Friday, 2 September 2011

Melbourne Via the Pages of Grumpy Wombat

Today is a first for Buzz Words Books, the debut visit by a 'blog tourer' and it is the wonderfully talented Tania McCartney. Tania is currently on her Grumpy Wombat for her new book Riley and the Grumpy Wombat where the intrepid friends visit my hometown of Melbourne.

Come with Tania, Riley and, of course, the Grumpy Wombat as they give you a sneak look at Melbourne.

What better way to enjoy the beauty of Melbourne and surrounds than via the pages of a children’s book? In Riley and the Grumpy Wombat, lead character Riley is on the hunt for a very grumpy wombat – and during his search, this adventurous little aviator and his team tour the spectacular sights on offer, from Federation Square to the Great Ocean Road.

Even if you’re already a Melbourne aficionado (and there are many), this insight into the places Riley visits during his journey are fascinating to learn. Enjoy the tour!

Bourke Street Mall is located right in the heart of Melbourne city and is traversed by trams. Bourke Street is named after Sir Richard Bourke, the Governor of New South Wales (1837). The city centre is laid out in a block-like fashion which is called the Hoddle Grid. In Grumpy Wombat, you may see more than a tram or two – you may just see a certain illustrator!

Federation Square was built to commemorate 100 years of Federation in Australia (1901-2001). Two large office towers had to be torn down to make way for the Square which is now a centre for multimedia including a cinema, function centre, restaurants, cafés, street theatre and music. The sandstone used in construction was mined and quarried from the Kimberley Region in Western Australia.

Flinders Street Station is located at the southern end of the city centre, right next to the Yarra River. Every day, over 110,000 people and 1,500 trains pass through the station. People wanting to meet near Flinders Street Station often say “I’ll meet you under the clocks.” The Station is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.

The Southbank area is so named because it runs along the south bank of the Yarra River, right in Melbourne city. The area is an entertainment hub for Melburnians with shops, cafés, restaurants, a riverside food court, and also features the Crown Casino and the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art. Tall columns line the river along Southbank, intermittently spurting fire.

St Kilda Beach used to be a seaside resort and is now one of Melbourne’s most famous beaches. It is fringed by palm trees, and fairy penguins are sometimes seen on the beach. The Melbourne Marathon passes through St Kilda and its beach is used for State and International volley ball tournaments.

Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens are one of the world’s most famous gardens and cover 36 hectares, right near the centre of the city. The gardens were originally built on marshland and swamp. In 1877, Australia’s first prime minister, Sir Edmund Barton, was married in the gardens (to Jane Ross). The gardens now host over 10,000 floral species. The 300-year-old ‘Separation Tree’ can be found in the gardens. It’s a River Red Gum.

Lygon Street in the inner city suburb of Carlton is one of Melbourne’s most famous restaurant, café and shopping strips. The street is particularly famous for Italian restaurants and cafés, and hosts the annual Lygon Street Festa, one of Australia’s largest street festivals. Toto’s Pizza House was Australia’s very first pizzeria, and the FIFA World Cup and Ferrari Festival are celebrated in this famed street.

The Dandenong Ranges were formed more than 300 million years ago by a major volcanic eruption near the town of Olinda. When white man arrived in Australia, the ranges were inhabited by the Wurundjeri  tribe who called the area Corrhanwarrabul, meaning a desirable place where birds sing, kangaroos jump and lyrebirds perform. Indigenous plants, ash forests and fern gullies thrive in the rich volcanic soil of the Dandenong Ranges.

Mount Hotham in the Victorian Alps north of Melbourne stands 1861 m high and has the highest natural snowfall of any other resort in Victoria. The first ski run was developed by 1900 and there are now a number of resorts available to skiers.

Situated at Ballarat, north of Melbourne, Sovereign Hill is an outdoor museum which showcases one of Australia’s most historical events – the Gold Rush. People from all over the world flocked to Victoria to find their fortune when gold was discovered in the area in 1851. Sovereign Hill museum attracts over 750,000 visitors a year. Visitors can explore the area indoors, outdoors, above ground and even below ground.

