Just four miles from Melbourne, in a beautiful bay, sits the lovely St. Kilda East. This is quite a densely populated place with more than thirteen thousand people living here. Its population descended from the Polish and Russian immigrants who landed here and it has a very prominent Hasidic Jewish community. This is not to say that it is not interesting though, because it has a kind of hippy vibe going on with a good arts scene.
Although it was seen as a low end place to live some sixty years ago, this has all changed with the ‘gentrification’ of the area, and now it is a much sought after venue for both residents and tourists alike. Indeed, accommodation in St. Kilda East is varied, and the Melbourne 2030 vision will keep the place being upgraded all the time.
One of the most interesting pastimes, although not for all, is a visit to the St. Kilda General Cemetery. Believe it or not, there are conducted tours that come here and they enlighten people with great stories about famous people who are buried here. There are some infamous ones too! For example, the second Prime Minister of the country found accommodation here, along with a very famous – for all the wrong reasons – brothel keeper. Rubbing shoulders with them is the first Victoria Cross recipient and a tomb with a ship and anchor on which houses Captain John Laidlaw.
Look too for art deco tombstones or multi colored brick graves from – yes, you have guessed it – the flower-power era of the 1960s. In fact this place is extremely interesting with bee hive shaped graves and, for the tired housewives out there, ones made from bathroom tiles that are easy to clean!
On a lighter note, for those who love to get out of their holiday home to experience nature, try a horseback tour and visit two wineries on the Mornington Peninsula. If two people book this one together there is a discount and the whole thing takes around three hours.
The wineries are the T’Gallant and Mantons Creek and to get there, the rider will travel through the beautiful Red Hill district. The cool thing about this trip is that visitors get to taste the wines produced there. There are also places to grab some lunch on the way or try a pint, or two, at the Pig and Whistle Brewery.
Everyone must have seen the show “The Amazing Race’ by now and groups or individuals can try their hand at solving the clues on a Legendary Laneway experience. This is a cool way to discover some great places and learn the history at the same time. It is called the ‘City Quest’ and visitors end up in a lovely restaurant at the end of the game which takes about ninety minutes.
Of course, Melbourne has many wonders to see and experience, but one of these must be the Melbourne Aquarium. Here, visitors get a virtual tour, getting ‘virtually’ wet by the way, and you travel through all forms of water from billabongs to rock pools. All this time the sharks and stingrays are hovering close by as you traverse the transparent tunnel.
The world’s largest crabs reside here, along with the leeches, Bird Eating spiders and other creepy crawlies too numerous to mention. The kids will think this is sensational for sure. One tip here, if you have accommodation right in the city or in St. Kilda East, buy a ‘skip the line’ ticket to save time.
It goes without saying that this part of the world has all the water sports or surfing venues that anyone would want and beaches are here by the mile! However, take time to explore this great city and see how the locals live.
From May to October is the coolest time so people who like the heat would be better off going there in January or February. It is not as cold as Europe though so this is an all-year-round place to visit for sure.
Since the place is a little packed, the accommodation in St. Kilda East is likely to be in serviced apartments or in well run hotels. Try to find rental apartments with a pool for those ‘days off’ from running around, or book a holiday home overlooking the ocean.
Long haul flights leave Heathrow to Melbourne regularly and the price of tickets has come down to within easy reach. Book a transfer to St. Kilda online, or book a hire car since it is only a few miles from the airport. St. Kilda East accommodation and any other trips or bookings are best made before the trip too since some great bargains are to be had.