Monaco House, MCG, The Forum Theatre, The Lego Exhibition, Graffiti Alleys, Federation Square and an Eugene Von Guerard Exhibition - It's all in a day's work. I've discovered that Melbourne is just full of fascinating and interesting things to do at no, or very little cost. My weekend trip into the city for a specific event, turned out to be a day full of sights and sounds that I really didn't count on.
For starters, I visited The Art of Lego Exhibition at Federation Square. This had a write up in Weekend Notes when it first opened, so I'll leave you to source the details. However, it only runs until 30th September, so at only $15 per adult entry you'll need to be quick. As you enter the exhibition, you are met by a large, stunning mosaic of Flinders St Station while opposite sits the Southern Star in a glass case.
Among the artistic and highly imaginative works of Lego art, you'll find replicas of the Southbank Arts precinct, the Yarra River, St Kilda Boulevarde, some great Melbourne icons such as Flinders St Station, a Yarra Tram, the Shrine of Remembrance, Eureka Tower, Herald Sun Building as well as the Queen Vic Market and Puffing Billy. There is a huge dinosaur, a swimmer (my favourite), Rodin's The Thinker, Teardrops (exceptionally clever): the list goes on and on. It is well worth the visit, whether you choose to spend 15minutes or an hour to go through the exhibition.
From here, I wandered back to Federation Square on the trail of a great cup of coffee. As I sat out under the umbrellas and waited, I noticed that my children's favouite storybook character, "Blinky Bill" was playing on the Big Screen and gazing further afield, I survey some of Melbourne's iconic landmarks.
My eyes travel from Federation Square, across Flinders St Station and down to Rialto Towers, across the Yarra and back up to Eureka Tower, Southbank and the Arts precinct. As I wander around "Fed" Square, I notice the tower of Government House and watch the rowing boats outside their club houses along the Yarra. I turn back and have a great view of St Paul's Cathedral on the corner of Swanston and Flinders streets.
What to do next? I was at Federation Square anyway so I thought I'd take in a bit of culture. I noticed that there was an exhibition by Eugene Von Guerard currently running and decided to take a look. "Nature Revealed" kept me occupied for the next hour or so.
As I left the precinct, I do what I've done many times before. I stood in awe of the mighty MCG. Having toured great and grand sporting icons around the world, I hold this venue up as an example of all that should be in a sporting arena. By the way, if you haven't yet visited the National Sports Museum at the MCG, please consider it. It is listed as having the best collection of sporting memorabilia in the world and is truly value for money.
I head up to Exhibition St, passing the two large Eaglehawk sculptures and the iconic Uniting Church en-route to Monaco House, the real reason I came into the city in the first instance. This very unusual and architecturally brilliant building is the first to be granted naming rights outside of Monaco. Found in Ridgeway Lane (only five metres wide) near the Paris End of Collins Street, it was built for the Honorary Consul of Monaco and sits on just 101 square metres of land. Nauru House and the ANZ Towers form a back drop for this refreshingly different building .
It's now time to make my way back to my car, but I , so easily distracted by all things different, notice a group of people chatting noisily as they wandered through a nearby lane way. Not one to show a lack of interest in our fair city, I followed them. I thus discovered the delights of our lane way graffiti. I'd read often about our street art, but never actually witnessed any of it. I spent an hour in Degreaves Street and a similar time inspecting the artwork in Hosier Lane and Duckboard Place. More than a bit footsore, I finally headed homewards.