Saturday, January 14, 2012

Anyone know anything about Australia or New Zealand?

G’day, mate. For all you Australia & New Zealand readers, I’ll be heading your way later this week. I’m speaking on a cruise ship that goes from Sydney to Auckland. I’m very excited. Never been to that part of the world before. The Outback Steakhouse doesn’t count.

So today as I gear up for reviewing tomorrow night’s Golden Globes (making snarky comments about everything as a warm-up exercise), I thought I’d reach out to you guys for sightseeing and eats recommendations.

I’ll be spending three days in Sydney, two in Melbourne then it’s off to Hobart, Tasmania before cruising on to New Zealand.

Then it’s on to places I’ve heard of but know little about. Timaru, Akaroa, Wellington, Tauranga, and on Feb.7th I have a whole day in Auckland after the ship dumps us all off.

I’m not a climb to the peak of a 10,000-foot mountain kind of guy. Nor am I a visit ancient churches and graveyards sort of fun devil. And if there’s a Universal Studios Citywalk or Legoland in Akaroa, not interested in seeing those either. I’m big on people watching, eating, drinking, bargains, and discovering odd attractions.

I also get lost easily.

Any thoughts, suggestions, warnings would be appreciated. I’ve always depended on the kindness of strangers. As they say in Australia: Thank you.


sephim said...

If you like having the shit scared out of you while you eat, this place is quite good.

Even with my problem with heights, I wouldn't mind going there again. Maybe I'll not sit in the window seats next time...

Muzza said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Muzza said...

Hey Ken, well you're hitting Melbourne right at the same time we're hosting the Australian Open (tennis). So you can catch up with Andy Roddick if you guys normally hang out.

Otherwise, Melbourne is the arts and cultural capital of Oz. Sure, Sydney may look nicer on postcards, but try living there!

If you get the time, I'm sure Rene (the other Aussie from the LA workshop) and I could show you a great coffee shop. We also do great coffee here.

Welcome, and enjoy!


Steve Murray - class of 2011

@scriptwreck said...

Ken, it's not a place, but if you haven't seen it before may I suggest you check out a game of cricket (It's that sport you hear about every now and again in a Sorkin show). To an American I suspect the game will certainly come off a bit of an oddity.

David said...

I spent about 4 months in Wellington, and got to see a good bit of the South Island as well.

NZ is a great country that I would go back to in a heartbeat. In Wellington, the Te Papa museum is fantastic. Plus it's free, and right on the harbor where your boat will come in.

The Malaysian food in NZ is really good. Also, the meat pies are kinda fun if you're looking for a snack. They sell them with things like Indian food inside. If you're feeling adventurous try some paua (it's just abalone, though).

Since the weather will be nice (it's their summer) you may want to wander around the botanical gardens; it's right by the harbor area as well. You can take this goofy old cable car up to the top of the mountain and stroll back down through the gardens.

I didn't make it up north in the Aukland region, so I can't help you there.

Have fun!

Tania said...

My heart skipped a beat! I thought you might be running a workshop or something... but sadly, no?

My recommendation in Melbourne and New Zealand is to eat eat eat. Both places do great food and wine. In Melbourne I'd head to either the suburb of Fitzroy (funky bohemian) or St Kilda (beach side - once an artists/multi-cultural area, now gentrified but it's still nice to wonder around) or even the city is ok as long as you look for places off the beaten track (lanes off lanes etc)

Yes - we do great coffee here.

Next time you head our way, please run a workshop!!!!

Tania said...

Ooh! Just noticed you're heading to Tasmania (Tassie). I highly recommend the MONA museum of old and new art focusing on sex and death. All funded by someone who made his fortune gambling. The building itself is worth the visit and go there by boat (unless you're all boated out).

Keith said...

Kangaroos in Australia have three vaginas. At least, the female ones do. Not sure about the humans.

Mark said...

Sydney may be the prettiest city in the world, and Melbourne and Auckland are close. Don't miss the harbor area, The Rocks and the Domain (large park) in downtown Sydney--great for walking and people-watching. Take the bus over to Bondi beach (actually, the circular bus tour of Sydney is surprisingly good as an overview). The Powerhouse Museum has some interesting technology and science artifacts, including what's alleged to be the first power lawnmower!

