Havey's Australia & New Zealand Adventure Part 2 - Shrine of Remembrance & Royal Botanical Gardens, Melbourne

Nicky Havey @nickyhaveyApril 2019 · 11 min read

Introduction - Where Am I?

When I woke up this morning, it was around 03:00 local time and I thought I'd check in with the EMA Founders before getting another nap in. 05:00 local time and the body is screaming for food. Toast time. 06:00 ah the @spotlight.artist show is on and they're supporting some of the EMA members so I'll drop in to say, "Hello"!

Safe to say, 30+ hours of travel combined with time zones has left my body like "what the actual donkey dung are you doing to me? I don't know where I am, what time it is, I need some help here!" Don't you worry body, I'll sort you out with that - we're in Melbourne, Australia baby and it's time to head out and see the sites!

The legendary taxi driver who dropped me at my friend's place yesterday gave me an "official visitor's map", which I looked at this morning to narrow down a few places to visit. Two took my fancy here, the Shrine of Remembrance and the Royal Botanical Gardens as they are both situated right next to each other. Let's have a lookski :)

How To Get There?

Well, the tram network and "myki" (pay as you go travel card for public transport in Melbourne) were things I just winged my way through this morning. I went on a bit of a wild goose chase to try and find a shop that could tell me what was going on but it seems their website isn't up to date with outlets that deal with myki related things. D'oh!

However, their website IS good for planning routes once you have topped up your card and that really helped me out! You can plan your route here. You can either type in the location "Shrine of Remembrance" to the website or if you've "got game", you have a plethora of trams that will take you there - look for "Stop 19" on tram routes 3, 3a, 5, 6, 16, 64, 67 or 72. From Preston, I boarded the the route 86 tram and joined the 3a from there.

There is also a "free tram zone" in Melbourne so if you are visiting that area and hop on to the tram, you don't even need to tap your myki card as it's free to travel! Once you get off the tram, walk down the main street (St Kilda Road) and then you really can't miss it as it's up the hill to your left.

The Shrine of Remembrance - you can't miss it!

Shrine of Remembrance

According to the official visitor's map, the Shrine of Remembrance is:

Melbourne's iconic landmark and Victoria's war memorial dedicated in 1934. Situated in 13 hectares of beautiful parkland, the Shrine is a place to commemorate and learn about the service and sacrifice of Australian men and women. Includes guided tours, Galleries of Remembrance and special exhibitions.

Now, as I have a strong interest in the history of World War I, World War II, the Cold War and beyond, I am always interested to learn about war stories from a different perspective. As Australia was part of the British Empire at the time of WWI & WWII, they would no doubt be involved in the war effort in some capacity. This is the perfect place for me to find out more about this from an Australian point of view, plus the building itself is special, along with some magical views of the city.

Walking up the hill to the front of the Shrine allows us see this spectacular staircase with prominent columns at the entrance.

Front of the Shrine of Remembrance

As you make your way up the stairs it's wonder grows on you when you realise just how big the Shrine is. But we're not going to go in just yet! I want to show you the outside and some other viewpoints first :P

The right side of the Shrine has words inscribed that read as follows:
"Let all men know that this is holy ground. This shrine, established in the hearts of men as on the solid earth, commemorates a people's fortitude and sacrifice. Ye therefore that come after, give remembrance."

The back of the Shrine leading from the Remembrance Gardens

Continuing around, the inscription on the final outside wall says:
"This monument was erected by a grateful people to the honoured memory of the men and women who served the empire in the great war of 1914-1918"

OK, let's head inside shall we?


The first big room you'll come to is called the "Sanctuary" which has in its centre, the Stone of Remembrance - a marble stone with the words "Greater love hath no man" carved out of it - and the tall central spire that has a light source at its apex.

The Stone of Remembrance in the centre of the Sanctuary

As I walked in to this room, one of the volunteers, a senior gentlemen who's Dad survived the 4 years he was in the Great War (1914-1918), was just rounding up a tour so I thought I'd listen in. He gathered them around the Stone of Remembrance as every 30 minutes, a light shines and moves across the stone. This artificial light emanating from the top of the spire slowly moves across the stone as the "Last Post" is playing. On Remembrance Sunday itself (11th November every year), the light that shines is natural as the clever use of mirrors focuses it down on to the stone.

When your eyes look up from the central stone, you'll notice the 16 tall, dark columns that climb high in to the spire. Alan, the tour guide, was telling me that these are made of sea bed! That's right, the Earth's mantle! He even pointed out a fossilised crab that you can just about make out from millions of years ago!

How Did Australia Get Involved In The Wars?

I asked this to Alan as I was interested in the propaganda campaign and if it was any different to the UK's approach. Simply put, it was exactly the same - "Fight for King and Country" - and as they were part of the then British Empire, they didn't have a choice! Same with India. Another tour guide I spoke to later on told me that there were two public referendums about whether or not Australia should join World War II but they both answered "Yes". So the Australians joined in the bloodiest battles the world has ever known, despite seemingly being a world away from it.

Selfies Now?

