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See also:
Guidebook entry
March 2005 visit
Motorhead Melbourne
Melbourne Sports Aquatic Centre (MSAC)
Related Map
Films at Festivale, movie reviews, commentary, coming attractions, release datesPhryne Fisher private detective series by Kerry Greenwood
Britannia Internet Award Winner

Albert Park

Once Around the Park (with shortcuts)

Melbourne seen across Albert Park lake, photograph (c) Ali Kayn 2005; x

Despite what you may have heard, Melbourne does supply us with some gloriously sunny days. Okay, I personally would rather stay in bed until nightfall and the creatures of the nightlife take over, but for you this dedicated reported and her trusted sidekick Richard (Hryckiewicz, whose photos appear in Festivale also), braved the heat and healthy exercise to circumnavigate Albert Park Lake.

Yes, the lake. Beautiful setting for sailboats, happy park side where kiddies can play on the swings and feed the ducks and swans and assorted other feathered friends. A dogs-if-on-leash park where the surrounding walking track is marked in 500 metre intervals for the lycra-clad runners.

Albert Park lake has island refuges for the bird life, easy public transport access, and that special inner city quiet that has an underlying traffic hum, just enough to remind one that civilisation (and cappuccino and bookshops) is not far away.

Albert Park Lake, Melbourne, Photograph by Ali Kayn

Feeding the water birds, Albert Park Lake. Photograph by Ali Kayn (c) 2005

Except, of course, once a year when it becomes the centre of a race track, and the local businesses and residents must live with a screaming and growling that travels through several suburbs.

Albert Park Lake with Melbourne skyline in the background. Photograph (c) by Ali Kayn 2005

Albert Park Lake with Melbourne skyline in the background. Photograph (c) by Ali Kayn, 2005

We headed for Albert Park by 112 tram, stopping off in Clarendon Street, South Melbourne, for a life-giving iced coffee at one of the restaurants. Whinging, of course, about the new, annoying, inconvenient, ugly pilot tram stops that are designed to cost money and make taking a tram much less easy.

Then back on the tram a few spots to alight at MSAC (Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre). We teased the car park guard, unfortunately a common but undesirable activity, but okay in our case since he has appeared in Festivale before. Then, across the road and along the Canterbury Road side of the lake heading towards Saint Kilda.

Behind us, and the newly-trendy but still gracious South Melbourne was the Melbourne city skyline, to our left, the apartment blocks and business buildings that line Saint Kilda Road. Albert Park is only a block from St Kilda Rd, which has the Kings Domain, Alexandra Gardens, and Botanic Gardens on its other side.

Sailboat on Albert Park Lake, South Melbourne, Victoria

Melbourne trams rock between islands of old trees and busy traffic from Flinders Street Station, the National Gallery of Victoria and the Arts Centre past offices and restaurants and expensive real estate, past the Domain Interchange, down to Saint Kilda junction. Mercifully some of the old buildings have been saved, and the trip is a taste of the way Melbourne combines a gracious and beautiful background with the modern grubbing for money existence.

All this is in the background, across the road from the line of old palms and behind some very nice old apartments.

On our right, heading off at an angle was Albert Park the suburb and Middle Park, serviced by the 96 tram route (light rail, that is, since this once was the old St Kilda rail way line). These old established suburbs, like St Kilda, where we were heading, are filled with an architect's delight and horror of generations of houses and apartments. Iron lace, art deco and ghastly 60s and 70s modern all together close to the city and the bay.

Albert Park Lake, Victoria, Australia. Photograph (c) Ali Kayn 2005

At the far end of Albert Park Lake Fitzroy Street's buildings were in sight, and once again food and coffee beckoned. Well, Melbourne is about the food and pavement (sidewalk) cafe tables, so of course we headed off to Leo's and pasta. After which, in true Melbourne cafe-crawling tradition, we walked along the esplanade (yes, in the rain), speculating about where Phryne Fisher's fictional home would be, and down to Acland Street, the cake and coffee centre of Melbourne.

Albert Park, chess board table photograph by Ali Kayn 2005

The Sunday St Kilda Market stall-holders were shivering with the faces to wet streets and their backs to a grey sea, so we passed them, and Luna Park by. Something left for next time.

submitted by Ali Kayn March, 2005

See also: Albert Park guidebook listing (overview)

Just the facts:

Open: 24 hrs
Contact details on Parks Victoria web site

Trams 96 from Bourke St or 112 from Collins St