Melbourne's many shopping arcades are amazing variations on shopping malls. Ride the Melbourne streetcars for some good people-watching. Not only cricket--you should try to catch some Australian Rules Football. And don't forget to watch some Australian TV, which like everything else down there, is a slightly weird evolutionary cul de sac.

LouOCNY said...

It is also baseball season down there, too!

They had their All Star Game on MLB the other week....small intimate parks!

wv: 'clowel' - what a circus performer uses to wipe their makeup off with

VP81955 said...

You know, Ken, if you had written for "Xena," Lucy Lawless could have told you everything you needed to know about New Zealand, since that's of course where she's from. (Has Lucy ever guested or tried out for a role on a series you've been with? Lawless doesn't get enough credit for her comedic ability.)

Oh, and don't forget to pick up some Australian Baseball League souvenirs, aka a Perth Heat hat. (Why MLB has never tried a season-opening series in late March in Sydney or Melbourne, where it would be the equivalent of our late September, is beyond me.)

wv: "vyinse" -- what El Brendel (or some other comic with an exaggerated Swedish accent) decries regarding today's movies.

DJ said...

Not only cricket--you should try to catch some Australian Rules Football.

That might be difficult. Footy is played in the Australian fall and winter, so you'll miss the season.

Dave said...

If you have time for a day trip out of Sydney, my wife and I took this tour of the blue mountains 3 years ago while visiting and loved it:

Tom Galloway said...

Realize you wrote you don't want to climb a mountain, but a unique to Sydney attraction is the chance to climb the Harbor Bridge. Hourly or so departures, safe to do, and several different types of climbs.

Definitely hit at least one of the Sydney or Melbourne zoos. The Sydney one can be reached by ferry, which is a nice trip across the harbor itself.

Paul Duca said...

1. Don't panic when the water goes down the drain clockwise

2. Don't watch the 9 network--a native verified what Jordan says in "Moderately Rock & Roll"'s the trashy TV channel.

Eric J said...

Someone recommended watching a cricket match. Ken, there is only one sport duller and more likely to cause a seizure than baseball...oh, uhh, sorry. You do something with baseball, right?

Tom Reeder said...

The suggestion to visit the Taronga Zoo in Sydney is a good one; you reach it (as mentioned) by public ferry boat. Even if you don't go to the zoo, pick some arbitrary destination just for a ride on a ferry -- Sydney's harbor offers spectacular views.

By the way, here's a tip to help you sound like a local: "Harbor Bridge" is pronounced "Habba Breej".

DyHrdMET said...

there's a major tennis tournament in Melbourne this week and next

Anonymous said...

I've been to Sydney and Auckland. In Sydney, get a ferry pass and take the ferries to Manly and Darling Harbour. Walk across Harbor Bridge--you can check out "The Rocks" historical area if you care for that. Go to the Botanical Gardens and see the big fruit bats. Visit Bondi Beach and see the surfers--you can walk to Tamarama, Clovelly, and Coogee Beaches if you want. It's kind of interesting to see the swimming pools built right into the ocean. The Opera House is cool to see up close--the roof has tiles, it's not smooth. You can take a tour to see inside, but the outside is more impressive to me. Take a day trip to the Blue Mountains--get one where you get to see the roos. Featherdale is a nice wildlife park--little bit of a trek to get there by train. In Auckland, take a tour with Bush and Beach tours--see the rain forest, the black sand beach (where The Piano was filmed),learn lots of stuff. I had a great time in both places.


Hey Ken, I grew up in Auckland but now live in Scotland. Was back home in June last year. For the best fish and chips you'll ever eat, go to John Dory's Takeaways on the Jervois Road in Ponsonby.

If you don't have time for that, just walk up Queen Street - it's the Auckland equivalent of Main Street - and hang a left up a little pedestrianised sidestreet called Vulcan Lane.

Two ways to see the city quickly - either go up the Sky Tower [a shorter version of Seattle's Space Needle] or, better still, get a taxi up to the top of a volanic peak. Auckland's dotted with them [all dormant, so no worries]. I like One Tree Hill best, but that's because it used to be outside my window.

If you like coffee, in NZ make sure you always order a flat white.

