Donna Kelly finds a home away from home in the heart of the big smoke
The Ballarat Courier29/06/2010
A night in Melbourne is always good for the soul.
It’s that city fix, a glimpse of the fast life and a chance to catch up with favourite restaurants and haunts.
My husband and I decided to train it down. It’s cost-effective, saves on driving stress, avoids tolls and drops you right in the heart of Melbourne at Southern Cross Station.
We had packed light so we decided to stroll up Collins Street to Bank Place and our accommodation Metro Apartments. These are ideally located between the station and the Bourke Street Mall. It’s also within easy walking distance of places like Southgate and the Crown casino, and offers a home away from home with a one bedroom apartment including fully-equipped kitchen along with microwave and dishwasher and even a washing machine/dryer for extended stays.
Our apartment was absolutely incredibly quiet. While the neighbouring Mitre Tavern was still pumping when we arrived back about 11pm after our night out, all was quiet upstairs in room 906.
After checking out our accommodation, and dumping our bags, we headed out for a Friday afternoon drink and found ourselves seated outside at the restaurant just next door. We enjoyed a beer and watched Melbourne go by before deciding to take in Beneath Hill 60. Again we skipped the tram and wandered to the Hoyts opposite Myer.
It was dark by the time we came out and we decided to tram up Elizabeth and then Collins back to our apartment. The tavern, the oldest pub in Melbourne, was now in full swing, although we couldn’t work out if it was the same crowd from 2pm or just a new shift of well-dressed workers. After a break, and checking out the news of the day, we made our way to Little Bourke Street and our favourite Japanese restaurant, Kunis. We always choose the bar so we can watch the sushi chefs weave their magic, like with our moriawase dish a mixture of sashimi and sushi pieces. My husband always asks for extra wasabi which the chefs find amusing. He says it clears his head.
Dinner over we decided to walk back and enjoy the mild autumn night. There are often reports of violence in the city streets but I always feel safe, perhaps because there are so many others out taking in the prettily-lit street.
After a fantastic sleep we woke early, 8am, and, despite asking for an 11am checkout, we were off again by 10am with the receptionist only too happy to look after our bags until our return. Being Saturday there was no choice but to tram down to the Queen Vic Markets. We strolled a few aisles and. With a few parcels starting to weigh us down, bought a shopping cart. We felt middle-aged but then looked around to see we had been about the only couple without one.
Then it was off to the fresh food market to fill a pre-purchased chiller bag with huge prawns, whiting tails, smoked ham and a tarmasalata dip.
We jumped on a tram to Collins St, another to Bank Place and then strolled down to Southern Cross Station in time for the 3.15pm train.
And while it’s nice to spend time in the big smoke, it’s also lovely to watch the country return as the train wends its way back home.