Two hours to see Melbourne from its river was not long. But that's all I had so the only option was to limit the river cruise to the minimum. That equated to just being able to see half the sights that Melbourne has to offer from Yarra River.
Upon getting to the river (half way through my ride on City Circle Tram to Flinders Street Station) I booked The River Gardens Cruise as the departure time and duration worked for my schedule. The cruise ran upstream to the east before turning back. As I had already drained the camera battery on the tram, I needed to get back to Southern Cross to recharge the battery before boarding the boat, leaving me about an hour for the charge. I was glad to have bought the daily pass; it offered me convenience and flexibility of hopping to and fro between the two points. The journey by metro took about 15 minutes each way including waiting.
This time, once in the waiting room at Southern Cross, I stayed put. Almost losing bits once that morning was enough; there was no point in forming bad habits. A full charge on the camera takes longer so once my time was up, I returned to Flinders Street with the charger, hoping that I would be able to recharge it on the boat. I made it back to the boat in good time, thanks to a couple who had booked themselves for that cruise but were late. At least it wasn't me that held everyone else up:-)
Unlike Brisbane, Melbourne's CBD (as depicted by her skycrapers) flanks both sides of the river, especially at Princes Bridge where we started. Gradually, as we moved away from the CBD, the skyline was replaced by stadia used for the Olympics in 1956 and the Commonwealth Games in 2006. It was refreshing to see that when hosting the latter event some 50 years after the former, city planners had clearly upgraded and added to existing infrastructures nearby rather than build new facilities elsewhere. I was comparing this to what London is doing for 2012. Wembley Stadium, host for 1948 Olympics, has been completely rebuilt since and will host (most of?) the Soccer games in 2 years but nothing else (and there was never any chance - or desire - to so do). All other events in 2012 will be far away elsewhere in London. What also surprised me with Melbourne was the location of the stadia - they are relatively close to the heart of the city.
Besides the stadia, there are attractive gardens (including Royal Botanic) on both sides, especially on the South Bank, interspersed by exclusive residencies (including Governor’s). The cruise goes as far as Melbourne's premier wilderness park in the heart of the city - Herring Island - before turning back. That's as far as my camera battery lasted too, giving me about 30 minutes for a recharge before the end of the cruise. Good job they had facilities as I was jumping straight back on to the tram to complete the loop on that.
The You Tube clip on the cruise is titled Yarra River, Melbourne. My thanks to River Cruises for the onboard commentary, and to Blind Hot Gems, supported by Cassie Greaves, for agreeing to my use of Travellin' Light for the audio.
This article is part of a series of my travelog in India and Australia at the beginning of this year. This is the remainder of Day 49 which my previous article had started on. The series is tagged Intrepid Traveller; click the link if you want to go back to earlier articles.
These photographs are also submitted as part of Foto-Friday, a feature of Newsvine Photographers.
©2010 Raj Jani All rights reserved.