Whoever recommended Te Papa Museum in Wellington - good call.

Gareth Wilson said...

I've been to both Timaru and Akaroa a few times. I can't think of anything specific to recommend, but I think you'll enjoy both. If you have access to a car in Akaroa you might want to explore the rest of Banks Pennisula. The scenery is spectacular, and not really like anything in the US. Be advised that tipping is not a New Zealand custom - service is included in the prices. If it's a public holiday, there might be a 10% surcharge because of the labour costs.

Kirk Jackson said...

Hi Ken,

Sounds like a nice cruise. I hope we turn on nice weather for you while you're in Wellington - we have a reputation for wind :)

I second the recommendations for Te Papa and the Cable Car. Ride the Cable Car to the top, and enjoy the view over the city.

If you like planetarium's and space stuff, there's the Carter Observatory nearby which has a nice exhibit space, as well as the chance to look into the southern sky on Tuesday and Saturday evening.

I know you said you're not interested in Hollywood experiences, but most people around Wellington are proud that the Lord of the Rings trilogy, King Kong and upcoming Hobbit films are all made by Weta in Wellington (and the sfx for Tintin. Awesome!). They have a showroom you can visit:

I hope you enjoy your trip!


Paul said...

I agree that, given your baseball fandom, you'd be remiss not to see some cricket. Unfortunately, it looks like your timing is bad for either international cricket (India are visiting Australia at the moment, but will be in Adelaide while you're here) or our own domestic competition (I'm assuming you'll have left Hobart by 4th February, which is when Tasmania take on NSW down there). So that might not work.

In terms of Melbourne and Sydney - I currently live in the latter, but grew up in the former. The only problem is, I'm terrible at tourism suggestions. The traditional suggestion in Melbourne is to drive the coastline of the Great Ocean Road, but you're not there for very long and you don't sound like a coast-driving person. You say you like quirky: what about the Wunderkammer (, an old-fashioned 'chamber of curiosities' full of taxidermy, old surgical instruments, scientific curiosities, etc?

In Sydney, you can do worse than the traditional things: climb the bridge. Visit the operao house. Watch people in the Rocks.

If seeing Australian animals is your thing (not sure it is), both cities have excellent zoos which are worth checking out.

Both Melbourne and Sydney have excellent places to eat - what do you like? Asian, Mediterranean, and Seafood are probably the main things to watch for. Happy to give recommendations if you can tell us what you like.

Finally - as someone who is a huge fan of your work and has been reading this blog for years, if you have a free minute and you're bored while in Sydney I would LOVE to buy you a beer or three. If you have some time to kill and want a local to show you some quality drinking establishments, please email me - cow at google dot com. Hell, if you want a tour of the Sydney Google office and lunch in our (excellent!) restaurant then just let me know too!

Enjoy our awesome country!

JannieMac said...

Count me in for coffee. Other than that, breakfast is the best meal of the day in Melbourne. Check out for the best of the best.

Chris said...

Friday question: do networks pressure you to make holiday episodes or do writers use that when they run out of stories?

What do you think about holiday/guess who's coming to dinner episodes?

jcs said...

If you ask very politely, maybe Russell Crowe will throw a telephone at you.

Ref said...

I was fortunate enough to spend a couple of weeks in the South Island (NZ) an few years ago, and I will always want to go back. I'm sure the North will be equally a great experience. See if you can take in a good rugby match and let us know how you'd call it!

Sam said...

If you're in Wellington on the 3rd/4th February then the Rugby Sevens will be on - look out for amazing costumes around the Wellington Stadium. Every second shop is a great cafe. If you're there on the 6th it's NZ's national holiday, Waitangi Day.

Tauranga - Food places: Monte Gelato on Marine Parade for award-winning ice cream and gelato. 508 Maunganui Road is Yumm Pancake and Ice cream shop which is fantastic.

In Akaroa go to any cafe and ask anyone about the earthquakes they've had. There will be thousands of great stories there.

Pseudonym said...

I'm glad someone got the Sydney/Melbourne rivalry thing in.

This is an over-simplification, but Sydney is generally where things are and Melbourne is generally where things happen. So in Sydney, there's lots to see and in Melbourne there's lots to do.

