A trip summary that is written a month after the trip. Great…
I was in Melbourne, Australia for a conference (again) durng April 9th to April 14th, and stopped over in Hong Kong briefly. It was actually my first time to anywhere below the Equator.
The conference itself was excellent. There were several pretty interesting talks and most presenters are pretty good speakers. I presented on the first session of the second day. Attendance was quite good (maybe they were there to listen to the presentation before mine, which was made by a lady from Sun Microsystems). Thankfully, nobody seems to be asleep during my presentation, and I got a couple of questions in the question sessions and afterwards during the break.
So anyway, a brief summary of places that I’ve been to in Melbourne:
University of Melbourne: one of the best universities in Australia, the campus is mid-sized and not as big as UBC’s. The campus is made up of a mix of old and new buildings, and seems to be a pleasant place to study in general.
Various gardens and parks: been to Flagstaff Gardens, Carlton Gardens and Fitzroy Gardens. The parks in Melbourne are similar to those in Vancouver.
Yarra Riverside: walked along the Yarra River and took in some of the sceneries on both banks of the river. A good place to have a walk.
Albert Park: a large park in South Melbourne which features a large lake.
St. Kilda: the “beach” part of “beaches and sunshine” of Melbourne. The sky and the sea were gorgeous when viewed from there.
(on a side note, I made scheduling mistakes on the trip. I went to the University of Melbourne on Easter Monday, and went to St. Kilda beach the next day. As a result, both places were almost deserted when I was there… What was I thinking… orz)
Victoria State Library: just like what Wiki-travel said, a good place to be if you like books.
Melbourne Observation Deck: it turned out that my conference registration did not include the conference dinner, so I ended up going up to the observation deck on Rialto Towers that evening. The AUS $9 (concession) price is worth the money I think. The night scenery of Melbourne is better than I expected. The observation deck was on the 59th floor of the building, so it is quite a bit closer to the ground than, say, Taipei 101. I actually like the deck to be closer to the ground. Taipei 101 was a bit too tall.
Melbourne Docklands: A large scale community regeneration project, kind of like Yaletown in Vancouver. Lots of new apartment buildings and niche restaurants there.
And some additional comments:
Weather: even though it was officially autumn in Southern Australia, it was still quite hot (about 25 degrees according to weather forecasts at the time), and the sun is quite strong (I almost got a sun stroke while I was walking around St. Kilda). But overall the weather is very pleasant and reminds me of California.
Prices: the Australia dollar is about on-par with Canadian dollars nowadays, but I think the local prices in Melbourne had yet to reflect that. Prices are generally 20% to 30% higher than that of Vancouver. However, it can be due to the fact that I mostly buy food and etc. in the Downtown-ish areas.
Food: being the lazy person that I am when it comes to eating, I had McDonald’s for a couple of nights (sigh). I did manage to find Japanese curry rice though, and it was good. 😀
People: from the outlook, Melbourne seems to be a multi-cultural city just like Vancouver, probably because of the large number of overseas students. I didn’t stay long enough to comment on how the locals treat Asian foreigners though (which is a often-brought-up concern when people talk about Australia).
Didn’t do: perhaps I should’ve gone visiting Sydney too, but I just didn’t want too many stopovers, which is too bad because I don’t know when is the next time I am going to visit Australia.