Melbourne grabbed me with it's cool, coffee and culture and held on to my attention the whole time I was staying and exploring there. Though I did have an unusually touristy introduction to the city as on my first day I climbed (in a very fast elevator) the city's tallest building and enjoyed 360 views.
If I'm lucky enough to have more than a few days in a new place, I tend not to dive straight in with a tourist activity like this. I like to get lost wandering the streets, battling with a crisp new map and hopefully stumbling across my bearings and a few hidden gems. However, I was not alone on this occasion and it was agreed in our group that this would be a quick and easy way to get our sense of direction on track.Eureka Skydeck prides itself on being the highest public vantage point in the southern hemisphere and the experience is organised (and priced) like a well-oiled, almost slippery slick, operation. You are shuttled up to the 88th floor and invited to walk a full circumference round the indoor viewing gallery. Within minutes I could see and understand the lay of Melbourne's land; St Kilda and the bay, CBD, the Australia Open (we could even see matches being played on the practice courts through telescopes), the huge stretch of Westgate Bridge and the sprawl of the city's suburbs.
And if those kind of views weren't enough for vertigo to kick in, we also had a chance to step outside on to a small platform cage to feel the elements and allow a gust of wind to accompany our view. I say cage because it is completely covered with ceiling to floor strong wire mesh. If there's one thing I learnt about Australia it's that they take "health and safety" very, very seriously and on the 88th floor, that's fine by me. The final and ultimate optional additional thrill on Eureka Skydeck is going out on an edge, The Edge; a small glass box that once loaded with people emerges from the side of the Skydeck. The floor then changes from opaque glass to transparent and you can look right down on to the street below you through the floor. Thanks to a large queue for this (and admittedly our growling stomachs) we didn't hang around to do this. The Edge also comes at an additional cost, which I would rather have spent on lunch, but we did enjoy watching other people look at the world beneath their feet.
As of May 2012 Skydeck costs $17.50 (AUD) per adult and concessions/children are less. The Edge is an additional $12.00 per adult. It's a pricey experience and not one I would prioritise but if big city views are your thing, this is one of the best out (and up) there!
Frances M. Thompson
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