I'm a Melburnian, so I'll agree with what everyone else has said about the food. Melbourne has over 150 distinct ethnicities of restaurant.

Specific recommendations for Melbourne:

If you want to see Australian wildlife, the Healesville Sanctuary is one of the best places in Australia, but it's a long way from the middle of town. If you were going to do this, you'd need transport (there's probably a tourist bus or something, or you could hire a car), and you could take in some decent wineries as well. Or you could forget the wildlife and just do the wineries.

However, this would be a full day, and given you've only got two, you may not consider this to be worth it.

If you don't want to do that, you'll be going everywhere by tram. Make sure you buy a ticket first or have lots of coins, because the vending machines on trams don't take notes.

Your first stop will probably be Federation Square, not because you want to visit there (you don't sound like an art gallery kind of person), but because a) that's where the good tourist information is, b) the major train station is across the road if you need it, c) it's close to Degraves Street, and d) Young and Jackson's is just over the road. (They serve a nice lunch, and it has an odd attraction: Australia's most famous painting is in this pub. That information alone tells you a lot about the country.)

Degraves Street is useful, because to get the vibe of the city, you must visit at least one of the laneways. They are full of quirky bars and cafes, most of which are not well-signposted. This is the way Melbourne likes it.

Lygon Street which is a Little Italy-type area, but also features restaurants of other nationalities such as Thai and Nepalese. There's also some good shopping, depending on what you want.

Chapel Street in Prahran is good for a) eating, b) fashion shopping and c) people-watching hipster fashion victims. If you feel homesick for LA, this would be perfect.

Melbourne also has a Chinatown and a Greek precinct. The Greek precinct is something of a misnomer because Melbourne actually has more Greek people in it than Athens these days.

Finally, I need to plug Mrs Parma's. If you like drinking decent beer, this is the place to go. The bar is stocked entirely with Victorian microbrews.

Have fun.

Oh, one last thing... even though you're not a "climb to the peak of a 10,000-foot mountain" person, I should point out that Australia's highest mountain doesn't need to be climbed in the middle of Summer. You can just walk to the top. If you have a fragile ego which requires a sense of accomplishment with relatively little effort, it is an option.

Mike said...

Wow, you got a comment from David Bishop. One-time Tharg, editor of 2000AD, the Galaxy's Greatest Comic.

Too bad you refuse to tell us about your time as a comic strip artist.

Dr. Leo Marvin said...

Australia's the only country that ever tempted me to move from the US. Great place, great people, it's hard to go wrong, whatever you do.

The easiest way to make friends there is knock the Brits.

Frank said...

I would have highly recommended going for a stroll through my former home town of Christchurch until the earthquake ruined that option for awhile. Enjoy Akaroa and the South Island eh!

Joey H said...

Pick up Bill Bryson's "In a Sunburned Country" to read on the flight over.

Johnny Walker said...

I hope you'll write something about your experiences in both countries. I'm personally very interested in New Zealand.

Corey said...

Ken, what a bunch of hooey. I know you, what you really wanted was directions to the nude beaches!

By Ken Levine said...

They have nude beaches! Now I'm going there FOR SURE!

Thanks to everyone for your suggestions. Wish I could take you all with me.

Grubber said...

In Melbourne try Movidas, you normally have to book about 2 months in advance just to get in during the week bu I am sure with your mastery of the Hollywood system you can crack that one.

In Sydney, Sydney Tower or Centrepoint as it used to be named is worth it once for a viewing. If you want a different sort of climb, try climbing the Harbour Bridge, supposed to be spectacular. Circular Quay, the Rocks, Cockle Bay all great places to hang about. The Opera House is close to Circular Quay so it's worth seeing.

Try catching the ferries around the place, lots of fun.

In Tassie, try the wines and seafood.

If you get blown off course and end up in Madang, PNG let me know.


Grubber said...

I will second the Bill Bryson book, as you are a talented travel writer I think you may enjoy Brysons take on Australia. I know I laughed and I am Australian.

Nick said...

I grew up in New Zealand and now live in Australia so I should be an expert on both countries.... however... do you think i can think of anything? :)

Seriously if you have a chance in Melbourne then get out of the city and check out Ned Kelly country - you'll learn a lot about the Australian character and it's a cracker of a story.

