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Published May 6th 2013
Please don't fall, please don't fall, please don't fall
As a spur of the moment decision on board the tourist city circle tram heading towards Docklands, I glanced across at my daughter and said, "How about we go ice skating?" As you would imagine the response was instant and we were rushing to grab our bag to get of the tram.
I must also mention that neither had ever skated before. Well actually that's a lie because in the late 80's I did love to roller skate to Cyndi Laupers' "Girls Just Want to Have Fun", but that's another story. The other thing I hadn't thought about before suggesting we go skating is that my daughter was wearing a 'princess' dress.
Anyhow we arrived to give it a go. At the entrance there were plenty of staff swanning about as we headed to the counter to inquire about the 'free' 15 minute lesson for people who have never skated before. We were given a daft look and a bit of a sigh, "You have to pay entrance fees and skate hire before you get your 'free' lesson. That's $46".
We went to collect our skates and were greeted with "Size?". Not a particularly friendly lot! With skates in hand we went to the seating area and put them on, then we realised we needed to pay more money for a locker to put our shoes and bags in.
Finally we made it onto the ice and the skating rink is world class and much better than I had envisaged. There were heaps of people skating and all of them looked like they had been skating for years. Message to self, don't fall. We gripped the side of the rink in a desperate attempt to stay upright as a toddler glided past with ease. At this point I noticed all the skating aids on the ice keeping beginners upright, so we came off the ice and went off to find one. We got a plastic seal, which of course you have to pay for, $5 for half an hour. As we got back to the rink there was an announcement that asked everyone to leave the ice as it needed to be groomed and it would take 15 minutes, which was fine but we only had the seal for 30 minutes in total.
On return to the ice there were the 15 minute free lessons. I really want to say something positive about the lesson but am finding it difficult to pin point, although it was good to have a section of the rink closed off with fewer people.
I am surprised how quickly you pick it up and before long we were skating in the middle of the rink without the comfort of the wall to reach for. Not that we were at all stylish skaters, but we were upright.
After about 40 minutes my little girl had had enough and wanted to go and see other sights of the city.
To sum up our experience at the Medibank Ice House, I would have to say it's expensive ( though cheaper for a family ticket $76 with skate hire) and the staff (the ones we dealt with anyway) were not particularly helpful or friendly. Once on the ice though, we did have a great time and it's lots of fun. I am sure she will love telling everyone at school about her ice skating expedition and despite some small issues I would recommend trying it, even if it's just once.
Getting there is easy. If you're taking the train into the city you can get off at Spencer or Flinders St Stations and then catch the free number 35 city circle tram. It arrives every 12 minutes 7 days a week. Get off at Waterfront City Docklands stop ( on Docklands Drive) and it's a short walk along Pearl River Rd to the Ice House. If you're driving you can find car parking on Waterfront Way and Pearl River Rd from $2 an hour or a flat rate of $6.