Day 2: Around Melbourne City Centre
Still suffering from jet lag I was awake ridiculously early at 0500, so I got up and went for breakfast in the hotel before heading out to explore the city.
I had pre-booked tickets online for the City Sightseeing Hop-on, hop-off bus tour which runs throughout the day around the city. I was staying at the DoubleTree by Hilton on Flinders Street which was a short walk from Federation Square and the starting point for the tour.
The full loop took a little over an hour and a half to complete, unfortunately, it was raining sporadically throughout the tour and sitting up on the open top deck was a little bit chilly. After completing the loop, I decided I was going to go up Eureka tower, the tallest structure in southern Australia standing at 297 metres tall which have an observation deck on the top giving amazing views out over the city. Entry costs around $AUD 20 but when I jumped off the bus the driver handed me a discount voucher for admission to the tower and also for Melbourne Sea Life Centre.
It takes 38 seconds to ascend the tower in one of the express elevators and from the top the views are amazing. Sitting watching the clouds and the rain fly past beneath you inter spaced with the clear skies was strange. There’s also a cafe on top of the tower where I grabbed a coffee and a cake.
After the tower, I decided to walk over to the Sea Life Centre as I figured it was better to do something inside with the weather being so changeable. On my walk to the aquarium, I got distracted and ended up heading along the river to the DPO outlet stores on West shore, grabbing a late lunch in one of the many cafes before heading back across the river to the aquarium. The aquarium isn’t overly expensive and if you were on the City Sightseeing bus they give you a voucher for 10% off admission. I spent around 2 hours in the aquarium which is on multiple levels and really interesting before walking back along Flinders Street to take some photos of the station, Federation Square and the surrounding streets. I then headed back to my hotel as the sun was setting and quickly fell asleep.
Day 3: St Kilda
Since it was Saturday I stayed in bed a bit longer before heading for breakfast and back to Federation Square to do the tour out to St Kilda (I didn’t do it the previous day due to the rain), this tour takes around an hour and half to complete the full loop if you don’t get off, with some of the stops being the same as the city centre tour I completed the previous day, so I hopped off when we got to the Crown Casino and then hopped onto the City Centre tour to head to the Harbour Town stop.
Harbour Town is an outdoor shopping centre with the Melbourne Star (like the London Eye – or whatever it’s called these days) located at the centre of it. Being winter despite being mid day on a Saturday it wasn’t busy and I had my own capsule, it takes 30 minutes to complete the rotation and offers some great views of the city. There’s an audio commentary as the capsule rotates around the wheel talking you what you can see and about the construction of the wheel.
After this, I had lunch at Gloria Jeans (Starbucks while they do exist don’t seem to be that popular – although there are Nandos on pretty much every street!) and wondered around the shops, before hopping back on the bus and heading to the Melbourne museum.
This is a really modern building and entry is only a few dollars. It has various exhibits surrounding Australia and general exhibits about the creation of the earth, evolution and the human body. It killed a few hours before I walked down to China Town which covers a few blocks. As it was getting dark and more importantly very cold I made my way back to the hotel for dinner and went to bed as I was going to be up early to fly up to Uluru.