Early start for Puffing Billy steam train trip. So the alarm went off at 6 and breakfast at 6:30. The Gray Line coach took us to Belgrave station in the Blue Dandenong Mountain Range about an hours drive from Melbourne. The name comes from the aboriginal and means High Places and the 900 varieties of eucalyptus gives it the blue colour from the oily haze that hangs around the trees (hence a big fire risk but it is also the only way the seeds open). The other main tree is the Mountain Ash that grow tall & straight up to 150 ft and are used for furniture and wood pulp. They are very quick growing and so are often planted in the Forest.
dkc-1071-072-LRSulphur Headed Cockatoo
Before the train journey we stopped at the Grants picnic ground to see the cockatoos and crimson rosellas although we didn't see lyrebirds or kookaburra. We had an Aussie style Bush Billy tea with Lamingtons (a sponge finger coated with chocolate and coconut), vegemite and crackers with a black tea called Naranda which was delicious.
Rode through the Sherbrooke Forest on the Puffing Billy from Belgrave station to Menzies Creek station, a section of the original narrow gauge railway journey.
Then back on the coach to visit Sassafras, a picturesque village in the forest; we bought two tea light holders decorated with aboriginal art and some of the Billy tea.
The driver / guide continued his commentary on the way back to Melbourne which was entertaining and interesting - for example when we were outside the parliamentary gardens, with a shower type fountain with multiple heads, he said that it was designed to reflect the parliamentarians - who are drips running around in circles!
Dropped off in Federation Square where we had lunch before coming back to the hotel for a siesta.
D's watch needed a new battery, so he went and sorted that out while I repacked my suitcase and did some knitting (second sleeve and final piece).
Went out just before 5 and caught the city tram from near our hotel. Trams in the town centre are free; a "myki" (oyster type card) is needed for journeys further afield.
dkc-1072-001Melbourne City Circle Tram
Went to the night market, which is only open on Wednesdays which was lucky for us as it was our only evening in Melbourne. Had a Spanish supper in the market, before getting another (free) tram to Federation Square.
Visited the tallest observation tower in the western hemisphere The Eureka Sky Deck - it's on the 88th floor and the lift goes at 34km per hour. It was getting dark by the time we got up there but the views were spectacular. The triangular section on the photo is where we were standing.
dkc-1072-032Melbourne Flinders Street station and Yarra river Melbourne Flinders Street station and Yarra river
Then back to the hotel and bed.