A Travellerspoint blog

F1 Grand Prix - Melbourne

sunny 21 °C

When we first arrived in Melbourne we took a walk to Albert Park and realised they were setting up for the 2015 Grand Prix - the first races of the season.
The track runs around the park, which is very close to the beach
and of course, everybody is catered for
The following weekend we took a walk around the track to see what we could see. although there was plenty of noise, there was no way of seeing through the high security screens.
However, we were treated to the air show, including a deafening F18

Quantas Jet

Australian Red Arrows - The Roulettes

Posted by charlystyles 13:37 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Cat Cafe - Melbourne

semi-overcast 20 °C

During my last day in Melbourne, there was one place I had to visit that I've been told about by someone at the hostel - the Cat Café!
A place where you can go and get your feline fix, whilst having a drink or snack.
Cat Cafe Melbourne is Australia’s first cat cafe! Offering a whole new social environment never before experienced in Australia. Providing a fun, comfortable, and most importantly, kitty filled space for you to relax and play with several lovely cats from rescue shelters.
The cats live at the premises, therefore they will have everything they could possibly ever need right at their paw-tips.
The café has up to 15 rescue cats and kittens. There is a small fee to go in, which goes towards the cat charity.
Cat Cafe’s are becoming known world wide, the first opening in Taiwan in 1998, and since spreading to Japan, Vienna, Russia, Germany, China, Thailand, the UK, France, and more! The success of Cat Cafes is due to several reasons, the main one being that cats are awesome. In city centres it can be difficult to rent a flat that allows animals, and owning an animal for its entire life is a big responsibility and costly, therefore Cat Cafes are a great solution to these problems.
It has also been proven that interacting with cats can lower high blood pressure, stress, and anxiety.

Named for her grey colouring, Winter has a face that could melt any heart.
People have literally gasped at her beauty! She loves attention and pats from people, but just be careful as she can suddenly get quite frisky! She loves to playfully swipe at the other cats and then run away. She seems to be unsure if she wants to be a member of the kitten chaos group, seeming to prefer guerilla tactics for entertainment. Winter was from the Lost Dogs Home.

This little guy is our second youngest kitten.
He had a bit of a rough start at life with a severe eye infection resulting in his right eye being removed, but this has not stopped him being as curious and playful as the rest of the kittens. He is often in with the rest of the kittens during play time and loves wrestling with Ruby (an even match!). His personality matches his sweet little face which has won him many admirers. Braveheart was from the Lost Dogs Home.

This girl embodies her larger cat relative instincts.
She will always best her fellow kitties when playing or pouncing and goes for anything that moves. She is not the most affectionate towards people, however she does often groom the other kittens, perhaps as a way of apologising for beating them up!

Shakespeare has a very large and dramatic personality as his name suggests.
His purr will start up with pats and he is ever curious and playful. His little pot belly is a testament to his love of food! His cheeky little face is guaranteed to make him a favourite at the cat cafe. Shakespeare is from the Lost Dogs Home.

Jasper is most definitely our most vocal cat!
He will meow for pats, food, play, and pretty much anything. He is also our second best lap cat after Burma. Jasper will happily make himself at home on your lap as long as you will bathe him with love and pats. He can be a little shy when it comes to playing with the other cats but does his best. Jasper is from the Lost Dogs Home.

Being the shiest out of the bunch, Lexi is often by herself sunbathing, sleeping, or looking for pats.
She is the only female at Cat Cafe Melbourne to have previously had a litter and she does have a ‘mum’ vibe about her. She loves to get gentle pats from people and doesn’t mind being picked up. She finds she is a little too old to fit into the kitten chaos group, but enjoys watching their antics and on rare occasions she will even join in. Lexi was from the Geelong Animal Welfare Society and was a bonded pair with Clara.

A known trouble maker, Waldo is always in the middle of the kitten chaos group.
He loves to play with anything that moves, including the older cats tails! He particularly likes the tickle sticks and will go for them when they are dragged across the floor. When he is tired or wants attention he will seek out a lap to fall asleep in, or cuddle up with another kitten. Waldo was from the Lost Dogs Home.

This distinguished gentleman is our second oldest cat at 7 years old.
Unlike most cats he loves to stare people directly in the eye and watch everything that goes on around him. He has taught the young ones to stay away from him as he is only interested in three things; pats, sleep and food! And he doesn’t mind the old belly rub
He doesn’t always want to be picked up, but when he is he doesn’t want to let go! He grips on like a koala and you may need help getting him off. On the rare occasions that he plays, he does so in a very serious way. Lynx was from the Lost Dogs Home.

