Open in Melbourne

We had rough plans to spend a day in Melbourne on this trip. They crystalised when a colleague mentioned that you could buy reasonably priced passes to the outer courts of the Australian Open tennis tournament. B loves her tennis and Alex is learning so it was great timing on our part, however unintentional.

Rather than drive we caught the train from Bendigo. This necessitated an early morning. We were very fortunate finding a car park spot at the station,then we quickly purchased a ticket and ran inside.

The Velocity sets are some of the fastest trains in Australia, running at up to 160 km/h. Not so fast in the international scheme of things, but quicker than driving between the cities.

I found it quite comfortable and I enjoyed the scenery outside. As we started approaching the centre of Melbourne we passed freight lines and marshalling yards. This looked like a real railway, not like the separation of commuter and freight that occurs around Sydney.

Unfortunately, Alex had been playing on the iPad and got motion sick, eventually throwing up. Once at Melbourne we headed by tram for Bourke Street Mall to find him some replacement clothes.

The tram stopped right outside the H&M store and B’s eyes lit up. Fortunately they had some fairly cheap and good looking substitutes for his vomit stained clothes.

After a little more shopping we caught the free 70a tram to the tennis centre, stopping near Hisense Arena. There were long queues due to the highly seeded Azarenka playing so, following the directions of the information desk, we walked around to the show courts, watching Alejandro Gonzalez upset 16th seed Fabio Fognini.

Alex slept through half of it, then we went around and grabbed some expensive hot dogs from the crowded stands around Margaret Court Arena.

At Show Court 3 we caught a bit of 9th seen David Ferrer playing Tomasz Bellucci. After an awfully expensive but needed slushie drink we walked back to Hisense Arena and caught the first three games of Venus Williams against Torro-Flor.

But it was getting late. After a tram ride back to the city we walked quickly to Southern Cross Station, making it just in time to catch the Shepparton service via Bendigo.

This three carriage locomotive hauled train was absolutely packed with no spare seats, so we had to stand/sit on the floor until around Kyneton. It wasn’t as clean nor as fast at the Velocity set. Still, at least Alex didn’t get motion sick.

We arrived back into Bendigo at a little after 8.30pm, hot, sticky, hungry and very thirsty. Just down the road from the station we found a decent Chinese restaurant run by a Malaysian. The food was quite nice and we quickly finished the jug of soft drink. Then straight back to the hotel, where all the proper cark parks had been taken and we had to drive up on the kerb (with their permission).

An exhausting day, but Alex had said he enjoyed some of the tennis and we adults definitely did. After watching a little on the hotel television, we had to agree that it’s better actually being there.