Being a tour guide is so much fun, yet very demanding. To get to know your town inside out is easier said than done. It requires lots of research, eye for detail and bucket loads of enthusiasm.
It is easy to get to know the well-established tourism attractions in town but how do you get to know the ‘nooks and crannies’ that make up the real Melbourne? What does our city stand for and how to relay that message within a 4 hour city tour?
Here is what the stage I tour guiding students have discovered the last 2 weeks:
- 333 Collins Street, the Old Commercial Bank of Australia is a pearl! Here at the bank’s impressive domed entrance built during the land crash of the early 1890s. They saw the scratches on the tellers’ benches where the gold was handed over… Those were the times!
- The Immigration Museum garden with its 7000 names of “new Europeans” as the newly arrived Europeans were called who arrived during the 10 pound policy.
- Degraves Street beautiful art by Sydney-born artist Yvette Vexta. Modern Melbourne is a mixture of food, coffee, quirky shops, fashion and arts.
- Young and Jackson’s Pub to get the full story of Chloe, painted in the 1870s by the French painter Lefebvre. Can you imagine the outrage it caused in Victorian Melbourne??? How did she die?
- The story behind the Rialto : It shows a time when Marvellous Melbourne was the richest city in the world based on income per person… It has a hydraulic lift and some remnants of the U turn shaped cobbled-stoned road in and out of the building to deliver wheat and wool for the docks. Incredible to think that this elaborate facade hid a storage place!
- You have to be able to give your client’s advice on where to eat and drink… find them a non touristy and quirky location such as ‘State of Grace’… Just find the correct book to pull out of the wall to enter…
- You have to know the different aspects of each attraction to suit a large variety of clients: the commercial side (fob style Seiko watch) at Melbourne central and the more historical Shot Tower Museum within the shot tower.
So you see, being a guide is anything but boring!