Sydney - again I'll re-iterate check out the Harbour Bridge, wander around the Rocks - however the CBD is much like any other major city. If you can - check out a sporting event while you're in town because again you'll learn a lot about the country. In Melbourne try to get along to a AFL game - it'll make no sense at all but the atmosphere is great. In Sydney try to catch a Rugby or a Rugby League game and you'll see what NFL could be without all the time-outs. Seriously these a great way to understand the Australian character.

But if you can I would heartily recommend getting OUT of Sydney and Melbourne for a few hours and having a look at the REAL Australia.

In New Zealand I can't speak for Auckland because I never lived there. However I'm very pleased you're visiting Wellington and Timaru as you'll get a sense of the real New Zealand. Wellington I'll back up others posting here and suggest you take the cable car and get a sense of the city. Otherwise just have a wander... Wellington has some great character.

Lastly Akaroa - right outside Christchurch which has been (and continues to be) devistated by the most appalling run of a Earthquakes I've ever heard of in my life. There you'll get a sense of a couragious and defiant city trying to rise from the ruins.

Good luck and let us know what you think!

Breadbaker said...

I asked my friend who relocated from Pennsylvania to Melbourne and she simply said that you should avoid asking to see any woman's fanny pack.

Jason said...

The food in Melbourne is highly enviable. I live in Wellington and feel pretty confident we have the best coffee, but I'd trade it for Melbournes food pretty quickly. For your coffee in Wellington try Memphis Belle or Customs Brew Bar - not bad places to people watch.

dangermandownunder said...

Restaurant: Rockpool Cheap but awesome tourist thing: Manly Ferry (then Beach) Building: Queen Victoria Building Meat Pie: Harry's Cafe De Wheels.

Loosehead said...

That fanny pack tip looks useful. Presumably you either get your face slapped, or she takes your hand and says "come with me".

daz said...

Hobart is tiny and lovely. Definitely go to MONA. (
If you go to the zoo in Melbourne, take the Tram.
Brunswick Street in Fitzroy is about 10min from downtown by tram, and good for eating, shopping and watching.
The Australian Centre of the Moving Image (ACMI) might take your fancy as well. That's right downtown, in Federation Square. (
There's some crazy little alleyway scenes in Melbourne as well.

Cricket? Meh, but I'm not a sport guy. It's like baseball, but with two fewer bases and two innings played over 5 days. Actually, that's Test Cricket, but there's a 'new faster' version called twenty-twenty that's over in an evening. You might just catch the end of the season.

You're kind of here at an odd time for TV watching, as the entire country is on 'summer holidays' and there's no ratings being measured so everything's repeats.

What else. Excellent coffee. Really, it's probably the best in the world. Starbucks is 'that crap place for people who don't drink coffee'. Books are very, very expensive. Free wifi is can be very hard to come by, unless you're sitting in a McDonalds.
Ask a local where to get a good meat pie.
Try some pavlova for dessert.
It's mango season, ask a local how to cut and eat one.
Oysters in Tasmania. I'm not an oyster guy but the Tasmanian ones are really something else.

Good luck and have fun, although I'm cringing a bit at being skewered by your rapier travel writing wit. Oh, what common trait of ours will he expose for deserved mockery?


daz said...

Oh by the way, "fanny" means "Vagina". So watch out.


@scriptwreck said...

Ken: With all the replies from us Aussies, I think you should consider bringing your sitcom room down under sometime!

Gawain said...

Kangaroo steaks are surprisingly good. Camel, not so much. Meals are a little more expensive there, and the portions smaller (compared to North America, which means they are actually a reasonable size and will leave you full, but not over-stuffed).

CCroom said...

In Hobart, visit Salamanca Place and the waterfront area. Also drive to the top of Mt Wellington for a magnificent view.
In Sydney, get an all-day ferry pass and see everything around the harbor. Definitely go to the Greek section to eat in Melbourne. In Akaroa, try to do the harbor tour to see the Hector's dolphins. The museums and eateries around the harbor in Wellington are worth your time and try to take the tram up to the Gardens for the view. Auckland's Queen street and the harbor area are great sightseeing and the ferry around the harbor and the trip up the Skytower is also great.

donnamct said...

