By Gwen O’Toole
Melbourne’s newest icon — the much-hyped Southern Star observation wheel — is ready to open in November for group bookings and private events.
Standing 40-storeys high, the $100-million wheel is the third largest in the world behind the London Eye and Singapore Flyer.
Its 21 walk-around cabins hold up to 20 people each in air-conditioned comfort and provide 360-degree views of Melbourne, Docklands, Port Phillip Bay and beyond. They are set to become popular venues in their own right and will be ideal for weddings, cocktail functions and sunset flights.
Larger groups will be accommodated at the three-level Star Building and function centre (the Star Room) that sits at the base of the wheel. The Star Room can hold about 300 cocktail guests or 200 seated, and features two private boardrooms also available for hire.
Melbourne’s Southern Star observation wheel
Former Dreamworld CEO, Fred Maybury, who has been working on the project for more than six years now, says the wheel is set to become Melbourne’s most popular tourist attraction this summer.
“We estimate that Southern Star will attract 1.5 million guests in the first year and will be a real boom to tourism in both Melbourne and Australia,” he said.
Unlike old-style fairground wheels, a flight on the Southern Star is more like a smooth, floating sensation, a result of the cabins being fixed to the outside of the wheel, rather than swaying in the breeze.
“A Southern Star flight is an amazing sensation: gentle, quiet and almost a bit surreal. You don’t notice you are ascending until you reach the top and start descending.”
Southern Star will operate 365 days a year. For more information, click here.