Melbourne from a height

 Mari and Jesse were both heading out early this morning, so I’d already been provided with keys and told to just sort myself out. Well, I was up at early o’ clock anyway and saw them before they left then had my own breakfast and planned the day. By “planned” I mean I went online and checked all the places in the city guide book to see what places are free or at least cheap!

 The great thing with where Mari lives is that she’s in Zone 1 so the fares are about as cheap as you can get. $6.10 nets me an all-day MetCard to dot around the city centre at will. The tram ride is a short one with some lovely scenery on the way in, and I got off at Federation Square where there is currently a lot going on around the AFL cup final this weekend. Goal kick competitions, live chats with retired players, the cup itself on show and a ton of other stuff. The square is made up of several very strange buildings. It looks like someone’s got a group of architects very drunk and given them a selection of kids’ building toys with which to construct a working model. And then it’s all been scaled up. Freaky, but also very cool.

 The tourist information area came in useful, as I grabbed a bundle of leaflets to help decide what to do. First on the list (after lunch) was the Melbourne Observation Deck, the highest point in the city. Well, I’ve done it in Auckland and Sydney so I may as well start visiting all these towers! There are 23 in the World Federation of Great Towers… so only 20 to go. Melbourne’s stands at 253m, which is 75m shorter than Auckland’s and 50m shorter than Sydney. However, the view is superb. Melbourne has an impressive variety of buildings from old to new to bizarre – Fed Square is only one example of some very extreme architecture.

 Melbourne is also home to one of (if not the) largest glass structure of it’s type. This glass “cone” covers the Shot Tower, a very old brick building originally constructed for the manufacture of lead shot. At the time, it was 6m taller than building regulations allowed. The glass cone is significantly taller than it. The cone covers a large shopping area which also houses a rather impressive clock donated by Sony to the city. It’s in the form of a very large old-fashioned pocketwatch. On the hour, the bottom of the watch slides out to reveal two figures and a variety of wildlife. As the birds “dance”, the figures play Waltzing Matilda before the watch closes itself up again.

I’ve got a list of things to see tomorrow and by now, the rush hour was starting to ease off. I walked back to Fed Square and jumped on a tram to Chapel Street to pick up some wine and beer to drink with dinner. Mari was cooking chicken wings, and you just can’t have chicken wings without a few cold tinnies! Posted by Picasa

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