I’ve just got back from a short visit to Melbourne, Australia and return to a subject I touched on more than two years ago – trams.
In a modern city fizzing with fashion, great nightlife and elegant dining, you’d think trams would stand out as a bit passé. Not a bit of it – they’re part of the fabric of Melbourne, providing a convenient and environmentally friendly way to get around. And one route – the City Circle tram – is free, dropping you off close to various visitor attractions.
I loved Melbourne – it has everything you’d expect from a major city, plus a beach area (St Kilda) only a tram ride away. The Eureka Skydeck provides the best views of the city, the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) tour is a must if you’re a cricket fan, and the best free attraction in my opinion is the Royal Botanic Gardens – a glorious place to spend some leisure time.
My only regret is that I was too early for three major events in the city: the International Flower and Garden Show (March 24–28), the International Comedy Festival (March 24–April 18) and, of course, the Formula 1 Grand Prix (March 28).
by Andy Moreton
If you’re thinking of heading Down Under, Luxique offers six luxury hotels in Melbourne, all with their own special features.
I was discussing with a friend who shares my fear of heights what would constitute our ultimate nightmare.
We thought of such vertiginous venues as the Eiffel Tower, the glass-floor elevators in the CN Tower in Toronto, a bungee jump platform and any number of ancient Italian bell towers with just some flimsy wooden bar between you and fresh air.
But eventually, we decided that, for sheer unadulterated terror, it was impossible to separate ‘The Edge’ at the Eureka Skydeck in Melbourne and the Grand Canyon Skywalk.
The Edge Eureka Skydeck Melbourne
I wouldn’t want to spoil the whole ‘Edge’ experience by giving too much away, but suffice to say that those brave enough to volunteer are projected nine feet out from a building in a glass box 900 feet above the ground. Thanks, but no thanks.
The Grand Canyon Skywalk
The Grand Canyon Skywalk extends 65 feet over the edge of the Canyon’s west rim. The glass floor is built to support the weight of nearly 800 people, 100mph winds and major earthquakes. Visitors are given shoe covers to prevent the highly polished glass floor from being scratched. I think I’d need something to cover my eyes as well.
by Andy Moreton
Melbourne’s own version of the London Eye – the Southern Star - opens officially on November 28th.
The observation wheel, situated on the city’s western fringe, is the biggest of its kind in the southern hemisphere, standing some 120 metres (394 feet) high.
On each 30-minute ‘flight,’ up to 420 people in 21 walk-round gondolas will get all-round views of the city skyline, docklands, Port Phillip Bay and, on a clear day, as far as Geelong.
The Southern Star cost A$100m (£43.5 million / $65 million) of private funds to build and is expected to attract some 1.5 million visitors a year. The State’s Tourism Minister, Tim Holding, is excited: “This is one of only three of these anywhere in the world and we think that makes it an amazing addition to Melbourne’s tourism line-up.”
by Andy Moreton
Luxique offers six of the finest luxury hotels in Melbourne – from a former pub (The Prince) to a warehouse conversion (Adelphi) and a century-old Italian mansion (The Hatton).