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Photo: Australia's White Seahorse is now the second seahorse in the world to be listed as endangered. (Supplied: Dr David Harasti)

It is not much more than a chicken wire cage, but the nicely named "seahorse hotel" is behind a population resurgence of Australia's endangered white seahorse.

Know your seahorses

One of the largest concentrations of seahorses in the world was once found at Port Stephens on the New South Wales coast, until wild storm seasons from 2010 to 2013 destroyed habitat and almost destroyed the population.

"If you wanted to see seahorses, you'd come to Port Stephens. You'd hop in here and you'd see 30 to 40 seahorses on every single dive, it was fantastic," said Dr David Harasti from NSW Fisheries.

"But in just a three-year period the population declined by 90 per cent. One site where I used to get 400 animals, I saw 10 there. On another site the population of 200 went down to about 20.

"The decline was quite dramatic and because of that decline the species became the second endangered seahorse listed in the world."

Dr Harasti said several large East Coast Low storms shifted large volumes of sand in the port which smothered the seahorse habitat of soft corals and sponges.

A number of poorly located moorings and anchor damage from boats also contributed to the habitat destruction and left behind vast tracts of barren sand.

Photo: Seahorses rely on habitat, like this seahorse hotel, for camouflage and as a source of food. (Supplied: Dr David Harasti )

Fortunately, Dr Harasti was struck with inspiration.

"I used to see old discarded crab traps underwater covered in sponges and algae and just by chance I'd see seahorses living on them," he said.

"So we decided to introduce our own artificial habitats and I've called them seahorse hotels.

"I've always got this whole concept underwater — if you build it they will come — so we've built the infrastructure for the seahorses, the hotels are there and now the seahorses are colonizing them."

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Queen Victoria Market

As the largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere, the Queen Victoria Market has a lot to offer shoppers. Wander through the historic sheds and discover fresh produce, hot donuts, souvenirs, homewares and more.QVM also hostWednesday night markets where the historic shedscome alive with food stalls and live music.

Southbank

Stretching along the Yarra River you’ll find an assortment of restaurants, hotels and bars as well as Southgate, Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex, Melbourne Exhibition Centre and the Sunday market. Take a stroll or a boat ride and enjoy views of Melbourne’s skyline and see the remarkable Gas Brigades, which send fireballs into the sky every night.

Melbourne Star

Described as “the Southern Hemisphere’s only giant observation wheel,” the Melbourne Star is 120 meters high and has 21 cabins all of which offer ever-changing panoramas. During the 30 minute rotation passengers will see the city, Port Phillip Bay, Mount Macedon and Arthur’s Seat.

State Library of Victoria

Famous for being Australia’s oldest public library and one of the world’s first free public libraries, the State Library of Victoria has a collection of over 2 million books. While there are seven reading rooms, the most magnificent is the octagonal La Trobe Reading Room. The library also holds the diaries of Melbourne founders John Batman and John Pascoe Fawkner , and the original armour worn by cheap 2014 newest Christian Louboutin Ponyhair Platform Ankle Boots 100% authentic online free shipping new dFAE1jX9Nk

Luna Park

Enter through Mr. Moon’s gaping mouth and you’ll arrive at a theme park which has been delighting Melbournians since 1912. St Kilda’s Luna Park features the Scenic Railway , which dates back to the park’s opening and is the oldest continually operating rollercoaster in the world. Luna Park also offers a myriad of fun rides for the whole family including The Ghost Train and The Pharaoh’s Curse.

Brimming with character, the narrow laneways and arcades in Melbourne feature al fresco dining, boutiques and cosy cafes. Explore the oldest surviving arcade in Australia, the Royal Arcade and the heritage listed Block Arcade, as well as the charming Centre Place and Degraves Street.

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