Duration: More than 3 hours
Price Guide: $0-29
Prices were correct at the time of publication.
Catch a train or a tram to Melbourne Central (on the city loop). All train lines, except Sandringham and Williamstown, have loop services. Any of the Swanston Street tram lines (1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 16, 64, 67, 72) will take you to the Melbourne Central corner.
As you exit the station (Swanston Street entrance) turn left and walk up the hill to put yourself on the corner of Swanston and Latrobe Streets.
There is lots to see on this corner. Directly opposite is the State Library, whose magnificent recently restored domed reading room is well worth a visit (walk straight through the library and go up via the stairs or the elevator to access it). There is also free internet access here.
Diagonally opposite the station entrance is the vivid green 3D facade of RMIT University’s Storey Hall. This building caused a lot of controversy when it was first built, but is now a much loved part of the city’s architecture. If it is a weekday you may be able to go in and look around (though the interior is not as exciting as the exterior), but it is University property so be careful not to interrupt any events they may be hosting there.
As you exit Storey Hall or the Library, turn right. If you cross to the opposite side of the road and look up you will see Hardrock: Melbourne’s indoor climbing centre.
Whether you’re a hardcore cliff scaler or a complete novice, hardrock is suited to all types. Be aware that you must come with someone else as it’s a two-person operation. On your first session you’ll be given a basic introduction (around 15 mins) showing you the ropes (literally, excuse the pun) and safety measures. After that you and your fellow climber are free to climb any walls you wish, for as long as you want (although I wouldn’t get too cocky and try the advanced walls straight away; you’ll just scrabble around trying to get higher than 10ft and fall off). Overall, it’s a lot of fun, not to mention a great way to get fit!
Cross the road opposite Hardrock – you will see a large red brick building with steps leading up to it on either side; this is Melbourne City Baths.
Another way to keep fit! Facilities include a 30m lap pool, spa, sauna, gym and squash courts. You’ll note that each side is marked Male or Female over the entrance. The pool no longer has separate entrances for the different genders, nor does it have gender-segregated facilities.