Thursday, 28 May 2015

The Myki Card And The Trams of Melbourne

The Myki Card And The Trams of Melbourne

               With the excitement of a teenager on his first roller coaster ride, I boarded Tram number 109 near the Crown Casino Complex. It was bound for Boxhill which is some kilometers away from the city proper. Pressing my Myki card against the green box, I touched on and heard the sound of having a successful registration. At Collins Street, I disembarked, walked towards Swanston Street and boarded the tram bound for St. Kilda. It was the start of my Saturday long multiple rides on Melbourne's much vaunted tram railway network.

                 Melbourne City holds the sole distinction of having the largest and most efficient tram railway network in the whole world. Starting in the 1800s, the trams of Melbourne have remained popular as they transport commuters to villages and towns outside the Central Business District. The trams reach places such as Bondoora, Malvern, Kew, Glen Iris, Carnegie, Brunswick, Footscray, East Coburg, Port Melbourne, etc.

                    A Myki card allows a commuter to avail of that special offer of unlimited rides on trains, trams and buses within zone 1 and zone 2. Zone 1 covers areas within the city and those near it.  Zone 2 refers to places far from the city proper. For $6, one may enjoy unlimited rides on Saturdays and Sundays and holidays.  For $7.50, the unlimited rides can be availed of on weekdays. Commuters are always reminded to touch on and touch off when riding trams, trains and buses. There are authorized Metro & Yarra Trams officers who make random checks.

                     It was 2 pm when the tram reached Bentleigh. It was my nth tram ride. I was the only passenger left on board. As the tram made its stop near an intersection, the tram driver looked at me and said: "End of the line, Mister."  I answered: "I know, mate.  I am just taking my own sweet time. I am like that Lewis Carroll character who has no particular destination. Ha Ha.." Then I made a touch off and heard again that clear sound: "Tick tick." And began walking, where else, but to destination unknown.

- Konted

Tram stop near the Crown Casino Complex

This tram is bound for Boxhill.

Comfortable ride

Tram stops at Bourke St. near Myer Dept.Store

Two trams going opposite directions.

Tram traveling on Swanston Street near St. Paul's Cathedral

Another tram along Swanston Sreet

In front of Flinders Street Station and Federation Square

Near Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT)

Some commuters prefer to stand near the exit.

Advertising the musical "The Lion King"

In front of Melbourne Town Hall. The left lane is for cyclists.

Tram bound for Malvern
Commuters on their way to Malvern

Vintage City Circle Tram which offers free ride to tourists

Another vintage City Circle Tram going around the city. It provides free ride to tourists.

Tram stops at St. Kilda

You press your Myki card against that green box to make a touch on and touch off.

Two trams stop at an intersection.
There is a small area within the city proper which has been designated as a "free tram zone". No Myki card needed. Free ride within that zone.


Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Chelsea By The Sea

Chelsea By The Sea
          It was sunny and bright that day as I stood at Platform #7 at Flinders Street Station. The clock indicated that I had 10 minutes of waiting for the next train bound for the city of Frankston. Like my previous trips on the Frankston line, I had no specific destination. As I boarded the blue train, I looked at my map, browsed over the villages that the train would pass through, and, in a few seconds, decided that Chelsea would be it. Passing through Cheltenham, Mentone, Mordialloc, Edithvale and other villages, the train was travelling at moderate speed. Finally, I heard the voice over:  "The next station is Chelsea....the next station is Chelsea." 

         Chelsea is a suburb of Greater Melbourne.  It is about 35 kilometers away from Melbourne's Central Business District (CBD).  Chelsea is famous for its beach that has fine golden sands.  On an ordinary day, that coastal stretch of Port Phillip Bay is quiet as only a few beach goers, walking barefoot along the shores and wading in its cyrstal clear waters, can be seen. The place is truly serene, and breaking the stillness from time to time, are the waves pounding the seemingly impregnable posts of the long pier of Chelsea that extends farther to the sea.

        A few meters away are bathing boxes that have become tourist attractions since the 19th century. Colorful and attractive as they are, these bathing boxes are owned by a selected few and cost about $250,000 each. They are used for changing clothes and storing personal items. And it is not surprising to see wedding pictorials at Chelsea Beach with the bathing boxes as backdrop.

        It was about 2pm when I had my lunch at the nearby reserve.  Then I was back again at the foreshore. As it has always been the case, I took out a small bottle from my back pack, knelt on one knee and scooped with my right hand some golden sand grains. I was feeling the grains with my fingers as I pressed them against the palm. Slowly I filled the bottle and placed it at the small pocket of my back pack.  As a buggy passed me by, I started walking towards  Nepean Highway, towards the station where the Metro train would take me back to the city proper.


Chelsea Beach
The long pier of Chelsea

My backpack

Chelsea's foreshore as one looks northward

Looking towards the Mornington Peninsula

Seagulls are common on the shores of Port Phillip Bay

On standby for any eventuality

Rescue buggy

Chelsea Lifesaving Club

Swimmers are advised to stay within the two flagpoles. It is a patrolled area.

Bathing boxes are used for changing clothes and storing personal items.
One bathing box costs about $250,000.

Bathing boxes are used as wedding pictorial's backdrop.

Watching the pictorial

To the reserve

Magnificent view of the sea from the reserve

For picnic goers

Free use of grills

Clean comfort rooms

For the kids

Vacation houses near the beach

Chelsea's museum

Nepean Highway

Stores are within walking distance from the beach and the train station.

Try their delicious, freshly baked bread.

For your other needs

Whippets waiting for the owner who is shopping

Chelsea Train Station near  Nepean Highway