Yesterday Paul and I headed into Melbourne to see a couple of exhibitions, and while we were there we checked out the venue for Aussiecon 4, and its surrounds. I’ve spent this morning whipping up this blog post to let you know what we learned. I even drew a map!
The front of the Melbourne Convention Centre lies at the far end of the looooong rectangular Melbourne Exhibition Centre. Just look for the boat:
The boat is actually the Polly Woodside, a tall ship that has been the subject of many a school excursion for locals. Currently it and the dock is under refurbishment so you can’t get onto it, but it’s a good landmark to orient yourself with. If you can see the ship, you know where the Convention Centre is.
Another thing to look for is the colour orange.
The Convention Centre is all shiny and new. Here it is from the inside:
(Okay, I only included that photo because I was kinda chuffed with how it turned out.) Here’s the interior looking kinda northish:
If you walk along the outside of the building from the ship toward the river, and round the corner of the building, you’ll see this:
That’s another entrance to the centre, as well as an eatery that was advertising “tapas and drink for $10” when we were there. Note the even better orientating landmark: the Hilton (big building in the background). It’s literally next door to the centre. I was standing at the start of the pedestrian bridge when I took this shot.
On the other side of the Hilton is DFO, a retail shopping centre. There is a small food court in it consisting of four shops (though there are two other cafes located in other parts of the centre). These may be good if you want a quick bite, but if you want proper restaurants or more variety in fast food, you need to head in the other direction. Here’s a quick sketch map I did, adding a red wash for main areas of interest:
All along the river, heading northeast, there is a promenade with restaurants on one side. Food courts can be found within the buildings with heaps of fast food choices. There are also restaurants and a food court within Crown Casino, though if you have to get back to the con quickly it might be better to stick to the promenade. The casino complex seems to have been designed to keep you inside, to the point where it’s easy to get lost and can be hard to find your way out again.
You could also head up to the CBD (the city centre) if you don’t mind a longer walk and have the time. There are some very popular restaurant areas like China Town and Lygon Street (the latter which you’d need a car to get to).
Other attractions along the river include the Melbourne Aquarium, Eureka Skydeck, and Federation Square. Walking along the river is an attraction in itself, whether you like to people watch or enjoy parks (gardens).
Other details we picked up on our scouting trip were these:
Parking for those staying at the Hilton in the car park opposite the hotel costs $20 for one entry and exit per day, and there’s a pricier fee if you want to enter and exit several times in a day. It’s not the only parking option, though.
Melbourne currently has racks of bicycles that you can use for free, and they could be a great way to scoot along the promenade if you were in a hurry. But we have strict laws requiring the wearing of bike helmets and helmets aren’t provided – you have to bring your own. If you borrow a bike and don’t wear a helmet, you risk a fine.
There’s one of those expensive little shops selling breakfast cereal and designer water on a south corner of the Convention Centre, and one cafe within the centre itself, plus plenty of vending machines in the Exhibition Centre. And there’s that place with the tapas.
Disclaimer: Please do not use the map above to find your way around. It’s only meant to give a general idea of what’s near the convention centre. There are more detailed maps available via the Aussiecon 4 website, and there’s bound to be maps available from hotels and such.