Patricia Newell-Dunkley – Photographs Reginald J. Dunkley.


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Shelly Beach moonlight

Greetings from down-under where for the seventh year running Melbourne has been named the most liveable city to dwell in by “The Economist”. It was judged from 140 cities on stability, healthcare, culture, and environment, education and infrastructure.

Melbourne received an overall score of 97.5 with perfect scores in healthcare, education, and infrastructure, Vienna, The Austrian capital, came a close second. Six of this year’s top ten most liveable cities are found in Australia or Canada. Famed for its trendy cafes, bars and laneways, Melbourne leads the way, with Vancouver, Toronto, Calgary, Adelaide, Perth, Auckland following.

Melbourne was once the capital city of Australia for twenty six years between 1901 and 1927, this was before Canberra became the capital. It is now home to the highest Italian and Greek population outside of their own countries. Its historic urban environment is full of life, with beautiful arcades, one-off Boutiques, eclectic laneways and Graffiti Art. The Melbourne Museum, the World Heritage-listed Royal Exhibition Building, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, St. Paul’s Cathedral, the famous Flinders Street Station, and discover Art Deco with the beautiful Manchester Unity Building.

You can shop at Designer Boutiques and cool local labels, where you will discover high end fashion on Little Collins Street, and Flinders Lane. There is also vintage shopping on Chapel Street and statement pieces on High Street, Armadale.

Tuggerah Lake surfer

Melbourne is known to be sports crazy with the Australian Football League in winter and International Cricket in summer. The Spring Racing Carnival and the prestigious Melbourne Cup, Formula 1 Australia Grand Prix and International Soccer stars at Hisense Arena.

With a 90 minutes drive east you can taste world-class wines, artisan cheeses and handmade chocolate in the Yarra Valley. Have your photo taken with a Koala at Healesville Sanctuary or head into the nearby Dandenong Ranges for cute villages and towering forests. For more wines and surf beaches, drive 90 minutes south-east to the magnificent Mornington Peninsular.

Melbourne Parks and Gardens are famous, with the Royal Botanical Gardens and Kings Domain, The Melbourne Zoo and Fitzroy Gardens where you will find Captain Cook’s Cottage.

Built in 1755 Cook’s Cottage is the oldest building in Australia and a popular tourist attraction. Originally located in Yorkshire, England, and built by the parents of Captain James Cook, The Cottage was brought to Melbourne by Sir Russell Grimwade in 1934. Astonishingly, each brick was individually numbered, packed into barrels and then shipped to Australia.

Norah Head lighthouse

Combining modern interpretations of Captain Cook’s adventures, centuries-old antiques, a delightful Cottage Garden and volunteers dressed in 18th Century costumes Cook’s Cottage is a fascinating step back in time.

A short distance from Melbourne you will find the rolling hills, orchards, olive groves, historic mansions and more that 200 vineyards of Victoria’s Mornington Peninsular.

This is a food lover’s region where you can buy organic vegetables from roadside stalls or pick your own strawberries, berries and cherries from orchards. Wander amongst olive groves with ocean views or picnic in one of the many public and private gardens. There are century-old rose gardens, sculpted hedge mazes and heritage homes to enjoy. After your food and wine journey relax in a day spa or play a round of golf on one of Australia’s top Golf Courses.

The Mornington Peninsular is also a favourite beach vacation destination for Victorians. Visit the town of Mornington, where yachts bob in the harbour. Swim at safe beaches of Mount Martha, Safety Beach and Dromana; or see the wild surf at Portsea, Sorrento, Rye, Point Leo and Gunnamatta.

While in Victoria do visit Phillip Island which is 90 minutes from Melbourne, and 20 minutes from the bridge to get to the Penguin Parade at Summerland’s. See the world’s smallest penguin in its natural habitat and from viewing stands and boardwalks.

This experience is sure to be the highlight of your visit. As the sun fades in the sky, little Penguins waddle up the beach to the safety of their homes in the sand dunes. Witness this magical procession – it is a treat never to be forgotten.

Melbourne has much to offer and little wonder it is listed as the most liveable city to dwell in. Take a visit and enjoy.

Meanwhile here at Shelly Beach which is one of the Central Coast’s most popular surfing beaches close to The Entrance, Long Jetty and Bateau Bay, all is gearing up for a hot summer. The birds are flocking to the garden and Princess Pixie the Pomeranian is having a wonderful time enjoying the cool weather. I am busy painting for an exhibition in our local shopping area, which our Art Society puts on every year. You can see some paintings on my Facebook.   Enjoy!

Cheers.  Patricia.