I've lived in Auckland for a few years, love it and am thrilled to share a few of the places I love to visit.
1. Waiheke island. A 35 minute ferry trip from Auckland city. stunning vineyards to taste locally made wine, taste food platters or have a full meal. Definitely worth a visit on a suny day if jsut for the spectacular view of Auckland from the water.
2. Further afield - a full day trip to Coromandel Town, an old goldmining town. Fresh seafood,, quirky shops (not many), great pub, good coffee. Great way to see the Hauraki Gulf and catch a glimpse of rural NZ.
3. West coast beaches. Black (iron) sand and big surf. Great for a walk and a coffee (Muriwai and Piha have cafes).
5. The viaduct/Wynyard Quarter. Easy access from downtown Auckland. Home of super yachts and fishing fleet. Cafes/restaurants/bars. Seafood market is fantastic and Taste NZ (wine experience) is really good.
6. Ponsonby Road. 10 minutes from Auckland city. Trendy shopping (NZ designers, recycle shops), cafes, bars and restaurants.
All of the above are great for people watching.
There's so much more so let me know if you'd like more info. Enjoy this great city :)

Sunshine Vitamin said...


I cannot believe that NO ONE has suggested the sports of ZORBING and / or BUNGEE JUMPING in the land that invented them, New Zealand. Clearly that is where you should head for a memorable experience.

New Zealand scenery is spectacular in every way, there was no need for special effects as the scenery is fantastic, beaches to snow-capped mountains in the same picture frame.

From Wellington, the ferry crossing over the sound to Nelson is some of the most gorgeous scenery in the world. If you do that, in Nelson check out the quirky "World of Wearable Art" or "WOW" museum: wild fashion, too hilarious to describe, wonderful unique autos, and note that they have an annual 'the bra as art' competition that is exciting on so many levels.

Jeremy Dylan said...

Any chance you'll be speaking on something that's permenantly tethered to Sydney?

I'd love to hear you talk, but actually leaving the country to do so would be awkward at the moment.

Anne said...

As we Australians believe that we are the only nation to eat our national emblems, may I suggest that while in Sydney, you try the Australian Hotel in the Rocks, and order a half Kangaroo - half Emu pizza. Enjoy snacking on our coat of arms (roo half is better).

Next to the hotel are steps to walk accross the bridge at street level, if you don't want to do the climb. Fabulous view.

Alternately, if you go downhill to Circular Key, you can catch a ferry to Watson's bay that goes past the best harbour features and you can walk to "The Gap" - Hitchcock loved it.

Jay Why said...

Lived in Melbourne from 2008 to 2010, and I miss it so much.

Melbourne is a great city to explore on foot, and the coffee scene is great if not a little scene-y. There are also many fantastic restaurants, though given that you have only two days there, I may just give the impossible-to-get-in-unless-you-have-a-reservation places a miss. It may be hard to get into Movida, for instance, but Movida Next Door is easy to get into if you don't mind dining a little earlier. People make a big deal out of Degraves and Lygon Street, but I really think there are better places for food and drink.

For food, I'd definitely recommend the following for walk-ins (go early to beat crowds): Cumulus Inc., Izakaya Den, Movida Next Door, Earl Canteen (great sandwiches) in the CBD; Hellenic Republic (there isn't a Greek restaurant quite like this in the US so far, I think) in Brunswick.

Both Queen Victoria and Prahran markets are fun places to shop for groceries and nibbles like hotdogs, doughnuts, Turkish boreks.

Coffee spots (The flat white is an antipodean classic, but it's basically a no foam latte. Or try an affogato.): Brother Bada Budan and Sensory Lab in the CBD; Market Lane coffee at Prahran market; St Ali in South Melbourne is a bit crowded and overdone these days, but it has an extensive food menu.

If you love reading, Melbourne has wonderful independent bookstores. Hill of Content, Books for Cooks, Readings Carlton, Reader's Feast and The Haunted Bookshop to name a few.

Tonnes of tourist shops along Swanston Street if you want to pick up mass-produced, made-in-China tchotchkes.

