Postcards from Australia: Melbourne

This is a guest post by Willie for the Notes from Africa Photoblog.

During December 2011 I went to Australia to attend a forestry conference. After spending a couple of days in Sydney, I flew to Canberra to start the pre-conference tour – essentially a road trip between Canberra and Melbourne, stopping off to look at forestry areas along the way. From Melbourne we flew up to Brisbane on the Sunshine Coast, and travelled up to Mooloolaba where the actual conference was held.

Melbourne is one of my favourite Australian cities. It has the same cosmopolitan (or is that multicultural) “feel”to it as Cape Town here in South Africa.  The mixture of old and new buildings is also a similar feature to both cities. Although, in many instances it is very different to Cape Town, especially with regard to the river and city structure.  And, do not forget about the hook turns in Melbourne. As a foreign motorist those certainly take some getting used to.

Cape Town can certainly do with a better public transport system.  The quaint tram system in Melbourne is still active and gets you around pretty quickly.

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From a previous visit I remember Coop’s Shot Tower located in the central CBD and went back to find it again.  You can read all about it here.

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The area around the old Flinders Street Station is a good hub to walk from, located close to many interesting areas like the art museum, as well as the new developments.

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Some of the old (above) and new (below) buildings are located in the same area.

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The geometric patterns of the new buildings make for some interesting shots.

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©WMB/notesfromafrica.wordpress.com

The stark old and new contrast . . .

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In the Postcards from Australia series:

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About Willie

I am a forestry scientist living and working in the Southern Cape, South Africa.
This entry was posted in Photography, Travel and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Postcards from Australia: Melbourne

  1. Eha says:

    You have some fantastic camera angles here a lot of local photographers have not thought of! Since I’m originally a Sydney gal who lived for a long time in N NSW and Queensland I am a tad behind some of the newer buildings. I hope I may share with a dear doctor girlfriend down south, who is a wonderful photographer and last year published a book of photos and paintings on the city. She will really appreciate!

    • Willie says:

      Thanks Eha, it was good fun trying to capture some of the interesting spots in central Melbourne. Pity I did not have more time available to explore other parts of this very nice city. Would you perhaps have an internet reference to the book your friend published ?

      • Eha says:

        Can’t find the volume at the moment [in one of the impossibly high heaps of books I ‘seem’ to have all over the place], but won’t forget – we are in the throes of a 50-year heat wave and tomorrow is a kind’of crucial day [heat/wind/dry!], so shall do this after!!

  2. Madoqua says:

    You have captured Melbourne beautifully in these posts. It is a lovely cosmopolitan city, very unlike Sydney which just seems to busy and intense. Comparing it to Cape Town is appropriate too. I could live in both these cities, but would not like to return to Sydney permanently.

    • Willie says:

      Thanks Madoqua. Sydney was interesting to visit because of the well-known landmarks, but agree on your sentiments. I could easily live in Melbourne as well. The natural bush areas to the north east with the old growth Eucalypts is also one of my favourite areas in Oz.

  3. Lu says:

    Is it a particular Australian city trademark to have fantastic older architecture mingling in with the new geometrics? I’ve only been to Perth, but the contrast was clearly evident there. It’s fascinating, and kinda quirky all in one! I think I like the look of Melbourne as you’ve captured it 🙂

    • Willie says:

      Hi Lu. I am not an expert, but saw a fair mix of old and modern architecture in most of the cities visited. There is off course far more to Melbourne than what I’ve included in this post – a highly recommended place to visit.
      Interesting the countryside and cities has some similarities to South Africa, but somehow the smaller Oz towns feel very different from South African towns.

  4. Reggie says:

    What incredible architecture, I hadn’t expected to see that, Willie. And I love the trams! – And can you explain about the hook turns?

    • Hi Reggie, Willie’s a little busy so I’m answering your question.

      This (http://www.onlymelbourne.com.au/melbourne_details.php?id=21337) is a good explanation of a hook turn and the reasons why they exist. There’s a link on the page to an animation of a hook turn.

      I can remember hook turns in New Zealand too. In areas which did not have tramlines. I found them very confusing and counter-intuitive.

      • Reggie says:

        Thank you for the link, Lisa – there is a (slightly blurry) video on it, which illustrates it really well. I agree, it’s a totally bizarre concept – turning right from the leftmost lane!

        Tell you what, though, it would NOT work in South Africa!!! Given the tendency of our drivers – and particularly taxi drivers – to shoot through the light when it’s already turned red, such hook turns would cause frequent fatal car accidents.

    • Willie says:

      Hook turns have been designed by Australians to deter foreigners from driving in the city 🙂 Sharing the road with trams and to ensure traffic flow, it actually does help. There are some YouTube videos on hook turns that may help. Wikipedia also describe some stuff on hook turns. The alternative to a right hook turn I found, was to turn left three times and then go straight – gets you in the same direction.

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