Monday, 28 October 2013

Happy Blue Melbourne Monday

Welcome to Melbourne, Australia!

We're gearing up for our big Melbourne Cup holiday weekend... Yes the whole city grinds to a halt for a horse race on Tuesday 5th November! And guess what? No-one has told the weather that we're all going to be on holiday next weekend, it is grey and bleak looking all week...

Last week the news was full of dreadful bush fires raging in New South Wales and yet Melbourne residents were battening down the hatches coping with rain, hail and strong wind bursts. 

We were supposed to be playing our first cricket match of the season last Thursday but the pitches were waterlogged...

So let me take you back a few weeks when Spring had arrived with all the promise of a good one and skies were blue... 
SouthBank, Yarra River looking towards the Eureka Tower.
Melbourne struggles to compete with Sydney's wow factor. There is a constant competition between the two places as to which is better. Of course this is a bit of a one sided debate as Sydney'ites refuse to enter into any such discussion, believing there is no debate. Sydney wins!

Sydney certainly enjoys a spectacular setting of the Sydney Harbour with it's iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge. Here in Melbourne, we do like to think that we are the place to visit for sports (and dare I say it culture?) and of course, we are the world's Number One Most Liveable City  - is it boasting to add for the third time?!

Whilst Melbourne originally flourished on the banks of the Yarra River, in more recent years the city has tried hard to develop another waterfront area, the Docklands. This former swamp turned docklands home to wharfs, heavy rail infrastructure and light industry fell into disuse  with the containerisation of shipping traffic and for a while became home to Melbourne's underground rave dance scene... (C'mon! It's proof that Melbourne's hip and happening..)

Thankfully urban renewal, with the promise of the area becoming a major tourist destination and home to over 20,000 people kicked in. The area attracted the national headquarters of a number of banks and companies, and the area is slowly (very slowly, many Melbournites would argue) living up to the hype.

But breaking news I think it's getting there! This new leisure and retail complex is gradually coming to life.  Many fine restaurants enjoy the lovely water views. You can find Harbour Town Shopping Centre, and my favourite drawcard to the area - Cosco (just call me sad! )

But wait there's more...Have you been to Ice-house? It's Australia's largest ice sports and entertainment area, home of the Olympic Winter Institute of Australia.

Many high rise apartment blocks have now been built taking advantage of the scenic views over the water. You could even berth your boat downstairs in the Victoria Harbour D'albora Marina, although a friend tells me you need $3000 AUD per week for the pleasure.


Melbourne Star Ferris Wheel with cabins under wraps
One of the most visible landmarks in the area since 2006 has been a large ferris wheel. However the wheel which finally opened to the public in January 2009  (two years behind schedule) was closed after only 40 days of operation due to structural defects, including cracks and buckling.

So it has been exciting to watch the rebuild. This wheel was expected to attract 1.5million visitors to the area and it is no surprise that the Docklands traders who have suffered as a result of the inoperable wheel, are calling for the Melbourne Star's reopening as soon as possible.

No date has been announced but it must be getting close! All 21 refurbished cabins of the 120 metre, $100 million wheel have now been installed. 


Melbourne Star seven years in the making!

The Melbourne Star was purchased earlier in the month by Sanoyas Rides Corporation. The word on the town is that the much troubled Melbourne Star will be alright now that the Japanese are involved!




It looks to me like the Melbourne Star is just what is needed to attract more visitors to the Docklands area. I hope is opens soon!

Do you have a large Ferris Wheel near you? Or have you been on other Ferris wheels in other cities such as the London Eye?

Hope you have a good week, I'm off to sort out my horses for the Melbourne Cup. I'm afraid my red hot tip from a few weeks ago Puissance de Lune pulled up lame after Saturday's Cox Plate and has now been withdrawn from the Melbourne Cup. So don't rely on me for any good tips ever again!!!


Linked to Blue Monday
Thank you to Sally! 
Please pop over by to see Sally and the other Blue Monday participants if you can!




Smiling Sally
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