Category Archives: Travel

Mega Melbourne Op Shop Tour

A guide to op-shopping in Melbourne based around a route I took a couple of days ago centred around 3 main areas – Footscray, Moonee Ponds and Brunswick.

Get a daily zone 1 metcard and you can travel around to all these places by train, tram and bus.

I started out in North Melbourne, but wherever you start you want to head out on the train towards Footscray. For a shorter trip you can just go there, but other options are to go further down the line to Yarraville and /or Williamstown.

Williamstown: You get the Werribee train and get off at Newport for a connection to Williamstown. Get off at the very next stop (Williamstown Nth) and it’s a short walk up station st and onto Stevedore St where there is a Uniting Care op shop.

Having never been to Williamstown before, rather than heading straight back to the station I kept going down to the waterfront and then followed the path around to the main Williamstown shopping area, so I ended up getting the train at Williamstown station.

Yarraville. Back on the train you can get off at Yarraville, a couple of stops before Footscray there’s a small op shop on the the main shopping street just to the east of the station.

Footscray. The highlight of Footscray is the huge Footscray Savers store on Albert St, but also just around the corner there is a Salvos on Barkly St. Near the interesection of Barkly & Droop you can get on the 82 tram.

Maribyrnong. Get the 82 as far as Maribyrnong Rd which starts when you cross the Maribyrnong river. Get off at the stop after Epsom Rd and there’s a Vinnies just across the Rd. There’s also a Unitingcare shop a bit further up the Rd near the interesection with Union Rd (but I didn’t see this one until I was already back on the tram). From here there’s a couple of options as to what to do. You can get the 57 tram back to the city via North Melbourne. There’s a Salvos on Errol St Nth Melbourne, but I think you pass at least a couple of other stores on the 57 route as well. The other option (which I took) is to get back on an 82 and head up to where it terminates at Moonee Ponds.

Moonee Ponds. The 82 terminates at a big intersection with lots of bus terminals and the 59 tram from the city nearby as well. Walk along the main Rd to get to Hall St on your left, then just after the shopping centre you take Everage St on your right, there’s a small op shop down there. Afterwards go to the end of the street and turn left, and as you approach the train station there’s a big Brotherhood of St Laurence store. From here there’s lots of options. A train back to the city, or a 59 tram to the city. Also there are a number of buses which head over to Sydney Rd at Brunswick (504, 506, 508). The option which I took was to get on the train and head one stop further out to Essendon (59 tram also goes there).

Essendon. Very close to the train station (Russell St, just near the bus stops) there’s a small op shop. Once again, if you’ve had enough from here you can get back to the city by train, but if you want more then there’s a couple of buses which go over to Sydney Rd. There’s the 503 or 510. I took the 510 because it goes to the Northern end of Brunwick (well, Coburg actually), so I could then make my back down towards town.

Brunswick/Coburg The 510 bus goes along Moreland Rd, I got off at the intersection with Sydney Rd. There’s a Vinnies a few blocks north, you can walk up, but also on Sydney Rd it’s easy to get the 19 tram which is very frequent. There’s a tram stop right outside the Vinnies, then you can just head south and get off when you see the Salvos a few streets south of Moreland. Then back on the tram for about 3 or 4 stops and your at the Brunswick Savers. Also there’s the Don Bosco op shop a few doors down as well. From there you can get on the 19 back to town, or also there’s the train line which runs parallel to Sydney Rd (Jewel Station is a couple of streets south of Savers).

Leaving New Zealand

Haven’t been able to post for a few days, combination of being busy and not having internet access. Will post photos and fill in all the gaps when I get back to Adelaide (after a few days on the NSW central coast). Right now I’m at Auckland airport waiting for my flight to Sydney.


My efforts at travel blogging are being slightly hampered by troubles with getting photos onto this blog. Since I’d forgotten to charge my camera battery I don’t have any photos from Punakaiki so I may as well just write about it then anyway. I’d link to some pictures someone else took but a strange feature of this computer is that it won’t allow multiple windows open (and I’m stuck using silly Internet Explorer rather than Firefox) so I’d have to log out of WordPress to find a link and then log back in …. so I’ll leave it to you to type Punakaiki (or you could try “pancake rocks”) into your favourite search engine.

