A ride through lush valley filled with tall trees and tree ferns in semi-open carriages so you can experience the wind in your hair and the sight/sound/smell of a beautifully restored and maintained steam locomotive.
Best done on a nice day in sunshine, with ones legs dangling out the carriage window, not like we did when it was grey, drizzling rain and about 5 degrees Celcius.
We did this tour a couple of days ago, on the day after arriving in Melbourne. It seemed like a good way to get familiar with the CBD given that out hotel is within it, and that we are here for the week.
From our starting point at Federation Square, we were taken down along the river side linear park, Birrarung Marr, with frequent stops to listen to a brief history of the city's foundation, the indigenous significance of the area and explanation of various point of interest. This was followed by a return to the southern streets of the CBD, a taste of the lane ways and cafe culture, the grandeur of the Block arcade and Collins St, and a stroll to the South Bank precinct before returning to Federation Square. There was also a stop to enjoy a coffee from one of the iconic sidewalk cafes that are ubiquitous here.
Our tour was very ably led by Gerry, a newly recruited guide in training under the watchful eye of Dave. Gerry was a wealth of information, and when he didn't know something, Dave was able to fill in the gaps. Both of them were very pleasant and easygoing and made us feel immediately at ease.
We enjoyed a very pleasant stroll and learnt heaps. We also got to some things we would easily have overlooked, such as the quirky street art and the hidden gems like the ANZ building that is the site of Melbourne's original stock exchange.
I strongly recommend this 3 hour walking tour to anyone who is recently arrived and wants to get their bearings, both geographically and culturally. It's also a nice way of occupying oneself for an afternoon, and the fee is very reasonable.
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