A while back we had a wild storm here that downed trees and powerlines all over town. During the resulting widespread blackouts I took some photos of the aftermath near the shoreline.
Currently we have an intense low pressure system building nearby which should produce gale-force winds and significant tidal surges, so it's possible we might received similar damage. The State Emergency Service has already advised campers to evacuate Fraser Island, which is less than 10 km from here. It should be an interesting end to the year!
Since we don't have a "White Christmas" in Australia, here's a shot from a snowmobile tour a few seasons ago at Falls Creek to get in the mood :) Merry Christmas everyone! *<:) Thanks for your continued support; it's now been over 8 years since I started this journal and 3 years of posting photos and I've enjoyed every minute of it! Have a happy, safe and relaxing holiday :)
With the sky dissolving and the city transforming into an electrical star field, I waited at the front of the Melbourne Exhibition Centre to be picked up by my cousin. Opposite the Crown Casino and looking back across the river to the city, my trip had come to an end. Early the following morning I caught the Skybus to the airport and flew to Sydney, then caught a connecting flight onward. It's always a little sad to end a holiday, but it's a nice feeling to be home as well :)
The historic Coop's Shot Tower, now repurposed into retail stores but originally used for making lead shots, is preserved inside the Melbourne Central Shopping Centre under this huge conical dome. From the second top floor of the centre this shows only half the height of tower, which is a vertiginous view in person.
I checked out two movies back-to-back (The Simpsons and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix) in the cinemas opposite before heading to the south of the city over the Yarra River. It's possible to walk half the "height" of the CBD via the Melbourne Central Shopping Centre as the buildings join two other centres via footbridges.
Like something designed in SimCity, Melbourne's CBD is strictly gridded. The regular square blocks sloping gently to the river make it simple to find your way on foot, but driving is probably hellish. Here, looking over Lonsdale to Swanston Street, I started wondering whether I should feel as safe as I always had in Melbourne. A month and a half earlier three people were shot (one dead, the other two critically injured) on the corner I'd walked through just a few metres from a photo I'd taken in 2005, yet I'd never felt unsafe walking around by myself.
I questioned if that was naivety or a subconscious conclusion of it being statistically unlikely that anything would happen. I never really came up with a good answer...
A more traditional view from Fed Square with its cool glass-oblong information centre (the main floor of which is underground). The architecture of Melbourne is great, its mix of old and new; something that stood out to me is the way modern architecture doesn't look as "strong" as older styles. Take for example the Flinders Street Station (the yellow domed building on the left) - it looks like it could withstand anything. By comparison the twin extrusions of Rialto Towers behind it look fragile. While modern construction techniques probably result in physically stronger buildings, they don't look as strong.
East view of the lines leading to Flinders Street Station before they pass under Federation Square.
Between the East Shard and the Alfred Deakin Building, a rare moment with no one around.
The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (which is housed with SBS in the Alfred Deakin Building) was exhibiting "Pixar: 20 Years of Animation" with a giant Luxo Jr. looming over an also-giant ball on the Flinders Street pavement.
To add a little information to the previous post's photo, the faceted green glass wall is part of The Atrium, a massive five-storey-high public space on the other side of the Alfred Deakin Building. A notable feature of The Atrium is its passive cooling system, The Labyrinth, a 1.2 km long maze of corrugated concrete used as a "temperature cache" to efficiently cool the centre in the summer and heat it during the winter.
If you get the chance to visit Melbourne a stop by Federation Square is a must!
After a few days surrounded by good company in Mt Beauty it was time to say goodbye and start the return leg of the trip. With the last effects of the food poisoning finally disappearing I boarded a late afternoon flight to Melbourne from Albury on Regional Express. The sun sank into an ocean of bright pink and orange clouds and it was dark long before touching down. Picked up by my cousin and his wife we did some chatting, eating, neighbourhood dog-walking and sound-mix listening and before long it was time to get some shut eye. I really do enjoy Melbourne in the winter but I never seem to have enough time there!
Striving to make the most of the next day, but with a slightly delayed start, I jumped on a train into the city (surprising myself by not becoming hopelessly lost while doing so), grabbed some breakfast and then started snapping. One of my fondest memories that morning was the compliment an elderly lady gave me when I held a door open for her; it's funny how a small moment can become such a highlight in the mind. Above, a not-meant-to-be-seen of Federation Square.
Staying with friends in Mt Beauty is always something I look forward to; they've been thinking about moving to a place in Canada just a few kilometres from a ski resort, so if that goes ahead I'm just going to have to force myself to go and visit ;)
Along with the usual chatting and catching up they took me up to Bogong Village for a look at the new hydro plant that's currently under construction. Along the way we stopped by one of the existing plants (above and below).
The new hydro power plant is the largest to be constructed in Australia in 25 years, with a peak capacity of 140 megawatts and at a cost of $230 million.
In addition to being a "zero emissions" generator, to minimise its environmental impact the plant will be fed via a 6.5 kilometre long underground tunnel which is currently being bored into the mountain. The entrance of the tunnel is visible on the right side of the photo above and I should point out that the wide angle of the shot makes everything appear much smaller than it really is. Note the giant earth moving truck that looks Tonka-sized on the left side. The power plant should come online by October 2009.
I've never seen Mt Beauty in the summer, but in the winter it's gorgeous.
It was time to pack everything up and check out. Despite the food poisoning (which hung around for another couple of days) it was a great snow stay and I'm already thinking about the next season! I'm so glad that the snow was good and I had the chance to explore the farthest regions of the resort.
The day was bitterly cold with strong winds and an eerily-uniform grey sky - low cloud which kept suffocating the mountains - but nice to walk around in. That evening I hopped on the Snowball Express and headed to Bright to be picked up by a friend for a get together in Mt Beauty.