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Snazzy Jan 27th, 2005 09:13 PM

confederation square
 
G'day, again,
What exactly is Confederation Square? Is it like a mall? Convention center?

Is it worth going to see?

Any good things to buy there? Any good places to eat?

Thanks.

Judy_in_Calgary Jan 27th, 2005 09:33 PM

Federation Square is a complex that houses galleries, museums, movie theatres, restaurants, and shops. Its architecture is original. You can view photos here:

http://www.federationsquare.com.au/index.cfm?pageID=56

>>>Is it worth going to see?<<<

Yes.

Snazzy Jan 27th, 2005 09:47 PM

Thanks, Judy.
BTW, Alberta is my favorite province.
Everyone is so nice there. Loved Banff, Jasper, and oh, yes, the kid in me loved West Edmonton Mall.
The National Park on the border is also gorgeous.


ned Jan 28th, 2005 02:34 PM

Federation Square is just across the road from Flinders St Railway Station and next to one of the major tram stops in the City. Very easy to get to.
Personally, the place itself does nothing for me (especially the architecture....it certainly is original) but there are often events there that bring lots of people to the square. Right now the Australian Open Tennis is on the big screen for example.

Snazzy Jan 28th, 2005 04:12 PM

Thanks, Ned.
It's our my list. I found their website.


Judy_in_Calgary Jan 28th, 2005 09:15 PM

Snazzy, do you mind my asking how long you're going to have in Melbourne? If I knew, I could make some suggestions regarding things to see.

You asked about things to buy at Federation Square. Well this isn't about Federation Square, but I'm fond of Coogi sweaters. They aren't cheap mind you, but I consider them to be very handsome. You can find them everywhere in Australia, even at airport stores, but it's nice to go to Coogi's own store on Collins Street in Melbourne.

My husband and I also like Australian cowboy hats. Ever since we got our Australian cowboy hats, our Canadian cowboy hats have been gathering dust. (A cowboy hat of some sort is a more or less necessary accessory for us during the annual Calgary Stampede.) We found our cowboy hats at a leather store in Warrandyte, which is an outer suburb of Melbourne, but quite a good place to pick them up is the Queen Victoria Market in downtown Melbourne.

On the whole, however, we found that prices tended to drop the further north we went in Australia. They were lowest in Queensland. The problem with that, though, is that because of the tropical climate up north, some things that are available in the southern parts of Australia are not available in the norhern parts. For example, the Coogi sweaters that are available in Queensland tend to be the cotton rather than the wool versions.

Anyway, as I said, if you'll tell me how long you'll have in Melbourne, I'll come up with some ideas. It would be good to know more about your interests. Some of your other posts seem to suggest that you like action / adventure (balloon rides and the like). Do you have any interest in the arts and Australian culture?

Speaking of adventure, whenever someone stops by here who seems to have even the slightest streak of adventure in them, I try to sell them on the idea of the camel ride that I did outside of Melbourne. It incorporates several elements -- a ride in the rural landscape, sightings of wildlife if one is as lucky as we were, listening to Steve or Lise's account of their lives as camel farmers, which is very interesting, a traditional Australian "billy tea" in the bush, and a stiff butt afterwards, but that's part of the adventure. A few posters have thanked me politely for the idea, and a couple of them have said they would consider it, but I've never heard back from anyone who has actually done it.:)

Snazzy Jan 29th, 2005 08:06 AM

Hi, Judy,
Thanks for the Queen Victoria Market suggestion. Found their neat website and bookmarked it.

Normally, we pick one location to explore and then branch out from there. However, this trip is different and I'm a bit out of my comfort zone because trying to see so much of a large country in a very short time is not our usual travel style.

We only have two and a half days in Melbourne. It is pretty much filled now with Federation Square, Queen Victoria Market, Parliament House, Fitroy Gardens, and Phillip Island.

I'm an artsy person but several people going with us are doing adventure activities so I was trying to pick just one to go with them on.

Besides wanting to taste unique foods, I am really coming to see and photograph the flora and fuana unique to the region.

I've researched the frogs, poisonous spiders and snakes, and marcupials. (Would love to photograph a mouse spider and a white tail spider but hope I don't run into any unexpectedly.)

From my research, I've learned there are a lot of restaurants on Lygon St. in Melbourne but they are more "touristy" places and there are other places to eat are along side streets. I have several places in my notes but will probably wait until we get there to choose them.

We always go to at least one supermarket when we travel to look for similarities and differences in products. So I've noted the names of supermarkets given in other posts in my notes and hope to locate at least one.

