5 things to do in Melbourne when it’s SCORCHING hot
Fish and chips on the water in 30C!
As part of our Round the World in Home Exchanges we spent a few days visiting the wonderful city of Melbourne. If you haven’t been there then the key thing you need to know is that it has one of those ‘four seasons in one day’ reputations. Except those days where it’s simply as hot as the surface of the sun.
So what do you do when your flip flops are melting into the sidewalk and you are breathing hairdryer hot air?
Mostly you’ll probably want to stay behind closed doors with the AC on. But if you are determined to get out and about, here are a few ideas:
Go to an Exhibition
One of the great things about museums and galleries is the blessed coolness of the high ceilinged, spacious rooms; you wouldn’t be the first person to duck into an exhibition mainly to avoid soaring temperatures. We chose the centrally located Immigration Museum which was packed with fascinating displays charting the ways, means and reasons Australia’s immigrants have arrived on these shores. The displays don’t shy away from the tough stuff, with attitudes and mistakes thoroughly explored, but it’s also a great celebration of the diversity of Australia and the intrepid folk who have made it their home. I must confess, I’m not usually a fan of a museum but this one is spot on.
Head to the beach
The most obvious suggestion would be to find a beach, but this is not as straightforward as it might seem. As vocal as the Cancer Council of Australia are about ‘slip’ (on a t-shirt), ‘slap’ (on sunscreen), ‘slop’ (on a hat) with the recent additions of ‘seek’ (shade) and ‘slide’ (on your sunnies), the ‘seek’ part is almost impossible if you want to combine it with a cooling dip in the ocean. Locals come well equipped and by lunchtime most beaches could be mistaken for Glastonbury festival by the sheer volume of multicoloured tents crowding the sand. But if you’re just visiting and don’t quite have space for a spare tent in your luggage things can get tricky. We finally found some tree-lined grassy banks along the street at Altona Beach, but generally there don’t seem too many shady options for those of us who value our tender skin. Kid friendly’ beaches or ones which have BBQ facilities might be your best bet.
Take a tour
Although you don’t want to be wandering outside too much, many tours have air conditioned buses to get you to your destination and plenty of shade when you get there. We opted for the informatively tongue-in-cheek ‘Neighbours’ tour, a cheesy Aussie soap opera which is a firm favourite with the Brits who hanker for a bit of sunshine most of the year. We browsed the sets and locations at a leisurely pace whilst being bombarded with facts highlighting just how ludicrous the storylines really are (how are 17 car crashes in one cul-de-sac even possible?!)
Get out on the water
Melbourne has a beautiful city centre, full of quirky buildings and eclectic bridges and we waited until dusk to explore it the best way we knew how on an exceptional roasting day- from its waterways. An evening kayak tour not only provides relief from the heat courtesy of the cooling sea breezes but there is something magical about watching the glass of the skyscrapers glow with pink and orange hues as the sun sets and the city sky burst into neon colour. Kayak Melbourne take you on a leisurely paddle under bridges, past skyscrapers, alongside shopping districts and though the marina, guiding you through a completely unique perspective of the city and even stopping for fish and chips en route. The banks of the river as especially vibrant on a steamy summer’s night and after the tour you can re-trace your journey on foot past fairy-lit trees, thrumming music, restaurants with windows thrown wide, energetic street performers and long queues of perspiring folk desperate for a multi-coloured gelato.
Melbourne has a firmly established cafe culture and if you head out into the suburbs you can find some wonderful districts full of little places perfect for settling in with a long cool drink to watch the world go by. We spent the morning in Yarraville, a western suburb with fabulous bakeries and bric-a-brac shops, and then the evening on the other side of town in the Yarra Valley. This trendy area bustles any time of day but after a long hot afternoon people spill onto the streets and terraces to enjoy a cool drink or a leisurely browse past the plethora of boutiques, bars and eateries.
“Everyone needs good neighbours!”
This was a great way to see a different side to Melbourne
Starting to cool down now, only 37C!
What has been your experience of Melbourne?
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