If you're confident enough to pick out clothes or accessories for your wife and daughter, look to Gorman, Sass & Bide, Karen Walker, Crumpler (laptop bags all designed around Macbooks), Meet Me At Mikes.

Hope this helps! Can't wait to read your travel report. :)

Anonymous said...

Got canned by a new Zealander a few months ago. Hope they're not all like him or your trip will suck!

Bryan Simmons

Cathy said...

For Sydney...

For eating, drinking, shopping, and people watching, there are some great streets just outside the CBD -

King St Newtown -
Darling St Balmain -

Second the suggestions for Taronga Park Zoo and also Watson's Bay/The Gap, both are best and easiest when you catch the ferry there -

Chai said...

In Melbourne, if you like steak, this is the place.

I remember hearing Donald Sutherland describing it in a radio interview and you could hear him salivating as he was describing the place.

Plus Victoria St in Richmond if you like Vietnamese food.
The pho in I Love Pho is pretty good.

And the best burger I reckon as at Barney Allens.

And I guess I could be talked into being a a tourist guide if pushed.

Ben In Melbourne said...

Hi Ken,

I was in transit when you posted this; not currently in Melbourne. But if you like your wine and have a curious palate re: liqueurs, my recommendation would be The European/Supper Club - 161 Spring Street, Paris end of town, top end of Bourke St, opposite Parliament House. At this time of year (tennis), you're never sure who you might run into, there. And no velvet ropes, I promise. Be sure to venture out onto the terrace, as well. Hope you have a great time.

Anonymous said...

One thing I'd recommend doing in Sydney: get on a plane back to Melbourne.

tripspy said...

Hi Ken!

As it's summer here...
For the love of your sanity, take an unlimited supply of mozzie (mosquito) repellent with you wherever you go. The flies and mozzies will drive you insane.

Other than that, enjoy!!

daz said...

This tourist information video may be helpful regarding Melbourne:

Paul said...

For the record, I disagree with Chai's suggestion of Vlado's. I went there on the strength of its fame, and I found it fairly mediocre. Sure, the meat was of great quality; but the service was ordinary, 2 of the 3 of us had incorrectly-cooked steaks (surely the cardinal sin of a steak place!), and the salads etc were very mediocre.

Not a patch on (say) a Smith & Wollensky (which being a chain I thought would be horrid, but was really VERY good)

Paul Duca said...

One other thing, Ken...before you leave, be sure you make a reservation for your birthday dinner-- early in the evening, as COUGAR TOWN will be returning to the ABC schedule that night.

Muzza said...

And if you don't try a coffee at the world (Melbourne) renowned 'Jaspers' on Brunswick St, then...well we can't be friends.

Tania said...

Jay Why... you know Melbourne better than I do. Next time you're here can you please take me on a tour?

Ken, I think Jay has great suggestions...

Deebee said...

In Melbourne: Pelligrini's - a small Italian Cafeteria style cafe. Get in just before 12 and sit in the Kitchen at the back for the real experience. Very few menus, so I recommend the lasagne - or go for a lighter pasta (if such a thing exists). Wash it down with a Watermelon granita and finish off with a coffee. No more than AUD$20 - 66 Bourke Street. Highly recommended.

Tom Keele said...

Ken, I'm so glad you read all the old comments as I feel like I have fallen so far behind on getting Australian information to you!

I'm from Melbourne and I agree with most of the places recommended. Last time I was at ACMI (The Australian Center of the Moving Image, in Fed Square) there was a great display from The Wizard of Oz including original props. And there are always fun new exhibits. Alsonit is worth spending an afternoon exploring the Labrador of the city, when they turn from cafes to bar (so you can be awake for the night of heavy drinking!) and if you want great Italian food head to Lygon street (Australia's home of Italian everything) and go to a little place called Tiamos - I challenge you to find better!

Also if you are planning on hitting up the Australian Open Tennis while you are in town let me know ( as I work with the media crews and may be able to give you a bit of a VIP tour!

Whatever you do, enjoy the trip - and come back soon!!

Ps. If you go near Hamilton, NZ, hit up the gardens there!

Linda said...

Auckland is a foodie paradise with all famous cuisines of the world like french, italian, mexican,Thai , vietnamese , indian, japanese , german , all types of chinese