The Yarra River Cruise is a great way to see Melbourne from a river perspective. Although the mic for the commentary was down that day, we enjoyed our leisurely cruise down the Yarra River passing the Royal Botanic Gardens, Governor’s residence, Lexus Centre, Melbourne Olympic Park, Melbourne Park (Home of the Australian Open), Herring Island, and Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Sporting Precinct including the MCG.
The ten metre high, three-legged Angel was installed along the river bank in 2006. The sculpture was commissioned from Melbourne mosaic artist Deborah Halpern when she set out to make a sculpture that was “wild, whimsical and colourful”. After standing in front of the National Gallery of Victoria for 18 years, and some restoration of her 4,000 tiles, Angel was relocated to her present position in 1999.
Melbourne’s historic rowing boathouses on the banks of the Yarra River in Alexandra Gardens are home to several rowing clubs. The boat sheds started appearing at the turn of the 19th century and in 1904 the first Henley-on-Yarra regatta was held, becoming one of the most popular events in Melbourne and drawing huge crowds to both banks of the river.
AAMI Park – The new stadium represents a bold move forward for sports architecture in Victoria. This will be a high quality design addition to a world class sports precinct, close to the city, the Yarra and parklands. The stadium was referred to as Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, Swan Street Stadium or the Bubble Dome during its early construction. The stadium’s commercial name was announced as AAMI Park on March 16, 2010 in an eight year deal.
As the super stage of Australian sport, the Melbourne Cricket Ground is an unforgettable experience. Traditionally the MCG has provided the live drama to thrill millions worldwide… memorable events such as the Olympic Games, Test cricket and Australian football’s incomparable Grand Final.
We took the guided walking tour around the grounds and saw all the logistics involved for each game. From changing rooms, to VIP boxes, to commentator and reporter boxes, it was a fantastic behind the scenes experience. Backstage, the MCG Tour gives the visitor the opportunity to relive their great sporting memories through a comprehensive tour of this marvellous stadium.
Melbourne Southbank is the area that stretches along the southern bank of the Yarra River. It starts the moment you cross Princes Bridge, turn left and walk down the steps to the river. Southbank was once an old and neglected area, mostly industrial, which has recently been rejuvenated as the heartbeat of the central city area.
Eureka Tower is a 975 ft skyscraper located in the Southbank. It is named after the Eureka Stockade, a rebellion during the Victorian gold rush in 1854. This has been incorporated into the design, with the building’s gold crown representing the gold rush and a red stripe representing the blood spilt during the revolt. The blue glass cladding that covers most of the building represents the blue background of the stockade’s flag and the white lines also represent the eureka stockade flag. The prospectus of the building suggests the white horizontal stripes represent the marking units on a surveyer’s measuring staff.
The observation deck AKA Eureka Skydeck 88 occupies the entire 88th floor of the Eureka Tower and is the highest public vantage point in a building in the Southern Hemisphere at 935 ft.
The Eureka SkyDeck 88 is the only place in the world where you can suspend yourself within “The Edge”. An entirely safe and secure glass cube that gives you an uncluttered view of Melbourne from 300 metres up in the sky!
The Crown Entertainment complex in Southbank is a gathering of shops, cafes, restaurants, Accommodation courts, cinemas, live shows, music venues and a casino all under one huge roof. Fireballs are released from the top of the towers with vertical water walls on the east and west side of the towers. The small fireballs are 3 metres in diameter, the large ones 7 metres in diameter (largest ever created in the world). Gas Brigade shows will fire on the hour after sunset.
St Kilda is a remarkable place. It is situated on one of the most picturesque points of the Bay a short distance from the city, has safe sandy beaches, and yet for decades was shunned because it was the haunt of prostitutes and druggies. It wasn’t always like that. Back in the first half of the century, St Kilda was one of the most fashionable suburbs of Melbourne with grand homes and grand people. Today, it is enjoying a resurgence.
Luna Park is a historic fun fair that is the best known St Kilda landmark. The laughing face facade and roller coaster have both been classified by the National Trust.
There have been several theatres named “Palais” in St Kilda, the first of which opened in 1914. At the end of World War I, the Palais de Danse site became Palais Pictures. In 1919, a steel-framed, arched truss structure was built over the old dance-hall and the Palais de Danse was relocated next door to a building that was later destroyed by fire. In 1922, Walter Burley Griffin began designing a remodeled Palais Pictures. Construction of Griffin’s plans began in 1925, but a spectacular fire engulfed the stage in February 1926, just before completion, bringing a halt to work. When the Griffin’s moved on to Sydney, the developers commissioned a new architect, Henry E. White to build a larger, more grand theatre. The Palais Theatre is currently the largest theatre in Australia seating 2896 patrons. The building is considered one of the finest examples of Art deco architecture in Australia and is on the Victorian Heritage Register.
Acland Street is a long-time favourite of Melbournians and tourists alike because of its famous cakes shops. It is now the number one stop for backpackers because of the busy cafes and close proximity to St Kilda’s beaches. We had to stop by Monarch, just one of the many shops, for a slice of poppyseed cake.
We also had dinner at Zenith Bar & Restaurant for a hearty and generous meal. This bar and cafe pokes out onto Acland Street, allowing us to enjoy their drinks and food amid the vibrant pedestrian traffic.
This post is one of an 11 part entry of our trip to Victoria, Australia.
See all the places we visited on this trip below:
- Dandenongs – Sherbrooke, Puffing Billy, Sassafras
- Geelong – Wool, Waterfronts, Bollards
- Great Ocean Road – Gibson Steps to Bay of Islands
- Great Ocean Road – Lorne, Apollo Bay, Cape Otway Lightstation
- Melbourne – Gardens, Aquarium, Gaol
- Melbourne – MCG, Yarra River, Southbank, St Kilda
- Melbourne – QVM, City Sights and Streets
- Mornington Peninsula – Dolphins, Mazes, Vinyards
- Phillip Island – Chocs, Koalas, Penguins, Nobbies
- Phillip Island – Churchill Island
- Yarra Valley – Healesville Sanctuary, Wine, Cheese