Tuesday, April 19, 2016

[MELBOURNE] Down Under from Up Above

While exploring Wikitravel’s Melbourne page, what caught my attention was Skydeck, which is located at the topmost floor of the Eureka Building just a stone’s throw away from the Yarra. They have this attraction called The Edge where you are led to a small glass cube dangling at the edge of that skyscraper for some awesome panoramic views of the city down below. Why did I decide not to buy another ticket for that when I got there? Well, selfie sticks are not allowed, and the souvenir pics they take are so boring and generic.

If you have been to the N-Tower in Seoul, then you already have an idea how this works. The admission price is usually steep, but the views are always worth it IF the weather cooperates. I guess I got lucky that it wasn’t really cloudy that morning. As I already mentioned, if you are taking the Skybus from the airport, you can get a combo Skydeck ticket with a discount. They also sell tickets that cover both morning and evening, if you want two contrasting aerial views of the city.

As for me, it was the Yarra River that I got to know both in light and in darkness. You just cross one narrow street to get to the river promenade from Eureka. The dynamics in the morning are pretty much the same, although I noticed that there were more students roaming around during daytime. The musicians trying to make a living from your donations seem to be a fixture there regardless the time of day. I suggest taking a short stroll again before deciding where to get lunch. Again, there are plenty of options right there.

Flinders Street Station is visible on the other side, and is obviously your next destination. Being one of the city’s more popular icons, this station is a common meetup spot for the locals of Melbourne. If someone tells you to meet him under the clock at Flinders, that’s sort of self-explanatory. I never really found out what time those clocks represent. The names written below them didn’t seem like world cities or anything. I mean, all of Victoria is under one time zone, right? Ask Wikipedia.

Almost all of the tourist attractions around Flinders are within walking distance. Adjacent to it is a church. I don’t know the difference between a basilica and a cathedral so let’s just call it a church. Beside that is a statue of a guy who is probably a prominent figure in Australia’s history. I singled him out because crows have designated his head as their de facto EB spot. If the humans of Melbourne meet under Flinders’ clocks, the birds of Melbourne meet on this guy’s head, and probably shit on him too.

Right across that church is the Melbourne Visitor Centre, which will be your go-to place if you get lost or are in need of vital tourist info. It is surrounded by cool buildings left and right. Actually, that’s what I’ve noticed about this city. It’s like the Prague of modern architecture! I can’t help but admire the vision of Victoria’s architects for them to come up with building designs that really make you stop, stare, and selfie. I guess that’s why I was no longer surprised when I ended up with so many photos of the place!

And for the finale, I opted not to take the tram and walk instead. There is no shortage of parks from Flinders Station all the way down to the Shrine of Remembrance. If you enjoy leisurely strolls and lovely picnics, you will be spending a lot of time at those parks, perhaps even an entire day. The area is full of greenery, walking paths, and statues both artistic and historical. I also spotted some large fountains if you suddenly feel like taking a bath, but I really wouldn’t know if that’s forbidden!

The Shrine of Remembrance is also a city icon, and it hosts a museum within its walls if I’m not mistaken. There was a group of students on a field trip when I got there, which gives you a good impression of how vital the place is not just for Melbourne, but for the whole country’s history. The monument itself is really photogenic, especially on a sunny day. I would even say that it is the most awesome photo of Melbourne that I’ve ever taken, and the Instagram likes agree!

And that’s where my Melbourne itinerary ended. After having some Japanese food for lunch, I then took the tram back to St. Kilda and had a leisurely walk down Fitzroy Street for my last night in the city. It led me all the way to St Kilda Harbour, but I didn’t really get to see much because it was already dark. If you are the lazy beach bum type, I highly recommend St. Kilda. Maybe you’ll enjoy it more than I did.

[MELBOURNE] Down Under from Up Above
[VICTORIA] Budget and Itinerary

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