I talked with Alan for a while as I told him I'm a Brit, he told me he's visited a few times and he wanted to take a selfie with me! What a legend! I wasn't expecting that, I RARELY take any selfies, yet, you're about to see two in this blog post! Here's the one with Alan in the sanctuary as he picked up the symbolic poppy flower which is used for remembrance in both our countries.

Selfie with Alan the legendary tour guide!

The Crypt

Just behind Alan's left shoulder are some doors. Before you get to them, head right then go down the stairs and you will unravel the rich history that Australia has had in various war efforts in a vast area called "The Crypt". I can't share photos of what it's like down here due to the Shrine of Remembrance Act 1978 but if you love reading about history, there's plenty to get stuck in to here!

We've already touched upon the World Wars but there's some uncertainty about when exactly the "British Empire" became a "Commonwealth" as it seemed that around this time (after the Second World War), Australia would take its own position as peacekeeper in various conflicts around the world.

Some conflicts have been lingering since the 1960s, meaning that the Australian military have been in a dangerous situation not taking sides and making sure agreements are adhered to, even the hostile ones.

At this point, my head was beginning to spin but I have a new found respect and understanding of Australia's history and involvement in global conflicts. There is a visitor centre where you can get souvenirs but there was just one more place I wanted to see and those were the views from the top balcony.

Top Balcony Views

To get here, you need to make your way back out to the front and then, as soon as you walk in the building (before the sanctuary), you head right towards the stairs (or left if you're a daredevil)! Both flights of stairs have 63 steps in them and you'll soon notice how unfit you are! I know I did! But it was worth it because walking around the top yielded some amazing views.

View of the front of the Shrine and Melbourne's sky line

Me ruining the views of Melbourne's sky line :P

View of the back leading to the Remembrance Gardens

View to the left with the Royal Botanical Gardens across the road

Ah, is that the Royal Botanical Gardens I see across the road? Well, let's have a look at those shall we?!

Royal Botanical Gardens

Being a sucker for cold hard efficiency, I felt like killing two birds with one stone seeing as I was "in the neighbourhood" and I achieved the accolade "Mr Efficient" by pottering around the Royal Botanical Gardens for a couple of hours. My goodness, this is huge and bigger than the one's I'd been to before in Sydney (at least from what I remember)! Here's what the official visitor map had to say about it all.

Enjoy this calm oasis in the heart of Melbourne. Discover beautiful plants and stunning vistas in one of the world's finest gardens. Learn about Indigenous culture on an Aboriginal Heritage Walk; relax at one of our cafes or take a punt tour on the lake. Free entry.

Free entry you say? I'm in.

Normally when you read about something portraying itself as the "World's Best ...", do you normally just think, "Well, they can't ALL be the best in the world"? Or is that just me? Haha! But, this has definitely been one of the best ones I've been to in terms of size, how well it's all maintained, the layout, the information and sheer volume of exotic plants from all areas of the globe! I'm going to share some of my picks below from when I was walking around and hope you feel compelled to walk through when you're in Melbourne next!

The legends looking after the gardens

Part of Ornament Lake and Long Island

Looking out from Guilfoyle's Volcano

View from Guilfoyle's Volcano of the Melbourne skyline

If you're feeling up for a rumble in the jungle you can go for an Australian forest walk!


Just the Actifit report to upload tonight in addition to the blog post as I haven't walked this many steps for a while with the tendinitis injury. Update - no I can't because it's gone past midnight and it all reset again! Oh well! Still a bit of soreness but a far cry from what it was, I couldn't do 5 steps before so a step in the right direction (did you see what I did there?)

I hope you enjoyed this blog, until the next time - take it easy!


PHC Top 3 - A Chance To Win From A Growing Prize Pool

Well, whilst I'm here, I might as well take the chance to tell you about a new contest that I've been a part of with the Power House Creatives called @phctop3. All you need to do is tell us what your top 3 favourites for a chance to win from a growing prize pool - more info here.

Electronic Music Alliance (EMA)

EMA is a growing electronic music community run by electronic musicians FOR electronic musicians. We have weekly playlists on a variety of platforms to cater for all streaming preferences - make sure you follow our blog for your weekly dose here. We're also launching a new community run label called Electronic Alliance Records which aims to spread the word even more for our artists - check the latest developments and what music is coming up here

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Hey you!

Glad to see you out and about! It looks like lovely weather out there.

The Shrine of Remembrance must have been a fantastic place to visit and intimidating with all that it holds. How cool it was to have been able to talk with Alan and that he could share information with you.
And no you don't ruin the skyline lol. ;)

The first pic you look more energetic than in the last one of you. Those stairs really did kick your butt eh? :P

The air must have been lovely at the botanical. I must say... you didn't share enough about this place. Stop being selfish! :P LOL. I will bug you about it when you wake up :P



Yes the weather certainly improved as the day went on and it warmed up to like 23 C so was lovely in the sun, I had to take my hoody off as I was walking around, much to the pleasure of the Melbourne locals for seeing such a fine specimen amongst them 😂

The Shrine of Remembrance really was a powerful place, especially when heading down to the crypt. Some of the artistry and words used really got to me and halted me in my tracks. You really can't imagine some of the horrors from the front line.

