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Editions

Precinct Perspective

31 Mar 2020

Precinct Perspective Image

A new perspective from Batman’s Hill

By Tim Martin

Hello Docklands News readers. My name’s Tim and I’ll be periodically keeping you abreast of the comings and goings in the Batman’s Hill precinct.

While different sources provide different boundaries, I shall take the precinct to be bounded by Spencer St, Bourke St, Harbour Esplanade and Flinders St. I may also occasionally stray just across the border into Stadium Precinct and North Wharf for which I hope you will forgive me.

So far in this column you’ve heard from Victoria Harbour, NewQuay and Yarra’s Edge, which are far more residential than Batman’s Hill which is primarily commercial. But rest assured there are still quite a few of us “Batman’s Hillers” hiding away in buildings including Village V1, Watergate Apartments and Grand Central Apartments with new residents expected in the soon-to-be-completed Melbourne Quarter East Tower, the (hopefully) soon-to-commence Melbourne Quarter West Tower and the Seafarers residences to be built above the heritage-listed Shed 5 in North Wharf (there … I told you I’d stray across the border!).

In my infrequent columns I hope to cover a range of subjects including the history of the area, stories behind street names, local artworks, the urban forest, local businesses and anything else you may find interesting and wish to suggest. In view of the current state of affairs and the increasing likelihood that people may start going a bit stir crazy at home, I thought this article would be a good place to suggest a couple of (very) local tourism destinations to get you out and about and more familiar with interesting parts of our wonderful precinct. It’s fun to explore. Having said that, with everything changing so much day by day, it’s possible by the time this is published some of my recommendations may be inaccessible, but you will never know unless you go for a walk!

First stop would be the “Southern Cross Mountains”; a low-flying bird’s eye view of the roof of Southern Cross Station – quite an Instagrammable sight. From the right place you can imagine yourself standing in the midst of a metal mountain range, hence my nickname. To get there, go up the escalators at 664 Collins St (the high-rise building immediately adjacent to Southern Cross Station on the western side overlooking Wurundjeri Way). At the top of the escalator, turn right and follow your nose. Bingo, amazing view of the station roof. Just keep following your nose and you will eventually reach another set of escalators which take you down to the Bourke St concourse between Marvel Stadium and the station.

Next stop, since it’s nearby, would be the plant-covered Medibank building foyer adjacent to Marvel Stadium on Bourke St (yes, I’ve strayed across the border again, I know!). I would suggest entering from Bourke St rather than Marvel Stadium podium. That’s because entering from Bourke St means you get to walk up a long, wide, kind of circular ramp which meanders to the main foyer. On the way, give your neck a workout and look up. The view is spectacular. The atrium extends all the way to the roof with curvaceous floors of different pastel hues extending into the void. Well worth a walk and a look. If you exit the building from the main foyer you will find yourself on the Marvel Stadium podium.

Again, since it’s nearby, turn right and make your way anticlockwise around the stadium. After a short walk you will find a Spiderman climbing wall which is designed to look like the outside of an apartment building. On match days it is open and staffed and best of all, free! And yes, adults are allowed to have a go. Once spectators are again allowed to attend matches, my suggestion would be that you get there early so you don’t embarrass yourself in front of all the monkey-like, fear-free children.

Next, I’d suggest checking out the Collins Square development which can be entered from Village Street, Collins St (look for the giant yellow straw-like sculpture), or from Batman’s Hill Drive. Inside you will find a massive upmarket food court (obviously now only open for takeaway), bars, a selection of cafes, a Woolworths and a variety of other shops. Collins Square often has generous special offers or events running. If you are interested you can sign up to receive notification of these by visiting collinssquare.com.au/whats-on/subscribe/. Since you are in the building it’s worth heading to level 12, Tower 2 which is tenanted by Deakin University. They have an interesting art collection which is open to the public and it will also provide you the opportunity to take in some interesting views from the office windows. In my experience you will have no problems with social distancing there.

After all that walking, climbing and eating I would suggest taking a break in the Melbourne Quarter skypark which is a park elevated over Collins St. You can access it via a large circular staircase or a glass lift from the Melbourne Quarter forecourt diagonally opposite Southern Cross Station near the peak of the Collins St overpass. There is well-kept grass, nice seating areas, gardens and pleasant views of the city. All in all a nice place to be when the weather’s good.

Well, I hope that gives you a few ideas on how to be a bit of a tourist in (and around) Batman’s Hill. On the way home if you don’t feel like cooking, drop by Nine Elephants Thai Restaurant at 67 Village St, near the corner of Fishplate Lane. Really good Thai food and service at a reasonable price in a casual setting but again, only open for takeaway at the moment. Until next time, happy exploring •

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