Melbourne’s Eureka Skydeck a hit with Indian tourists

April 19th, 2008 - 10:17 am ICT by admin  

By Neena Bhandari
Melbourne, April 19 (IANS) Dizzying heights are not for the fainthearted, but if you can muster up the courage to be propelled to the 88th floor of Melbourne’s Eureka Tower, the awe-inspiring 380 degree vista is an experience like none other. As the lift doors slide shut, there is a sound of heavy breathing as some visitors squeeze palms with their eyes fixed at the red digital display. They are going up to the Southern Hemisphere’s highest viewing platform!

For an average Indian tourist, the Eureka Skydeck experience doesn’t come cheap at A$16.50 a ticket for adults and A$9 for children, though there are family deals at A$39 for two adults and two children and special student rates.

But it’s an experience that a growing number of Indian tourists are going in for. Since opening May 15, 2007, Eureka Skydeck has had approximately 11,000 visitors from the Asian region, many from India.

Travelling at more than nine metres per second, Eureka Skydeck lifts are said to be the fastest in this part of the world. Before you realise, fear gives way to cheer as you land on the Skydeck, otherwise a flight of 3,680 stairs, in precisely 40 seconds.

The kaleidoscopic views of Melbourne at first glance take your breath away — the Yarra river gently flowing along city landmarks - the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Rod Laver Arena, the historic Victoria station buzzing with commuters next to an icon of modern architecture, the Federation Square, abuzz with diners.

It is a popular attraction for students.

As Meghna Jaiswal, a student at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology here, says, “It has been one of the most exciting experiences I’ve had as a tourist in Australia. The views of Melbourne’s Central Business District and the Australian skies make it a must-see attraction.”

An addition to Melbourne’s skyline, the Eureka Tower, the world’s tallest residential building at 92 storeys, took over four years to complete and cost approximately A$500 million. The facade consists of glass aluminium panels, covering an area of 40,000 sq. metres. The glass on the top 10 floors is plated with 24-carat gold.

The top of the Eureka Tower can flex up to 600 m in high winds. To dampen the oscillations, two 300,000-litre water tanks have been placed on 91 and 92 floors.

One in three visitors are brave enough to also experience The Edge, a glass cube that extends out from the Skydeck to give a `walking on air’ thrill. As the cube is cantilevered at three metres from the building, the frosted glass walls and floor turn transparent - and as if that weren’t scary enough, speakers blare the sound of shattering glass.

“I have been on the London Eye and other attractions which offer similar kicks, but the Eureka Skydeck and The Edge are prettier and trendier”, adds Meghna.

Displays on the Skydeck include the six metre, multi-user interactive ‘Serendipity Table’ that explores the stories and history of Melbourne and view finders that make spotting landmarks easier. For a breath of fresh air one can walk on ‘The Terrace’ at 300 metres above the ground!

As many as 1.5 million international visitors came to Victoria during 2007, spending A$3.1 billion. The Indian visitor market was up by 13.8 percent, experiencing the strongest growth followed by Germany, New Zealand, China and the US. In the year ending December 2007, there were 32,375 Indian visitors to Victoria.

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