First published on 27 Jun 2012. Updated on 28 Jun 2012.
As we all know, Melbourne is famous for keeping secrets. The rule seems to be that if you can’t find whatever it is you are looking for, you love it all the more.
Over the last decade or so, this distinctive city trait has spawned a plethora of kooky venues, hidden in back laneways, on rooftops and in tiny basements. It has also seen as influx of unusual function spaces, which offer a unique experience for the slightly more adventurous party-goer.
One of these Melbourne gems is the Victoria Star, an ex-Sydney ferry owned by Captain Leigh Doeg. Doeg has been running tours around the bay and beyond since December 1999, providing Melbourne with a fun alternative for weddings, parties, corporate functions and even school formals.
“In 2007 we took on Will, our full time events manager, and things have never been better. We’re booked out from August to the end of May and between Cup Day and Easter it’s pretty full on.”
The boat, which carries up to 350 passengers, is clearly Doeg’s pride and joy. Brass rails gleam, carpets are plush and the timber decks are as polished as a Michael Bublé concert. It makes for a magnificently decadent trip around the bay, through the endless shipping channels and even over to Williamstown if weather permits.
“We host 160-plus events every year, from midweek corporates to weekend dance parties, so we meet all sorts. Generally it’s the adventure that attracts people, but once they realise how cost effective the whole operation is, they get pretty excited.”
After receiving its annual makeover and maintenance, the Victoria Star returns to service in July for another season spent messing about on the water. Just don’t tell anyone because it’s something of a secret.
Victoria Star, Dock 9, Central Pier, Victoria Harbour, Docklands.