Destinations

Old Melbourne Gaol And Mount Dandenong Tour

Melbourne - Crimson Rosella

Today turned out to be another beautiful day in Melbourne. I had a chance to visit the Old Melbourne Gaol and Scots Church before my afternoon tour. Even with visiting two great spots I had a lot of spare time before joining the tour in the afternoon. Which is the main thing I am finding it is tough to work out how much time to allow visiting different attractions.

Old Melbourne Gaol

The Old Melbourne Gaol opens for visitors at 9.30am and I made sure to be here on time. Throughout the Gaol, they have a lot of stories about different inmates that resided within these cells. Some of the stories detailed what different inmates did to be put in gaol, and many were minor offences.

The most famous, or maybe that is most infamous inmate though is Ned Kelly. With his offences being far from minor. He was housed within the Old Melbourne Gaol, and it is also the place of his hanging.

Seeing the Old Melbourne Gaol and comparing it to what they show as the goals these days there is no comparison. The small spaces within the cells, the limited rations and the poor bedding. It just left you knowing that it would not be something you would want to experience yourself.

Melbourne - Old Melbourne Gaol

The Old Melbourne Gaol was built in 1845, and it ‘s hard to connect how the conditions would have been. When you think of some of the changes since this time you just know this would not have been a nice place. Even today walking through the halls with the daylight coming in it was still dark. So you can only imagine what it might have been like in the evening. Then you think about things like heating and living with nothing but a steel or stone floor below you in winter.

Melbourne - Old Melbourne Gaol Hanings

In total, I spent about an hour looking around Old Melbourne Gaol. Honestly, I do not think that I would want to spend much more time in there either as a prisoner or a civilian. It is just not the sort of place that you would want to be.

The Scots Church

Even though my afternoon tour still had over two hours until it started, fI slowly made my way towards Federation Square. Along the way, I hope to find something to fill in some time, and thankfully I was not disappointed.

I found The Scots Church and thought it might be interesting to see what it was like on the inside. The Scots Church was the first Presbyterian Chuch in Victoria and was founded in 1838. It was quite impressive to see the inside, even though it is not the biggest church in Melbourne. There is a high level of detail especially in the panes of the stained glass windows. With many of the stained glass windows being close to if not over 100 years old.

The other feature that caught my attention was the organ. I am told it is a Rieger Organ and it does look rather impressive sitting here in the church.

Melbourne - Scots Church Organ Installed in 1999 into a casing from 1874

As you might be able to see the person at the organ is playing it. I very much enjoyed hearing the organ and did think that it is something I would like to hear again. It is just finding out the times when different churches might have a recital.

Melbourne - Scots Church

Dandenong Ranges Tour

The tour this afternoon started with a loop around the main points of interest in the city. For me, this was nothing new and very much the same route as the tour on Monday morning. The main benefit of this part of the tour was a couple of better photos of one or two points. For example, one of them is Melbourne’s Floral Clock which is pictured below, albeit not currently flowering.

Melbourne - Floral Clock

As the tour starts the outbound part of the trip there is little of interest. The bulk of the scenery is a mix of freeways and housing suburbs. However, it does improve once you pass the more populated area’s and leave the highway behind. There are some small villages and some nice countryside before crossing into the rainforest.

The first stop was at a picnic ground for afternoon tea, part way up Mount Dandenong. The tour guide provided some seed to hand fed the birds, which included Crimson Rosellas and King Parrots.

Melbourne - Crimson Rosella

It was soon onto the next stop which is the summit of Mount Dandenong. The day was far from perfect for visibility wish plenty of haze or smog around. But I am not sure you would get a perfect day around many of the capital cities these days. I still managed to get the image below where you can see the city, but not all that clear.

Melbourne - City Skyline from Mount Dandenong

The trip back to the city was not all that interesting either, and it also did not help as it got closer to peak hour.

Finding Dinner And Tomorrow

Once back in the city it was getting late, and I headed out to find some dinner. Melbourne is said to be one of the top destinations for it’s dining and I would have to agree. There are plenty of high-end restaurants, with a number I have seen starting above $100 a meal.

However, at the same time if you go looking there are plenty of great value options. Meals for those who either cannot afford the high-end dining or just want something more realistic. Although I all write another post on the topic specifically a little later, I believe it is possible to eat in Melbourne for less than $25 a day.

That about sums up my time in and around Melbourne today. Tomorrow, I have changed my plan a little and will be visiting the Melbourne Zoo. I will be aiming to arrive at the opening time of 9 am, to maximise my time before the crowds build up. For the afternoon I am looking to visit the Melbourne Museum. So all in all, it is looking like a busy day for tomorrow.

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