This little guy is sure to break some hearts!
When he is not zooming around with the kitten chaos group he seeks someone out for affection. He has no qualms about climbing into your lap and patting your face with his paw to let you know he wants pats and words of praise. If he is pleased with your love he may give you a love bite in return, ouch!
His favourite sleeping place is a sheep skin rug which he almost seamlessly camouflages into except for his grey markings. Sherlock was from the Geelong Animal Welfare Society.

Lovely Lottie loves attention!
She adores nothing more than being the centre of attention and showered with praise and pats. She will reward you with a very loud and enthusiastic purr and possibly a love bite or two. The only thing bigger than her purr is her enormous fluffy tail! She is also a member of the kitten chaos group and joins in whenever something moves. Lottie was from the Geelong Animal Welfare Society.

Lopez may very well win the award for being the cheekiest out of the kitten chaos group.
He loves to start play-fights! He will attack other cats that are sleeping or minding their own business and he is always up for a bit of play time. He is constantly curious and communicates with short high-pitched chattering. Lopez is from the Geelong Animal Welfare Society.

Our sweet and precious Ruby is our youngest cat resident.
She was born in March 2014 and had her eye removed due to a severe eye infection. Ruby has an amazing little personality, she loves pats, play and manages to look even cuter while sleeping. Despite her disability and sweet nature she does give as good as she gets with the other cats during play! Ruby was from the Lost Dogs Home.

By the time we left, Eric had most of the cats' attention...

It didn't make up for missing my Maisey, but it was nice to stroke and play with so many beautiful pussy cats.

Posted by charlystyles 16:35 Archived in Australia Tagged cat_cafe Comments (0)

Secret Gardens - Melbourne

Sculptures, monuments, the Arts Centre and the Royal Botanic gardens

sunny 24 °C

This walk started in the Queen Victoria Gardens where hundreds of trees were planted when piped water arrived in the late 1980's.
Standing proud among the parkland is the Shrine of Remembrance was created to meet the needs of a grieving community after the extensive loss of lives in the First World War (1914 –18).
114,000 Victorians enlisted in the First World War.
Of the 89,000 of them who served abroad 19,000 were killed. They were buried in distant graves far from home at a time when most Australians did not travel abroad.
The Shrine provided a place where Victorians could grieve as individuals, as families or as a community and where they could honour and preserve the memories of those they had lost.
Sunk into the centre of the Sanctuary floor like a grave, the Stone of Remembrance is a potent reminder of the sacrifice made by Victorian service men and women. The inscription GREATER LOVE HATH NO MAN is taken from the Bible, the Gospel of John, 15:13.
The missing brick you can see in the ceiling creates an aperture for the The Ray of Light ceremony. A ray of natural sunlight passes through the aperture in the ceiling of the Sanctuary and falls onto the Stone of Remembrance over the word “love” at precisely 11.00 am on 11 November each year. This is the moment when the armistice was signed in 1918 marking the end of hostilities in the First World War. The ceremony is now reproduced every half hour using electric light to allow all visitors to the Shrine to experience it.
Frank Doolan, the surveyor of the Shrine, and astronomer, Dr Joseph Baldwin completed the arduous calculations to position the aperture with the help of the government. Decades later, Doolan solved the problem presented by daylight saving by inserting two mirrors within the aperture’s shaft.

The Perpetual Flame was lit and the forecourt was dedicated by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II on 28th February 1954

The Australian Hellenic Memorial, September 2001 - dedicated to the memory of those Australians who served and died in the Greek Campaign and in World War II, celebrating the bond forged between the peoples of Australia and Greece. The Oikos, the focal sculptural element, is made of two stones; the upper limestone portion if from Crete, while the bluestone base is from an Australian quarry.

The walk continued into the lush green world of the Botanical Gardens, one of Victoria's most popular tourist destinations.
Originally an Aboriginal mission, the gardens were established in 1846 and cover 38 hectares. The gardens are home to an astounding 52,000 plants and 12,000 species from around the globe.
The Gardens' first director Ferdinand von Mueller introduced many in the 1850's.
There are several lakes
including the Japanese Pond
The peaceful winding path led us past the National Hebarium, and the Tropical Glasshouse

Titan Arum - one of the world's most fascinating plants was about to bloom!
The stunning Titan Arum, also known as Corpse Flower was currently growing at a rate of 10cm per day! Usually pollinated by flies or beetles, the flowers give off a powerful fragrance upon opening - much like the smell of a rotting corpse!

