Seeing the Sights of MelbourneA WANDER DOWN UNDER, CHAPTER 11: IN WHICH WE LEARN A NEW MEANING OF FREE
Day 12: Melbourne. After a bit of catch-up blogging, we left the hotel this morning around 10 and walked a couple of blocks over to the State Library of Victoria, where we would meet up with a representative of I’m Free Walking Tours, who would lead us on a three-hour guided walk in central Melbourne, uncovering the history and showing us some of the sights of the city. When we arrived at the meeting place, there were three other people there chatting with Matt, our guide.
|Tour guide Matt and some of our group at the Old Gaol|
Along the way, Matt took us to quite a few places on this ingeniously designed tour of Melbourne's essential sites. At each spot, he shared a good dose of information and often an interesting or amusing anecdote as well. A native Melburnian, Matt is passionate about his city and its history and eager to share his enthusiasm with visitors. Some of the highlights of his tour follow.
|Royal Exhibition Building|
|Flinders Street Station|
|Gog and Magog|
|Hosier Lane street art|
|Arts Centre Melbourne|
Though the I'm Free tour is promoted as being "free," Matt emphasized at the beginning, the end, and any time anyone new joined the tour, that tips would be appreciated if we thought the tour was worthwhile. It certainly was.
|The fabulous and free City Circle Tram even has customer service reps on board to help you find your destination.|
|The Last Confession (photo by Simon Parris)|
Tomorrow we'll leave Melbourne and drive south to the coast for a ramble on the Great Ocean Road.
With Melbourne's extensive tram system, the center lanes of many streets have tram tracks, so a dedicated right turn lane is not feasible. In intersections where hook turns are required, a box is painted on the street in the middle of the intersection (see photo below). This is where a vehicle waiting to turn right waits. Others can line up behind it as long as they have entered the intersection (quite counter to American convention which discourages left-turning cars from blocking intersections).
While the cars wait, other vehicles continuing straight can move through the intersection in the right lane unobstructed. The vehicles making the hook turn must wait until the traffic light turns green for the street they wish to enter. That means oncoming cars and trams whose lanes they will cross have stopped for a red light. Bicycles are allowed to make hook turns in any intersection in Victoria.
On another note, left turns on a red light are rarely permitted in Australia and only where specifically signposted as legal.
- Started in Melbourne, ended in Melbourne
- Mileage - 4 (on foot) (Trip total: 11,292)
- Weather - 44° to 68°, sunny to partly cloudy
- Letterboxes - attempted 1
- Factoids shared by Matt - 78
- People who thought the tour was actually free - 24
SUNDAY, 14 SEPTEMBER, 2014
More Photos from Today
|Black car in designated hook turn box waiting to make right turn from left lane, yellow taxi continuing straight.|