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Published: February 6th 2015
Our destination is a small caravan park about 30ks outside of Melbourne,with a bus route direct to the city stopping only 200mt from the park it is ideal for us.The reason we have chosen to come to Melbourne this is the embarking point for Tasmania and we have tickets for a night crossing on Feb 6. We also have tickets to see Billy Connolly in Melbourne and we were given tickets for a river cruise on the Famous Yarra by our son and daughter in law for Christmas.
Magnificent Melbourne home to over four million people and the second largest city in Australia.9.2 million people visit Melbourne annually and was recently voted the worlds most livable city with the most friendly inhabitants.Often referred to as the greatest shopping city in Australia it abounds with shopping arcades and boutiques selling quality brand names and also features up and coming new fashion designers.The city hosts many sporting and cultural events throughout the year and boasts that whenever you visit there will always be something going on.The calendar of events is mind blowing.The city also prides itself on being a foodies paradise with food to please any palate with some world famous restaurants
and chefs calling Melbourne home.The inner city or CBD is a viberant place to be with its multicultural inhabitants and visitors but is no place for a visitor to drive around, the traffic is endless and parking a nightmare.What seems to be the city centre is Federation square a large open space surrounded by bars and cafes which is also home to the very impressive information centre and just across the road from the equally impressive Flinders Street Railway Station.The river Yarra divides the city and is traversed by any number of bridges for vehicles,pedestrians and rail travellers.
Our visit coincides with several major sporting events,the Australian Open Tennis,AFC Asian Football Tournament and the Cadel Evens Great Ocean Road Race.The Musical Strictly Ballroom also opens whilst we are hear.Billy Connolly also opens here to sell out shows and we have tickets to see him.We elect to travel in the city by bus and purchase swipe and go tickets from the C/P office to start us off.Taking about 50 minutes to reach the city from our C/P and not costing a lot of money together with no parking worries make this an enjoyable way to enter the city.We can take
the river cruise any time we want but our tickets for the theatre are fixed.Arriving in the city we make our way to the Federation square the idea being to find our bearings and locate the theatre and cruise landing stage.Federation Square is alive with people and a big screen has been erected to show the Australian Open, with deck chairs for hire the square is a wonderful mix of colour and sound.To our great delight both the theatre and cruise landing stage are within easy walking distance from the square.After checking out the cruise timetable we elect to board the cruise boat the next day and the show the day after.Returning to our bus stop for the return journey we check out some restaurants in the mainly Greek quarter and decide to eat there on the evening of the show.Back at the camp ground we are pleased with our days recon of the city, tomorrow we will cruise the mighty Yarra river.
Early into the city we make our way to the cruise landing stage and board for our two hour cruise.With commentary and wit our captain enlightens the passengers about the history of the river and the
part it has played in shaping Melbourne.With so much history and modern changes it is impossible to remember all the important information passed on to us by our captain.We passed under so many bridges with their own history including three that are only passable under at a lowering tide by the cruise boat. Either side of the river are some major developments taking place as Melbourne continues to keep up with modern times and trends.Gone are the former dock lands making way for modern commercial and private dwelling developments. The now famous container ship complex is in full working mode with several ships being unloaded and we are close enough to view the massive cranes used to handle these huge containers, we are told that these cranes were designed and invented here in Melbourne and are now built all over the world to the Melbourne design.We take a glimpse at the Rod Laver arena from the boat as well as the new giant domes built like footballs that now house the Melbourne Sports and recreation complex.A floating cycle and walking track runs alongside the river for several kilometers and is very popular with the locals.We pass parkland offering opportunities for
picnics and bar b ques and wave to those taking advantage of these facilities. Seeing the city from the river and hearing the history puts a different perspective of the city and at a much slower pace.
Leaving the cruise boat we head for the eureka Skydeck the highest public vantage point in the Southern Hemisphere and only a short walk from the landing stage.Although this is a residential building and open to the public on the 88 floor the residents are not intruded upon or inconvenienced by the skydeck activities.The building is 984.3 ft or 300 metres in height.The viewing platform is reached by a lifts traveling at 9 metres per second reaching skydeck in less than 40 seconds and making them the fastest in the Southern Hemisphere.The 92 storeys can also be reached by 3,680 stairs and an annual race is held raising money for charity.Reaching Skydeck you have a 360 degree view of Melbourne and beyond through glass that is gold plated on the top ten floors.Information and interpretative signage is all around the deck and staff are obliging and helpful. Souvenirs and other products can be purchased along with drinks and take away food.The views
are breathtaking on a clear day and we had such a day,stepping outside of the glass deck onto a small cage with wire mesh exposes you to the elements and the wind is blowing when we did it making you realise the comfort of the enclosed deck at this height the building can flex up to 600mm in high winds.Not for the faint hearted and at an extra cost you can experience the edge a glass cube which extends 3mt out of the building 300mt above the ground with you in it, the only observation deck in the world offering this. We did not take part in that experience no way.There are many more statistics about this building but I will leave the reader to find these on Google.
Not being a lover of heights I was glad to be back at ground level but not an experience to be missed whilst in Melbourne . We headed for the nearest bar and a cold beer to discuss our experience and our plans for the next day.
Greek food is not food we eat very often mainly because on our travels we have not come across many Greek restaurants.
Here in Melbourne we have lots of choice and we are taking advantage of this opportunity and decide on a restaurant which is on our way to the theratre.We book an early table and on arrival find we are the first diners to sit down but we are soon joined by other early diners.We had a great meal reminding us of time spent in Greece and Cyprus.Heading off to the show we are full of good food and memories and conversation turns to what we are about to see.
Billy Connolly is an actor and stand up comedian with a world wide reputation for his story telling,humour and wit.With a packed house and not an empty seat to be had his popularity is very evident.We are in for an evening of world class entertainment and we were not disappointed. Two hours of stories, jokes and worldly observations kept the audience and us on the edge of our seats fearing we might miss something.The evening was a great success which kept both of us talking about it on the way back to catch the bus and on to the C/P
A telephone call from past traveling friends is great
to receive they are joining us in the C/P for a couple of days.It has been several months since we were in each others company and we are so looking forward to catching up and swapping stories.Once here we quickly catch up with each others travel stories and tell of future plans.Melbourne is their home town and they are here to surprise family and friends before heading to Tasmania like us.They take time out to show us some of the hinterland surrounding Melbourne and in particular the area that was devastated by the black Saturday fires some six years. Although there is still evidence of the fire I am amazed at the regrowth and the rebuilding of so many dwellings and business's. Alas it's time for them to move on and surprise more friends who have no idea they are in the vicinity. Over the next couple of days we ready the car and caravan for the crossing to Tasmania.Strict quarantine regulations exist entering into Tasmania so we peruse the information given to us making sure we don't breech these regulations.Next stop Tasmania.
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