I visited Australia’s highest mailbox and it was terrifying

There is very little I fear more than heights. And this experience was a 297-metre tall reminder of that. It isn’t quite as tall as the Q1 Building in the Gold Coast (I will link to that post in this one) but it is Australia’s second tallest building and is a very impressive tower.

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The building I am referring to is the Eureka Tower. It is located on Melbourne’s South Bank and dominates the skyline. The 88th floor observation deck can be accessed by the public with a ticket for $20.

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It isn’t a post office as you may have been led to believe by the title. It is an apartment building however as I was walking around the observation deck and pretty much hugging the wall until I calmed down, I found this.

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Sadly I didn’t post anything, but this wasn’t the purpose of my visit. Nor did I know it was here at all. But at least ‘Visit Australia’s highest postbox’ can be ticked off the list and it was a pretty cool find.

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So to get a little bit more comfortable with the heights, I did a few laps of the observation deck. But I am just going to post the pictures in chronological order so for anyone that knows the city, if I seem to jump from one side to another, I probably did. Some of the shots look more shaded, as we were behind tinted glass. Other shots are more clear and with one portion being outdoors behind some netting, there are photos not taken from behind any glass at all.

The reflections made it a little tricky at times, but I did what I could.

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So the above freaked me out. This ride is called The Edge. Watching those on it really made me have a ‘never in a million years’ moment as the room slowly leaves the building and suspends tourists almost 984ft above the city.

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This is Susan, my friend from Peru that secretly bought two tickets for that ride.

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I met Susan in the first hostel I stayed at when I arrived. We both arrived pretty much the same time and have kept in contact since. Sadly she flew back to Peru a few days back but we made the most of our time together, with a trip to the Great Ocean Road I posted about recently and then this.

Below you can see a video of the ride in action. Notice how the windows change from being opaque to fully clear during the transition. When the room is extending outwards, the rider cannot see out. It is only when the room is fully exposed that the windows become clear.

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I was adamant that I wasn’t going to do it. The fact that I felt uneasy being up there at all was enough for me to come to the conclusion that nothing would convince me to get in that box. I am the kind of person that thinks of 101 ways that this could end in disaster and instead of enjoying such a moment, wait for said disaster to strike.

That is what anxiety is like. I am someone that has suffered anxiety in my 20’s, something that I haven’t had growing up. I have always been an obsessive (I have always had Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, even to the point of needing medication in my teens) and as the OCD aspect is more manageable now, I feel the anxiety aspect has remained and increased in intensity.

What I have never been able to understand is how people get thrills out of these kinds of situations. Riding roller coasters too, I cannot think of anything more horrific than being held against my will and thrown about until the ride comes to an end. But then I considered the fact that not everyone has anxiety to this extent, and probably need such rides to get the same rush I have had sitting down staring at a wall. I don’t need a ride to get my adrenaline pumping, I get it for free and often at the strangest times.

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The video of the ride was taken in the outdoor portion of the observation tower. From here the views were the clearest as the camera could be placed right next to the mesh and see right out to the horizon. Below, Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and the various other sports stadiums can be seen.

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Binoculars look right onto the stadiums and with the big screen of the MCG facing our way, if there was in fact a game on you would be able to follow along by looking in that direction. Here I am recording the view I had looking right at the stadium.

And looking north, the high rises of the CBD. One of the tallest buildings you can see is in fact where I work, with a great view of the Eureka Building.

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Above, the Shrine of Remembrance can be seen. This is a memorial to war veterans and I visited not too long ago and captured a great view of the skyline. I posted this picture on Instagram linked below for those that follow me there, you might have seen it already.

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It was amazing to see the views of the surrounding area, and so many locations I have seen the Eureka Building from near and far. The only down side to the whole experience was my fear. Similar to my experience in the Q1 tower that I posted about here, I quickly got over the fear. But I am nowhere near comfortable enough to do the outdoor climb that my sister did in the Gold Coast, that level of bravery seems to be a million miles away. I don’t mind being indoors, its the thought of that little extra level of vulnerability that I just cannot overcome, even though I know it is incredibly safe.

