Saturday, July 29, 2006

Way Up Down Under

This morning I woke up to blue skies and I did absolutely nothing. OK, well I did some quality couch time with re-runs of Friends and a couple of cereal bars until I felt like I actually had to get moving. It took a while. But, get moving I did, and I thought that this would be the perfect day for checking out the Melbourne Observation Deck.

The Observation Deck is on the 55th floor of the Rialto Tower on Collins Street in the CBD. Up until very recently, (they finished construction of the new tower across the river after I'd arrived) it was the tallest building in the southern hemisphere and the 16th tallest structure in the world at 253 meters or 830 feet. Needless to say, there was a great view. That's ocean behind me people! (Please pardon the bad hair, it was a bit windy!)

So, a little lesson in Melbourne geography:
Photo 1, to the east

  • Follow the train tracks along the river to the mustard and ketchup colored building, that is Flinders Street station.
  • Just beyond the station is the grey and peach granite and sandstone of Federation Square.
  • Take the curve of the river (stay on the same side though) and you will see the gigantic MCG, with Rod Laver Arena (concerts), the Vodaphone Arena (Australian Open), and Olympic Park (more Australian Open).
  • The greenspace across the river is the Botanic Gardens and Yarra Bend Park. The gardens go on forever, and you can get an idea of this because the cream colored "cottage" (Governor La Trobe's cottage? I haven't explored this yet!)is kind of in the middle. (Just on the other side of the skyscraper in the foreground.)
  • The giant skyscraper bisecting your view of the gardens is the new building that is taller than Rialto Tower. I can't remember the name of it, but I think it's all going to be condos. Can you imagine the cost of those? Yikes!
  • At the base of the skyscraper and back up along the river is Southgate, the entertainment complex and the arts center, which borders St. Kilda Road (the only bridge that goes straight across the river).

OK, onto the next.
Photo 2, to the southeast
  • Find the skyscraper and La Trobe's cottage on the left (see? I told you the gardens were big!)The river is running along the bottom of the photo, out of sight.
  • Go to the next skyscraper to the right, (it has grass on the bottom section roof) and follow the right-most and tallest tower to the top. On the left of that tower, on the horizon, is about where I'm living right now in South Yarra.
  • The next skyscraper after that, (foreground, has a crown and a tennis court on a lower section) is part of the Crown Casino complex. The largest casino in the southern hemisphere. Haven't been there yet, so I don't know how it compares. I'm pretty sure it's just as easy to lose my money as in the northern hemisphere, though.
  • The lake and park section above that is Albert Park. The Melbourne Grand Prix runs around that park every year. (spring? fall? I don't know.)

Photo 3, to the southwest
  • Find the Crown tower on the left. That whole complex is the casino. There's a road going through the middle of it, and it ends on the right hand side of the photo at the Melbourne Exhibition Center.
  • Find Albert Park again. Just above the right most side is a pier. That is St. Kilda Pier.
  • See the blue stuff? That is Port Phillip Bay.

Photo 4, to the west
  • Find the Crown complex on the bottom left. Across the street is the Melbourne Exhibition Center. About midway through, to the right, is the Polly Woodside, a ship that has been turned into a museum. You can't get to it though, because of all that construction going on nearby.
  • Follow the river around and you are in the "Docklands". There's talk of building up this area to rival the Sydney Opera House. So far all they can agree on is that there should be restaurants. We will see.
  • Follow the top line of the exhibition center all the way to the water. This is Port Melbourne. You can see the Spirit of Tasmania docked and ready to go.
  • Above Port Melbourne is the industrial side of the bay, with all the factories.

OK, so there's your tour of Melbourne. I am sparing you the rest of the panorama because it is mostly just non-distinct buildings and more importantly, stuff I haven't been to yet.

1 comment:

grahamanda said...

I actually thought your hair looked cute! The city looks beautiful!