The Great Ocean Road lies west of Melbourne and is one of the most beautiful coastal drives in the world. One of its major attractions is The Twelve Apostles – massive limestone stack formations that were once named The Sow and Piglets but were renamed in 1922 for tourism purposes. The road stretches for 243 kms and was actually built by returned soldiers between 1919 and 1932. The rate of erosion at the base of the limestone pillars is approximately 2 cm per year.

Phillip Island is located 140 kms south-east of Melbourne and was named after the first governor of New South Wales, Arthur Phillip. The island is visited by 3.5 million people every year, who come to see a nightly beach parade of the Fairy Penguin or Little Penguin. Fur seals also frequent Phillip Island, and settle on Seal Rock, forming the largest colony in the Southern Hemisphere.

Riley and the Grumpy Wombat: A journey around Melbourne is published by Ford Street Publishing, A $22.95 hard cover

Tania McCartney is an author, editor, publisher and founder of well-respected children’s literature site, Kids Book Review. She is an experienced speaker, magazine and web writer, photographer and marshmallow gobbler. She is the author of the popular Riley the Little Aviator series of travelogue picture books, and is both published and self-published in children’s fiction and adult non-fiction. Tania lives in Canberra with a husband, two kidlets and a mountain of books.

Riley and the Grumpy Wombat Blog Tour

Thursday 1 September
Blog Tour Announcement: Tania McCartney Blogspot
Blog Tour Schedule: Kids Book Review
Book Review and Give away: Bug in a Book
Publishing v Self-Publishing: Claire Saxby’s Let’s Have Words blog
Friday 2 September
Author Guest Post and Book Review: Read Plus
Hosting a Fabulous Book Launch: Sheryl Gwyther 4 Kids blog
Melbourne Via the Pages of Grumpy Wombat: Buzz Words’ Book blog
Book Give awayHandmade Canberra
Saturday 3 September
Book Give awayFat Mum Slim
Book Give away: HerCanberra

Sunday 4 September
Book Give away: Posie, The Blog
Writing Effective Teachers’ Notes: Sandy Fussell’s Stories Are Light
Interview with Wombat: My Little Bookcase
Book Giveaway: Alphabet Street

Monday 5 September
Creating Effective Presentations for Schools: 
Blue Dingo
Researching Tips for Writers: Chris Bell’s From Hook to Book blog
Book Resources for Parents: The Book Chook
Top 10 Tips for Writing a Submission: Sally Murphy’s Writing for Children Blog

Tuesday 6 September
Writing Processes: 
Soup Blog
Top 10 Book Writing Tips and Top 10 Book Marketing Tips: DeeScribe blog
Travelling with Children: Wise Words blog
Author Interview: HerCanberra

Wednesday 7 SeptemberBook Review: Buzz Words’ Book blog
Author Interview: Helen Ross Writes blog
Book Review: My Little Bookcase
Book Give away: Australian Women Online

Thursday 8 SeptemberBalancing Motherhood with Career: Planning with Kids
Self-Publishing Journey, Review, Book Give away: Pass It On blog


  1. Such a thrill to visit your blog on my tour, Vicki! So cool, too, to share some facts about Melbourne - love that city. Hope to visit again some time! love, Riley. xxx PS: Mum says thanks, too!

  2. Hi Riley,

    Thanks for whizzing past in your red bi-plane and visiting us at Buzz Words Books!

  3. I just feel so lucky to live in Melbourne, and so as you can imagine, I was thrilled that Riley decided to visit.
    and didn't he just pick the most wonderful iconic places to search for Wombat?

  4. Interesting books my kids will surely love this..
    I love books with more pictures though.

    Best regards,

  5. Hi Jackie,

    Thanks for dropping by Buzz Words Books. Riley chose some fantastic places to look for the Grumpy Wombat.

  6. Welcome to Buzz Words Books, sunglasses. I'm sure your kids will love Riley and the Grumpy Wombat and the other Riley adventures. Check the books out. I'm sure you and the kids won't be disappointed. They're full of movement and action. I love them.

  7. Hi, sunglasses - the Riley books are resplendent with pictures - both illustrations AND photos! and just a little text. Perfect for little ones, and adults who love to travel, too. :)


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