The Edge is different though. Although the room does slowly leave the building, half of it remains always indoors. If I really wanted to stay in that room throughout I could, and I could stick my head out if I wanted to. After much sweating and foot-tapping, I agreed to put on the yellow wristband they give you (that says ‘I survived the Edge‘ despite putting it on before knowing if you were going to), the funny shoe covers and went into the dark, indoor section of the ride. I knew there wasn’t a sheer drop underneath me and that the floor wouldn’t just suddenly turn see-through, if I wanted to walk on it I could make my way onto it. As everyone else stood on the glass floor (including Susan) I contemplated whether or not I could manage it. The staff member controlling the movement reassured me that it ‘wasn’t that bad’ and because I had the option to come and go as I pleased I felt a lot more comfortable about the whole ordeal.

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So I did it, although I still look terrified in the picture. I can safely say it was nowhere near as bad as I feared… one reason was the glass was a little more hazy as you can see above and also the metal below our feet, if it was all glass that would be a different story.

Thank you Susan for helping me get to that point!!

I guess my advice would be as much as something seems terrifying in the moment, that moment will pass and the future will be full of moments you were pleased to have done it. That, or endless moments you kick yourself and wish you did. It is true that in the end you will regret the things you didn’t do more than the things you did, and for this reason alone overcoming a fear is so satisfying.

Whatever you are doing in life, say yes more than you say no to things. Memories are so much better than what if’s, and memories are evidence of a life lived.

 


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

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At this crossroad you have to wait for the green lady

This is your ordinary city-centre crosswalk with a twist. As I was crossing these traffic lights a couple weeks back with a friend, he pointed up at the lights as we walked. He already knew why these lights were different and decided to enlighten me… I was pretty impressed.

It is little things like this that can break the cycle of a boring, dull, routine walk to work and actually help us escape the robotic commute and spend a moment thinking about something else.

I wasn’t aware of what the reason for this installment was at the time. But I went back a few days ago and captured a video as I crossed one of the modified pedestrian crossings.

It is a female! I wonder how many people look up and notice the difference? After all it is another red and green light with that woodpecker sound effect only slightly different from the rest. But that triangular skirt shaping the figure makes a big statement. I just needed to know what that statement was exactly…

The crossing can be found on the intersection between Swanston and Flinders Street, just before crossing the Princes Bridge.

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This ABC News article I found provides some information about the lights. It turns out that the government has backed the move to change some of the traffic lights in a 12 month trial period, aiming to narrow the gap between male and female symbols to 50/50 across the State of Victoria in a push for gender equality.

More information can be found on the link and on the internet in general. It will be interesting to see if this does spread through Melbourne and the wider state, there are currently ten of these in the areas I highlighted on the map above.


And as expected Twitter was mixed, with some people playing devils advocate and highlighting a couple of issues they had with the implementation. What makes the original symbol a man? Can a female not wear trousers and have short hair? Is assuming that girls wear skirts worse? What if the skirt is in fact a Scotsman in a kilt? Some were in favour of the ‘WALK’ and ‘DON’T WALK’ wording used in the USA and elsewhere to end the arguments altogether.

As always, the borderlines can be a little hazy.

I agree with changing the symbols to wording if people aren’t happy with the current figure, as adding a skirt and claiming it is a girl will no doubt add fuel to the fire, as you know, not every girl wears a skirt.

But I don’t want to look that deep into it. I see it like a piece of street art, designed to be noticed and get heads turning and people talking. I like it. Sometimes the world can go a little overboard with such statements and I don’t agree with every protest in the world, but this for me is a nice break from the norm.

What do you think? Do you like the addition of the girl symbol or would you simply prefer ‘WALK’ and ‘DON’T WALK’ and get rid of the symbols altogether? Are you happy with the current figure or is it too ‘man-like’? Let me know as it is for sure a talking point and I will have to see if I spot any more changes in the city.

 


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section and Travel Diary

Follow me @samest89 on Instagram and @octstw on Twitter

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Cheers!

Am I back in the UK?!

This past weekend I went to do the Great Ocean Road again with a friend. This time we took a car and for a road this long, it is much better to do in your own time over a couple days. Last time I did it with a friend from England our trip was cut short and we did it on a coach trip over one day. It was great, but the trip was very long for just one day and the stops were brief. To get some kind of scale of the journey and the distance from Melbourne, the map below shows the beginnings and end of the road, with Melbourne seen in the distance to the far right of the map. It is a 243 km (151mi) long road trip, Torquay is roughly 1 hour 30 minutes from Melbourne.

