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A winter’s day out in Melbourne

July 11, 2010

By Danielle Lancaster

Melbourne has always been one of my favourite cities in Australia to visit. It’s vibrant, attractive, chic and historical. There’s art, theatre, film, music, festivals, sport and events and best of all its fun.Set around the shores of Port Phillip Bay, its pulsing heart on the northern banks of the Yarra River has much to offer.

Winter maybe not a season many envisage visiting Melbourne, however this is a city made for winter. It’s as if the city turns up the heat, then turns a cheek to the cold and shrugs off any shivers presenting a warmth and variety of affairs that will have many wanting for more, or maybe like me, extending my stay.

While wandering the inner city over the past few days I’ve discovered a few new things: some down alley ways, around corners, tucked away and others out in the open bracing the clear winter skies and revisited old favourites.

Take the State Library of Victoria for example. It’s had a few changes since my last visit. Such as Mr Tulk, its stylish licensed cafe named after the libraries first librarian, Augustus Tulk. Open Monday to Saturday for brunch and lunch, and for after-work drinks on Friday.

Who said libraries had to be quiet?

Currently showing is ’til you drop, a free exhibition ‘which celebrates Melbourne’s passion for shopping, from the Paris end of Collins Street to the local corner store.’ Along with a 19th-century cash register, wartime ration cards, Buckley & Nunn shopping receipts, early colour postcards, classic photographs and catalogues, it also includes photographs by Wolfgang Sievers of Collins Street in the 1960s

’til you drop continues till Sunday 31 October 2010
More: 03 8664 7099 or visit http://www.slv.vic.gov.au/

At the Melbourne Museum we journeyed back in time almost 100 years to 1912 and the intriguing story of the world’s largest and ‘unsinkable’ ship, at Titanic: The Artefact Exhibition. We viewed more than 280 artefacts recovered from the ocean floor and detailed reconstructions of the ship’s interior never seen before in Australia in this Melbourne-only showing.

Where: Melbourne Museum, 11 Nicholson Street Carlton.
When: Till the 17th October 2010 from 10am-5.00p
Cost: Adult: $24 Child: $16 Family: $66 Conc: $18.00 (includes entry into Melbourne Museum).

From our balcony at Mantra on Russell we can see maxims of behaviour, a moving artwork of light by artist Alexander Knox – it’s amazing! This ever changing display illuminated upon the Royal Mail House on the corner of Bourke and Swanston streets ‘mimic’s the city’s colour, rhythm and behaviour, whilst appearing to have a life of its own’. Visible from dusk til late during the winter months until the 31 August 2010 it was commissioned by the Public Art Program, City of Melbourne. Cost: Free

While not new, Shanghai Dumpling Restaurant is a true Melbourne dining treasure. Don’t be fooled by its modest facade for this dumpling and noodle house dishes up generous and tasty servings – we fed four of us for under $50.00 with food left over. Complimentary Chinese tea provided for all diners and if there is a line out the door, believe us, it’s worth the short wait (each time we have been the line moves quickly as they work to get you seated as quickly as possible). Please note payment is by cash only.
Where: Ground and 1st Floor 23 Tattersalls Lane, Melbourne. Contact: 03 9663 8555

Last but not least on our Melbourne jaunt today before heading for some serious retail therapy was the Wheeler Centre, Australia’s first Centre for Books, Writing and Ideas, opened in February 2010. Described as an ‘ambitious Victorian Government initiative which saw Melbourne designated as a UNESCO City of Literature in 2008 and join the UNESCO Creative Cities Network alongside Berlin, Montreal, Seville, Edinburgh and other global creative cities.’ It brings together a host of organizations and for those who enjoy a little literature check out some of the amazing events hosted here: http://wheelercentre.com/events

And we have not even covered the best of the coffee houses, wine bars, parks and gardens or the shopping. We look forward to another visit to Melbourne very soon!

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