Tuesday, April 01, 2014

The Big Ferris Wheel.

Our Docklands is very unloved by the general population, but some people choose to live there, so they must like it. It is occasionally referred to as Cocklands and Divorcelands, a place chaps choose to reside in when they are either hormone driven or just separated from their partner and want to have 'fun'. There are retired empty nesters there too. Perhaps in time the empty nesters realise their mistake and will swap over to St Kilda Road where we complain bitterly if we have to wait more than three minutes for a tram and then complain because the tram is full, of people!

I have stopped going to Docklands to see if it has improved. In spite of the Docklands Authority having overall control, developers were allowed to run rampant with an appalling result. It is an excellent example of how to not redevelop a large site with water as the only constraint.

Nevertheless, a couple of weeks ago when I had two days off together, I asked R if he would like to go on the big ferris wheel at Docklands, properly called the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel. I knew he wanted to already and I had been very disparaging about it from when it first went up, and then after a few weeks of operation, broke down and has taken years to rebuild.

I know Melbourne's tram routes well enough, but to get to where we wanted to go required some thought. While some may say Docklands is well serviced by trams, they come in from different city streets, so you have to work out which is best.

Look, here it is, the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel. The commentary informed us it was one of three in the world, the other two being the London Eye and Singapore Flyer. I am not sure that is correct. I recall some time ago more were under construction.


Maybe it was because it was a weekday, but it was not busy. We bought our tickets and we could see it slowly moving around.


We went though a corridor where our photo were taken and then to a foyer, where there was a slightly interesting display. This is our Exhibition Building.


Yes, we love our coffee in Melbourne.


Tasmania is an island state of Australia. I never knew hwere it used to be connected. If this picture is reliable, it is most interesting.


Is this our carriage arriving? A very old woman with a walking stick with presumably her daughter boarded the pod in front of us. The wheel stopped for her to get on.


Our carriage arrived and as fit young men, the wheel did not stop for us. The person who shepherded us on gave us a little chat about the experience and as he pointed out, for some reason our pod had carpet. Just as well. I have a distaste for rubber matting.


We are in flight. These apartments at Waterfront City/Harbour City will not stand the test of time. It is a disgrace that such cheapness can built. The building is covered in tin!


The staffing level was very good. What a pity our public transport does not have such staffing levels. They were all very helpful and pleasant. Well, now we get to the boring bits, what we saw. The docks and a skating rink, the latter being another attempt to attract punters.


A playground is being built. God know, everything else has been tried to attract people to the area.

 

The City Link exit ramp to Footscray Road with Housing Commission highrise in the background.


This is a bit better, a view across Victoria Harbour to Port Melbourne.

Victoria Harbour.

I watched another lot of containers arrive by train and they were joined to the ones in the foreground and the whole lot slowly moved away. You gotta find your entertainment where you can.


Colourful roof top car parking with the city behind.


Bolte Bridge.


In the other direction from the port goods trains is the metropolitan and country train rail yard where they enter and exit from So Cross Station.


Parking is very expensive at Docklands. Maybe if you buy something at the shops, you receive a discount. An old tram can be seen, probably the free City Circle tram.


Hellooooooooo there.


I didn't notice at the time, but there is a sailing boat in the harbour. It took about half an hour to complete a circle. It was very comfortable in the pod.


As we left the pod, we had to pass through the gift shop, of course. This wheel is made of Lego.


I had forgotten about this construction toy where you poked rods into things that held them, but it was around when I was a kid.


During our circuit on the wheel, the commentary included mentions of various attractions Melbourne has to offer. Unfortunately none of these can be seen from the wheel. I think the wheel is really marvellous, but totally in the wrong location. Docks, freeways, train lines, forests of tall building....who wants to see that?

As we almost exited the building, there was our photo and a fabulous backdrop of the wheel had been added. It was a really good photo actually and I then understood why the photographer wanted us to fling our arms in the air. The price, $35, more than the trip on the wheel cost. No thanks. We would have paid $20, maybe $25.

Once outside we decided to walk for a bit. There is an excellent mural depicting many Australian stars of tv, stage and film. This is only about 1/4 of its length.


This is the original part of Docklands. I don't mind this part, but restaurants were either dead quiet or had closed down.