The Opera House is one of the stops in Sydney along with nine others. I don't think we can fit anything else in on that stop. I have several restaurants picked out there including La Renassiance Cafe, Towers Restaurant, Aria, and Cafe 2000 (for their gelato ice cream). Wild Fire on the Quay has also made my list.

I will look for Coogi sweaters and the hats. Thanks for the suggestion.

BTW: I've ridden a camel... for about five minutes while it was being led by its owner... Probably not the same as riding one on a camel farm. Rather like being on a horse except the sway (lope?) was different. (Also mounting and dismounting...)

Thanks. Cheers.

Judy_in_Calgary Jan 29th, 2005 09:17 AM

Snazzy, a neat thing to do upon arrival in Melbourne is to take a ride on the free City Circle Tram. It does a circuit around the downtown core, and it provides a pre-recorded commentary of the places you're passing. You can easily spot which is the City Circle Tram. It's a burgundy colour, whereas Melbourne's regular trams are green and yellow.

When it comes to the Queen Vic Market, you may be aware, but I'll mention it in case you are not, that it's closed on Mondays and Wednesdays.

All of the things that you want to see in downtown Melbourne are doable in a single day. The Fitzroy Gardens are lovely but, to my taste, the Royal Botanic Gardens, just a bit further along, are even better.

Busloads and busloads of people go to Phillip Island. You really need to get there early to get a seat. Another poster mentioned here a while ago that she paid extra to be in a more exclusive viewing area. I don't know what the extra cost was. But, whatever it was, I would venture a guess that it was worth it.

I think you mentioned in another post that you'd be visiting Australia when it was hot, in other words summer. Be warned that the outing to see the fairy penguins will get you back to Melbourne pretty late, midnight or perhaps later. The fairy penguins come ashore at dusk, and in summer that's pretty late. Phillip Island is quite a drive from Melbourne.

Also, be warned that Phillip Island is cool in the evening. No matter how hot the day has been, go to Phillip Island with well covered feet and a jacket. There is nothing between Phillip Island and Antarctica, and the evening breeze is cool, even if the day has been 90 deg F.

Besides Phillip Island's tendency to be cool at night, the whole of the area in and around Melbourne has very variable weather. It can be 105 deg F and 65 deg F the next day. Yes, you need hot weather clothes, but you also need a few extra layers in case it's not so hot. Here is a website where you can see the coolest and warmest temperatures that Sydney and Melbourne have experienced in each month of the year:

http://www.condoconcepts.com/temp.htm

If you have 2-1/2 days in Melbourne, I would suggest spending 1 day driving the Great Ocean Road. Actually the GOR, from a little way outside of Melbourne to Adelaide, deserves 3 days. But it's worth seeing what you can of it in a day. You probably can get some distance beyond Apollo Bay. A nice place to stop is Lorne. Just behind Lorne are the Erskine Falls. They are set in a lovely temperate rain forest. It's pretty to walk down the steps to the bottom of the falls and then walk along the banks of the Erskine River for a little way. A very photogenic spot.

If you are interested in art, there are a couple of things that might be of interest to you. One is the National Gallery of Victoria. It's an attractive building in its own right. In addition to that, for no extra cost over and above the gallery admission fee, one can get a very interesting guided tour that explains the progression of Australian art. The National Gallery of Victoria is just a bit further down St. Kilda Road from Federation Square. (It's called St. Kilda Road south of the Yarra River but changes its name to Swanston Street north of the Yarra River.)

Another thing that you, as a person with artistic interests, would enjoy is the William Ricketts Sanctuary in the Dandenong Ranges to the east of Melbourne. However, it would be difficult for you to fit it into your itinerary. But the William Ricketts Sancuary is a really magical place.

When it comes to food, I think it would be much more interesting for you to peruse the food halls of the Queen Vic Market than to visit a supermarket. Try to go to the Queen Vic Market early in the day, as the selection declines as the day wears on.

The supermarkets in Sydney and Melbourne are essentially very similar, so I don't think it would be worth visiting one in each city.

Although Australia has North American style shopping malls and supermarkets, there still are many high street type shopping precincts left. Basically each residential neighbourhood has one. The high street still has a butcher, a green grocer and a baker. Quite a few shoppers still buy their groceries from these individual shops. The quality of produce in them is very good. In my experience the quality of fruit and veg in the little green grocer's store is better than that in Safeway.

Hope that helps.

Snazzy Jan 29th, 2005 10:23 AM

Yes, it helps a lot.
Thanks, Judy.


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