Southbank & Southgate, Melbourne
Where once the trains thundered through, now lies a peaceful pedestrianised square at the juncture of two bridges - Sandridge and Queensbridge. To the fore is a view of Melbourne's western skyline, to the back are a collection of restaurants and a bright red post-modern set of steps. A pleasant place for lunch on fine, sunny days.
The Sandridge footbridge crosses the Yarra River at an oblique angle rather than straight across. This isn't for any artistic reason - it's a legacy of its former role as a train bridge. When it was constructed in 1888, it was necessary to build the bridge this way in order to prevent a tight turn into Flinders Street Station. Since 2006 the bridge has been converted, and is now used only for pedestrians and cyclists, who can traverse the bridge enjoying a display of public art.
It's the tallest building in Melbourne, putting the old Rialto Tower in the shade. It was also the tallest residential building when it was finished, but has since been surpassed. It's named after the Eureka Rebellion, a rebellion of gold miners in Ballarat, north of the city. The blue glass and white stripes represent the flag of the stockade defenders, and the building is capped with stripes of gold and red, to represent the precious metal and the blood that was spilled for it.
You can visit the tower and climb to its observation platform called Eureka Skydeck 88
How the Southbank has changed. When I first visited Melbourne in 1989 it was just a few scratchings of buildings dominated by the elegant Eiffelesque tower of the Arts Centre. It has since grown into a dense clutch of office buildings, that form a soaring pyramid whose apex is a brand new monolith: the Eureka tower. Much of the Southbank has been in redevelopment since the earliest days of the city. It once was a river bank strewn with factories. The 1990s saw redevelopment really take off, which is why the place is almost unrecognisable to me today.
Tucked behind Melbourne's distinctive yellow Flinders Street Station, it is a serene place to wander. You can criss cross the bridges over the Yarra, starting at Princes Bridge down from St Paul's Cathedral, and ending at Queensbridge, under the Rialto Towers. You can walk down the shady promenade, take in a coffee at Queensbridge square, and then head up to the Skydeck of the Eureka tower to see the entire city before you head off.
Southbank and Southgate, Melbourne Victoria
There is plenty to entertain you along the Yarra on a Sunday afternoon. We stared at Crown Casino and walked along the river bank, across the bridge to Flinders Station, explored the Melbourne inner city arcades and then back over the Yarra and back to our Crown Towers Hotel.
Being a Sunday there were two lots of Markets that we noticed...The first on the Southbank side of the Yarra near the bridge that crosses to Flinders railway station and the other lot of markets just across the road from Flinders...behind the Tourist info centre.
Lots of street entertainers around doing all sorts of incredible tricks....and those street statues which come to life when you throw some money in the hat.
There was also a horse and carriage waiting to take us around the city.
Having the ferry from Williamstown stopped at Southgate, I went to have lunch at the food-court in Southgate Shopping Complex.
This is a great place to look for lunch. There are many restaurants and shops here. Please check out the website to know more about them.
Southbank has a great view of cityscape over Yarra river. Southgate Complex is full of restaurants, bars and cafes in 3 levels. You can also do some shopping in retail outlets located in Southgate Complex.
Eureka Tower on Southbank is open to the public with a viewing area called Sky Deck on the 88th floor, giving views across the city and surrounding areas.
Got to love this view but don't try this if you suffer vertigo. Its a long way up, or down depending on your perspective..
They also have a glass viewing room called "the edge" which hangs over the side of the building. Definitintely not for the feint of heart. The Eggboy fears nothing, except heights.
Entry prices are listed on the web site
Went on a Yarra River Cruise, another part of birthday celebrations, January. On a hot day, this is a good way to see some of Melbourne, in a different way. On the Southbank side of the Yarra, there are plenty to choose from, but my friends and I picked the 'African Queen' looking boat, because there were fewer people and no boring old windows, that make river cruises seem like watching something thru a t.v. screen:) Only $10 per person, which was a bargain, we thought! Half hour or one hour available. Tickets readily available and boards with times that next cruise is departing, updated as soon as one leaves. Commentary throughout and good fun, relaxing, picturesque trip. Worthwhile doing. I love being a tourist, in my own town!
Is there anything in the world as pleasing as a quality busker taking up half an hour of your time and purveying his wares?