Down with such ostentatious displays of obscene wealth. Bring on the revolution comrade.


24 comments:

  1. Hello Andrew:

    Well, we think you both exceptionally brave to have risked life and limb in such a way, not to mention any feelings of vertigo which you might have developed. A similar wheel was erected in Budapest but, for reasons unknown, was taken down and disappeared completely after about a month. So, no planning on your seeing the Danube from one of its pods!! There is also one on the beach in Brighton [where we have a place when in the UK] and that, or so we are informed, is there for a trial period of five years.

    It is such a pity that your own Docklands area has not been redeveloped/regenerated in a more imaginative, built to last way.

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    1. JayLa, heights do not overly concern me. Perhaps the construction quality of your wheel was questionable. I suppose it is with reflection on Hungary, but I doubt I would use a wheel there. Interesting, the wheel in Brighton was built for the South African FIFA World Cup.

      I wonder if London's Docklands is much better?

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  2. I wonder whether the medibank icehouse will retain its name after medibank has been sold...
    And am fascinated at the thought of a landbridge between Tasmania and the mainland. I wonder why the Tasmanian devils didn't use it? And dingoes for that matter (going the other way). Short lived?

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    1. EC, I would guess the separation happened long before mammals were around. I must follow the connection up one day.

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  3. Andrew, It reminds me London Eye, but in London is bigger than yours. I love travelling by London Eye it's a fun I love it.

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    1. Gosia, we hope to go on the London Eye when we are there, but we plan to do a lot of things and won't get to them all.

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  4. As I have said before I am learning a lot about Melbourne reading you posts.
    Merle.............

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    1. Merle, pity the scenery to show you wasn't nicer.

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  5. Sounds like a place to visit, next time we're down your way. There are lots of Ferris Wheels now, we have one up here in Brisbane. I believe one of the first ones was built in the 'Prater', Vienna's city park around 1897 and as far as I know it is still there.

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    1. That's amazing for its time Bill, and it is quite tall too, although not up there with the really big ones.

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  6. Would you say that half an hour is an ideal time in the pod - not too long so that children become bored and not so short that you miss important parts of the city?

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    1. Is someone thinking of taking the younguns for an outing Hels? It is actually 25 minutes, which is a good time for both adults and children.

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  7. The views from the wheel don't seem terribly inspiring...shipping containers and loading docks.

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    1. Yes Ad Rad, inspiring is not the way I would describe the views.

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  8. Blogger ate my comment. The wheel's location is unfortunate. Should have built at Birrarung Marr or somehwere like that.

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    1. BM would be the perfect location Scott, where they put a temporary ferris wheel for Moomba etc. The reason it was built was to attract people to Harbour Town at Docklands, and we at least had a meal there afterwards, so I suppose it works up to a point. I would recommend it for the wheel experience, but how much better it would be to look down on the MCG, the tennis centre, the river, the gardens, at the city.......the list is long.

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  9. Just by chance or maybe coincidence I've just finished tomorrow's post and it features the Singapore Flyer or rather one of the things visible from it. Must go and have a look see sometime and I must say these windows are much clearer than the London Eye and the S F.
    I think they should put a map if maybe something 'techy' on these things that explain what you can see at a particular moment
    Cathy

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    1. Cathy, that sort of co-incidence has happened to me more than once. I will look forward to what you post. Yes, everything was spotlessly clean, including the pod windows. There was a paper map pointing out various things to be seen. That is one the woman in the pod opposite us was looking at.

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  10. Since I have a teeny tiny hear of heights (and by teeny tiny I mean HUGE) I don't think I'll be riding that ferris wheel :)

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    1. Keith, I did not even think about heights when I was on the wheel. It felt like looking out the window of a public transport vehicle.

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  11. Judging from your photos I agree the wheel seems misplaced. I was expecting more exciting views overall. The Melbourne I know looks much better from street level than what your photos revealed from the Wheel.

    (That is not a criticism of your photos.)

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    1. Victor, an opportunity very much missed.

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  12. Even before I saw your photo of the Construct-a-Wheel I've been wracking my brain trying to remember the name of that toy. Can you remember what it was?

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    1. I cannot RJ. Googling has pointed me to one called K'nex but that doesn't ring a bell for me. I guess one of us better poke about in a toy shop.

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