Oz Report – Part 15 – Melbourne Day 5

Tuesday.

Once again we headed in to Melbourne CBD, this time to do the Golden Mile. We had picked up a flyer the previous day from the information centre in Federation Square. Federation Square (also the home of the ACMI) itself is interesting architecturally:

Federation Square

I don’t remember eating downtown, so I must assume that we had lunch before leaving the Boards’. The Golden Mile Heritage trail starts at the Immigration Museum just down the road from Flinders Street station, wends its way through the city, and ends up at the northeast corner of the CBD at the Melbourne Museum. Along the way, we took in the sights and sounds, and made several detours into shopping arcades. Melbourne has an interesting mix of old and new.

ES&A B&SE Detail

Hook Turn

This is a hook turn, and it’s exactly as mad as it looks. I’m glad I didn’t have to make any while I was there. To turn right (yes, across the oncoming traffic since Australia drives on the left) at a hook turn, you must first move into the far left lane. Then, I gather, you wait for the traffic on your right (going the same way as you) to pass. Also, of course, you must wait for a gap in the oncoming traffic. This being downtown, the traffic flow both with and against you only tends to stop when the light turns red. At this point, you seize your chance and make the turn before the perpendicular traffic can get started and thus prevent you once again from doing so. The reason this mad system is in place is apparently something to do with the trams which run in the centre of the road. I still think it’s less than sane.

Block Arcade

Gog & Magog (Royal Arcade)

These photos show the splendour of the downtown arcades. And not only do they look good, they’re packed with great shops. Melbourne is a fantastic city to shop in. My favourite shop (of course) was The Games Shop – a proper board game shop, small but stuffed with quality games. Any shop that stocks both Settlers of Catan and Go is doing something right.

All the time we were window shopping, mini-Elbeno was snoozing in his stroller. He woke up when we reached Treasury Gardens, where we took another detour off the route and into the park. We let the chap out of his seat for a change of pace and went to see Cooks’ Cottage (yes, the apostrophe is really after the s – I can only assume that they’re referring to the Cooks as in the Cook family) and rather oddly, the JFK memorial with its pond. I say pond, but in fact it was completely dry, presumably because of the stage 3 water restrictions that were in force. We did not see a single fountain in Melbourne that was working, and the few ornamental pools we saw in the parks had notices to the effect that they were filled with reclaimed water, however that works.

Getting out of the park and back on to the trail, we went past Victoria’s parliament building, then took a turn through Chinatown and out the other side towards Carlton Gardens, the other big park bordering the CBD and home of the Melbourne Museum (which we had already visited the other day, albeit just to use the children’s part). It was getting a little cold out of the sun, which was now getting low and occluded by the city, and we made a run for the museum lobby where we placated mini-Elbeno with some milk. That done, we decided to get back home and made for the nearest station, which was Melbourne Central. This also turned out to be a big shopping centre, built over an old shot tower which still stands inside it.

Melbourne Central - Shot Tower

We were a little lost inside Melbourne Central for a while, but managed to find the platforms eventually.

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