I’d wanted to visit Australia for the longest time. I’ve long been inspired by glimpses of the country’s beautiful beaches, cool culture, and sheer distance from the UK. The first port of call on my visit Down Under was Melbourne: the birthplace of Neighbours, Kylie and Jason, the ridiculously good looking Hemsworth brothers, and the iconic yellow brick Flinders Street station with its many clocks. And wow, Melbourne, you sure didn’t disappoint!
A first glance at Melbourne
After a ridiculously long flight and a brief stopover in Dubai, I arrived in this beautiful city with my Mum and stepdad, Paul. Next time, I’ll be taking a proper stop in Dubai as it’s also somewhere I’m longing to visit. The 21.5 hour flight was quite a challenge, but luckily I bagged three seats to myself to stretch out for the duration of the flight.
Keen to stretch our legs, we went for a brief explore that afternoon near to where we were staying. Seeing the sun dappled trees of the Parisian, tree-lined Collins Street and the sparkling Yarra River, I was so excited to be here at last. We were staying in an apartment directly opposite the mighty Crown Casino, and the views across the city and the Yarra River were amazing. It was a very welcome first glimpse of Australia, both by day and night.
A Trip to St Kilda
Despite feeling extremely tired, we didn’t want to waste a minute. As a result, we all showered and headed out to explore the best that Melbourne had to offer. On our way, we walked past a store selling Neighbours tours, and couldn’t help ourselves! If you’re unfamiliar with Neighbours, it’s an Aussie soap opera and watching it is essentially a British rite of passage of the 90s.
We booked onto a pretty cheesy looking ‘Neighbours Night’ quiz for that same night. It promised a drunken evening of music and entertainment from Dr Karl Kennedy (a national treasure in the UK) and other cast members including Paul Robinson and the legendary Madge. We had to meet in a British themed pub in the Melburnian suburb of St Kilda. We reached it on one of the city’s famous trams, travelling past the iconic Luna Park.
A Neighbours Night in St Kilda
Turning up, as you can probably expect, the pub was swarming with Brits! You may not know that apparently most Aussies aren’t aware of the show, let alone know which channel it’s on.
I was even lucky enough to meet Dr Karl himself, and obviously couldn’t refuse a photo opportunity!
Initially, we were a little dubious and expecting a cringeworthy fest of diehard Neighbours fans from the UK teamed with cheesy tunes. In reality, it was genuinely so much fun and a great laugh, despite the jet lag.
The rest of the night consisted of some alcohol-fuelled banter between the quizmasters and actors. There were multiple photo opportunities, and casual chats with the cast. We were also treated to the hilarious musical antics of Dr Karl and Paul Robinson (who are actually not bad!) A personal favourite was their song ‘Who The F**k is Susan‘, naturally about the doctor’s on screen wife.
It was a really good laugh and a great opportunity to meet other people also enjoying their visits to ‘Melbs’. A few free drinks are also included in the price. What more could you really want on your first night in Australia!?
I’d totally recommend it to anyone even slightly familiar with Neighbours. There are such a mix of characters that join, varying from backpackers to die hard fans of the show. If it sounds like your cup of tea, be sure to buy tickets for your Neighbours Night.
My first evening has been a brilliant start to my trip to Australia. I can’t wait to share the rest of my adventures in Melbourne with you in my next post!
Have you visited Melbourne before? If so, what did you get up to during your stay in the city?