The best thing about living in Melbourne is its’ diverse multiculturalism. Melbourne is also known to be the fashion capital of Australia (Sydney tries to lay claim). People flock from all over to the famous Bridge Road in Richmond (on the outskirts of the city centre), which is a major shopping strip as well with its’ heritage pubs, cafes with trendy hipster fashionistas who frequent it.
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My favourite places for buying craft supplies are Spotlight, which is the major retail craft outlet here for fabric, beads, and furnishings. It’s open 7 days with late night shopping on Thursday and Friday. Eureka Beads In Pakenham (56km south east of Melbourne), for gemstone beads, Swarovski crystals, Austrian glass beads, sterling silver links, wire and findings. I also buy my gemstones and crystals from Crystal World, Olive Road, Devon Meadons. It feels like you’re in a magikal wonderful; the sides of the driveway covered with crystals of all shapes and sizes. I also buy a lot of things from op~shops (charity) and online.
There are so many places here to go for inspiration. We have the beautiful Arts Centre with it’s 168 metre high imitation Eifel tower. The heritage listed 243km stretch of road that is The Great Ocean Road, along the south-eastern coast. It runs between the famous (Jan Juc, Bells Beach) surf town of Torquay to Allansford. This road is well known for it’s many natural limestone and sandstone rock formations; Loch and Gorge, The Grotto, London Arch and The Twelve Apostles (of which there about 7 still standing).
?I live about an hour from Melbourne in the beautiful rolling hills and rainforest of the Dandenong Ranges (known as the Dandenongs). We have the Mount Dandenong Lookout which is the highest point of the mountains at 633m. On a clear day you can see the city towers. Sitting on the side of the hill, along the Mt Dandenong Tourist Road is William Rickets Sactuary. A beautiful, peaceful, tranquil space for gathering your thoughts and focusing within. William Rickets spent many years living with the Aboriginals in central Australia, and his sculptures which are a testament to the respect and love he had for them.
Eat & Drink
Some of my favourite places to eat would be Leo’s Spaghetti Bar, Fitzroy Street, St Kilda. It’s been there since I was a child. Famous for it’s spaghetti and lasagne and gelato bar. Our local eatery is La Collina in Belgrave (you can tell I love Italian) and closer to home Monroes café in Belgrave South.
I love to go down to our local parks to finish small drawings or sketches of my latest inspirations.
Cardinia Dam wall and Lysterfield Lake, Lysterfield are great places to sit and draw and think get ideas.
Although I don’t belong to any craft clubs or groups, every suburb has a community house where they have groups for most of your intersts, learning new skills; whether it be a computer course or knitting course. Community houses are also a great place to meet people who share your interests etc. Burrinja Cultural Centre (Dandenong Ranges Community Cultural Centre Inc) in Upwey holds workshops where local artists can run classes or groups in their chosen speciality.
Great places to sell your crafts are the weekly markets at The Esplanade in St Kilda. Set in iconic St. Kilda Beach, there are over 120 unique stalls of featuring the work from hand crafted artisans show casing their wares; wood products, jewellery, art, clothing etc.
Other craft markets are part of the Craft Markets Australia Group. The ‘grande dame’ of the markets is the Red Hill Community Market, held on the 1st Saturday of every month. Arthurs Seat Road, Red Hill is located in the hinterland of the Mornington Peninsula, about an hours drive south of Melbourne. Yarra Glen Race Course Market is held on the 1st Sunday of every month from October to June, in the beautiful Yarra Valley. Everything sold has to be fresh, home~made and of excellent quality. The Yarra Glen is 40km north~east of Melbourne. Entry is via Armstong Grove. The other markets are the Mornington Racecourse Market, on the Mornington Peninsula south east of Melbourne; Flemington Markets, Epsom Road, Flemington; Hanging Rock Markets, South Rock Road, Woodend (Hanging Rock is famous for the 1970s movie ‘Picnic at Hanging Rock’); Portsea Markets and Lardner Park.
See Something Special
The best places for photos are along the Great Ocean Road, 243km road that runs between Torquay and Allansford along the south~east coast of Victoria; the Melbourne Eye in Docklands (if it’s up and running), Eureka Skydeck; Eureka Towers which is the tallest building in Melbourne. There is a glass cube called ‘The Edge’ which extends from the building and hangs over the edge of the tower. Apparently breath~taking but as I am afraid of heights have never ventured up there.
Take Home A Souvenir
The South Melbourne Markets are famous for the dim sims and a definite must have on your to do list. Maybe not a souvenir you can take with you but a great memorable souvenir. I think that a visitor from overseas would have to visit Koorie Connections Altair at the Victoria Markets, 145 Victoria Street, Melbourne, for all indigenous arts and crafts; artwork, pottery, books, clothings and digeridoos.
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