Yes, absolutely avoid Docklands. The day we went the shops were empty, the 'fun' park was closed and the wind was blowing a howling gale down the mall. Miserable.
For outlet shopping in the city the DFO on Spencer Street is well worth a visit.
The Old Melbourne Jail is well worth a visit (I was too scared to try the night tour - daytime is spooky enough), but if you want to see Ned Kelly stuff walk a block to the State Library of Victoria and wend your way up to the Dome Galleries (on entering the Library head straight through to the lifts, go up to level 4, walk around the gallery and then take the stairs up to level 5. The exhibition is on the right). Its bizzarely complicated to get to but well worth the effort as they have one of his actual suits of armour (as opposed to the fibreglass replica at the Jail) and fascinating photographs of the capture of the Kelly Gang. I didn't realise the whole thing had been photographed (the siege at Jones' Inn, fire etc, including some gruesome results).
The best thing about Melbourne though has to be the public transport. Fantastic.
Kereru (wood pigeon)
Never though much of them until two huge trees down the street were chopped down within a few weeks of each other. I knew there were one or two birds living in them but the day the second tree went down the power lines across the road looked like something out of a Hitchcock movie; about a dozen kereru and white pigeons all strung along one wire. They looked pissed, as well they might.
Over the weeks since the numbers have gradually fallen away. I hope they’ve found somewhere else to live and haven’t been picked off by the neighbourhood cats. This weekend there was just one sad looking wood pigeon sitting there on his own.
I’d like to be cremated and have the ashes scattered from the top of the sand hills at Himitangi Beach. Lots of happy childhood memories of running along the top of the hills (before the marram plantings) with the wind blowing me up/down and the feel of the cold iron-sand thudding beneath me. Be cool to be part of the hills.
The only problem will be picking the one day a year when the wind won’t blow me straight back into those doing the scattering, although I kind of like the idea of finally really getting up a few peoples noses.