Thursday, June 22, 2017

Walk Around Melbourne City (Day 1 in Victoria)

Melbourne is the second largest city in Australia. The city grew from a small settlement beside Yarra River that flows into the Port Phillip Bay, with the name Melbourne was given in 1837, after the name of the British Prime Minister William Lamb Melbourne. The city started to grow rapidly around 1850s during the gold rush in Victoria, and the momentum continues till the recent day. During our four-day tour, we visited Melbourne city area, Great Ocean Road and Healesville Sanctuary. We start with the city area first.

Autumn is a great time for a city walk. We started our tour from Royal Arcade at Burke Street to Block Arcade at Little Collin Street. From there, we walked to Yarra River, enjoying the beautiful view along the river, and then we went back to Block Arcade for lunch. We visited Melbourne City Hall, St. Paul Cathedral, Federation Square, and made our last stop at Melbourne Central Station. The whole trip took around 6 hours 30 minutes (starting at 10:30 till 5:00 pm).

Melbourne Royal Arcade is the oldest arcade in Australia. Completed in 1870, the building was designed by Charles Webb with a fusion of Italian, French, and English traditional styles.


Even with a few renovations and upgrades, the originality of the building was carefully maintained. We can see the tiles on the floor in this photo are similar to the photos taken by Herald Sun in 1940.

 Shops selling food and souvenirs are available along the Royal Arcade.

Gog and Magog are two mystical residents of the Royal Arcade (upper left). Both of them strike on the chimes every hour, day and night, since 1892. These two giants are still loyally guarding the  Gaunt's Clock, but the tenant below has changed from a button selling shop (photo taken from Herald Sun in 1940) to a jewelry shop.

We left Royal Arcade, crossed Little Collin Street, and entered Block Arcade on the opposite side of the street.The sign for Block Arcade at the street was a bit small.

From Little Collin Street, we need to pass through an alley with cafes and gourmet eateries to reach Block Arcade.

We can easily differentiate Block Arcade from Royal Arcade from the tiles on the floor- Block Arcade is well decorated by colourful mosaic tiles, while Royal Arcade uses black and white tiles. Block Arcade was celebrating its 125 years of establishment (1892 - 2017) during our visit.

Sunday afternoon, around 2 pm. We queued for 5 minutes in front of an eatery for lunch. People were buzzing around Block Arcade, looking for empty seats.

From Block Arcade, we crossed Flinders Street to reach Yarra River. We crossed the river using the pedestrian bridge to Southbank Promenade. 

Southbank Promenade is a nice place to walk around. The yellowish deciduous leaves enriched the autumn mood to the city.

Crown Resort- a combination of casino, hotels, and entertainment complexes is built beside the promenade.

The view along Flinders Walk on the other side of Yarra River.

Street performers (upper left) and seagulls (upper right) could be seen along the promenade. We can always opt to cycle along the river side as well (lower right), as the bicycle lane is available for cyclists. 

After lunch at Block Arcade, we took a short walk down Collins Street to Melbourne City Hall (at the intersection between Collins Street and Swanston Street).

Melbourne City Hall was completed in 1887. Joseph Reed, the designer of the building also designed the State Library of Victoria.

St. Paul's Cathedral is a huge building located at the intersection of Swanston Street and Flinders Street. By foot, it is just 5 minutes away from City Hall. The current building was completed in 1891, with integrating the ideas of two designers- William Butterfield and Joseph Reed (Joseph Reed designed the Royal Arcade as well). As the spires were constructed some 35 years later in 1926 using different type of stone, the colour of the spires are darker compare to the rest of the building. 

The cathedral is open to public. But all visitors are required to be quiet and be respectful to the people who come to pray. No photo is allowed at prayer area. More information about the cathedral is available at the official website of the cathedral.

Flinders Station is just opposite of the cathedral. It was under restoration during our visit. From the cathedral, we could see station with people cycling around or travel by electricity-powered city tram. The city tram is free of charge, so it might be a good idea to hoop onto a tram and take a free tour around the city.

After a short visit at St. Paul Cathedral, we crossed the Flinders Street to the Federation Square- a place with many events, exhibition, and performance. We might be able to get a free guided tour there as well. We didn't stay long at the square.

From the Federation Square, we took around 10 minutes walk down Swanston Street to the State Library of Victoria. Designed by Joseph Reed and completed in 1854, the library holds more than 2 million books.  We took a short rest outside of the library.

Last stop of the day- Melbourne Central. 4 pm, it was the time when the big Seiko Clock at the central court performed its hourly routine- a drop down compartment with puppet cockatoos and minstrels playing the song Waltzing Matilda. We shopped around Melbourne Central for around 30 minutes. 

All the puppet performers hidden in the clock.

The 50 meter tall Coop Shot Tower was built in 1888. It is located at the center court of Melbourne Central. A glass roof had been built on the top of the tower.

Melbourne is a beautiful city with a blend of old heritage Victorian Architecture buildings and modern sky scrappers. The city is well planned in the way that the old was preserved, while the new tall buildings are not overshadowing the old ones. It is such a great metropolis that we can amazingly find various types of food- Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, Lebanese, English, Indian, Italian, you name it, so it is unlikely we will get starved on the street. On top of that, the street was clean, safe, and relaxing. Well, we don't really need to worry to get hit by a car or bicycle, but do watch up for the quiet eco-friendly electricity powered trams. 

The old among the new ones (upper left). Well, we just highlighted an extreme one, hah! We can find many types of food on the street (upper right). Well, at some points, we can see some extra-ordinary objects, such as horse wagons (lower right) or a ruin of an old library. 

A blend of new and old buildings in Melbourne.

That's our first day in Melbourne. As we stayed in our uncle's house, he brought us for some fine Malaysian dinner at night, which we would like to share it later. Second day, we had Great Ocean Road in our itinerary.






No comments:

Post a Comment