The Rose Pavilion was restored to commemorate the centenary of the Gardens' Principal Sponsor, Pacific Dunlop Ltd, in 1993.

Chinese Garden - exotic flowers depicted in Chinese art inspired early plant collectors. Many of the plants that were collected have since been hybridised to suit Australian conditions.

Bluestone steps

take you up past the Directors Wall

Temple of the Winds - designed by Guilfoyle and built in 1901, dedicated to Lt Governor Charles La Trobe who selected the gardens' site and nurtured their early growth.
The view from the Temple looks across to Melbourne Park

Lych Gate - literally meaning 'body gate'. Roofed Lych Gates were originally built in churchyards to shelter coffins awaiting burial.

King's Domain - The Grotto was once a quarry, nowadays it's an enchanting hidden fern gully.

Pioneer Women's Memorial Garden - created as a memorial to the pioneer women of Victoria, as part of the celebrations of Melbourne's Centenary in 1934. It was designed as a sanctuary to represent the 'old world' that pioneer women sacrificed when they moved to Australia.

Sidney Myer Music Bowl which draws thousands of people for open-air concerts.

King George V Statue - who allowed King's Domain as a title for the park when the grounds were enlarged and upgraded in the mid 1930's. King's Domain is a significant site for many Indigenous people as it includes a burial site of 38 Aboriginal people.

Edward VII Statue - Queen Victoria's son.

Sculptures in the park, including The Phoenix, The Pathfinder, The Water Children and The Water Nymph.

The Genie - A fantasy play sculpture for children.

A beautiful walk...
in a great city

Posted by charlystyles 13:21 Archived in Australia Tagged melbourne_botanical_gardens shrine_of_rememberance Comments (0)

Street Art - Melbourne

Melbourne is known as one of the world's great street art capitals for its unique expressions of art on approved outdoor locations.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, much of the city's disaffected youth were influenced by the graffiti of New York, which subsequently became popular in Melbourne's inner suburbs, and along suburban railway and tram lines.
Street art includes stencils, paste-ups and murals and does not include graffiti or tagging which is illegal.
Melbourne was a major city in which stencil art was embraced at an early stage, leading to the naming of Melbourne as "stencil capital of the world".
The adoption of stencil art also increased public awareness of the concept of street art. The first stencil festival in the world was held in Melbourne in 2004 and featured the work of many major international artists.
The City of Melbourne acknowledges that public spaces provide a gallery and stage for artistic expression and approve permits for street art with building owners permission. Legal street art contributes to a vibrant urban environment and can change continually on a day to day to basis.
Watch the video here:
Signal Street Art

Eric the half a bee....
As we wandered down one of the key locations, we saw this wedding making the most of the colourful backdrop for photos...
One of my favourite shots was perfectly timed with this little girl posing for her parents...

Even in the evening light, the ery images shine through...

Posted by charlystyles 13:20 Archived in Australia Tagged melbourne street_art Comments (0)

Moomba Carnival Parade - Melbourne

sunny 26 °C

Moomba is held annually in Melbourne, and is Australia's largest free community festival and one of Australia's longest running community festivals. It is celebrated during the Labour Day long weekend (over four days, from Friday to the second Monday in March). Moomba is culturally important to Melbourne, having been celebrated since 1955 and regularly attracts up to a million people with a record attendance of 1.7 million set in 1996.
Traditional events include the Moomba parade, crowning of Moomba monarchs, fireworks displays, carnivals in the gardens along the river, river activities including watersports, water floats, the birdman rally, as well as live music and bands.
A parade (or "procession") and floats through the streets of Melbourne have been a key part of the Moomba festival since its beginning.
Each year it attracts over 100,000 people to Melbourne's city centre as well as being shown on free-to-air television in Melbourne.
The first Moomba procession was held in 1955. It was first televised in 1957, the year after the Melbourne 1956 Olympics.
The floats have an annual theme, usually an elaboration on "Let's get together and have fun", the avowed mission and vision statement of Moomba and are usually from sister cities (of which Melbourne has six), schools and community groups.
They also promote some aspect of the arts, like singing, dancing, or design.
Swanston Street is the traditional home of the floats and spine of the city.
This year close to 2000 eager and passionate participants joined the fold.
Community designed floats dazzled in the spotlight this year and were accompanied by droves of talented performance troupes, professional and amateur dance groups, as well as school participants.
The final entry in the procession is Melbourne's Dai Loong Association’s Millennium Dragon, which normally winds its way from the ground floor to the lower ground of the museum hibernating in readiness to be awakened for the Chinese Spring Festival (Jan-Feb) and the Moomba Festival (March) each year.
Standing over three metres high, the Millennium dragon is the largest in the world requiring eight people just to carry the head.

