My daylight adventures in Melbourne continue with the afternoon adventure. But first, a little bit of food. I decided to stop off at Rocket Burgers and Fries for a meal, mainly because it was a convenient “on the way” stop, but also because I thought it would be a good meal.
Indeed, the Big Bang was a good burger, but what really impressed were the fries and sauce. The fries were to die for – and arguably, I felt it was even better than Lord of the Fries, the last time I went there.
The only thing they didn’t get right – my name. But hey, I can let that one slide :).
Melbourne, as a city, is pretty famous for its sport. As I had already visited one fairly important venue (Etihad Stadium), I thought I should probably take a venture out to another one as well.
Care to guess where that might be?
If you guessed Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Hisense Arena, or even AAMI Park, you’d be pretty much correct. I normally don’t watch sport on TV (let alone actually play any sport in reality), but the one sport I will tolerate, and even follow with an interest, is the tennis. Every year, the Australian Open grand slam is played right here. Notice a pattern? Yep. There’s a tram stop here too. Melbourne’s tram network truly is amazing.
While there is a tram stop here, it isn’t part of the free tram zone, so you will need a valid myki to visit. No big deal, it’s a few dollars to ride.
Near the entrance to the park, it seems there is a project to build an Administration and Media Building. Most of it is already built, and we will see that later. Some event was going on at the time I walked in, with many school children nearby using the arena for some reason. I didn’t try to find out why, but I did enjoy taking a walk around the bronze bust statues of tennis legends.
Having rested, possibly a little too much, the sun was already starting to fall low into the sky, so I had to hurry if I was to see any more of the precinct. It did add a nice yellow glow though.
Making my way through to the rear, we can see Hisense arena, and the MCG coming into view. AAMI Park, with its distinctive cocoon shape can also be seen into the distance.
Not wanting to walk too far, I aborted my initial plan to get to Richmond station, and instead opted to tram back into the city instead. That gave me a chance to go towards the undercover walkway, where I got to see the practice courts to the side which we often see on television coverage.
The undercover walkway itself felt rather futuristic, almost like standing inside a “tube”.
The walkway gave the perfect vantage point to see the new Administration and Media Building.
It also gave a good view into the city, looking along the Metro railway lines.
On the way back, I snapped a photo of the Sir Robert Risson Tram Terminus. This terminus was named after Sir Robert Risson, who is credited with saving Melbourne’s trams.
Other sights seen in the following days include …
… an old fashioned entrance to a subway linking to Flinders Street station which was closed on an early weekend morning, and a BigBelly Solar compacting trash can deployed by the City of Melbourne. I saw Fairfield City Council had trialled such units in Cabramatta but they never were deployed on a wide scale to my knowledge.
Of course, I also saw more development, with another new building going up as seen from Docklands Park on my last day in Melbourne. It seems that the new buildings seem to have a good sense of style and some addiction to tinted/coloured glass. The geometric pattern makes this building look like a coloured prismatic kaleidoscope.
Of course, that was not all. A journey to Melbourne wouldn’t be complete without visiting the National Gallery of Victoria. It’s not far from Flinders Street station and you can even catch a tram if you’re a bit lazy (like myself). The best part is that entry is free, and photography is permitted unless otherwise noted (e.g. traveling exhibits). As a photographer, I love it when that is the case, but even then, photography in a gallery is often a highly challenging task.
From the outside, you see stonework interrupted by a tunnel-style entrance with a water-fall curtain on glass. On the sides, there are fountains, which is quite artistic and a nice place to just sit and watch people walk by.
At the time, one of the traveling exhibits was Whistler’s Mother. When I saw this, I had a good laugh, as anyone who’s watched the Mr Bean movie would. I didn’t actually bother to see the exhibit, but it was noteworthy that it was being exhibited in Australia.
As the artwork itself is best appreciated in person, I will try my best not to post everything I saw on the blog, but there’s at least a few things to act as a teaser.
For one, in the rear of the ground floor, there’s a stained glass ceiling that really lights up on a bright day. The colour patterns offset by the bold dark lines really are amazing. There were even some seats for you to lounge out on and enjoy the view.
Unlike some other galleries, NGV also has an outdoor sculptures area. Of course, not everything is going to be to everyone’s tastes, but it’s a good change if you want some fresh air. There’s seating there too.
Within the gallery, it was quite interesting to see a large Asian collection of various different media, including ceramics, metal, woodblock prints, etc.
Aside from the Asian collection, there is also a sizeable European collection which features many painted artworks, sculptures, furniture, figurines, etc. – in some cases, it really is “overload”.
There is also a collection dedicated to Aboriginal and other tribal communities. Some of the exhibits even invite you to join in interactively.
Whereas others, such as Clinamen, are performance art. Who would’ve thought, a pool filled with white dinnerware and a water pump would create a wind-chime-like succession of different pure tones at random, creating a tranquil and soothing atmosphere.
Even the museum itself is somewhat artsy, as it has some walkways with semi-transparent glass that invoke a tiny bit of fear every time I hear a crack as I step on the panel.
In all, NGV was very much worth visiting and the number of exhibits can easily keep you occupied for more than half the day.
On a more technical note, within the gallery, there is Wi-Fi using Cisco APs, although no internet access. It can be used to obtain more information on exhibits. There are also a lot of Axis network cameras watching you.
Even though they tried to camouflage it, there is also a Sennheiser wireless mic log-periodic antenna spotted in an outside installation.
With this blog, you can see just how I spent my free days in Melbourne. I quite enjoyed roaming around a different city, having never had the chance to travel on my own prior. Join us for the next Melb2016 series post, where I reveal my night time walkabouts.