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The weather was great last time around and this time was a little bit more mixed. But I liked the changes in weather, it changed the landscape a lot and added a little eerie-ness to the setting.

Here are a few shots from the trip.

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I am not sure how many of you know about this, but this is the Lighthouse used in the TV show ‘Round the Twist‘. This is a children’s television show between 1990 and 2001 and had a theme tune I would hear regularly growing up. I can’t quite remember watching the show so I just had a quick look on good old Wikipedia for the series information, and it seems the lighthouse is a main theme throughout. It gets haunted, a knight enters the house through a magical door, shit goes down basically. Surprised I haven’t been damaged by the show and am actually able to visit it in real life.

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You see the house above? It’s pretty popular on this stretch of the route due to the design. It really stands out during the drive as it is positioned on the top of a pole, with a fairly long walkway leading up to it. We had a quick stop to grab a picture. Probably one of the most photographed houses on the Great Ocean Road.

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And on route, the weather turned. It rained a little, but not enough to cause any problems.

In fact, the weather was the worst when we got out at Kennet River to try and find a koala. At this point the vision was very low and the rain pretty hard. We were not able to see one (I think we saw four last time here, you can read about this trip in my posts Great Ocean Road part one and part two) however just as we were about to get back in the car, one was in literally the very last tree before we gave up all hope. Clinging on for dear life it seems, however these guys have a talent of holding onto a tree whilst sleeping for 20 hours a day.

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Roughly half way through the journey, we decided to call it a day. We booked a motel right at the very end of the road, which was a good and bad idea mutually. It was bad because it was dark in Apollo Bay where we stopped for fish and chips, it was 7pm and after ringing the motel to let them know we were 2 hours 30 minutes away, she told us the reception closes at 9pm. Whoops. She very kindly told us she would wait until 9.30pm for us to arrive, we ran out the chippy and we at fish and chips as we drove round the endless bends in the pitch black trying to get to the end destination Warrnambool. The good thing was that as it was dark we didn’t ruin any of the surprises that we wanted to see along the second part of the journey back.

And this was the good thing about booking a motel at the end of the trip. We got up the next morning, had breakfast and coffee and started making our way back to Melbourne along the second half of the Great Ocean Road we didn’t get to see.

Oh, and just to let you know we made it to the motel with three minutes to spare.

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The next day was glorious, perfect for revisiting the Twelve Apostles. The temperature was perfect, the skies were blue, and as always the tourists were breaking the rules. These geezers decided to jump the fence and take a closer look at the landscape, much to the dismay of a German tourist next to me that started shouting at them for ruining the photo opportunities. I mean if they fall they fall, natural selection and all that. And thankfully they didn’t stay out there for too long so we did get a clear shot too. I just wanted to add this photo as it helps give a perspective of size, and to tell you kids to stick to the rules!

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More tourists, and more tourists jumping the fence. Again, we had to wait for a point when someone didn’t ignore the signs and go into the no entry zone, but again I was able to take some pictures without people. But I like this shot too, it shows how popular these spots are on such a long and underpopulated stretch of road.

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Here we are, below, the Twelve Apostles. Funnily enough there were never twelve, and not so funnily enough one collapsed in 2005.

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I was probably deep in thought about something…

Also, what I noticed during both trips was how much the countryside resembled British countryside, once you drive a little further inland from the ocean.

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Between Princetown and Apollo Bay seen in the map above, the road stops hugging the coastline and takes you a little further inland. As soon as it does, these beautiful green rolling hills become a common theme, occupied by sheep, cows and green road signs. Well, the signs were always the same, but with the setting, the clouds and the left side driving, I could easily be mistaken into thinking I was back in England if I was to wake up on this part of the journey.

The picture below was the view from the motel however, and again, looks strikingly similar to good old blighty. The rest of the shots and video are taken (I believe) between Princetown and Apollo Bay, although I could be wrong trying to think back to the journey.

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It was nice to be reminded of home again, and with winter coming, it may help ease me back into travelling back home in September. It was great to be able to do this road trip over two days in a car and give the Great Ocean Road the time it deserves. Another post from this part of the world, but I would recommend it to anyone and is a drive that I could not possibly get bored of.


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section and Travel Diary

Follow me @samest89 on Instagram and @octstw on Twitter

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Cheers!