After all have passed through, the children play in the closed off street with the celebration confetti

Posted by charlystyles 13:18 Archived in Australia Tagged moomba_parade Comments (0)

Elegant Englaves - Melbourne

A stroll East form the city to discover elaborate ironwork, classic columns and lofty verandas from the Victorian era.

overcast 22 °C

Fitzroy Gardens is a haven on the edge of the city, with many points of interest.
Set aside as a public reserve in 1848, the 26 hectare site officially became Fitzroy Gardens in 1862. IT is the City of Melbourne's premier garden, where different eras of Melbourne's history are represented, both in the landscape and the built features.
On the way to the gardens, as part of the Moomba Festival we past Melbourne Slide - a temporary 400m water slide set up down Lansdowne Street.img=https://photos.travellerspoint.com/721016/Slide_Melbourne.jpg]

1930 Conservatory
The Fairies Tree - Carved by Ola Cohn as a gift to the children of Melbourne "I have carved a tree in the Fitzroy gardens for you and the fairies, but mostly for the fairies and those who believe in them..."

Captain Cooks' Pine - one of the many thousands of plants that became known to the people of England following James Cook's major voyages of exploration.

Captain Cooks' Cottage - the home of explorer James Cooks parents was shipped from England and rebuilt here.

Hepburn Terrace, built in 1874, is a fine example of that Victorian homes that define inner Melbourne.

No. 182 George St is one of Melbourne's oldest homes, built in 1856.
Two neighbouring homes form the 1880's Foynes and Eastcourt have masses of ironwork.

The 1865 home of Melbourne's first surveyor, Robert Russell

The magnificent Queen Bess Row, built in 1886 is three private homes.

No. 179 Gipps St was the townhouse of Constance Stone, who became Australia's first woman doctor in 1890.

Former 1880's Cairns Presbyterian Church, converted into apartments after a fire in the 1980's.

Posted by charlystyles 13:00 Archived in Australia Tagged fitzroy_garden Comments (0)

Waterfront Scenes - Melbourne


St Kilda Beach
One of the most popular of the Port Phillip Bay beaches, St Kilda is a wide, sandy beach that is suitable for swimming and a host of other activities.
St Kilda Pier is a favourite for promenading and taking in excellent city skyline views and fabulous sunsets.
A ferry service operates to Williamstown and Southbank whilst, the marina has extensive boating facilities, including ramps.
There were plenty of kite surfers making the most of the off-shore breeze

When royal visitors came to Melbourne, everyday casual enjoyment of St Kilda Pier gave way to pomp and ceremony.
The first royal visitor were Duke and Duchess of York, they came to open Australia's first Federal Parliament are the Melbourne Exhibition Building in 1901.
When fire destroyed the St Kilda Pier Kiosk on 11th September 2003 it seemed that St Kilda had lost it's soul. the building was restored in 2005 using original drawings from 1904.

Queen Victoria Market
Melbourne's main fresh produce and general goods market has a strange history, occupying the site of the original Maelbouren General Cemetery, which was first used in 1837. In 1877, the idea of converting part of the original cemetery into a market place was considered a practival one, and at the time meant relocating only 3 graves.
However, the markets popularity grew and in 1917Parliament granted that 10,000 remains at the cemetery were razed.

Palais Theatre
The Palais Theatre is a former cinema, now functioning exclusively as a concert venue, located in St Kilda, Victoria, Australia. With a capacity of 2,896 people, it is the largest seated theatre in Australia.
The building, which retains many of its original features, is considered one of the finest examples of Art deco architecture in the country and is included on the Victorian Heritage Register.

Luna Park
Melbourne's Luna Park is a historic amusement park located on the foreshore of Port Phillip Bay in St Kilda, Melbourne, Victoria.
It opened on 13 December 1912 and has been operating almost continuously ever since.

Mitsubishi FTO
A small, but exciting site for me in Melbourne...
although not as well looked after as mine.

