Family adventures: Sunset flight on the Melbourne Star

Family adventures: Flying high on the Melbourne Star—A blog post by Rhonda Mason for LIFE:CAPTURED

| Written by Ronnie |

The idea for this series is to share images from our family outings, along with a bit of information about the places we explore, what we (and the boys) thought about our experience, and a couple of tips for other families who are considering a visit. I also plan to share my thoughts about my images—the light on the day, the camera settings, and how easy or difficult it was to capture and document the experience.

For our winter holiday this year, we drove down to Melbourne and spent five days living in a lovely two-storey terrace house that was less than ten minutes away from the CBD. Our third day in Melbourne was the day of my 37th birthday. As much as I want to say that it was the most wonderful birthday celebration, the reality is that it was a bit of a comedic disaster: The burger place and the donut place I wanted to go to were both closed during to a fire on Flinders Lane—which we discovered only after what seemed like a mammoth effort to get there, having waded our way through the crazy city crowds with five young boys in tow. It took us ages to find a suitable alternative (read: an alternative that was to my liking) and, after we’d finally eaten and had energy to make our way back to Docklands to visit Artvo—the main thing that I actually wanted us to do for my birthday—we were told we were too late and the gallery was too busy anyway. Not only that, one of the boys was in a particularly grumpy mood for the entire day and, by the time we made it to dinner, I broke down into tears in front of the boys and had to take myself off for a walk to calm down. C’est la vie. But even though it was not the “picture perfect” birthday I had envisioned, it was nonetheless a perfectly memorable day with all its beautiful imperfections because I got to spend it with the six most important people in my life.

My family.

The one thing that did (kind of) go according to plan was our sunset flight on the Melbourne Star. We had originally thought that we would do this at night like we did last year but, when we realised we couldn’t get into Artvo, Rick suggested that we go on the Melbourne Star earlier so that we could hopefully catch the sunset. So we did—and the sunset was stunning. And now that I think about it, it was definitely one of the winning highlights of our day.


The essentials you need to know

DESTINATION // The Melbourne Star

LOCATION // 101 Waterfront Way, Docklands, Victoria

ADMISSION // If you purchase online, prices start at $54.75 for 2 adults and 1 child. An additional child costs $12.75. Children under five can go on the Melbourne Star for free. It’s definitely worth purchasing tickets online beforehand. We neglected to do this and ended up paying about a hundred dollars for our family.

PARKING // There is easy, cheap parking close by at Harbour Town, where you can park all day for only $15.00. It’s worth noting that Docklands is on the city tram circuit, so after a flight on the Melbourne Star, you and your family can hop onto the tram and travel to other parts of the CBD for free. 

FOOD // The Melbourne Star is actually part of the Harbour Town shopping complex, which means that food options abound. Our family went to Old Man Pho for dinner both times we were there, and we really enjoyed the food. Their pho and spring rolls were particularly delightful. 

What we (and the boys) thought

The sunset was undeniably beautiful. But I’ll be honest. It was definitely less of a novelty the second time round. The older boys actually looked bored before our cabin even made it to the top of the wheel—and they said as much too. Part of it was probably because we didn’t have the cabin to ourselves like last time. And part of it might’ve been because it wasn’t night-time like it had been last year. But as for Lewis—he had a blast! Last winter, he was asleep in his cocoon for the entire flight but, this time, he was all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. In fact, the railing in the cabin was absolutely perfect for him because it was at just the right height, allowing him to hold on and make his way around the cabin all by himself. It was so adorable to watch, and it is no doubt one of my favourite memories from the day. 

Family adventures: Sunset flight on the Melbourne Star—A blog post by Rhonda Mason for LIFE:CAPTURED

Photography notes

From a photography perspective, the light on the sunset flight was perfect. It was soft, diffused, pink, and golden all at once. The city landscape was stunning, of course, but I found myself more drawn to capturing frames of our little Lewis and his exhaustive efforts at trying to “cruise” on his own. This last image above is probably my favourite.

When we boarded the cabin, I had my ISO set to 1600. Because it was sunset, the light faded at a rather rapid rate and, by the time our cabin was on the descent, I’d cranked my ISO up to 5000. I kept my aperture wide open at f/2.0, and the Fujifilm X100F image sensor did not disappoint. (Don't worry, I'll write about my new camera in another post!)

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below.

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