A sneak peek at Parliament House

We went to check out some of the beautiful buildings in Melbourne CBD on open houses day!

This weekend, some of Melbourne’s most magnificent buildings are open to the wider public and we went to have a sneak peek at at some of the buildings’s secret chambers.

Starting Saturday morning we planned on visiting only a few buildings since I expected long queues and big masses of people. Fortunately, this wasn’t the case.

We started at the Old Treasury Building. During the gold rush, this 19th century building was used for storing gold in the underground vaults. The building is grotesque and represents the gold rush atmosphere very well.

Visiting the underground vaults you can find some information about the gold rush and the value of gold. On the first level, we visited the old offices of government officials.

Next to the old treasury building and the planned highlight of our visit is Parliament House. We had to wait half an hour in line, but it was worth it.

We got a fantastic tour with excellent explanations from our guide. Knowledgeable, topical and interesting. Learned some more about Australian state politics and pretended to be the parliaments president.

Fun fact: who knew that Melbourne was Australia’s capital in the early 1900’s. This parliament was the national parliament at that time before they moved the capital to Canberra.

The building itself is worth visiting with amazing decorations of gold, chandeliers, statues, domes, old furniture,…

After some delicious yum cha (Chinese brunch, where you can pick food from trolleys rolling around), we gave up on visiting old buildings and went shopping in the city. Not as cultural, but nevertheless a terrific day!

Warming up at the bonfire Firelight Festival

This girl is on fire!

On a relatively cold winter night (yes it gets cold in Melbourne), James and I spent our Sunday night outside at the Firelight Festival.

From June 30 to July 2, Docklands was lit up with fire torches, fireworks, music and warm winter food.

Bringing a winter festival to Melbourne might seem odd, but it does work. Since the nights were chilly, the fire warmed up all the visitors who managed to fight the cold and get outside.

There were food stands, gas fires to warm your hands on, live entertainment and a gigantic burning torch on the water. Great fun for everyone, young and old.

Mayor Robert Doyle said the Firelight Festival is the perfect way to bring people together during winter (Source: Herald Sun). And we were very close together.

The promise of fireworks, mulled wine and warm finger food attracted thousands of people and families.

I don’t think the huge turnout was expected, since the setup didn’t accommodate the large crowd well, resulting in hold ups and massive cues.

We did manage to sample some delicious donuts, crepes and a hot chocolate, and all was forgiven again. Of course, the fireworks were the highlight of the evening.

The only downside was the lack of drinking stands. I truly missed our Belgian winter drinks such as some delicious jenever!

We have never seen Docklands this busy on a weekend night.

Docklands is a new part of Melbourne hosting mainly large business offices. Most of the time it is deadly quiet here at night.

This initiative from the city of Melbourne is a very smart one to successfully attract more people to Docklands and their restaurants.

All in all, a very enjoyable evening. We will go again next year!