Melbourne’s CBD is once again on the move, this time west across Spencer Street and the rail yards to Docklands. Until the 1960s this was a busy shipping port; now it is being transformed into a residential, business, entertainment and retail precinct, with nine mini neighbourhoods including NewQuay, Waterfront City and Victoria Harbour.
NewQuay and Waterfront City
At the northern end of Docklands, the adjacent waterfront neighbourhoods of NewQuay and Waterfront City comprise high-rise apartments, offices, retail outlets, galleries, marinas and the bulk of Docklands’ bars and restaurants. The precinct is home to Wonderland Park, with a host of rides for kids, and the impressive new Icehouse, a world-class ice-sports and entertainment venue designed to resemble the fault line in a glacier. The Icehouse features a public skating rink with spectacular sound and lights, and a huge stadium for events such as ice hockey and figure skating. 1300 756 699; open daily; session times and events www.icehouse.com.au.
The new Harbour Town shopping centre is home to a large range of brand outlets and fashion stores, while trash-and treasure lovers will want to check out the weekly Sunday Market (10am–5pm).
A major venue for Australian Football League (AFL) games, other sporting events and concerts, Etihad Stadium is a Colosseum-like stadium with a retractable roof (very handy for when the weather is inclement). You can go on a ‘Behind the Scenes’ tour to inspect, among other things, the AFL players’ change rooms and the coaches’ box. The one-hour tours leave at 11am, 1pm and 3pm Monday to Friday from the Customer Service Centre opposite Gates 2 and 3. Bounded by Bourke and Latrobe sts, Wurundjeri Way and Harbour Esplanade; tour bookings (03) 8625 7277.
A self-guide urban art tour, the Art Journey takes you past more than 30 superb, large-scale public artworks, including the whimsical wind-powered Blowhole, the sublimely sculptural Webb Bridge for pedestrians and cyclists, and the amusing Cow Up A Tree (which is exactly that). You can also make use of the facilities along the way, including barbecues, recreation areas and a terrific children’s playground. Pick up a copy of the Art Journey brochure from the Melbourne Visitor Information Centre, or download one from the Melbourne Docklands website (www.docklands.com.au).
Fox Classic Car Collection
With its incredible collection of vintage cars, including Bentley, Jaguar, Rolls Royce and some ultra-cool Porsche and Mercedes Benz makes, the Fox Classic Car Collection has up to 50 vehicles on display at any given time. Located in the historic Queen’s Warehouse building (originally built as a customs house). Cnr Batmans Hill Dr and Collins St; (03) 9620 4086; open 10am –2pm Tues Feb–Nov.