Alan is an absolute legend, plain and simple and had more energy than me by the time I got to the top! I'm not the greatest with selfies but think that turned out alright in the end! There were a few people queueing up to get their pictures. Not for thr view mind, because they know how awesome I am 😂

Haha I don't know what else I could've shared about it when the pictures tell a thousand words 😛 :foxyemoji: what else do you want to know about it? awaits the "bugging" 😁



A fine specimen indeed! I don't think there are many pale people over there with all that sun they have :D

It's not something I want to imagine, it is too much for someone to endure, and no one should have gone through any of that. War is a very ugly thing and so destructive before, during and after. It's horrible and that is a light word in comparison :(

Go Alan! Elderly people can be amazing! Don't worry about your selfies, you look great! Just admit it, you prefer people looking at you rather than the skyline. ;p :D

I'm guessing the botanical garden is way different from what I seen. The ones I have seen in Montreal and a few other places had these statuettes made of plants. It showed animals, people, so many things all built with wood and flowers.

Grabbed that from google images. I used to have a few pics but I think I lost them when I moved. Just check out Montreal botanical garden google images. There's quite a few showing.



How is it going so far? How was the flight. Do you like it? We're just got back home from Ghana. So happy to be home :)


Hey @for91days! Ah the flight haha! It was a mammoth journey and quite an adventure, I wrote about it the day before this one when I arrived - you won't believe some of the stuff that happened haha! Here you go!

Welcome home man, hope you really enjoyed yourselves! Rest up, recharge and get ready for the next one 🙂


Checking it out :)


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Ah thanks a lot @travelfeed and @for91days 😊

Plans have changed dramatically now since last night and may be off on another "sub-adventure" from Tuesday... Hope my body clock sorts itself out for then as I may be on a 5 day hiking trip to help my friend out I'm staying with! We shall see... 🤔 🙂


Looking forward to read about your side adventure on the side :)


Hehe it's like some "adventure inception" going on here - an adventure within an adventure. Guess that's the traveller's life hey 🙂

wales @walesApril 2019

Keep on trucking nicky...


Might be doing a bit of trucking from Tuesday actually. Things have developed quite substantially since last night when my friend made it back from a conference. Watch this space!


When Alan asks for a selfie, you take a selfie! Haha, looks like great fun so far! Can't wait to see all of the rest of the travels!


You do what Alan asks lol! War veteran and absolute legend that he is! Things just got a lot more interesting with travel developments now, latest Actifit Report explains all 🙂


Another curie! Fantastic. Coming back to have a proper read tomorrow.


Is that a prediction? Is c-squared part of curie then? I'm grateful for the feature on their showcase today! Wasn't expecting that dose of awesomeness 😀

Hope you enjoy it when you come back


OMG I mis-wrote. Sorry. Here's to hoping that @curie pick up this post. 😉


Ah thanks for the well wishes on curie! Can only hope but I love writing travel blogs, feels like I have a permanent journal of my trip (if I can remember to write them) 🙂



I am back and am reading properly, not just skimming :D

So, here's the first thing that jumps out at me - about the sanctuary and the approach to WW II

"Fight for King and Country" - and as they were part of the then British Empire, they didn't have a choice! Same with India.

As was South Africa and its participation - pushed by Gen Smuts caused an even bigger rift between Afrikaners (Dutch) and English. The former were more inclined to support the Germans - that is an interesting bit of history to read when you are so inclined. And yes, the involvement of the Aus (and Anzac) armed forces in various conflicts is little known - I heard about some from a longtime Aus colleague who worked in the diplomatic corps and then for the Uni I worked with. Very interesting.

Those gardens are beautiful. I love it that they commemorate the people who looked after them. My Dad ran a botanical garden in Grahamstown for most of my childhood and into my adult life - so about 20+ years. Nothing in those gardens to remember him, or his predecessors by. He was the last and the property has now been sold to Rhodes university.

I suspect you will keep posting - you have folk following you who want to know and, more to the point - you like doing it!

Here's to the next one!


Bengy @bengyApril 2019

Hope you are enjoying the land down under! It's nice to be seeing shots of the old homeland! Anyway, I hope you are taking the opportunity to eat some really nice food down there as well! Great Asian food, or fusion cooking... Melbourne is also home to a huge Italian migrant community as well!


It's treated me well so far and a big adventure starts tomorrow so looking forward to that and sharing it here! I had some Thai the other day and it was very yummy 😋 did hear about the shooting last night though in center of Melbourne, that's tragic 😔


with me it is WW2 and the 2 major crusades ...


Atrocities really


yes but i am somehow connected to them somehow .. i am pretty confident that if reincarnation is a thing i was present ....


Glad you found good weather, I miss that place and your post is very informative.


Thanks Phil! Yea I've been pretty lucky in my first week of this great trip with the weather. Being from the UK, it's been lovely but for the Aussies, freezing haha! Glad you enjoyed the post