Posted by charlystyles 16:50 Archived in Australia Tagged luna_park st_kilda queen_victoria_market Comments (0)

Opals - Melbourne

Opal is the national gemstone of Australia. Australian opal has often been cited as accounting for 95-97% of the world's supply of precious opal, with the state of South Australia accounting for 80% of the world's supply.
Australia produces around 97% of the world's opal; 90% is called light opal or white and crystal opal. White makes up 60% of the opal production, but cannot be found in all of the opal fields. Crystal opal or pure hydrated silica makes up 30% of the opal produced, 8% is black and only 2% is boulder opal.
Because of this, before arriving in Melbourne I had decided that I would treat myself to an opal for my birthday.
ok, so now I need to design and make a ring to hold it!

We came across the perfect place, Lightening Ridge Opals
Located at 175 Flinders Lane, they have a large open showroom that comfortably facilitates groups of up to 30 people. Specialising in opal, all visitors are educate with an in-depth opal lesson. A full demonstration is given to each customer and they explain the differences between each type of opal, the cutting and polishing process, and how opals are valued by their amazing colour, brightness and pattern. With over 40 years extensive experience in the opal industry, we learnt so much about the finest gemstone in the world.

The Le Souëf Family
From the arrival of Albert Le Souëf to the Australian shores in 1838, the Le Souëf family has played an integral part in the country's history. Albert became devoted to public life and held a number of offices throughout his career; he was an active member of the Board for the Protection of Aborigines, Usher of the Black Rod in the Victorian Legislative Council, and in 1882, became the director of the Zoological Gardens at Royal Park. Three of his sons, William, Ernest and Albert Sherbourne would follow in their father's footsteps and become zoological gardens directors.

William took over the directorship of the Melbourne Zoo in 1902, Ernest went on to establish the Perth Zoo in 1897, and Albert Sherbourne established the Taronga Zoo in 1916. One of William's sons, Cecil Le Souëf, nicknamed "Zoo", established an Aquarium at Rosebud in Victoria in the 1950's. He went on to discover various species of native flora and fauna, including a species of Butterfly in Victoria's North-East.

His son, Nick, graduated from Monash University and spent most of his university vacations on the Opal fields. After a brief period of teaching he decided to follow his true passion: Opals! He left the teaching profession and became a full-time Opal miner and cutter.
He has followed his career until today, apart from a brief 2 year stint when he took over his father's Aquarium and turned it into the Rosebud Marine and Reptile Park. During this period, in the 80's, he initiated some unusual activities for the promotion of the establishment, and still holds the Australian Records of habitation in a Snake pit (3 weeks), a Shark tank (3 weeks) and a Red Back (Black Widow) Spider cage (3 weeks). There was even an appearance on the US Television show "That's Incredible". Nick currently spends his time between the Opal fields and the Melbourne store and has published his first book "What You Think is What You Get!"
After spending most of their youth "getting their hands dirty" at Lightning Ridge, the home of the Black Opal, Nick's son Jonas and daughter Atheka now run the Melbourne showroom.

The shop also keeps a small collection of Australian Wildlife! Including Blue-Tongue Lizards, Red Back Spider and Scorpions.
Visitors are welcome to hold or pat our friendly lizards!
"This family's passion has had a huge impact on our knowledge and awareness of Australian wildlife" Lisa O'Sullivan.

Formed over 100 million years ago, the Australian Opal captures the essence of natural beauty.

Opal is a type of hydrated silica, most of which was formed during the Cretaceous period between 65 -140 million years ago, in an inland sea called
The Great Artesian Basin. It occurs to a depth of around 90 feet (30 metres) underground, in veins of about 3 feet (1 metre) called "The Opal Level". There may be up to 5 Opal levels down to 90 feet. Recent research has discovered that the drying out of Australia's landscape created conditions that trapped silica-rich gel in the host rock, which then later solidified to form opal. The transition from a tropical to an arid state about 100 million years ago provided the right circumstances for opal to form. The colour comes from the refraction of light off the microscopic silica particles.

Opal occurs in layers of 1 metre, down to around 30 metres underground, and is retrieved by basic tunnelling methods with pick and shovel and small machinery such as jackhammer and hand drill.
Dynamite is used for blasting to access Opal producing areas. Each miner is permitted 2 claims, with a claim measuring 50 x 50 metres. This area costs around $150 per year, and the miner gets to keep whatever he finds.
There are no large companies or corporations controlling the Opal industry. The shafts are sunk using a 3-foot Auger drill, and then loose rough Opal is brought to the surface using a hand or hydraulic winch, or a blower - a large vacuum cleaner that dumps the rough Opal into a tip truck.
The Opal is then "puddled", or washed, to remove the loose sandstone and expose any potential colour.

