The Famous Spiegel Season , 12 February – 24 April, 2011
The Famous Spiegel Tent, which for much of the past decade has been a much-loved feature of the Arts Centre forecourt, returns to Melbourne with an exciting new program of cutting-edge cabaret, music, comedy and circus programmed by the Arts Centre. Check out the program here.
Offering a range of ticketed shows, the Famous Spiegel tent season will run for 11 weeks from 12 February and will also introduce visitors to a series of themed outdoor spaces designed to provide a relaxed social atmosphere in the shadow of the iconic aspire.
Whether you are attending one of the season events or just strolling past, take a moment to have a drink the bar located in the vintage tram next to the tent on the forecourt and chill out watching the promenade along St Kilda Road.
Hosier Lane is located between Flinders Lane and Flinders Street opposite the entrance to Federation Square Atrium, and well worth the walk across the road. The walls of this and adjacent laneway buildings form the canvas for the artists work. To some ‘Tagging’ as this art is frequently called, is frowned upon – even these folk I think may walk away thinking WOW!!.
If you are visiting at the weekend you may even catch some Melbourne’s newly weds in vintage cars using the laneway as the backdrop to their wedding photos.
At the end of the lane is located two Spanish Tapas Bars, the perfect place to end your walk and visit to this space.
SOVEREIGN HILL, at BALLARAT is about a 90 minute journey North West of Melbourne. It is one of those tourist attractions that I always take my visitors, as a living city from the1850-1890′s with mine, working shops and town etc. it will appeal if you have children in your group. There are a range of accommodations on site and if you do not wish to be totally immersed in the experience there is lots of choice nearby in Ballarat.
I recommend staying for the sound and light show “Blood on the Southern Cross’ which is well worth the additional cost. If planning to see the sound and light show, try and book the first show before you leave Melbourne or once you arrive at Sovereign Hill. Staying on to catch the second show if they are running one can make the day a long one especially if travelling up and back in one day
THE CHILDREN’S GARDEN
Located adjacent to the Observatory Gate and Café, opposite the Shrine of Remembrance Visitor Centre on Birdwood Avenue, the Children’s Garden entrance is down a pathway with magical creatures shaped out of plants.
This fenced garden is a perfect place to let the kids explore and investigate a garden, getting their hands dirty as they find the hidden secrets.
The Meeting Place which has a water feature that sprays up out of the ground in summer, is a hoot of fun, dodging the water jets to cool down. It always seems to entice those who ‘s parents didn’t bring the spare set of shorts and a towel, which I recommend. A great spot to let them free whilst having some fun. You could even let your own inhibitions down and play dodge yourself!!
Nearby watch out for the sculpture by Louis Laumen of characters from the classic Australian children’s book by Norman Lindsay – The Magic Pudding. This is a great spot if you can weave you kids around the characters for a photo shoot.
From the oriental hut you’ll overlook the Wetland Area with Bamboo Forest behind and buried inside is a platform to climb which is often missed and a great spot to wave to seated adults on the other side of the garden.
The Rill is a gentle waterway that runs through the Garden which you will stumble across at some stage and if you are tackling the garden in a clockwise fashion, it will lead you to the plant tunnel. At the back of this section you’ll come to the shell of a burnt out tree stump. Be inquisitive with your kids and get inside, looking up you may be lucky to spot the resident possum if around having a siesta.
The Children’s Garden built with assistance from the Ian Potter Foundation is well worth a visit and is easy to while away an hour or more. It is perfect for combining with other close by attractions and one activity that provide balance for the younger family members in a days Melbourne sightseeing.
What’s underneath the Onion Skin – other things to do nearby:
If you are visiting the Children’s Garden with kids, further along the path from it’s entrance, inside the Royal Botanical Gardens [RBG] there are three other things which may add to your visit. This will be of course dependent on energy, age and interest of those with you.
First you’ll come across the Herb Garden and a great spot to extend the play and learning in the raised garden beds in the Children’s Garden. Further down the lawns you’ll see the ornamental lake, a great spot to see ducks, water fowl and Australia’s Black Swan and if you choose to walk through the fern gully on the way, look up and you may see fruit bats hanging in the tree tops. Thirdly there is Guilfoyle’s Volcano – the rebuilt reservoir, built with arid plants, rock and scoria has a great spiral walkway, this would have appeal to those a little older.
Food: The Observatory Gate and Café is metres from this garden entrance a great spot to purchase a coffee or an ice cream. Alternatively there is a lawn area to share your picnic if you have brought one or let the kids run and let off some steam.
Inside the RBG overlooking the Ornamental Lake is located another café which has a more adult vibe, but great for a Devonshire tea.
Suburb/Neighbourhood: MELBOURNE [5 minutes from South Melbourne Homestay]
How to get there: Melway reference – Map 2F K12
By Car: Parking around the Tan, there are a range of two and four hour parking spots or weekend s on St Kilda Road
St Kilda Road and Dorcas Street – stop number 19 walk up through the Shrine of Remembrance forecourt and past the Vietnam War Memorial.
St Kilda Road and Coventry Street – stop number 18 walk past the Shrine of Remembrance Boulevard to the roundabout and right along Birdwood Avenue. This is a gradual flatter approach but a little further to walk but easier managing a stroller and children or if steps might be a difficulty.
The Domain Road intersection Terminus– walk from the rear of the Shrine reserve to Birdwood Avenue.
By City Explorer Bus: – Free tourist shuttle, get off at stop 13 for the Shrine and Royal Botanical Gardens. Walk further along the road in the direction that the bus travels to the Observatory Gate and entrance to the Children’s Garden.