Playing ‘tourist’ in your own hometown often gives you a refreshed perspective of the sights, sounds and experiences you pass by every day. In this post I outline our recent mini Melbourne staycation.
As our trip to Hong Kong was the last week of the school term, when we returned home The Impossible Princess was on school holidays and, feeling a bit guilty that we’d enjoyed our time away while she was slogging away at school, we offered to take her into the city for a mini staycation.
The Poolboy and I had loved staying at The Langham Hotel in Kowloon, so we thought we’d give The Langham Melbourne a try. As we walked into the lobby, we were instantly hit with the familiar signature Langham scent, and we loved the spectacular floral arrangements.
Our room had great views of the river and the city, Eureka Tower and right over in the distance…Port Phillip Bay.
We choose a twin room on a Club floor.
You pay extra for a Club room, but for this staycation we thought it was worth it, as we could access the Club on the 24th floor where we were able to partake of afternoon tea, pre-dinner drinks and snacks, and breakfast the following morning. When you add all these up, for three of us, I think we made the most of that deal.
Top of the staycation agenda was a visit to the Ian Potter Centre of the National Gallery of Victoria at Federation Square. First we checked out the StArt Up: Top Arts 2016 exhibition which shows outstanding work by students who have completed Art or Studio Arts studies in the Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE). We were thrilled to see the artworks of two students we know included among the forty-two inspiring young artists. It’s always a great free exhibition to check out each year and is open daily until 10 July 2016.
Then we went up to the third floor to see the Indigenous galleries. A temporary exhibition of Hermannsburg Potters work with an AFL (football) theme was colourful, and very fitting in a city that is obsessed with the sport. Like a lot of Melburnians, many Indigenous communities all over Australia are passionate about footy. The Hermannsburg Potters are located at a small community 130 kilometres south-west of Alice Springs.
The real reason we’d visited the NGV however, was to see 200 Years of Australian Fashion, which is the current paid exhibition at Ian Potter Centre.
Over 120 works from more than 90 Australian designers are on show – the first major restrospective of Australian fashion to be shown in Australia. The displays fill four large galleries and includes pieces drawn from the Gallery’s own collections and the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences, Sydney, as well as a number of private collection loans.
The items shown range from the oldest known remaining piece of Australian-made fashion (an evening dress from 1805) right through to the works of current day designers such as Dion Lee, Ellery, Romance Was Born and Toni Maticevski. We were fascinated to see the progression of styles and colours through the decades. Oh my goodness…what happened to the eighties??
200 Years of Australian Fashion continues at NGV Australia at Federation Square daily until 31 July 2016.
Once we were back at the hotel, it was time for a jacuzzi with a view and a dip in the turquoise pool. Up to my neck in hot water is my favourite place to be.
Pre-dinner drinks in the Langham Club gave us an oportunity to watch the sun setting on Melbourne from above. The view over Flinders Street Station and the Southgate walk bridge at commuting rush-hour was fascinating and prompted me to learn how to the time-lapse feature on my phone camera (hint…it helps it you can hold the phone very still!)
Our choice for dinner was Sezar in Melbourne Place, which prompted a stroll through the city where we were able to take in the night-time atmosphere.
Sezar is a bit of a favourite of ours. Sezar takes elements of traditional Armenian and Middle Eastern cuisines, but then gives them a modern twist. The result is dishes that have unique flavours and look beautiful.
Every time we have been there, we have finished up with the dessert platter to share. It’s a highlight of the meal.
The next morning, after breakfast in the Club and coffee in Southgate, we walked across the river to see the street art in Hosier Lane en route to our lunch destination. The weekend prior, there had been a big street art event where many of the lanes had been painted over and new art works produced to fill the spaces, so it was fascinating to see all the new art.
Halfway down the lane is the hole-in-wall cafe, Good 2 Go which is is run by Youth Projects with sales supporting people experiencing homelessness and poverty through frontline support. (www.facebook.com/Good2GoCoffee/)
And for lunch we ended up at Juicy Bao which offers quick, cheap, delicious dumpling service. You can watch the dumplings being freshly made in the restaurant front window. This restaurant is really popular, so it’s best to go slightly off-peak to get a table, or be prepared to wait.
All that was left to do was another visit to the jacuzzi with a view back at the hotel, and then it was time to check out. But what a fun min-staycation we’d had!
The detailsThe Langham Melbourne
Address: 1 Southgate Avenue, Melbourne
Website: www.langhamhotels.com/en/the-langham/melbourne/ NGV Australia: The Ian Potter Centre
The home of Australian art, presenting Indigenous and non-Indigenous art from the colonial period to the present day.
Address: Federation Square
Cost: General entry is free, paid exhibition prices vary
Open 10am–5pm daily (1-5pm Anzac Day, closed Christmas Day) Sezar
Address: 6 Melbourne Place, Melbourne
Website: sezar.com.au Juicy Bao
Address: 178 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne