We ambled along the William Barak Bridge, a pedestrian walkway over the City Link toll road, to reach the middle terrace of Birrarung Marr, Melbourne's newest major park. Its 20 acres, which opened in 2002, feature three terraces and open grassy spaces between the Central Business District and the Yarra River.
A sound sculpture -- the Federation Bells -- attracted our attention on the middle terrace. Thirty-nine inverted bells of various sizes are mounted on poles in a large space. Computer controlled, they play compositions thrice daily, in morning, at noon and in late afternoon. We missed a concert but enjoyed walking among the bells for a closer look.
The upper terrace, which is street side, held no interest. It featured much grass, simply waiting to be the venue for the next scheduled large exhibition or event. Instead, we focused on the lower terrace, which hosts native vegetation along with big Elm trees. This is where the Yarra River Trail runs along a gravel track on the water's South side. Shaded benches invite passersby to sit for a while and watch the river traffic -- canoes and kayaks when we were there.
Our favorite sculpture in the park -- Angel by Deborah Halpern -- stands on the lowest terrace. The almost 33-foot-high whimsical creation displays two heads with a ceramic-clad body depicting 16 colorful images that represent different life forms, such as a crocodile, plants and fantasy creatures.
This quiet park holds much more, including a big children's playground, and we found the space much fun to explore. Though we entered from the area where Melbourne's cricket field is located, Birrarung Marr is easy to access from Federation Square, which is where we exited.
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