and ended up with Red Rooster for dinner. I was surprised that my fish burger actually wasn't half bad! The station was packed with petrolheads on their way to the Grand Prix. No sooner had we finished eating than Mylo decided he needed poos – so Mark and Mylo left in search of some toilets which were a LONG way away in a far corner of the station. About two minutes after this, Noah decided he needed to go number 2's too but we couldn’t leave until Mark returned as we were guarding the stroller and our backpacks. Boys and their bowels! Poor old Noah was dancing around with ants in his pants by the time they got back and we could switch over, but luckily we made it to the toilet in time!
Then having a local friend in touch with Mark via WhatsApp we were able to determine a supermarket wasn’t too far away to get some milk, cereal, toast, fruit and snacks to get us set up for the week. Two very exhausted little people’s heads hit the pillow after 8pm (10pm for their bodies) and the two big people followed soon after.
It was a good thing we didn’t stay up any longer as between the noise from the bottle store below, some very noisy boy racer cars, sirens, and random people talking on the street, not much sleep was had that first night. So much for double glazing in the apartment. And then we had a 4am start as little body clocks thought it was actually 6am and time to get up…shoof we were tired!!
Hardly surprising we were up and out the door early, heading out in the car to get our bearings in the city. All credit to Mark who successfully negotiated the how-to-make-a-hook-turn etiquette on his first attempt. Apparently it’s only in the middle of the city they have this rule, but basically if you want to turn right across the traffic since they don’t do right turn arrows, you start off in the left lane (perverse I know) and move forward still on the left into the middle of the intersection in front of the opposing traffic waiting on their red light. Then you pretty much wait till your own lights turn red, i.e. everyone has stopped and then you go. It’s almost as if you become part of the traffic coming from the opposite direction as their lights turn green…weird rules…and here was I thinking our left-hand give way rule was strange enough (though not any longer!).
The next trick to master was the parking signs which were blooming confusing to read if you’re not in the know. Eventually we figured out that we had an hour’s free parking and so we found ourselves at Federation Square in need of some caffeine where we managed to hook into the free Wifi to get global roaming sorted on my phone.
After heading back to the apartment to ditch the car, we took the free (but seriously busy being Grand Prix final day) City Circle tram right around the loop. Although it didn’t quite finish a complete loop so we found ourselves having to walk the last 20 minutes home via Etihad Stadium and the funky AFL House complete with grassy astroturf mounds for the kids to zoom up and down.
We all crashed out back at the apartment for a snooze until Mark’s mate Gareth arrived (the saviour of the day) with bread, cheeses, porcetta and ham fresh from South Melbourne markets. YUM! After everyone had roused themselves (although it took a couple of goes as Mylo was being Mr Grumpy Pants) we drove across the river to the Botanical Gardens, meeting my lovely bro and his fiancé at the Observatory Café.
We enjoyed a walk around the specially designed children’s garden and were amazed by an overhead airshow put on for the Grand Prix with old war planes doing loop de loops, a fighter jet pulling some G’s, and a Qantas 747 doing a few low flyovers.
Then we all made our way into the Shrine of Remembrance, which is a beautiful and moving war memorial. I loved the poetic interpretations of World War I that were hung from tall columns in the inner most depths of the shrine and I could have lingered longer to read each one fully.
The views back towards the city once you reach the top of the shrine are also spectacular.
Noah then thought he was the bees knees as he got to ride with Nic and Kim all the way back to Docklands – we walked along the pier admiring the harbour views before heading to Groove Train (the spot of Nic and Kim’s first date!) for an early dinner.
Probably no surprises that we had no trouble getting the boys to sleep that night!