Melbourne 2023 – Part 1

Saturday 21st & Sunday 22nd January

After being picked up and dropped off at Glasgow Airport I didn’t have too long to wait until my flight boarded. Everything seemed to be going well until we had to wait for a wee while for them to de-ice the plane, more about this later.  The flight was up there with the usual Emirates standards and passed smoothly, I eventually got to see the end of the Elvis movie I had started watching last year.

Due to the delay in leaving Glasgow, we arrived in Dubai around 30 minutes late which only left me with around 20-30 minutes to get to the gate for my flight to Melbourne, as it turned out there were a few of us in the same situation so they held the flight back, so the mad rush through the airport wasn’t really necessary.   That flight also went well and after arriving on Sunday night, and going through the usual custom and immigration checks, I was met by Graeme and Briony and returned to their home in Aspendale to be met by a very excited Joffrey.

Monday 23rd January

A bit of a chill-out day to allow me to recover from my flight, as it was a nice and sunny day I sat out on the decked area and read my book and did nothing much else.

Tuesday 24th January

Up with the lark this morning to travel into the city with Graeme, he went off to work while I only had to stroll around getting to know Melbourne again.  I had a wander up Swanston Street towards Queen Victoria Market before heading to the Optus phone shop to get my Sim card sorted out, once back online I went for lunch before heading to the Southern Cross Station to make enquires about the journey I was planning to make on Wednesday.  My next stop was an Officeworks store to get some materials to allow Graeme to try out the laser engraver I had brought out with me.   Back in the city centre I then visited an exhibition in the Town Hall by the French artist Invader, although interesting it was a little small with only one piece by him, the remainder of the exhibition was made up of photographs of similar work in the city,  The weather in the city was very good for most of the day, however, just as I boarded the number 35 tourist tram, it started to rain so I was glad that I was undercover, the tram ride was very interesting and fun, something that Jim and I were unable to do during our visit, there always seemed to be problems whilst we were here.

After my day in the city, it was soon time to meet up with Graeme for a beer before catching the train home again.  Unfortunately, he had chosen a hotel I was unaware of and my phone ran out of battery on the way which meant that I got slightly lost on the way, but due to the kindness of strangers, I was able to meet up although a bit later than expected.  After a couple of well-earned beers, we headed home after a great day out in a city that I am beginning to get to know quite well.

Wednesday 25th January

An early start again as I headed back into the city to begin a journey from Southern Cross station to Rutherglen, a small town 190 miles northeast of Melbourne, near the Murray River border with New South Wales.  The journey was very good, the first part by one of the regional trains took me to a town called Wangaratta where I changed to a small bus onwards to Rutherglen.

After leaving the bus, I quickly checked into my accommodation in the Poachers Paradise motel, where my room was very nice and comfortable and suited my needs perfectly.  I then went for a look around town, a former gold mining town, today Rutherglen, recognised as one of the premier wine-growing regions in Victoria with around 20 wineries in the area, approximately 1 per 100 of the 2000 or so population.  I found the town and its residents very friendly, they were all really interested to learn that I was born and raised in Rutherglen Scotland and many were quick to tell me how it came by its name, apparently in 1860 gold was found in the area and in the newly formed Star Hotel, the publican, Ruglonian John Wallace, was told: “Shout the whole bar and you can call this town whatever you like.” So he bought a beer for everyone in the pub and called the town Rutherglen.

After a walk around town, I ended up in the same Star Hotel for dinner and a beer and enjoyed watching some of the Australian Open tennis on TV before hitting the sack.

Thursday 26th January

Today being Australia Day meant that it was a little quieter in town and there were no winery tours available so I settled for a long leisurely breakfast in Caffeine N Machine, a bakery café with a vintage bike museum display situated at the roundabout at the entrance to the town, I then discovered that the towns tourist information office across the road was open, and it was there that I was directed to the towns old school museum which became my next stop.  The museum was interesting with many exhibits showing life in the old town, it was also good to chat with the 2 volunteers in attendance, they were very keen to find out the differences between the 2 towns and they were quite surprised by the size of Rutherglen in Scotland.  After a nice afternoon sitting in the sun reading, I finished off the day with another nice meal in the Star Hotel before retiring for the night.

Friday 27th January

Today I arranged a tour of some of the wineries with one of the locals, Alister Chisholm, an ex-pat Scot who has lived in Rutherglen for a number of years and runs a B&B in addition to running tours.  After brunch again in Caffeine N Machine, I was picked up by Alister and off we went to visit ……. for some tasting sessions.  Back in town, it was time to visit the local supermarket for some bits for the return journey before catching the bus back to Wangaratta for my return to Melbourne, by the time I got back to Morialloc to be collected by Graeme I was pretty jiggered to say the least however, I really enjoyed my adventure into a part of Victoria I had never seen before and the town of Rutherglen was a great place to visit.

Saturday 28th January

Today we were all rather busy, Graeme and Briony headed off to one of her friend’s baby shower while I went out with Pat & Kay firstly to visit Shannons, a specialist vehicle auctioneers to see their current display of vehicles, we certainly saw some spectacular cars and bikes of all ages and standards, one that really stood out was the gorgeous red 1935 Swallow (Jaguar) SS1 ‘Airline’ Coupe thought to be the only one of its kind in Australia.  Our next stop was the Moorabbin Air Museum where we were able to see, clamber aboard and climb into the cockpit of a vast collection of aircraft of all sorts, it was great fun and certainly a wonderful way to pass an afternoon, from there we then visited an old haunt, the Naked Racer Café for a refreshing brew or two before head back to G&B’s at the end of another great day.

Sunday 29th January

For today Moni had booked tickets for us all to visit the Royal Exhibition Building Dome Promenade, this guided tour allowed us to experience spectacular views across the city along with an exhibition that explored the building’s significant history and varied uses over time, the Royal Exhibition Building is beautiful inside and out and sitting alongside the Melbourne Museum certainly made it an interesting place to visit.  It was really nice to be able to catch up with Sean, Moni, Jensen, and Ollie again.

  Once back home we chilled out watching the final of the men’s competition of the Australian Open championships with Novak Djokovic capturing his 10th title.

2 thoughts on “Melbourne 2023 – Part 1

  1. Heh Jimbo!!
    Greetings from Dalmarnock near Old Rutherglen!! Glad to hear your adventures are going well…say hello to the bairns from us.
    Best wishes Iain.


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