About 2% of all Opal found is actually worth cutting.
Most Opal is cut by hand, using Diamond tipped grinding and sanding wheels. Every cutter will have their individual preference for the wheel combination. We use 2 grinding wheels (120 & 220 grit), 2 sanding wheels (600 & 14,000 grit) and a felt polishing wheel, with cerium oxide (polish powder).
Rough Opal is cut by hand to about 80% complete, and then adhered to a dopstick for easier cutting.

Opal Types
the most common types of opal are black and white (milky)

Opals are classed based on three things:



Solid Opals
100% natural opal gemstone, except for cutting and polishing; it has not been altered in any way.

Solid White Opals
This is the most common type of opal.
It is found mainly in Coober Pedy, South Australia. Coober Pedy is known as the Opal Capital of the world, it is the world's largest opal field. There are two types of white opal, milky and crystal. Milky opal is opaque, with the colours visible on the surface only, where as crystal opal is transparent, the colors being visible from within the depths of the stone.

Opal Doublets
A piece of solid, natural transparent or translucent-coloured opal is glued to a dark backing (usually black glass), imitating nature's solid stone.
The dark base enhances the Opal's colour. Although some doublets can be quite valuable they are also a very cost-effective way of purchasing a beautiful Opal at less expense.

Opal Triplets
A manufactured opal consisting of three layers.
A paper-thin slice of solid natural transparent or translucent-coloured opal is glued to a dark backing of black glass, with a dome of clear quartz crystal glued onto the top. The crystal dome is to magnify and protect the opal. A triplet is less expensive than a doublet as less opal is used.

Boulder Opals
This type of Opal is only found in the Queensland fields.
It is opal veinlets found within ironstone boulders. The seam of opal is the face, like an opal veneer with a natural ironstone backing. Boulder Opals have a similar appearance to Black Opals but are less valuable.

Boulder Matrix Opals
This is also found in the Queensland fields, it is a mix of opal veinlets and ironstone. When these are polished, it produces an amazing assortment of stones, some looking like landscapes, others so bright the opal looks like tiny laser beams within the dark brown host rock.

Solid Black Opals
Only found in the Lightning Ridge area in the far north-northwest of New South Wales
It is the world's rarest, most valuable, brilliant and stunning opal of them all. A layer of opal, like a band of colour, sits on a naturally occurring dark backing. It is from the colour of the backing that Black Opal gets its name. This dark background known as potch, ranges in colour from light grey through to midnight black.

Posted by charlystyles 13:16 Archived in Australia Tagged opals ligthning_ridge Comments (0)

Festivals - Melbourne

sunny 27 °C

Melbourne's Moomba Festival is an institution. It is Australia's largest community festival which attracts more than one million people each year.
With the famous Moomba Parade, thrilling Birdman rally, vibrant carnival atmosphere and countless free shows and activities. Moomba truly is the people's festival

Birdman Rally amazes spectators as a flock of entrants don their inventive homemade flying devices and jump from the banks of the Yarra to see who can soar the furthest for charity.
A longstanding feature of the festival, the Birdman Rally is packed with just the right amount of silliness and loads of goodwill as participants compete as either Hawks or Penguins for the Charity Jackpot.
Fundraising efforts of our Birdmen contribute towards extra ‘distance’ being added to their score. For every $100 raised over and above the $500 minimum, Birdmen will be awarded an extra metre to their technical flight distance.

Moomba Masters Championships
Throughout the weekend, the world’s best waterskiers and wakeboarders strive to win at the biggest international waterski competition and the first stop in the 2015 Nautique Wake Series – the Moomba Masters Championships.
The series focuses on Slalom
and Jumps

Port Phillip Muscle Fest
Celebrating one of our best-loved seafoods, South Melbourne Market joyously presents the Port Phillip Mussel Festival.
Over the weekend expect a great mussel cook up, from iconic local restaurants to amazing street food to the sounds of Dixieland and New Orleans Jazz, there were mussels in boat load!

