Melbourne is Australia’s cultural centre– known for its gardens, restaurants, cafes, arcades and laneways, the arts and its relaxed elegant charms. For just 4 hours of morning tour by Gray Line, we were introduced to many beautiful things of the city. We started from Northeast and toured ‘Little Italy’ and the ‘Greek District’ with its plethora of restaurants and boutique shops. We saw the exquisite architecture of Melbourne University and the Royal Exhibition. We passed by the Potter Mural Sculpture, the Parliament Building, Princess Theater, Borsari Restaurant, the Grand Hyatt, Melbourne Cricket Ground (the largest one in the world!) and their China town. Our driver also touched base to the previous Police Communication Headquarters which was bombed in the 90s so criminals can simultaneously rob banks around Melbourne (interesting, right?).
Here are the 7 Highlights of Our Melbourne City Tour here in Victoria, Australia!
1.) Exploring Melbourne Arcades
We had a guided walking tour through some of Melbourne’s best arcades- Royal Arcade, Block Place, Block Arcade, Centre Way and Centre Place. We met Gog and Magog in the Royal Arcade and Tapping Man in the Block Arcade.
Gog and Magog are two 7 feet giants who have been striking the time on Gaunt’s clock since 1892. They were carved from clear pine and modelled on the figures erected in Guildhall, London in 1708 to symbolise the conflict between the ancient Britons and the Trojan invaders. Mythology tells of the giants Gog and Magog (also known as Corineus and Gogmagog) having been captured in battle by the Trojans and made to serve as porters at the gateway of an ancient palace on a site later occupied by the Guildhall.
The Tapping Man is Melbourne’s Cheery Icon. From the 1930s to the 1970s, the Cherry Tapping Man greeted shoppers and children in L.P. Alexander’s in busy Swanson Street. He was then lost and found years later, broken and very dirty. Through the generosity and care of Mr. JB Reid, then chairman of James Hardie Industries, he was restored clothed and donated to the National Trust of Australia. Now with the sponsorship of Haigh’s Chocolates and The Block Arcade, the little man will continue tapping and turning his smiling face to the daily delight of Melburnians and visitors in his new home.
2.) Flinders Street Railway Station
This is the world’s busiest railway station, first railway station in an Australian City, and the fourth longest railway platform in the World. With me in the picture is the Gray Line tour guide driver they call Big Ben.
3.) Hosier Lane
Taking a walk and admiring the graffiti street art in Hosier Lane is one of the most popular things to do in Melbourne! You can also do graffiti art in every wall in Melbourne as long as you have a paper permit from the city government.
4.) Fitzroy Gardens
Take a wander in Fitzroy Gardens which is one of the major attractions in Melbourne. It is also my first time to enter a conservatory of plants and flowers. It has a long history of over 150 years. Few other capital cities can boast such a significant garden so close to the City’s centre.
5.) Cook’s Cottage
Inside the Fitzroy Gardens is the cottage of Captain James Cook, the Discoverer of the East Coast of Australia. The cottage was originally built in the village of Great Ayton, Yorkshire, United Kingdom in 1755. In 1933, businessman Russel Grimwade purchased the cottage and transported all of the original pieces (rocks, roofs, furnitures) in this area. Entrance fee is 6 Australian dollars. Inclusive of that are 18th century costumes you can wear!
6.) St. Paul’s Cathedral
St Paul’s Cathedral stands on the site where the first public Christian services in Melbourne were led by Dr. Alexander Thomson in 1836. The style echoes the grand Cathedrals of Europe. Considered as the final masterpiece of the English revival architect William Butterfield, the Cathedral is built in the neo-Gothic transitional style.
7.) Queen Victoria Market
Originally a cemetery in the 1800s, the area is now known as an iconic flea market in Melbourne. We bought our souvenirs here for family and friends. I bought Australian towel showing the Australian flag and 9 ref magnets.
We would like to thank Ms. Mia Lancaster and Gray Line Melbourne for the wonderful assistance we received. On our next adventures, we would prefer to send proposals first with Gray Line as we really had wonderful moments with the tour!