Moomba magic in Melbourne…

Moomba magic in Melbourne…

One of Melbourne’s most famous institutions is the annual Moomba Festival – where central Melbourne comes alive with fairgrounds, parades, fireworks, music and sports along the banks of the Yarra River. We were determined not to miss out on a minute of the action whilst we were in the city, but first we had another reason to party – a birthday!

It was Sarah’s birthday (Richard’s sis) a couple of days before Moomba so we all went out to play ‘barefoot bowls’, aka Lawn Bowls. Despite what you may think, this isn’t just a game for the silver generation but can actually be quite fun, especially with a few beers inside you! After a couple of games we headed off to a vodka bar followed by a nightcap or two at home, where we all tried our hands at some left-handed writing. Sarah was definitely the best at this – Rich kind of didn’t count as he is left handed already – but his right-handed writing was pretty good too!

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So onto our weekend at the Moomba Festival…

The Melbourne weather had been behaving itself that week so we were looking forward getting a bit of a suntan as we enjoyed the festivities. We took the train into the CBD and walked round to Birrarung Marr where a huge funfair was taking place. Before we headed into the fair however, we stopped to admire the impressive Melbourne cityscape in the background.

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Along with all the fairground rides you could imagine, candyfloss, ice cream stalls and other entertainment, the banks of the Yarra also played host to the Birdman Rally and ‘Moomba Masters’ waterskiing event.

If you’ve never heard of the Birdman Rally before, it’s basically a competition where members of the public build home-made gliders, hang gliders and other forms of human powered aircraft and then leap off a river jetty to see who can ‘fly’ the furthest! Some of the DIY designs were fairly impressive, but others simply consisted of a man in costume, holding home-made wings!

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One of the star attractions of the festival is Moomba Masters – a waterskiing competition which attracts some of the world’s best skiers, all vying against each other for a Masters title. We watched them perform all sorts of stunts and races including the Slalom, Trick, Jump, Wakeboard and Barefoot. The speed that the skiers flew past us was really quite amazing – but also made it very difficult to snap an action shot!

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About halfway through the day the infamous Melbourne weather decided to get up to its old tricks and with a sudden gust of wind, blew away the hot sun and replaced it with clouds, rain and freezing temperatures! We couldn’t believe it – one minute we were worrying that we hadn’t brought our sun cream then the next, we were diving for shelter under a tree! Eventually we (like many others) decided to call it a day and headed back to the train station, vowing to return later that night if the weather improved.

To our relief it did, so we hot-footed it back to Moomba to listen to some live bands, marvel at the night-skiing, partake in a Silent Disco (very bizarre but lots of fun) and watch the spectacular firework display over the river.

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The next morning we returned to the city for the festival finale – the Moomba Carnival. Every year the carnival parade has a different theme and this year it was the “12 months of Melbourne”. As we stood and watched the procession outside Flinders Street Station with thousands of other spectators, we were treated to all sorts of colourful floats representing the different sports, arts and cultures that Melbournites enjoy all year round.

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If you’re going to be in Melbourne between the 10th – 12th of March next year, we’d highly recommend paying a visit to the Moomba Festival – we had a brilliant weekend and it’s a great way to soak up the atmosphere in this bustling, multi-cultural Aussie city!

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