Melbourne: 18th November 2015
William Wordsworth once said that one of the best ways to view the hills of the English Lake District was from a boat on one of the lakes. That’s true in many other places where there’s navigable water, and Melbourne is no exception.
Cruises along the Yarra River leave from the dock just below Federation Square. Two cruises are on offer; up the river, as far as Herring Island or down the river to the docks. Or, as we did, you can take both … at a discount … and see everything.
The boats are wide, but low, reminiscent of Dutch canal boats … they need to negotiate some extremely low bridges. The bridges were so designed so that horses would not have so hard a task crossing them.
But, they’ve also confined an otherwise seaworthy Tall Ship to her berth.
While the glass and concrete towers on the skyline are impressive, and, I should imagine, even more so at night, I feel that it’s a great pity that the grand old Victorian brownstones which used to dominate the cityscape are now dwarfed by the ever-taller buildings of commerce. It seems that even St Paul’s Cathedral seems to be hiding shyly among its glitzy modern competitors.
One thing they haven’t overshadowed, though, is the ornate, slightly kitsch gingerbread of Flinders Street Station, standing proudly on one corner of Federation Square. That’s one busy place, mainly because the whole square offers free wifi. Finding shade so you can see your screen is a different proposition altogether, though.