Melbourne Memories: Joaquin’s Australian Open Holiday*

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School has just started that time but we brought Joaquin to Melbourne for him to see a tennis Grand Slam. Joaquin himself plays competitive tennis and we thought this could be a great experience and motivation. Initially we were thinking of Australian Open (AO) 2021. Now looking back, it seemed wise that we made that impromptu decision to push through with AO2020… I know that this is a long overdue post (what’s new?!). I’ll do it anyway to complete our travel journal, plus it was our last trip right before Covid. 🙂

So, it was just going to be me and Joaquin first. My hubby was going to follow a few days later and our older boy had to stay back (busy 12th grader). Joaquin and I took the red-eye flight from Singapore to Melbourne, and while he slept like a baby during the 8-hour flight, I unwisely spent the entire night binge-watching an old TV series.

The Melbourne Airport was packed that morning, no one in masks yet. Joaquin, with his big Babolat tennis bag, was too excited he was always walking ahead of me.

Right after our hotel check-in, as I was contemplating on shutting my eyes a wee bit, my 10- year-old mercilessly dragged me to the SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium. As you could see in the photo, he was leading the way – planning our tram ride and all.

The trams looked brand new and stops right in front of our accommodation.

The aquarium was just a few stops from our hotel. It was right at the corner of King and Flinders streets and was within the Free Tram Zone. There was a tram station opposite the aquarium, so getting there was easy (although I was dragging my feet, eyes just half-opened and very much in a zombie-like state!).

The Melbourne aquarium was not exceptionally big (smaller than Sydney Aquarium if I remember it right) but Joaquin thoroughly enjoyed his time here, especially at the crocodile lair and at the interactive exhibits. They have the usual tanks of beautiful and exotic fishes, jelly fish and other marine animals, plus penguins too. We spent just an hour and a half in the aquarium but I’m sure Joaquin would not complain had we extended for a bit more, so maybe plan for 2 hours if you’d go there in the future.

We had to visit the crocodiles twice.

The following morning, our day 2 in Melbourne, Joaquin and I woke up to what seemed like a dusty, orangey day. At first we didn’t know what to make of it, we thought the hotel poolside was just dirty, but then the streets and rooftops were covered in fine orange dust as well. We were told that the haze from the bushfires in some parts of Australia and the rain the night before were the culprit. (I recall that days before our trip, there was a risk that AO2020 would get cancelled because of the intense and devastating bushfires, which sadly costed the lives of many.)

See the fine orange dust on the tiles?

Anyway, Joaquin spent the day at a tennis camp in Essendon. The camp didn’t turn out so well though because the players were on different skill levels. I’d have to improve on my research next time to get him a better camp.

Clay, nice!

So, we were back at the city centre around 5pm. It was a chilly summer evening (15 degrees was chilly for us who came from a tropical country) but Joaquin was begging to swim. Thank goodness the pool at the hotel was heated! (I shall share more about our accommodation later.)

Re-energised after a short swim, Joaquin asked for “a good steak, please, Mum,” and I knew exactly where to bring him. Our hotel was at Docklands area, and according to my research, the nearest good steak was at Steakhouse Grill 66 at NewQuay Promenade.

NewQuay Promenade is by the Yarra River and was just behind our hotel. We strolled in the uncrowded boardwalk, and watched the landing seagulls and the docking boats. Restaurants and bars lined the promenade but it was a quiet and chill place. There were a few families there, walking, catching the breeze and sunset.

We noticed that the river looked muddy that evening, with visible orange particles. Most likely it had same story as as dusty streets and rooftops because of the bushfires.

Joaquin said this was meant to be an artistic shot, but he almost left me out of the frame hahah 🙂

Shortly, we reached the steakhouse!

“Mum look, ‘Melbourne’s Best Steakhouse’ this is it!”

While waiting for the food, Joaquin entertained himself with my camera, and conveniently, yours truly was his subject. 🙂

It has only been two days with this kid in Melbourne, and already, I was having the happiest time. The days that followed were spent at the Australian Open. I’ll get to that next! — xoxo–

How could I not have a great time with this son of mine, just look at his cheeky smile. 🙂

*The title was kindly supplied by Joaquin. He said the blog was about him so he must at least have a say on the title, hahah!

Blogs on our earlier trips to Melbourne:

Australian Open and St Kilda 2012

Great Ocean Road Road Trip 2012

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