The Block Arcade, Melbourne CBD

The main entrance to the Block Arcade is in Collins St in the city. Collins Street itself is rich in impressive architecture and frames the Block Arcade perfectly. The Block Arcade is like stepping back in time. The elegance and attention to detail is spell bounding and I’m not just talking about the chocolates. From the floor to the ceiling, it could only be described as a work of art. It is a credit that it has been maintained in such pristine condition.

You cannot walk through the Block Arcade without expecting to see people in period dress walking towards you.  The arcade could only be described as immaculate. This is the perfect place to have a cup of coffee or more appropriately tea and scones.  The first section was built in 1891 and the final construction completed in 1893. It was designed by the architect David C Askew for a financier at the time by the name of Benjamin Fink.  The name Block Arcade is reputed to come from “doing the block”or in other words showing yourself off around Melbourne’s best shopping streets.

The arcade was completely revamped giving it modern amenities without spoiling the original look.  A tour is a must.

 

 

Open on Everyday

 


The Bridge Mall, Ballarat

The Bridge Mall is a collection of many unique specialist stores offering traffic-free shopping with bookshops, fashion outlets and major chain stores. It has recently undergone redevelopment and upgrading with undercover areas and paving and planting.
You can park on either side of the mall with limited parking at the mall itself.  An eclectic collection of cafes and specialty stores is on offer as well as major chains including Starbucks, McDonalds and the Reject Shop.
Located at the bottom of the city it is a good starting point to start your shopping and dining and get a feel of the town. There is a playground for the kids and one of the best McDonalds I have been to (it is built with a heritage feel and really blends in).
The very, very disappointing thing is no toilets. There is no public toilet and not one cafe had one. How a council builds a complex without public amenities is beyond me. You have to walk out of the mall across the road and use what I find to be divey toilets. Lift your game Ballarat as I always visit the mall and it could be a lot better.

Sturt St, Ballarat VIC 3350  Open on Everyday


Wombat Hill Botanic Gardens, Daylesford

You may be surprised to learn that the Botanical Gardens are set atop of Wombat Hill.  Hence the name. This is a very beautiful part of Daylesford that is frequently overlooked.  It is also where the town’s water supply is located. It is very easy to find by turning off Vincent Street into Central Springs Road and it is on your left hand side.

The gardens are open every day from Sunrise to Sunset so if you like viewing in the dark you will be disappointed.  I love these gardens and visit every time I make it to Daylesford. The drives and pathways are lined with tall deciduous shade trees that circle around the hill.  At the top is a stretch of lawn with seating, a gazebo and hot house that offers a spectacular begonia festival in Autumn.

There are also gardens towards the front with many rare plants to admire while walking the grounds.  As you pull up to the carpark you will find a tall narrow tower. Inside is a circular staircase similar to a lighthouse that takes you to a magnificent viewing platform at the top.  I have climbed it several times and still freaks me out so give it a try.

The once decrepit kiosk has been renovated into a classy eatery with dining both inside and out.  Owned by the same people as the Lake House you may want to stop for lunch or a coffee. You can’t park close but the short stroll is worth it.  If you don’t want to visit the cafe you will be pleased to know there are public toilets near the hothouse.

 

Frazer St, Daylesford VIC 3460  Open on Everyday