A Preview of my Trip Down Under

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Beach Huts on the Mornington Peninsula

“Australia is a pretty special food place…Melbourne, within Australia…is also super special”

Flinders St Station

Flinders St Station at dusk

These words are taken from an interview with Jamie Oliver during his recent trip to Australia and, having just spent a month there myself, I know I am biased, but I couldn’t agree more.

Food has always been a big part of what I love about Melbourne but I guess I’ve never come at it with such a food-focussed eye, or such a big camera lens, before.  This being my first time back since I started the blog, I was anxious to get stuck in and really immerse myself in the cultural richness the city has to offer.

Having lived away from Melbourne for most of my life, I still feel like somewhat of a tourist most of the time. The upside of this is that I really do revel in being there and deeply appreciate some of the simplest pleasures, like walking along the banks of the Yarra River, marvelling at the beautiful skyline and watching people go about their day in one of the world’s most captivating cities.

Do you ever have those ‘stop-and-smell-the-flowers’ moments? You know, when you’re suddenly struck by a strong sense that you really need to just stop and appreciate the moment you’re in?

I had a lot of those moments on this trip.

Chocolate Collage

Left: Chocolate slabs at Max Brenner Right: The Spiegeltent, Arts Centre & Eureka Tower

I have come back to Bahrain still processing all the beautiful sights, tastes and experiences I’ve had over the past month, not to mention the amazing people I’ve met. All my senses have been recharged and I’m brimming with excitement to share it all with you.

It all started with the wedding of some very special friends and quickly spun into a whirlwind of lunches, dinners, photo opportunities, BBQs, ferries, lattes (oh, the coffee!), cooking classes, birthdays, reunions and then, all too quickly, goodbyes.

Coffee CollageI was especially pleased to be able to attend an extremely touching and thought provoking dawn service on Anzac Day. I hold a huge sense of admiration, gratitude and respect for all of those who have dedicated their lives to the service of their country and too many times paid the ultimate price. The tragic sense of unnecessary loss overwhelmed me as a veteran read through the names of those who had fallen, and the words “may we and our successors prove worthy of their sacrifice” ran over in my head for days afterwards. Lest we forget.

Mt Martha SunsetMy time was split between the city and the beautiful Mornington Peninsula, about an hour and a half outside of Melbourne. There’s no lack of choice in that area when it comes to photographic subjects but my favourite morning was spent on the beach shooting the rows of multicoloured beach huts that line the shore.

I also enjoyed more than my fair share of breathtaking sunsets. On clear days, the city across the bay glows pink, dotted with spots of gold where the sun reflects off the buildings. The Eureka Tower, once the tallest building in the Southern Hemisphere, dons an especially glittery halo.

Sunset CollageI had big plans to scour the Peninsula for all the best foodie finds and wish I’d had more time to explore, but I did manage to squeeze in a couple of great meals – including one stand out lunch at Port Phillip Estate in Red Hill – more on that coming soon.

Lunch with a View: Port Phillip Estate, Red Hill

Lunch with a view: Port Phillip Estate, Red Hill

So what else is coming up? Well, there’s…

a trip to the Prahran Market where I made some interesting food discoveries and found my heaven on earth at The Essential Ingredient.

…an action packed weekend at the Kangaroo Island Seafood Feast-ival including a brief chat with celebrity chef Pete Evans, an abundance of amazing local produce and even more amazing people.

…tips, photos and recipes from a couple of great cooking classes.

…my introduction to the thermomix and more!

Kangaroo Island Bees

Kangaroo Island bees

So much food and so many photos. Honestly, I could go on and on but, to bring it back to Jamie, why is Melbourne such a “super special” food place? Personally, I think it’s a bit of a chicken and egg situation in the sense that I’m not sure what came first, but, generally, when it comes to food, Melburnians are a tough crowd to please.

They know what they want, they have a high appreciation for good food and equally high expectations to match. What has emerged as a result of this (or was it the other way round?) is a vibrant and creative food scene that delivers, in abundance, food experiences that would struggle to disappoint the most discerning foodie; sometimes fancy and sometimes comfortingly endearing in their home cooked simplicity.

Whichever came first, one thing’s for sure, food lovers in Melbourne are spoilt for choice and I’m already itching to get back and continue my journey of discovery.

*As you can see I had lots of fun with Instagram during my trip! If you’d like to see my other insta-photos my username is @amywarman – if you don’t use Instagram you can see them here*

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8 Responses

  1. Laura (Tutti Dolci) 20 May,2012 at 1:34 am

    Love your Melbourne photos! I can’t remember if I’ve told you this or not, but in 2005 I spent 6 weeks in Melbourne. I loved Flinders St Station, walks along the Yarra, and Max Brenner (of course!). I had some of the most amazing coffee of my life during that trip! I hope to return one day (with a camera upgrade, too! :) ).

  2. Nada 21 May,2012 at 4:51 pm

    I love it! I also had the best coffee i ever had in Australia. Lived so close to flinders station right on Collins and Swanston Street in one the oldest buildings in Melbourne. Love the culture, people, places, food, and everything about. Eveyday in Melbourne is a new day INDEED. Can’t wait to go back.

    • Amy 9 Jun,2012 at 11:20 am

      Oh wow, sounds like you lived in the perfect location! I agree with you, so much to see and do. A really special place.

  3. Moya 21 May,2012 at 9:39 pm

    Looks like you had an amazing time and look forward to your posts and photographs. I have seen the Thermomix in action at a demo, an amazing appliance.

    • Amy 9 Jun,2012 at 11:21 am

      It really is amazing. I was lucky enough to come home with one and have used it every day since. It was so lovely to meet you the other day by the way, thanks for coming to say hi!

  4. Mel B 28 May,2012 at 7:19 pm

    I haven’t spent a great deal of time in Melbourne (anytime we have before catching the ferry back to Tassie is spent with friends at their place in Geelong), but lived in Sysnet for 9 years, also beautiful and lots of amazing good experiences to be had, but Melbourne definitely takes the ‘cake’ for its reputation as a food capital. I’m hoping to sneak in a trip soon sans kids so I can take in some of it!
    What I was going to say though was – Max Brenner – sigh! I miss Max Brenner from my time in Sydney, we need one in Hobart (or anywhere in Tasmania for that matter!)
    Can’t wait to read more of your Melbourne adventures :)

    • Amy 9 Jun,2012 at 11:29 am

      Melbourne is definitely worth a visit if you can steal some time away to explore, you could easily fill a few days with foodie experiences let alone everything else! As you’re a chocolate fan be sure to also check out Koko Black while you’re there, they have a few locations around the city and delicious chocolaty treats. I especially like the one tucked away in the Royal Arcade on Bourke St. Enjoy and let me know if you do manage to squeeze in a visit!


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