ST KILDA - Where I would like to live if I lived in Melbourne.
I guess in many respects it's not "that" far off the beaten track, but it is about 20 minutes tram ride south east of the city on Number 16 & fractionally longer on Tram 96. I've stayed here twice now in two different hotels & have gotten to know it just well enough to be sure of what I've stated above in both the title of this tip.
It certainly does have something for everyone of all ages from kids through teenages, young adults, families & more mature people. Excellent coffee & cake at the cafes & cake shops & excellent eating abound in both Fitzroy Street & Acland Street.
I really enjoyed staying here at the Marque Hotel in Fitzroy St for the August 17 Melburne VT dinner meet at SoulMama's. Equally I really enjoyed staying here at the Novotel St Kilda with my family as it was just across from the beach & only a 5 minute walk to Luna Park & then a little farther on to Acland Street.
It has excellent shopping opportunities & for me it was absolute heaven finding not one, but two really top quality bookshops. There's clothing & shoe shops especially for women, but to a lesser extent also for men.
There are plenty of entertainment possibilites with pubs & nightclubs for the evening so, as I've stated above there really is something for everyone at St Kilda.
You could even base yourself here during a visit to Melbourne due to the convenience of the 20 minute tram ride to & from the city.
Melbourne is a city which grew rapidly with the gold rushes of the 1850s and was extremely prosperous in the 1880s. Much of the architecture reflects this time but this has been overshadowed in recent years by modern sky scrapers, mainly office blocks. The proportion of the city has changed and it is often necessary to look up for glimpses of the past.
This weather vane is a good example of what might be found. It may be seen at the corner of Elizabeth Street and Little Collins Street.
A 3.5 hour drive west from Melbourne will bring you to one of Victoria's natural highlights - The Grampians. Rugged mountains, wonderful waterfalls, indigenous sites, wonderful hikes all to be found in the National Park. They are the 'end' (or beginning) of the same rock formation (Dividing Ranges) that forms the Blue Mountains outside Sydney. Cute country towns and great vineyards are to be found in the immediate surrounds.
See also separate page - The Grampians
Basalt from the western areas of the city have contributed much to Melbourne's appearance. Varying slightly in colour, but known generically as bluestone, it was mined in Yarraville and more distant areas. While the stone is often dressed (smoothed) for public buildings, it may be much rougher in appearance especially in less important facades, as shown in this picture of a building in Little Collins Street.
An hour's drive from Melbourne is the Yarra Valley, famed for its vineyards and superb wines. Day trips can be organised from the city to take you out to the many of the best vineyards and to give you a real taste (literally and metaphorically!) of the wine growing area and regional Victoria.
As well as the vineyards, there's TarraWarra Museum of Art (wonderful cafe and vineyard too!), the township of Healesville (famous for its animal sanctuary and state park).
(These pictures are there to also point out that Australia is not all about red dust and perpetual sunshine!).
(See also State of Victoria pages)
If you are looking for a little historical information on some of Melbourne's more famous buildings, then the Golden Mile tour is the one for you.
Head over to 114 Flinders and pick up the information on this walk from the Convention and Marketing Bureau and set off!
This mile should take you about half a day if you really enjoy all of the landmarks. Some of these include the Rialto Observation Deck, Immigration Museum, Old Treasury Building, St. Michaels and a few others!
Within the Treasury Gardens is a small lake with a JFK Tribute.
The site was landscaped especially for the memorial and the island is paved with slate and decorated with natural rock and granite boulders. It also features an ornamental water fountain.
In late 1963 a special committee was established to consider a memorial to JFK following his assassination. Submissions from the public contributed to the general form of memorial, and the design and layout was carried out by the Superintendent of Parks and Gardens and the City Architect.
It was made by sculptor Raymond B. Ewers in 1965 and bears the inscription: "This memorial signifies the grateful recognition by the citizens of this city for the services given by John F. Kennedy as President of the United States of America 1960-1963". It was unveiled by the Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Melbourne.
Some of the arcades of Melbourne are an attraction in their own right for their architecture and their beautiful shops, others are just interesting in the way they have picked up the arcade theme.
Some of the interesting ones are shown in my travelogue.
If you are headed to Melbourne, it is a key to make sure one of us from the area know you are coming! Ray D will probably create a drawing of you, bake you a cake or just buy your first beer...and I guarentee someone will even pick you up from the airport (just watch out for semi-trucks!).
You will definitely enjoy your time with those from Melbourne!!
St. Kilda's National Theatre was opened in 1920 with three thousand seats which was reduced to 2550 in 1928. It is currently the home of Ballet and Drama Schools, as well as the host for several Victorian Arts and Performing Arts events.
It also is used for talent competitions as well.
Check out the website for all the new events!
This is the oldest surving lighthouse on mainland Australia and it began operating in 1848.
It was built to help guide ships into the narrow Bass Strait entrance between the coast and King Island, following a string of tragic shipwrecks that claimed hundreds of lives. The lighthouse stands 91 metres above the ocean and has been replaced by an unmanned, solar-powered light.
Tours of the historic lighstation operate daily.
OK - so its a very long way out of Melbourne for a true 'off the beaten path' but all visitors to the city make a bee-line for the Great Ocean Road, one of the most spectacular coastlines in the world.
Head SW out of the city to Torquay (or thereabouts) and just simply drive west - its simply stunning as the road hugs the coastline. Pass through Aireys Inlet, Lorne (the most populated town on this stretch of coast), Apollo Bay and on to Port Campbell for the most spectacular part of the coast (12 Apostles - part of which featured in the photo) and on to Warrnambool, keeping an eye on the road and out to sea, where you may catch a glimpse of schools of dolphins or the odd solitary whale.
(See separate pages - Lorne, Apollo Bay, Port Campbell)
After Hoddle's Grid of 1838 lanes were incorporated into Melbourne's layout. While bluestone soon became the choice building material, although a little sombre, it was also used in the paving of those lanes and alleyways of the growing town. The central city area once had some 158 signposted lanes alone.
Today there is approximately 1000Km of lanes and alleyways covering the city and inner city suburbs. Bluestone, a highly durable material, will be certain to last for the next millenium. However up until very recently some of the central city area's lanes were torn up as huge developments went ahead. The Melbourne Central complex swallowed up several bluestone alleys. Fortunately for the moment this kind of ruthless town planning has been halted, however there has been yet more balchings about their value in real estate terms.
A good street map of the CBD area will mark all lanes that are accessible. Flinders Lane is more of a street, but it's entire length has numerous small lanes running off it. Other lanes worth visiting are found between Queen and Elizabeth Streets, bounded by Bourke and Lonsdale Streets. In all of these you will find many bars, cafes, restaurants, book and music stores etc.
If your out in the inner suburbs such as Brunswick and Northcote spare some times to walk the lanes, after the rain is best. Another facinating feature of these suburbs' lanes is the iron fencing and owner built sheds. They don't it appears to be protected from demolistion, but in their own right are historic features like the bluestone lanes and alleyways of Melbourne.
Hanging Rock. Have you seen the move? ....No me neither. ...But since our wonderful vt meeting here May 2006, guess I'd better see it. Well we certainly saw some lovely country. And what better way, than with a bunch of fellow tourists!! Had a fabulous time!! I totally recommend to visit Hanging Rock on your visit to Melbourne!!
Off the Great Ocean Road, near Lorne. The 1km return walk takes about an hour.
Views of the falls are possible within a 10-minute walk from the car park. While not falling for a great distance, the water passes over a dark rock face within a natural amphitheatre, making for spectacular viewing