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Top 5 Places to Cool Off This Summer

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Published January 3rd 2012
Top 5 places to cool off this summer
Don't be stuck inside your house this summer as the temperature climbs- there are plenty of public places where you can go to chill out. Think places with plenty of water to immerse yourself in, or indoor climate-controlled bliss.

Chilling out on a hot day.

It can get a little lonely and boring sitting in front of the air conditioning vent at home during a heatwave, not to mention expensive to run your air conditioner day in and day out. If you don't have air conditioning, you have little choice but find a cooler destination.

The beach
It seems that whenever the temperature rises beyond 30 degrees, the entire population of Melbourne flocks to the shore. With Melbourne having been built around Port Phillip Bay, you are never too far away from a beach. It may be sizzling hot on the sand, but a dip into the water will soon leave you blissfully chilled. The great advantage of the beach is it's totally free, and you can spend all day there.

St Kilda beach is a popular destination for inner city Melburnians. Photo credit: avlxys.

Devouring ice-cream is an essential part of the beach experience, and popular beaches have an ice-cream truck parked nearby during the summer months. If you're at the ever-busy St Kilda Beach, pay a visit to the Sunset Kiosk, which has more of a range than an ice-cream van and features plenty of seats under a shade.

When the mercury rises above about forty degrees, the beach carries with it the hazards of sunburn and sunstroke. Make good use of sunscreen, keep hydrated and if possible bring your own beach tent or umbrella if you are visiting the beach on an exceptionally hot day. Days above forty degrees are far better suited to an indoor pool.

The wave pool
Wave pools are great fun for the whole family- and they're so much more interesting than a regular pool. You will completely forget the rising temperatures outside as you are doused in wave after wave of liquid goodness.

Indoor pools are a summer favourite. Photo credit: Aron Pobursky.

Wave pools currently open in Melbourne are Waves Leisure Centre, Monash Aquatic and Recreation Centre and Casey Aquation and Recreation Centre in the south-eastern suburbs, Melton Waves in the west, and MSAC located centrally in Albert Park.

The disadvantage of indoor pools is that it can get quite humid inside the building, particularly if there is a heated pool or spa inside the complex.

Your local shopping centre
Shopping centres spend top dollar on keeping within a comfortable temperature range. While this is a ploy to lure in shoppers, you'll concede that it is a very good ploy when the temperature inside is half the temperature outside.

Shopping centres are public transport hubs, so getting there is hassle-free, and most have free parking or free parking for shoppers. The food courts that are a fixture of even the most mundane shopping centres ensure you don't even have to leave the complex to get food.

Melbourne is littered with small shopping centres, but a few of the best and biggest our city has to offer are Chadstone, Southland, Northland, Knox City and Melbourne Central.

Climate-controlled shopping centres are a favourite on stinking hot days. Photo credit: avlxyz.

Sheltering from the sun's rays inside a shopping centre can be quite a costly venture, so leave the credit cards at home and bring only as much cash as you're willing to spend.

The cinema
Even on stifling hot days, cinemas are so chilled that you'll want to bring a jumper. It doesn't matter what movie you're seeing- you're essentially paying $20 to sit in a refreshingly air-conditioned movie theatre for two hours. On a forty degree day when your residence lacks air conditioning, it's certainly worth it.

Choosing an obscure film is best, so you're surrounded by as few people as possible. Unless you are at the cinema with your children, kids' films are to be avoided during the holiday season unless you want to spend your nice cool two hours hearing kids talking throughout the film and dropping sticky food wrappers from a few rows back.

The ice skating rink
Exercise is not an activity you look forward to on days when you're sweaty from the heat before you even start. Ice skating rinks get around this difficulty, as it's always pleasantly chilly in a room where the main fixture is a giant block of ice. You could be forgiven for thinking you're skating on a frozen pond in some foreign land, when the harsh Australian sun is beating down outside.

Melbourne isn't exactly spoilt for choice when it comes to ice-skating rinks- we have exactly two. There is the Medibank Icehouse in the Docklands, and the Olympic Ice Skating Centre in South Oakleigh.

The Icehouse makes for a perfect shelter from sweltering temperatures.

Too lazy for exercise? Go to the Chill On Ice Lounge instead. At -10 degrees and boasting more ice than at the ice-skating rink, the only activity going on at Chill On Ice Lounge is downing cocktails.
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Why? Because it's more fun than sitting in front of the fan at home.
When: On hot days
Cost: From $0, to very expensive if you decide to go shopping
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