- Travel and Places
Places to Visit in Victoria Australia
Best Places to Visit in Melbourne, Victoria - Australia
My parents were from Sydney (New South Wales, Australia) ... and moved down to Melbourne, Victoria before I was born.
It's because of this that I believe is why I grew up seeing so many incredible Victorian places and sites that I don't think I would have seen if they'd not moved here from Sydney.
I have the most incredible memories of childhood and all the truly wonderful places we visited. My Mum and Dad had quite an adventurous spirit and they were always finding new and fun things for us, as a family of 6 to do together.
Here's a list of just some of my most favourite memories (the places we went to many times) that I love to reminice about whenever I can. I've already taken my own son to quite a few of these places (with Mum and Dad coming along too most of the time) ... and plan to take him to more!
So if you ever get to Victoria, Australia you'll have the local's secrets to truly the best places that are worth the trip and time to visit!
William Ricketts Sanctuary - the Dandenongs
THE HERITAGE OF THE PARK
In the 1930s William Rickets purchased a 4 acre block on Mount Dandenong in Victoria's eastern mountainous region. He first called it Potter's Sanctuary because he himself was a potter, working heavily with sculpting clay.
During 1949 through to 1960 he frequently went interstate to live with the Pitjantjatjara and Arrernte Aboriginal people of Central Australia. Although not an aboriginal by blood he definitely considered himself adopted by this tribe as though he really was family. It was through learning their traditions and culture that gave him his most intense and long standing inspiration for his sculpture.
His deeply felt connections to mother earth and the spirit of the land were explored through making 92 incredibly detailed and beautiful ceramic sculptures. Most of sculptures are integrated and mounted atop glorious huge pieces of rock which add even more to their power and enchanting appeal. His sculptures were each homed somewhere amongst the growth of the large sanctuary and over the years have come to look as though they've become one with the natural old growth of the stunning eucalyptus forest.
Not long after William Rickett's began this project... word began to spread of this extraordinary sculptor because slowly his property in the gorgeous lush, green stunning Dandenong Ranges was slowly filling up with breathtaking sculptures of aborigines and wild Australian animals.
Thankfully during the 1960s... the Victorian Government purchased the area and made it into a public park. Although a public park... William Rickett's continued living and working there until his death in 1993.
My Top Choice!
This would be my top choice of places to send visitors especially overseas ones!! Mum and Dad especially really love this place and feel quite proud to show it to visitors and friends who visit.
And I have to say... if you're a Victorian and an artist.... you simply must see this place! I really feel like it's our version of Uluru.
It's quite an experience... I can only liken my experience to one other place I've been... during which was during my visit to Uluru (Ayers Rock). There is something quite special about the place that I just cannot put into words... you must experience it yourself to know what I'm talking about. But you have to go in willing and open to really 'feel' your surroundings. You need to really take it all in. The more you do that the more I believe you will get out of it.
When you enter the park... you follow a path through glorious green forest land. The sights, the smells, the sounds of the birds and the overall experience of all the breathtaking nature is really relaxing and very very beautiful. And then to find his detailed and stunning sculptures (some many metres high) that seem to look as they they naturally grew out of the ground, is simply awe inspiring.. and a true wonder to behold!
Myself and my family visited this park many times throughout my childhood and I remember how much I was touched by the place. We would always stop afterwards to have a lovely devonshire tea (tea and scones) at a nearby beautiful cafe overlooking the park. (And I recommend that for sure to make your special day complete)
Here's the photo's I took of our most recent visit to the aquarium!
Our boy is shark mad at present. He's a funny kid cause he manages to move from subject to subject and each time it's a new subject it's almost an obsession for him (*ahem* not at all like his mother!! noooo!) He talks, thinks, reads, watches, does whatever he can on the newest subject/obsession. So we've all been a little shark mad of late along with him.
This was our second visit to the Melbourne Aquarium since he was born... the first time he was so young he didn't really appreciate it for what it was.
This time... his focus was ONLY to see the sharks... so much so that he wanted to zoom past every other exhibit just to get to the sharks!!
Then... once there he was adamant that I take a photo of him with a shark! Yes... you read right :) So below you'll see my best efforts at getting a photo of him with a shark.
My highlight and favourite part of the whole day was definitely the penguins!! I know now why they're called KING emperor penguins because they definitely do command majestic like awe.. well from me anyway!
All in all... a truly brilliant day!
The Emperor Penguins were incredible! Can see why they're called Emperors cause they're so majestic!!
Throughout the place there are lots of cute photo opportunities
All aquarium photo's above are copyright Pip Gerard 2011.
You may use on blogs/articles so long as each is linked back to this blog with credit given. Not for any commercial use whatsoever.
Fairy Park, Beside Extinct Volcano Mt Anakie, Victoria, Australia
This place was absolutely magical to me growing up... a true fairy land!
I've already taken my son to this fun park twice in his 6 years and plan to again in the next few years. He absolutely adores Fairy Park. And I adore experiencing the joy through him. As well as all the memories it brings back from my own childhood. My boy loved the park so much that he even re-watched the home video footage of his adventures through the fairytale park a couple of times again afterwards!
