Melbourne is one of the cities in the world that still has a fabulous tram service and we decide a tram trip is in order – to St Kilda and the seaside. We arrange to meet Liz’s 82 year old mum under the clock tower at Flinders St Station. It proves to be an excellent central place to meet – there are lots of interesting alleyways of shops to explore, great buskers by the Clock Tower and an information centre right there in Federation Square where we get details about the trams. It turns out that the day we are there all buses, trams and trains are free, so that is an extra bonus because of some problem earlier in the week – very nice they apologise by actually giving something back to public transport users!
I love Federation Square – the ultra modern off centre buildings, contrasting with the older decorative buildings, the trams passing by, the buskers, the open space – great heart for a city.
We don’t have to wait long for the Tram which takes us past all the Victorian Art Galleries and eventually the sea opens up before us. We are not sure where to have lunch, but jump off the tram at Luna Park and wander towards Akland St. The Vineyard Restaurant right on the edge of the park at the end of Fitzroy St seems like a great option and we turn in. It turns out to be a good choice – great food, friendly staff, not too expensive, and it was warm enough on this winter’s day to sit outside and enjoy the view.
We skip dessert at the restaurant because Ackland St, which is famous for its traditional cake shops, is just steps away. We were not disappointed – the shop windows are full of goodies. So after a stroll to the end of the road, to try and work up an appetite, we decide to do afternoon tea at the Akland Cake Shop. Yum – old fashioned, unpretentious and GREAT cakes. Worth the tram ride out here just for afternoon tea.