Like most people our age, Nick and I were both hooked on Neighbours when we were younger. It followed perfectly into our daily routine after school, CBBC, Blue Peter and Newsround. Neither of us have watched it for about 15 years but as we’re in Melbourne it seemed like a tour of the set was a must. We could only remember a handful of characters which must be long gone by now, but we secretly hoped we’d get a glimpse of Billy, Libby and the Toadster 🙂
Getting on the tour bus was quite funny, the guide went round asking where people were from and it turned out the whole bus was from the UK. Apparently Neighbours actually gets more viewers in the UK than it does in Australia.. On the way to our first stop on the tour the guide filled us with storyline spoilers and gossip about the characters, none of this meant much to us though as the only names we recognised were Susan and Karl Kennedy, I can’t believe their still in it!?
First stop was ‘Erinsborough’. This site was home to the studios and parts of the set including the cafe, grease monkeys car garage. an antique shop and Lasiters. Although we wasn’t allowed to go into the studios and see them filming we were joined outside by one of the cast members. Apparently she is new to the street, her name on the show is Piper and she plays a mischievous teen from what we could gather. I felt a little sorry for her as she came out all enthusiastic and bubbly asking how we all were and if we had any questions. In typical British fashion though everyone was so reserved and only a few questions were asked. She seemed really nice and had photos with all of us and then signed autographs. I’ll have to watch a few episodes and look out for her.
After the studios we were taken to ‘Ramsay Street’ which in reality is actually Pine Oak Street. We couldn’t believe how small it looked in real life, it was a tiny cul-de-sac type road with just 6 houses. It was instantly recognisable though and everyone apart from us knew straight away whose house belonged to who.
It was interesting to hear of the agreement between the show and the residents who actually live in these houses. When they move in, they are all bound by a contract with a strict set of rules. For example on filming days the residents must make sure their cars are parked around the back and their curtains are always drawn. They must also seek written permission if they ever want to make an alteration to the front of their property. In return for these small conditions they are rewarded very well, according to our guide they are paid more than enough to cover their mortgage payments each month! The most recent property to sell on ‘Ramsay Street’ went for around 30% over its true value just because of it’s prestigious location. But I guess if you are getting it mortgage free for life, 30% is a good deal. The last house on the street was bought by an Englishman from Bath, apparently he already owns another house on the street and has ambitions to own the whole of Ramsay Street one day.
After the tour we spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around Melbourne. It’s a really nice city that grew on me a lot as the day went on. The park areas are great, there’s so much green space with historical buildings and monuments dotted around that make for a lovely walk. The shops and restaurants are mainly bunched together in the middle of the city and much like America, they follow a block system of straight streets. It actually felt a lot like walking around San Fransisco or Chicago. It would have been nice to enjoy a meal out but looking at the prices we resisted and just bought some bits from Woolworths (Yes, they have Woolworths over here, ahh the memories!). It’s a lot more expensive in Australia than I thought it would be, most of the food was more than the UK and it’s not even worth comparing it to what we’ve become used to paying around Asia! We better get used to not eating out for a while, I think it’s back on the noodle diet we come 🙂