Honestly... to young toddlers and preschoolers, this place is nothing but magic! And the more you get into the spirit of the magic and the excitement with your child... the more fun and joy you'll get out of the experience with your child. I honestly feel there's nothing I enjoy more now in my life than seeing joy on my boy's face that is so immense that his face is almost glowing and that's the face I saw at Fairy Park!
I've seen people there who went without children and honestly... I have to wonder why they bother. This place is all about the children... and without children to share it with, the special magical element is just not present.
Fairy Park is really a special place... like no other theme or fun park I've heard of!
It's the brainchild & creation by one German man and his family!! It first opened in December 1959!! Isn't that marvellous!! A true passion project for German Immigrant, Peter Mayer. He and his family started building the original displays by hand before they even had enough money to buy the land in Anakie, Victoria! Both he and his family still run, maintain and manage the park today!! Isn't that just wonderful!
At the bottom of the mountain is a brilliant Camelot playground area where the kids will no doubt want to play in for hours! You have many picnic tables and barbeques to sit and enjoy for a leisurely lunch with friends and family. Then when you're finished begin your journey up the mountain to find the hidden treasures all along the way!
You and your little one's will follow the path up the mountain (strollers prams ok but hard work) ... stopping each time you come to a new fairytale display. Kids push a button to see the fairytale 3 dimensional scene come to life with music and story. The figures move and play to create a visual delight.
Get to the summit to see the fantastic views from all directions. There's a castle cafe as well as a huge indoor model train set up that kids & adults alike will really enjoy.
The Dandenongs & The Black Spur
When I was about 11 or 12... I seriously wanted to grow up to live in the Dandenongs!!
I adored the place. The Black Spur especially!
It's truly magically to drive through the area with it's trees thousands of years old. Stopping along the way at the lookouts, parks and towns makes for a truly pleasurable day out.
Best Victorian Travel Guides Available
Puffing Billy and Emerald Lake Park
Have taken our son here twice already. It's a fabulous day out with children.
Emerald Park is just a gorgeous place with picnic & bbq facilities. It surrounds a gorgeous lake with plenty of activities to keep you occupied.
And a ride on the old steam train Puffing Billy is a lot of fun for young and old. Kids can sit on the edge of the train window sills and watch the gorgeous country side go past.
And once a year the train is driven by Thomas the Tank Engine himself! That's a fabulous day out for the kids... we went last year and they enjoyed every bit of it.
For more info visit the Puffing Billy website here - Puffing Billy Website
Old Melbourne Gaol (Jail)
Old Melbourne Gaol (scared the bejeebies out of me as a kid - LOVED IT). The Gaol is located in the heart of Melbourne town... now a heritage building it's truly a visit to the past!
It's creepy, spooky and downright fascinating!!
And if you really want to be spooked... you can go on the famous night tours!
It's where Ned Kelly was incarcerated and finally hung.
It's a very spooky place... so much feeling came over me when I visited. To see the tiny little cells & conditions that these prisoners where forced to live in.
It's got Ned's armour to view, as well as his death mask, the original noose in the prison hanging area, plus many more famous, authentic Ned Kelly relics.
A must see if in the city of Melbourne.
Glenrowan - The Kelly Country
I visited Glenrowan twice in my youth. Once with my Dad driving back from a road trip together and another time with when I was in Grade 6 with my best friend and her family.
It's called the Kelly Country because it's the place where the Kelly's 'Last Stand' took place... the first ever town to have a widely reported criminal drama surrounding the infamous Australian Kelly Gang.
The Glenrowan Inn is the place where the Kelly Gang held others hostage while awaiting the arrival of the large Police Train. Police arrived and what followed was a 122 hour long siege!
It ended when the police moved forward one moonlit night and surrounded the back of the Inn where Ned and his brothers were situated on the verandah. A full gun fight ensued with Ned getting shot 3 times, once in the left arm, right thumb and foot.
Ned returned to the hotel only to witness his fellow gang member Joe Byrne shot in the groin dropping dead instantly. Ned had no choice to leave the Inn where he soon collapsed into unconsciousness from loss of blood. Upon regaining consciousness at around 7 in the morning Ned walked down the gully in his armour confronting the police bravely head on. He was hit 19 more times with bullets... only brought to ground eventually with several shots to his legs.
He miraculously survived only to be incarcerated in the Old Melbourne Gaol (Jail) and hung for his supposed crimes.
To read the full story of Ned Kelly and his brothers read here - Ned Kelly's World Website
Visit Glenrowan and you can pay to see the 'Last Stand' completely re-enacted in all it's glory. It's quite an experience.... I remember it quite vividly from my youth... watching mannequins with projected video moving faces... a very eerie & I must say kind of quirky sight I must say.
I'm sure it's changed a hell of a lot since my visit as a child... I'm sure only for the better so definitely worth a visit if you're intrigued about our infamous armoured figure of Australia's history.