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Rialto Towers Observation Deck


The Rialto Towers Observation Deck closed end December, 2009. We visited this Melbourne landmark one last time for the Novemember issue. For the 2009 panorama click here (see also: Rialto Towers; Rialto Towers).

Rialto Towers seen from Alexandra Gardens, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Rialto Towers seen from Alexandra Gardens

It's a warm spring day in Melbourne. The sun is shining fit to burn you and there is just enough wind to move the haze.

On the ground floor of the Rialto Towers we gather with a friendly hostess, listening to the wind whistle through the lift shaft, waiting for the lift to collect us.

Fifty-three floors up, the observation deck tops the 252 metre (830 foot) tower. Our ears pop to the strain of a gently informative voice as we climb.

Out of the lift, and to the left, and there is all of Melbourne at our feet. The Westgate bridge throws its long arc over the human-made regularity of the Yarra River mouth. The docklands are orderly squares of water. We can see the river meet Port Phillip Bay. Far off and out of sight is Tasmania.

View from Rialto Towers observation deck across the docklands, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

As we walk around the tower's deck we have a 360 degree view of Melbourne -- we can see the bay, the marinas, the old established suburbs, the urban canyons and the suburban checkerboard, and here and there parks and the meandering trail of the Yarra River.

The casino and Southbank precinct look like architect's models from here, new and clean and bright. It will be fabulous from up here at night to watch the plumes of flame from the casino plinths.

Ships, filled with day trippers from around Melbourne and around the globe, skim along the river. The city is at once on holiday and at work. The scars of commerce are interspersed with river water and the established trees of our gardens. The roofs are grey and covered with mechanical devices or green with gardens, faux grass and tennis courts. Occasionally swimming pools glisten in the sunlight.

View from Rialto Towers observation deck across Southbank over the gardens, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

As on all our travels, we encounter Melbournians showing off their city to visiting family, friends, and business contacts.

On a week day in the school holidays it is still relatively quiet.

Rialto Towers seen from Batman Park, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

The cakes and pastries in the licensed café look wonderful, well above the standard kiosk fare.

There is no pressure to leave the deck quickly, plenty of time for a cappucino, shockingly fattening banana cake and a leisurely wander along the deck. Couples sit at their tables, sipping wine and waiting for the light to fade.

As with all towers, the secret is to go up late in the afternoon, check out the city during the day, and watch through the falling dusk as night creeps in and the lights come up.

As the sun reddened and slipped below the horizon, there was a growing sense of camaraderie. We were all waiting for magic hour, and following it, the lights of the city.

For more pics, see Melbourne at our feet Photostory.

The Rialto Towers Observation Deck is situated in Collins Street between King and William Streets.

Ali Kayn

September 29, 1997

8 October, 2009
It was announced today that the observation deck will close on 31 Dec 2009. The 55th floor will be redeveloped in 2010 for another, undisclosed, purpose.

Just the facts:


Rialto Towers web site
Observation Deck CEASED OPERATION 31 DECEMBER 2009

Visit Victoria
Getting there:

525 Collins St, Melbourne,
Trams along Collins St to King St

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