Punakaiki is up the West Coast of the South Island, about 50km north of Greymouth. It is famous for the rather strange geological structure known as the pancake rocks. Along the coastal cliffs the eroded rocks reveal a layering structure that does indeed look like pancakes. There is also a blowhole, and all of the usual spectacular sights you get on limestone coasts, though for me the effect was enhanced by the unfamiliar plant life as well.

I stopped off there on the Intercity bus between Greymouth & Nelson. This is a regular bus rather than a tour, but it stops long enough for a 30min walk to see the pancake rocks, which was a pleasant surprise, I had no idea about it beforehand. I’d expected that the scenic part of the journey would be the train to Greymouth, but Punakaiki, plus the coastal road from Greymouth and Westport, and the mountains and gorges from Wesport to Murchison rivalled the sights on the train journey.

Arthur’s Pass and the West Coast

Very quick post (have to get back on bus shortly) – went across the mountains from Christchurch to Greymouth via Arthur’s Pass on the Tranz-Scenic train. Fantastic views, highly recommended to anyone who visits Christchurch. After that I’ve been heading along the west coast on the way to Nelson, I didn’t know what to expect from this and it has been a great surprise. The winding road hugging the coastline and then up a river gorge has been spectacular.

The Bats’ Release

That is to say there is a new release from New Zealand band The Bats which they launched last night at Al’s bar in Christchurch. More importantly, I was there. Yes, I’m in New Zealand and just attended my first ever gig outside Australia. It was fantastic to come over here and see one of the classic Flying Nun bands. I’d been pretty busy and, believe it or not, had not been thinking that much about music until early yesterday evening when I was at a conference dinner and the President of the New Zealand Maths Society got up to present some prizes and mentioned that he’d seen The Clean in the same room 26 years ago. At this I started to get pretty excited at the prospect of seeing The Bats (whose main songwriter was also a member of The Clean at times), and they didn’t dissapoint. Lots of classic guitar pop, including North By North, the intro of which was heard frequently on the ABC this year in promos for The Hollowmen. The new stuff sounded great as well, though I won’t be able to listen to the cd until I get access to a cd player.

Today is my last day in Christchurch, tomorrow I’ll be heading over the mountains on the Tranzalpine train, should be pretty spectacular (especially if the weather clears up a bit), and then on to (supposedly) sunny Nelson in a long day of travel (though not so long compared with the Adelaide-Toowoomba leg!). In Christchurch I’ve mostly been on the campus of the University of Canterbury, which is very nice. I have done a bit of sightseeing around town, in particular this afternoon I visited the Museum which was excellent. I also went up north to the Waipara Valley for some wine tasting.
Missing from my blogging is Brisbane, not that I didn’t enjoy it there, it’s just that I didn’t have email access (there must be an internet cafe somewhere but I didn’t find it). I’ll save writing about Brisbane now until I can get my photos up. Short version – more bats and lizards (or water dragons to be a bit more precise).

Release the Bats!

On arrival at the Japanese garden at the USQ campus in Toowoomba there were a huge number of bats flying overhead (I suspect the schoolkids nearby might have had something to do with it.) The photos below don’t really capture it properly, I’ve never seen so many bats at night, and this was in broad daylight.


In Toowoomba I’m staying with my friends Taka & Megan. Next year Taka will start a job in Dalby so we went over there today to check it out and saw some of the local wildlife along the banks of Myall Creek (I’ve noticed that most of the things they call “creek” around here are bigger than what we call a river in SA, but then again, they did have a lot of rain recently).

Thanks to Taka for the photos.


I’m on the road, first stop Toowoomba (unless you count brief stops at Blanchetown, Renmark, Mildura, Balranald, Neranderra, Parkes, Narrabri and Goondiwindi along the way). My second visit to Queensland, but given that the first was about 25 years ago I don’t remember it so well. Plenty more travelling to go in the next few weeks, I’ll post about it when I can.