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The Scoop on Southbank, Melbourne's Marvellous Riverside Playground

Looking at bright, modern, lively Southbank today with its bars, museums, restaurants and clubs, and you'd never believe that not long ago it was a blighted eyesore of run down warehouses. But that's how it was until the late 1980 when the city began to develop the area. Nowadays, Melbourne's Southbank on the River Yarra is the focus of the city's leisure, arts and entertainment. Here's the scoop of some of Southbank's less well-known offerings.

The first to do is to get your bearings. Southbank is bordered to the north by the Yarra River, to the south by Park Street, to the west by Kingsway, and to the east by St Kilda Road.

To get the bird's eye view of Southbank and in fact the whole of Mebourne and environs, head for Eureka Skydeck 88 in Eureka Tower on Riverside Quay. Billed as the tallest residential building in the world, Eureka Tower features a terrace on the 88th floor.

The building features two dedicated lifts that whisk you up to the skydeck terrace in less than 40 seconds. Those with strong nerves can try 'the edge' a glass cube that slides out from the building. Eureka Skydeck 88 is open from 10am to 10pm daily.

A remarkable site near Southgate is the delightful Lutheran Church, St Johns. This delightful, modern church building was designed by David Cole to link architecturally with the Southgate complex. The original was built in 1927 off nearby City Road and was demolished in 1989 as part of the Southgate development. Other than being a place of worship, St Johns was also designed to be a venue for concerts and a centre for meetings and functions.

Interesting features inside the church include the cross the cross made of River Redgum on the wall behind the altar. Throughout the year, the cross is adorned with colours that symbolise the seasons. The stained glass windows are also noteworthy, two of them come from the original church.

Next, it's time to get out on the river to get another angle on life in Southbank. And what better way to do this than on a gondola? Venice on the Yarra offers gondola tours from the Southbank floating landing and the pontoons at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre or Crown Entertainment Complex.

The gondolas are based on genuine Venetian boat plans and built locally. Appointed with velvet seats and plush cushions, each can carry up to four passengers. The gondoliers punt you along at about 2 knots through the city section of the Yarra river, giving you a grand view of the attractions - the Exhibition Centre, Aquarium, Southbank and Crown Casino, Federation Square and the serene Alexandra Gardens..

You can choose from a range of gondola trips including the Romance Package, Champagne Cruise, Celebration Package, Indulgence Package, and Brunch Cruise.

To truly enjoy the pleasures of Melbourne's Southbank, you need quality accommodation. Fortunately, you're spoilt for choice with a grand range of Southbank hotels to select from. Among the best are Melbourne Short Stay Apartments and Travelodge Hotel Southbank Melbourne.

About the Author

Richard Greaves has over 20 years experience in the travel industry and writes for Cheaper than Hotels. Cheaper Than Hotels offers Southbank hotels as Melbourne Short Stay Apartments and Travelodge Hotel Southbank Melbourne.

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