The Retirees at GOMA (Gallery of Modern Art) Brisbane

Wake up and out of bed, clean my teeth, brush my hair and pull on my pants for today we are going to GOMA with the grandkids. For those who don’t know GOMA has great interactive projects for children as well as some serious Art. The kids love a visit as it engages their minds – well for a period any way. Today they have an interactive display with mirrors and artificial hair and a display on three sisters of Mornington Is. An Icelandic artist has the view that self image is important and that vanity can be a positive not a negative so she has created this experience for children. We arrive and much to my surprise there are two giant slides in the main foyer of GOMA – there is only a lower limit on age but it does not open till next week.

Still there is a lot to do. We go through the foyer and the hairy doorway into the Mirror room.

We then explored the world of Bennickt Island and the artist expression of 3 aboriginal sisters remembering their ancestral home. The big kids enjoyed it as much as the little kids.

In no time it is time for lunch and we go to the cafe in GOMA beside the river and observe the superb location of the building, some of its crazy art and the brazen water dragons feeding on hand outs from cafe patrons.

The Retirees go to Melbourne – Kinky Boots

Whilst in the UK we heard or saw the story of a 3rd generation family owned boot company which was struggling and at risk of going under. So, when Kerry saw that “Kinky Boots” was coming to Melbourne we were keen to go and see the musical. Secondly the music for the story was written by Cyndi Lauper – one of Kerry’s favourite singers.

We flew down on the Thursday morning with the view of having the weekend in Melbourne to finally catch up with pseudo son Damian, Barbara and their daughter Chloe and Kerry’s niece Aimee and her partner Joel. Thursday night we went to the show at the Her Majestys Theatre in Exhibition St. The performance was great. Kerry was disappointed with the seats but that might be the result of allowing an agency to do the booking for you – lesson for next time.

We had no plans for Friday. Melbourne has a tourist circuit bus which gives you a hop on hop off facility for two days for the grand price of $10 per person. Stop 4 is in Exhibition St where we were staying at the Mantra Apartment Hotel. So, we travelled on the bus getting off at Victoria Markets to browse through the extensive offering of everything. We reboarded the bus and travelled down to Docklands for a bit of shopping and to see the changes.

Docklands has some unusual street art which is all very different. Like the squatting red figures and the “termite mounds”. You also have some dramatic views of the Melbourne CBD skyline. We walked through Docklands to the Old Woolshed Pub for a bite of lunch. Great use of former warehouses but later in the day we saw on the news that just after we left the pub and caught the bus again the Woolshed Pub was destroyed by fire. Just a coincidence! Anyway, our journey ended at the base of the Eureka Tower to visit the viewing platform on the 88 floor and Kerry saw this;

The Trike journey started in the office and then for 2 to 3 hours we travelled around Albert Park (the track, the swans and their signets, and the skyline) following the F1 track and then down to St Kilda, Brighton Beach (for an ice cream and view the beach huts and the Melbourne skyline) and Black Rock (the Melbourne skyline). Kerry loved the acceleration as Clive our driver and guide manoeuvred through Friday evening Melbourne traffic. With the ride finished we returned to our apartment to plan our Saturday.

The morning started with a visit to some of Melbourne’s famous lanes and then lunch with Damian and Chloe at a new hotel in Collingwood. Chloe very quickly lost her shyness and interacted with us as old friends. Later Damian (who owns and runs a music agency) informed Kerry that he could get tickets for us to see Goldie Hawn on Monday evening and before I knew it the deal was done (mucking up some engagements I had arranged for Tuesday but…). That evening we visited Melbourne’s Comic Lounge in Errol St North Melbourne. Dinner and show for $55 per head was good value and the show was great. Five acts with each comedian bringing a different flavour to the evening.

Sunday and we met Aimee and Joel and travelled to the Bellarine Peninsula outside of Geelong – new territory for us. It took about an hour which gave us plenty of time to catch up. As we drove towards Basil’s Farm we saw the signs to Scotchmans Hill. No question – we had to go to the cellar door.

After tasting for an hour and purchasing some for Ron (later on), we moved on to Basil’s Farm for lunch. The menu included many of the fruits and vegetables grown on the farm. The bouillabaisse included Tasmanian seafood and the cheese platter that followed was all local product. We could not miss the cellar door and spent 40 to 50 minutes there taking some samples for later. Lovely way to spend a Sunday.

Monday morning, we returned to the lanes of Melbourne. As we had to check out of the hotel, visit Suzie and move to Aimee’s place we returned to the hotel checked out and then took a cab to Middle Park. Suzie, an old friend was babysitting for her daughter and had noticed we were in Melbourne from Facebook postings. Morning tea and lunch with Suzie and both her daughters who turned up for various reasons and we arranged travelling to Aimee’s place.

Tuesday we caught the tram back to the city ending up at the National Gallery of Victoria. Located in Federation Square, the gallery displays some of the most important pieces of Australian early art – artists like Roberts, Conder McCubbin and Boyd. We spent a few hours here only able to see the early Australian collection and the collection of some of the donors to the gallery. Hours more too see. We returned to our temporary home to prepare for the show at the Regent Theatre. Damian surprised us at the theatre and we went to dinner before viewing Peter Hellier and Goldie Hawn having a chat on a couch for an hour or so. It was interesting but we had seen Billy Crystal in the same format in Brissie and I preferred that.

So, that ended our Melbourne trip. The next morning, we returned to Brisbane. Our next tour will be to Auckland in a few weeks.