A woman in fishnet tights eating a banana while twirling a hula-hoop around her neck is just not something you see every day. Thank you Melbourne for a unique experience.
But that was later. We spent this morning riding hired bikes up the Yarra river. There’s a lovely shared path that runs for kilometres upstream through trees and beside a calm river filled with women rowing smoothly along on skulls while men with loudhailers shout at them from bikes. It was strange to note that the women did the rowing and the men on bikes the shouting.
Anyway, riding along a river is an especial joy. There’s always so much to see and, much like converted steam railways tracks, rivers don’t do hills so it’s broadly a flat ride. The bike track along the Yarra is not entirely pretty, running close to a road and lots of motorway bridges but it is pleasant enough. They’ve done a good job with what they’ve got too, with pontoons providing a way past the worst bits of road and climbing walls built into bridge undersides.
In the middle of the day we had booked a show at the comedy festival. While not uproariously funny it provided more than a few laughs and an image that will stay with us for a long time – the banana-eating while hula-hooping thing.
Then we proceeded to tick another box by riding on a Melbourne tram in the rain.
Finally as the sun set we made our way down to a wharf on the river for a night kayaking tour. What an amazing way to view Melbourne. We set out and kayaked around the port past enormous luxury yachts as the sun set. We all laughed as we paddled underneath a huge catamaran cruiser – the Melbourne version of paddling into a cave.
We had fish and chips on our kayaks which was just delightful and then, in the dark, paddled up the river. The lights of the city cast rainbow reflections on the slight ripples marring he otherwise calm waters. We slid past couples walking on the banks, cruised under bridges and waved at people sitting in crowded bars. Finally, we stopped and bobbed gently on the waters as the casino put on its fire show. I really can’t think of a better way to see the city.