She's Solo in Female-friendly Melbourne
Melbourne is terrific -- the food, the places, the people,
and the creative way they look at the world made my heart
sing. I spent five days there -- not nearly enough -- I look
forward to a return visit so that I can experience some of
the goodies I missed. Yet in that short time I could see that
being in Melbourne as a solo traveller is not really difficult.
In fact it was downright fun!
Take time to smell the flowers...
about every woman in Melbourne I questioned about their
favourite "summer pastimes in the city" suggested
the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Entrance is complimentary so you can go anytime you
are aching for some green space. Imagine 100 acres blessed
with 12,000 types of plants and trees then enhanced
by several artificial lakes. Besides all the guided
walks or solo meanderings, there's always something
watchable happening here -- the mama ducks and ducklings
on parade, the bats flying out in the evening and the
very popular Moonlight Cinema series. Take time to smell
the flowers, ladies. Further information: Contact 03.9252.2300
go-alone Italian treat...
found the small, bustling Il
Solito Posto restaurant quite by accident.
This Italian treat is located off Collins Street (#113),
in a basement, down St. George Parade, one of Melbourne's
many little lanes. It's actually two little restaurants
in one -- a moderately priced cafe with the day's specials
on a chalk board, and in the back, a trattoria with
more formal service and wider menu. I chose the cafe
and enjoyed it tremendously. There were lots of younger
people and a smattering of older couples here and there
-- everyone, including the servers, laughing and joking
from table to table. The decor definitely adds to the
easy atmosphere -- brown lacquered tables, metal and
wicker chairs, tiles in earth tones and exposed painted
pipes running along the ceiling. Il Solito Posto serves
swell crusty bread, the by-the-glass wine selection
is good, and pricing is fair. I chose a chicken salad
on greens with a delicious balsamic dressing, my lemon
tart dessert was yummy and coffee just right. The folks
to my right were enjoying Spaghetti Carbonara with great
gusto. Highly recommended as a solo dining experience.
P.S. Prior to my
departure for Australia, I received a note from a JourneyWoman
reader who explained that she would be in Melbourne
at the same time. My second visit to Il Solito Posto
was with her and we had an equally good eating adventure.
It was also fun meeting a reader face to face.
miss the zoo...
travelling with kiddies; I chose to visit the Melbourne
Zoo just for me. A smart move -- I needed
a short break from pounding the city pavement. The zoo
is easy to get to by city tram and my morning visit
proved to be a very relaxing, educational, perfect go-alone
experience. It's hard to get lost here. Complimentary
maps are available at the entrance allowing visitors
to choose the exact route they'd like to follow. JourneyWoman
opted for the Australian tour which took me through
typical bush track and I visited with some of the Aussie
species I had only read about or seen on TV before --
cuddly-looking koalas, red kangaroos, wallabies, wombats,
platypus and little penguins. At strategic points along
the trail, zoo keepers were stationed ready to answer
all visitors' questions. A lovely learning experience!
I made my way to the African rainforest enclosure where
a gorilla group was raising their young and where visitors
can quietly observe the "family" dynamics.
By chance, I arrived in time to hear a great deal of
commotion and watched three screaming female primates
in hot pursuit of a young male gorilla. He climbed up
a hill and sat glowering at the trio who waited angrily
at the base. I asked one of the zoo hands what the problem
seemed to be. He laughed and explained,"This little
guy keeps flirting with these older ladies. I guess
they've finally had enough and they're teaching him
a lesson." Ah, the politics of male-female relationships
in the rainforest!
For further information
about the Zoo and it's late night musical evenings,
lively brunch stop...
was Meera Freeman, Melbourne food maven who introduced
me to Babka Bakery Cafe
(358 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy). Run by Sasha (the woman
with fiery red hair and wonderful jewelry), this little
place (25 seats) was absolutely buzzing at breakfast
and brunch. There were croissants, French toast, yoghurt
and fruit available as well as lunch sandwich specials
posted on a board. The coffee, homemade preserves, vibe
and food were all delicious and well worth the visit.
But, there's a bonus, as well -- Babka is also a very
well-known bakery producing such goodies as whole meal
with sunflower bread and the best little challeh (egg
loaf) in town. I couldn't resist a take-away treat.
Perfect female-friendly solo food stop!
The Friendly Backpacker
Group are members of our JourneyWoman Network of classified
advertisers. I thought this would be the perfect spot
to highlight their facilities.
Backpacker Group currently consists of two
properties in the heart of Melbourne. Offering a quality
product and unmatched service, our aim is to provide
the entire "Melbourne Experience". You have
the opportunity of meeting other travellers, as well
as a comfortable place to stay. Safe, fun, clean and
central we offer gender specific dorms or double/twin
rooms at budget prices. Visit www.friendlygroup.com.au
for more information, or make an inquiry via e-mail:
Ed. note: Ask about
the hostel that's located right next door to the police
station. For women, especially, I imagine this would
increase your safety factor.
If you stay at either
of these locations, please send along your feedback.
and put "The Friendly Backpacker" in the subject line.
Other readers will definitely be interested in your
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