I was so excited to go out last night. Since moving to Melbourne, one of the festivals I have wanted to see was White Night. If you don’t know what White Night is, it is an event held each year in the heart of the city. A wonderful celebration of culture and creativity. A night where buildings and landmarks are lit with extravagant lighting displays, exhibitions, street performances and interactive events taking place in the streets and laneways, parklands, public spaces and cultural institutions of Melbourne.
To start our fun night, Mitchell and I enjoyed a relaxing dinner at the Brighton Hotel. It is a wonderful cosy little pub located along one of Brighton’s main entertainment precincts, Bay Street. Shortly after arriving at The Brighton Hotel, we were seated in a cosy little corner at the back of the main room. Whenever I go out somewhere new, I always look for romantic themed cocktails on the menu. Yes – I can’t help myself. The Brighton Hotel didn’t disappoint. It wasn’t long before Mitchell was sipping on an ice-cold Peroni and I was enjoying a Love Potion 😉 For dinner Mitch had a Porterhouse, that had his saliva glands working over time, I had the scrumptious Seafood Linguine. For dessert Mitchell and I shared one of the best sticky date puddings I have ever eaten.
The corner pub in Brighton just happens to be owned by a very well known group of famous faces. You just never know when the lead singer of Rogue Traders, and judge of some of Australia’s best reality shows – Natalie Bassingthwaighte, or one of AFL’s footballers Nick Riewoldt, Matthew Richardson and Nathan Brown will pop in for a meal 😉 The troupe also has another swanky place, Flinders Street’s Waterside Hotel.
After we finished our lovely dinner, Mitchell and I headed into the city. Exiting the train at Parliament Station, we walked along Nicholson Street until we reached our first destination – The Royal Exhibition Building. To say I was impressed would be an understatement! The World Heritage Site-listed building, that was completed in 1880, looked spectacular. The show that was projected onto the front facade of the building was just breathtaking. My eyes were glued to the walls, the windows, even the roof! I loved it!! We stayed here for about 20 minutes, since the website listed more than 30 places to visit we decided to designate short stays at each venue.
Our next stop was the Melbourne Museum. Athletic grandmothers performing human pyramids, magicians full of funny surprises and a rope performance that had tingles running up my spine were just some of what was on show for the evening. The museum was such a great start to our evening. Next stop was Swanston Street. Walking, walking and even more walking and the first sign of anything going on was the State Library. I didn’t even bother taking a photo – it was dreadful! Only part of the projection was on the facade of the building, most of it was lost in the crowd. It was like who ever was working the projector fell asleep and the lens tilted towards the ground. I can’t think of a better explanation for it. We continued walking along Swanston Street towards Flinders Street Station and saw one projection on the side of one of the high rises. It was ok, no-one seemed to pay it much attention.
By the time we reached the corner, opposite Flinders Street Station, it was a sea of people….and no projections. No performers…nothing! Just lots of people. Saint Paul’s Cathedral, Federation Square, Flinders Street Station – nothing! We stood on the corner for about 5 minutes, just looking around …waiting. There was a lot of people walking in and out of St Paul’s Cathedral but no information outside to hint at what was going on inside the building. We felt flat….let down. We gave up waiting and decided to head home. We had been walking all over the city and besides the Exhibition Building and Museum, there didn’t seem to be anything else going on. Flinders Street Station was a nightmare, by the time we made our way down to platform 8, through all the underground tunnels and came back up through platform 10, I just wanted to be home.
White Night is supposed to be one of Victoria’s Major Events. It was created, and is ‘proudly’ supported by the State Government of Victoria. I was left wondering where all my tax dollars went. According to the ABC half a million people flocked to Melbourne’s city centre to see more than 120 installations. I would love to know were they all were. I only saw 4! Unless they make a few changes, I wont be in a hurry to see it again. But I will definitely visit The Brighton Hotel again, that is one establishment I can count on.
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