More About Melbourne: MELBOURNE STAR and THE GREEK PRECINCT

Our first view of the Melbourne Star from the harbor

Our first view of the Melbourne Star from the harbor

It was bright and sunny when we got up on Monday, so we set out early to visit the Docklands, an area by the harbor that was redeveloped after container ships forced the relocation of the port. The main attraction there is the Melbourne Star, a 120 meter high observation wheel with seven spokes, reflecting the seven-pointed star of the Australian flag. (It is modeled after the London Eye–in fact, both were built by the same enterprise; there’s also one in Singapore and in Las Vegas,  and another is planned for Orlando in the near future.) As we walked along the harbor from the tram stop, to my delight we discovered that the area not only is dotted with restaurants and cafes, but is also home to a number of outlet stores–so it is a shopping destination as well.

Colorful building at Docklands; yellow structure in foreground is one of several seating areas, each in a different color

Colorful building at Docklands; yellow structure in foreground is one of several seating areas, each in a different color

Along the way, we spotted another example of Melbourne’s apparent love of color in a highrise that has purple- and teal-color windows. In front of it was more urban art in the form of a seating area of different sizes, shapes, and colors.

After a light breakfast in a cafe near the Star, we bought tickets—a two-trip package so that we could return in the evening to watch the sunset. The bright light of day was not conducive to taking great pictures through the glass of the pod we were in, but the views were magnificent.

View of Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay from the Melbourne Star

View of Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay from the Melbourne Star

After our ride, we took the tram back to the CBD and went looking for what was known as the Greek Precinct on Lonsdale Street to find some lunch. Since Melbourne has the largest Greek population outside of Athens, and we love Greek food, we had been looking forward to having lots of choices.

We were disappointed to find very few Greek establishments over about half a block, and mostly touristy-looking. We did find an authentic-looking restaurant named Tsindos and went in for lunch–it was a very good choice. We enjoyed some mezes (fava spread, marinated artichokes, grilled calamari, Cypriot pita bread) along with ice-cold glasses of ouzo…ah, it was almost like sitting along the dock in Nafplio!

The owner told us that redevelopment had literally wiped out the Greek establishments on Lonsdale Street and that the Greek population had moved to another part of town. Didn’t get the name, but it seems to me that the tourist information we got should have known and pointed that out. If we ever return to Melbourne, one of the first things we will do is search out that location.

We returned “home” to rest and wait out the heat of the day. Then we set out to take our second ride on the Star, this time to watch the sunset…it was amazing! As was looking at wheel with its night lighting.2015-01-12 20.45.102015-01-12 21.02.58

We strolled along the harbor and stopped at a dockside restaurant called Berth to share some delicious fish and chips along with a glass of rose. It was a balmy evening, actually the first during our entire trip, and we sat and enjoyed it before taking the free tram back “home.”

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Skyline reflecting the sunset

 

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