Posted by charlystyles 13:44 Archived in Australia Tagged birdman muscle_fest moomba Comments (0)

The Cosmopolitan - Melbourne

semi-overcast 27 °C

large_Melbourne_Central.jpgThe City of Melbourne has produced some great walking guides, that help you get to know the city and see parts you might not see, or notice.
The Cosmopolitan Walk shows you stunning city views, glamorous Collins Street, sophisticated shopping and Chinatown, covering around 3.75km.

Beginning at the bustling Flinders Street Station
the walk began past Federation Square
and the carriages waiting to take tourists on a trip around town
up Swanston Street, and past the magnificent St Paul's Cathedral:

Past the monument of explorer Matthew Flinders

and the Burke and Wills monument dedicated to their doomed journey of discovery across the continent - the first to cross the continent from south to north. They perished on the journey at Coopers Creek, Central Australia, 1861.

and then there was this little fella

Opposite is the Melbourne Town Hall

Reaching Collins Street you could catch a whiff of Chanel along Melbourne's most sophisticated shopping Street, home to Gucci, Prada, Hermes and Louis Vitton. Majestic tree-lined Collins Street is one of Melbourne's most prestigious addresses.

At the Regent Theatre it's worth a look at the entrance hall

and then over the road to Athena on the parapet of the Melbourne Athenaeum.

At 161 On Collins, inside the atrium are glass sculptures that represent Significant Melbourne Landmarks and Buildings.

At the corner of Russell Street is Scots Church, where Dame Nellie 'Melba' (named after her birthplace Melbourne) sang in the late 1800's. Her father built the church.

On reaching the columns of 101 Collins Street, if you go into the neo-classical foyer you'll see an artistic experience including four water pools, stunning marble, granite columns and sumptuous gold leaf panelling.

In the 1970's, the Oriental Hotel made way for the soaring twin towers of Collins Place, where you can now explore the shops and café, and check out the view of the city from the Sofitel restrooms on the 35th Floor - a cheaper alternative to the Skydeck!
and outside was an interesting statue
and an interesting reflection in a mirror pillar...!

At the top of Collins Street is the Old Treasury Museum. It sits grandly at the intersection with Spring Street and was Victoria's Treasury, designed in the 1850's by 19 year old JJ Clark.

Turning left into Spring Street you're still in the heart of the city, but the calm green oasis of the Treasury Gardens is nearby.

Opposite is the famous Hotel Windsor, the grandest surviving hotel from the 1880's. The Windsor's afternoon tea is almost and institution.

On the other side of the road is Parliament House and the tranquil gardens beyond. In 1860 rioters tried to storm parliament, seeking land reform. You can still see two horizontal gun slits installed by the government after the riot behind the columns on the façade.

At Princess Theatre (1886) Federici's Bar is named after Frederick Baker, the actor who died on stage in 1888. Some say his ghost still haunts the building.

Fascinating Chinatown begins at Tianjin Garden. This is one of the oldest Chinatowns in the western world - where hard-working gold miners, herbalists and cabinetmakers first settled in the 1850's.

As you turn into Little Bourke Street, past Her Majesty's Theatre which has staged over 100 musicals since 1934.

The Chinese Museum

is home of the Millennium Dragon, the world's largest parade dragon, which we saw at the Moomba Carnival a few days later, with over 26 people carrying it!

A little further down Little Bourke Street, past old shops, mission halls and secret laneways you come to the Methodist Mission, where the walls warn 'Commit No Nuisance'

The lane is splattered with signs of all sorts of interesting information...

Even the paper bags are happy...

Taking the scenic route back to where we started we explored the maze of shops and café down the narrow laneways, walking through Royal Arcade
Block Arcade,
Where we stopped to watch Gog & Magog chime the time:
These two seven foot giants have been striking the time on Gaunt's clock since 1892. They were carved from clear pine and modelled on the figures erected in Guildhall, London, in 1708 to symbolise the conflict between the ancient Britons and the Trojan invaders.
Mythology tells of the giants Gog and Magog having been captured in battle by the Trojans and made to serve as porters at the gateway of an ancient p[alace on a site later occupied by the Guildhall. It is traditional for Gog to stand to the north and Magog to the south.

Block Arcade
over Collins Street through Centre Place
and Degraves Street

Walking back to Flinders Street Station, we stopped to listen to a group playing called Woodluck.
They were very good, I think, but you can make up your own mind here:

Posted by charlystyles 13:06 Archived in Australia Tagged melbourne the_cosmopolitan Comments (0)

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