City Guide

Four Hours in Melbourne 2012

30 Apr 2012

Margie T Logarta explores the Victorian capital’s high points and street-level charms

 


Eureka Skydeck 88

Eureka Skydeck 88 at Eureka Tower is the Southern Hemisphere’s highest viewing platform, reached by two dedicated lifts in under 40 seconds. Enjoy a fresh new way to view the Melbourne cityscape through the unique Edge Experience – a glass cube that actually slides three metres out from the building – or if you’re after an even more hair-raising feeling, simply step out onto The Terrace and expose yourself to the elements. A free Eureka Skydeck Audio tour is available for iPhones at the iTunes App Store. Open daily 10am-10pm. Eureka Tower, 7 Riverside Quay, Southbank, tel +61 3 9693 8888, www.eurekaskydeck.com.au

 

Immigration Museum

The many dimensions of the migration process Down Under from the 1800s to the present are tackled in a series of permanent and special exhibits. Housed in the refurbished former Customs House, the museum allows visitors to experience their own cultural heritage as well as the country’s tapestry of global traditions that have meshed to make up today’s Australian. Not only have human migrants from the Old World been tracked – the animals (cats and mice) and insects (cockroaches) that came with them on a host of boats and steamers are also documented. One must-try interactive exhibit has you testing your skills of discernment as to whether an applicant will make the cut. Running until the end of the month is a showcase titled “Open for (More Than) Business”, about the role local enterprises play in Melbourne’s migrant communities, such as providing links to the homeland for the newly arrived. Located at 400 Flinders Street, www.museumvictoria.com.au

 

City Hatters

Lovingly dubbed “the shop under the clocks” by Melbournians, this sartorial landmark at Flinders Street Station has survived the vagaries of fashion trends for over a century. Here, every possible type of head covering – predominantly for gentlemen, although there are a few for ladies – is available, including the famous Panama and iconic berets all meticulously arranged despite the cramped display space. Helpful staff dispense practical advice on the care and keeping of your purchases. Red-letter events for City Hatters are the Derby, the Melbourne Cup and Christmas season. From the Flinders Street Station main entrance, turn immediately left on arrival – or look right if facing the entrance. Visit www.cityhatters.com.au

Play

The entrance of this unassuming shop at the top of Bourke Street, carrying new and used CDs and DVDs as well as gaming software, is so small you could blink and miss it. Try not to, especially if you’re a media buff because it proves to be a fantastic treasure trove of arthouse obscurities, interesting music documentaries, underground horror hits and boxes and boxes of TV series from the UK and US. This will certainly not be a bland wander through the usual megaplex offerings but a mesmerising trawl of titles rarely seen. Staff know their stuff and willingly answer any questions about content and artist background. Prices are reasonable, but with the tendency to fill your arms with delicious film gems, the bill can add up to hefty proportions, so be warned. Play is located at 50 Bourke Street, tel +61 3 9650 0652, open Mon-Sat 10am-9pm and Sun 11.30am-6.30pm.

 

QV Village

Thirsty by now? Drop by the basement food court of this lively retail and dining complex on Lonsdale Street for a fresh fruit juice or smoothie and a prawn wrap snack. It’s also worth stopping by the QV Square where there’s always some performance going on. Colourful beanbags are scattered on the green patch in front of the stage for those who want to really get comfy while watching. Visit www.qv.com.au

 

State Library of Victoria

With Melbourne’s famous finicky weather, a sunny interval during the day compels swarms of locals to gravitate towards the lawns in front of this Graeco-Roman style building. A great spot to people watch. As a repository it holds over two million books, including the diaries of the city’s founders, John Bateman and John Pascoe Fawkner, and the folios of Captain James Cook, as well as housing the armour of folk hero Ned Kelly, who symbolised the Irish-Australian resistance against the dominance of the Anglo-Australian ruling class in the late 1800s. The SLV is at 328 Swanston Street, www.slv.vic.gov.au

 

Lygon Street

This neighbourhood in inner north Melbourne is a mecca for Italian cuisine and home to the annual outdoor Lygon Street Festa. Have lunch at Toto’s Pizza House (http://totospizzahouse.com) at the southern end, which claims to be the first pizzeria established in Australia, then head to another staple of the area, Brunetti, whose specially blended “Santa Chiara” coffee, hot chocolate (a secret family recipe), granitas and pasticceria provide the perfect end to a great meal. Brunetti is open Sunday-Thursday 6am-11pm and Friday-Saturday 6am-midnight, 194-204 Faraday Street, tel +61 3 9347 2801, www.brunetticaffe.com

 

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