July 27/28 marked the 2013 Open House Melbourne weekend. Basically “Open House Melbourne is a not-for-profit association that runs annual events providing the public a free and rare opportunity to discover a hidden wealth of architectural, engineering and historic buildings nestled around the city.” (http://www.openhousemelbourne.org/about).
I have always wanted to take part in this event, and finally this year we got the chance to! I had looked up their website and picked out a few places that I wanted to see. Then, on the Sunday we took to the streets and explored a handful of the amazing buildings on offer. We barely scratched the surface here, as this year a whopping 111 buildings were available to view; but it was still a fun day and really made me feel like a tourist in our own home!
First on my list was the Intercontinental Hotel on Collins Street. This building is beautiful! I have walked past it many times, and even walked through it before to get between Collins and Flinders Lane a bit quicker. But this time we got an actual tour. Granted, it was a very short tour and we didn’t get to go anywhere that you wouldn’t normally have access to, but it was really interesting to hear a bit about the history of the place.
From there, we walked all the way to the Botanical Gardens to see the Crafters Cottage. Now, we have been to the Gardens many times and I have always wanted to go inside this adorable cottage, but it is always closed! So I was very excited to find it that it was part of Open House. There wasn’t a whole lot to see inside, but I enjoyed hearing about how it came to be, and getting a super cute photo of this little gem.
While walking through the Gardens, we noticed that a few of the trees had little white signs next to them, which was pretty unusual. Further inspection told me that they had been vandalised! It’s not until you see a tree with a bandage wrapped around it, that you start to feel a bit sad that some people would attack a tree! You could even see bits of bark scattered around – and for what?! The tree-carers have done their very best to repair these trees by covering them with sphagnum moss and then bandaging them up.
Also – how amazing is this dog?!
Our next stop was going to be the Observatory, but guided tours were provided for this venue. The next available one wasn’t for an hour and a half, so we decided to give it a miss. I took a picture of the Shrine of Remembrance instead. We have already toured the Shrine before, so didn’t feel the need to go in again.
Although not part of the Open House, we weren’t too far away from this years The Block house, so took a walk down to see it. We we only got to watch about half of the season this year due to being overseas, but it was still pretty cool to see it in real life. I just love the outside of this building!!
From there, we caught a tram back to Docklands where we visited the Mission to Seafarers building. I was so used to having to pay to use toilet facilities in Europe that I was quite surprised I didn’t have to here! The building is so interesting and was very different inside to what I expected. Unfortunately I didn’t get any good photos of this place.
The final stop of the day was a boat tour of the harbour. We have lived in Melbourne for two years now, but have never taken a boat tour before! We just missed the 1pm tour, but there was no-one else around, so we decided to get a hot chocolate before the next one at 2. I absolutely love this mural!
At quarter to 2pm,we went back to wait for the next tour and found the boat was already being filled up and there was still quite a line of people waiting. Unfortunately we didn’t make it on this boat, and considered going home to wait for the next one at 3pm. However, more and more people were turning up, as 3pm was the last tour of the day. So we waited! I’m glad we did, as it was a really informative tour, and although the windows were not that great for taking photos through, I felt like we got a sneak-peak into the workings of our harbour.
If anyone is in Melbourne during the Open House weekend, I would definitely recommend taking part! Entry to the buildings and tours is free, the guides are super informative and friendly, and it is a fun way to learn more about this wonderful city and feel like a tourist again!