This guy was good. I loved it. He was one of a few on Southbank on weekends and his patter was guaranteed to charm the audience, alternating between his tricks and manipulation of the spectators.
Ever armed with my camera, I raised it to take a shot when he immediately raised his hand and bade me wait as he threw himself on the ground in three outrageous poses (Pics 1-3) and had me click away. The crowd loved it.
He had entreated a good natured member of the audience to move in closer. Three times over a period of 5 minutes without avail until he went over and actually carried him next to the "stage". Needless to say, the crowd loved it even more.
Poor young Michael got roped in next, holding his arm, finger outstretched, up to the sky, whereupon Asher used it for a coat stand, with the rejoinder that "It's all right, if you get tired, you can switch to the other hand".
His act went for 45 minutes and, as Asher so correctly pointed out, busking is pure theatre. If you enjoy it, make it worth their while. Personally I make it a point to be at the head of the queue if they're good because, think of all the shows you've paid good money to see and not been entertained as well as some of these guys can do.
Polly Woodside was built for William J. Woodside of Belfast, who named her for his wife. From 1884 to 1904, she was registered as a single-ship company, no shipping magnates here. Her primary cargoes were coal from the United Kingdom and, chiefly, nitrate or wheat from South America. Her seventeen voyages in this period each lasted about a year, although in 1893-95, she called in Santos, Chittagong, Trinidad, New York, Rio de Janeiro, and Rosario before returning to King's Lynn.
In 1904 she was sold twice, the second time to Arthur Hughes Turnbull of Christchurch, New Zealand. From 1905 to 1921, renamed Rona (a Maori name), she carried various bulk cargoes between ports in Australia, New Zealand, and Tasmania, with a few passages to San Francisco during World War I. In 1917 she was fitted out to carry ten apprentices. Ending her sailing career in 1921, she was acquired by the Adelaide Steamship Company, Ltd., for use as a coal hulk. She stayed in that rough work under various owners until 1962. During World War II she was requisitioned by the Royal Australian Navy for use in New Guinea.
Active interest in preserving the ship began in 1962, initiated by Karl Kortum in San Francisco and Dr. E. Graeme Robertson, who became chairman of the Polly Woodside Restoration Committee. The ship was transferred to the National Trust of Australia (Victoria) in 1968. Nine years later, she was opened to the public at Old Duke's and Orr's Dry Dock in Melbourne where she now rests with the Maritime Museum.
If you get the chance, do see the old black and white film of this guy rounding Cape Horn. It is one of the most amazing pieces of footage ever. Imagine, in storm force winds, a man with a hand-cranked camera on the top cross beam of a mast, taking film! It's one of the most unforgettable clips you'll ever see.
Some days (and nights) you just get lucky. Thus it was that after my win at the casino I decided to get some night shots and knew the fountain I had seen earlier would be an object of desire.
So, after the fire display (see seperate page) I walked down, set up my tripod and blazed away. Wonderful.
I was about to pack up when I got talking to a young worker, of Greek heritage as it turned out, and he remarked on how wonderful the fountain was, a remark I concurred with. It was what he said next that made me feel really lucky. He said that it had been about two years since it had actually worked!
Thus it was that it made the spectacle doubly enjoyable.
Southbank is located in the centre of Melbourne. It is also the end of the Yarra Bicycle Trail, just under 50 km in length, a very pleasant ride along Melbourne's main river - Yarra.
There you find restaurants, shops, cinemas, hotels and the famous casino. It is a nice walk during day or night. All trams take you there.
Southbank and its environs are an absolute must see.
It once was only old warehouses, and anything but glamourous, but in the last 15 years the whole area has been redeveloped and now it's one of the prettiest parts of the whole city.
The promenade along the river (left bank) leads past many terraced cafes and restaurants, with something to suit everyone.
The views of the river are just excellent from all the way along here, to the other end, at Swanston St (near the Exhibition St)
This photo is taken from one of the bridges over the Yarra near Flinders Street, looking towards Crown Casino (the tall building on the left) and Swanston St.
Be sure to take a stroll along the South bank of River Yarra. There's a nice little pedestrian mall that allows some great views of the river and the city's skyline. You can go shopping at the adjoing Southgate mall, or just stroll and people watch.