I am a world traveller & a mom of two, (8 & 6). I love to meet people, and am fascinated that there are 7 billion stories out there to be explored. I think Melbourne is the most happening city to live in with all the fun activities around town.
Published December 26th 2013
Do you really need a reason?
The latest tourist attraction to open in Melbourne is the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel (opened December 2013), the inauguration of which was long-awaited since construction first began in 2006. The latest star to appear on the Melbourne horizon is indeed a world-class attraction. Nothing less than a top-notch experience is expected indeed, as Melbourne is home to many such unique attractions, and offers a myriad of choices for residents and tourists to enjoy their visit to the 'most liveable city in the world'.
My family and I had an opportunity to visit the Star on the second day of inauguration and it proved to be an awesome experience for the adults and the kids alike. With the sun shining, we were expecting long-range views from 120m above. After purchasing tickets, we headed on to the escalator located nearby which led us right to the entrance.
The lobby is decorated with information panels about the Melbourne Star as well as other attractions around the City of Melbourne. Since there were not many guests, we were able to breeze through the "waiting aisles" to the main attraction, where a group of smiling staff members explained to us that the Wheel does not stop for passengers to embark, so we had to 'hop on'. Easy enough and extremely exciting, we were in our private cabin (again due to a minimal number of guests) within seconds.
Once securely locked in, our ride upwards began with an audio accompaniment. If viewed from the point of embarking, the Wheel turns in a counter-clockwise direction at a speed of approximately 1km/hr and takes about half an hour to complete the loop. The glass cabin windows provided us with beautiful views, especially at the top-most point. Once we disembarked, a beautiful souvenir shop welcomed us and we couldn't help but spend another half an hour there.
Despite the fact that Melbourne has two other viewing decks, i.e. Rialto Towers and Eureka Skydeck, the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel is a must do. Here are some reasons why:
1. One of three in the World: Melbourne is the third city around the world where such an Observation Wheel has been built. Although not the highest (in fact it ranks third among the Giant Wheels), it offers views of up to 40 kms in any direction on a sunny day. The views are a sight to behold indeed. The slow pace at which the Wheel revolves gives ample time and pleasure to take in the sights and refer to the map provided to pinpoint the landmarks that are so well known to Melburnians.
Melbourne is the third city in the World to have an Observation Wheel at a height of 120m
3. State of the Art Cabins: The most fascinating part of the Wheel is the cabin you get to ride in. There are 21 air-conditioned, audio enabled cabins, that offer a 360 degree view. Each cabin (as big as a mini bus) can carry about 20 passengers. These cabins are fully enclosed, which protect the riders from the elements and provide them with a safe and secure moving viewing platform. What fascinated me the most was that each cabin is "free moving/rotating" i.e. it moves on its axis, otherwise, the riders would be rotating around the cabin and landing on the ceiling of the cabin at the Wheel's highest point.
4. Location: The other two viewing decks (as mentioned above) offer breath-taking views of the Yarra and the City. However, Melbourne Star being located in the Docklands offers a different perspective on the City of Melbourne and is unique in that way. The Wheel is an awe-inspiring structure rising above Harbour Town DFO Center, with the Wonderland, Ice Rink and Costco conveniently located around it. This newest location now offers breath-taking views for events such as New Year's Eve fireworks.
5. The Souvenir Shop: What awaits visitors after the ride is the Souvenir Shop, where the exit is also conveniently located. There is a fascinating replica of the wheel depicting its features accurately, made wholly by Lego. Plenty of souvenir items are available for purchase which will make for a fitting memory of your trip.
Life-like Replica of the Star made of over 3 thousand Lego pieces
6. Great Prices: For a first-rate attraction such as the Melbourne Star, ticket prices are very reasonable. The 'Encore' option can be added for a minor surplus charge which enables visitors to ride again within 30 days of their first tour (or can be gifted to friends for them to experience the Star). Why not take one ride during the day time, and another at night, when the lights sparkle in the City. Gift vouchers are also an excellent idea to present to near and dear ones.
For all the above stated reasons and more, the Melbourne Star experience is one that you will remember forever, and its presence as part of the City's skyline will provide enough reason for guests to keep returning for more of the 'Star' Wheel.
Thanks to Joya, Lorraine, Rebecca and newintstudent for your comments. The price is expensive yes, but fair for this type of an attraction. It is high, no doubt. I was feeling a bit dizzy up top, but it was worth the experience. I took the photos with my phone camera, so I did not think the quality was outstanding, but it does a good job. I am not sure about the pixel question by newintstudent. The Lego replica is outstanding!! :)