Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Occupying Anzac Day

We managed to mooch away the morning and had breakfast at our local cafe. It was the only St Kilda Road cafe open and it was doing a roaring business, especially those who left the Anzac Day march before it had finished.

I half intended to have a free breakfast at the Gunfire breakfast provided by the army. Maybe next year.

Last year we did the dawn service thing.

So by noon, we were hoping things were starting to get back to normal. Some trams were indicating that they were travelling through the city, rather than terminating at the Art Centre. Not that it mattered much as I had a plan and we only needed to go to Southbank. But the parade went well overtime and things were far from normal.

I wanted a cruise on the Yarra River. I have never done this before. It was a beautiful sunny windless day. Just perfect. Should we sail up river past the Botanic Gardens to Herring Island or down river to the docks. I thought the docks might be more interesting and when we checked at the kiosk, the boat was due to leave in ten minutes.

It didn't matter too much which way, so we were not alarmed when the boat headed up river under Prince's Bridge. But it was only to pick on the other side of the river where the vaults have just been opened as restaurants.

The boat was large and not crowded and the kids present were well behaved. It was interesting to get a different perspective of the City and Southbank. There wasn't a lot to see at the docks, but it was good to at least see docks that you had only ever heard the name of. Appleton Dock, Victoria Dock, Swanston Dock, North Wharf and South Wharf. Polly Woodside looks just the same but the sheds to the west have been opened up as cafes I think.

Noted the location of the port control tower where the webcam is.

There was large grassed area to the west of the last apartment block (the golden one that is brown) that I did not know was there. Another apartment building, maybe called Flinders Wharf, behind police headquarters in Flinders Street looked very impressive and not overly tall. It must be nice to look out and see the river just a few metres away.

How many bridges are there over the Yarra? A lot. If you are over 190cm tall, take great care when outside at the stern of the boat. At one particularly low one, in spite of my bravado not to duck, I lost my cool and ducked. I am sure my noggin would have just cleared it but.....

We concluded with a drink and wedges in the sun at Transport Bar and watched the temporay ferris wheel and also the rapidly getting intoxicated young soldiers.

The tour is one hour, cost $20 and is run by Melbourne River Cruises. It seems well organised. (pls send cheque for ad)

So keep it in the back of your mind but don't plan it advance as you will be at the mercy of the weather. Just wait for a really nice day and do it.

We enjoyed it so much, we plan to do the Southbank to Williamstown trip in the future.

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