There is a problem I always have when I go to Melbourne. It’s not a bad problem but it takes a bit of thought and planning on my part to work out what I want to do when I next visit as I really don’t want to miss a thing. And no matter how many times I have been to Melbourne I always find another attraction, park, museum, gallery or garden to visit. There is always another restaurant I have read about, another wine bar another show playing at one of Melbourne’s many theatres. And of course there is always sport!
Wayne and I usually make at least one trip to Melbourne each year to watch our beloved AFL teams play footy (or football) against each other and I also try to meet up with my family in Melbourne as we live in different states and this is the halfway point for us. Not that I’m complaining. I would never do that! Any chance for a week or even weekend in Melbourne is another chance to go shopping with my mum and sister. Who would want to turn that sort of chance down!?
There is so much to see and do in Melbourne so today I will share a few of my favourite things but trust me, this won’t be the last time I post about Melbourne. I have too much to share with you for that to happen.
I was visiting Melbourne with my sister Denise and we decided to take in a few of the tourist attractions that we hadn’t yet done. You know, play the real tourist, maps and cameras in hand, wondering around looking lost! No not really looking too lost, but just out having a great time.
So our first stop was the Melbourne Gaol (yes this is the way we spell jail in Australia!). I know, none of us really wants to go to gaol, it’s scary, full of bad people and really does ruin your reputation. But don’t worry, this gaol is different. Of course it is no longer used as a place for bad people but there may still be a few ghosts from the past watching over you as you learn the history and stories the gaol has to tell.
Citizens not abiding by the law have been visiting this gaol since the 1840’s one of the most notorious being Bushranger Ned Kelly. And now it was our turn. We bought our tickets and were now ready to explore the Watch House, cells and the execution area where Ned Kelly was put to death by hanging.
In the Watch House our Charge Sergeant guides (arrests) us and takes us through the experience of what it would have been like to be arrested and locked up all those years ago. There are plenty of interesting facts within the gaol and watch house walls, there are settings in the cells so you can see what happened to the prisoners and there are plenty of artifacts and information to look at along the way.
We had a great time being arrested but then we were let loose to explore the cells and the rest of the grounds ourselves. We would have spent at least a couple of hours exploring, learning and taking photos of course. We saw the beam where the hangings took place and the Death Mask and armour worn by Ned Kelly. I know it sounds gruesome but this is the history of law and order of the times and it is very interesting. The gaol was built in the mid 1800’s and closed in 1929 and it saw its fair share of hangings (it’s said that there were 133 hangings between 1842 and 1929).
It is well worth a visit and if you want to go along for a look while you are visiting Melbourne it is located at 377 Russell St and is open every day (except Christmas Day and Good Friday) from 9:30am to 5:00pm. For more information and prices you can visit the Old Melbourne Gaol website at www.oldmelbournegaol.com.au.
So sis and I spent half the day in gaol and have now been set free to explore some more of the sights of Melbourne. We decided the best way to see it all from one spot would have to be from the top of the Eureka Tower. Set high above the Southbank you will be amazed at the sight of this tall slender building (hope you’re not afraid of heights as it is a long way up) and the expansive views you will get once your up there.
The Eureka Skydeck sits 297 metres above street level making it the highest public observation deck in the Southern Hemisphere. Now that is impressive and scary (maybe even a bit scarier than being in gaol!).
The Eureka Tower is located at Riverside Quay, Southbank, you can’t miss it as it sits high above all the other buildings in the vicinity. I can tell you now that I got a sore neck and dizziness just looking up at it but I was ready to head up there for a look (a little nervous but ready). Denise and I boarded the elevator and within 38 seconds we were there, up 88 floors and onto the Skydeck. Fast and impressive, like in the movies! I don’t know maybe it’s just me but do they get you up there that quick so you can’t change your mind? HeHe!
When we stepped out of the elevator and saw the views from the floor to ceiling windows it made me forget, if only for a moment, that I didn’t like heights. Spectacular. We had such a beautiful sunny day and we could see for miles. Walking around we could see the MCG and the sports precinct, Albert Park Lake, The Yarra River, Federation Square, the whole city of Melbourne and much more. I would have to say this is the way to see Melbourne at its finest.
There is also an experience called ‘The Edge Experience’ which I was not quite game enough to try. But if your game give it a go. It is a glass cube that moves out from the building which has a glass floor so you can see straight down. Definitely not for the faint of heart (like me).
I did get a little bit game and went out onto the enclosed balcony for a moment! But I think the views from inside, with those massive windows were enough to make me forget I was actually 297 metres off the ground. Not bad.
The Skydeck is open daily from 10am to 10pm (closing earlier on Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve). You can find more information and prices by visiting the Eureka Sky Deck website (www.eurekaskydeck.com.au) and make sure you check out some of the interesting facts about the building which includes the fact that the top floor can flex up to 6oomm in high winds and also that on the top 10 levels of the building the glass is 24 carat gold plated. How cool is that?
I must say this was a great visit to Melbourne and a tiring one. Time for Denise and I to head out for some food and a drink in one of the many great bars and restaurants in Melbourne.. But where do we go? Might have to have a glass of wine and mull over that one for a while.
So stay tuned and keep watching this space as I share more of my travels and adventures in Melbourne with you. I hope you enjoy your journey, whether it be by reading this or by actually visiting Melbourne as much as we have.