16 January 2018
The Docklands area of Melbourne’s inner west is bustling with construction activity. The entertainment and high rise residential district is easily walkable from the Southern Cross Train Station. It is quieter than the CBD and Southbank but is worth visiting. Docklands is anchored by Victoria Harbour with New Quay and Waterfront City to the north and Yarra’s Edge to the south.
The area has all the typical shopping you might expect. The main entertainment venue is Etihad Stadium (aka Docklands Stadium) which acts as AFL’s headquarters and the home of five AFL teams, Carlton Blues, Essendon Bombers, North Melbourne Kangaroos, St. Kilda Saints, and the Western Bulldogs, and one BBL (Twenty20 cricket) team, the Melbourne Renegades. We will get to step inside the stadium when the Foo Fighters arrive later this month.
Docklands is also home to the Melbourne Star, a giant Ferris wheel similar to London’s Eye. With a diameter of 120 meters, 15 meters smaller than the Eye, it is advertised as the largest in the Southern Hemisphere. The Star has seven points to represent the seven pointed star on the Australian flag. It was not yet operating when we visited in the morning.
Both Etihad Stadium and Melbourne Star have been plagued with problems when they opened. Etihad Stadium has been the subject of controversy and several lawsuits. The playing surface has been criticized for being too hard for athlete safety and the field is oriented such that grass does not easily grow on the northern end. Melbourne Star, formally named Southern Star, has experienced a number of problems causing shutdowns. Structure, wheel bearings, and software have all been problematic. It’s not the type of track record that inspires me to take a ride.