Between your Twilights and your True Bloods, and pretty much half of the young adult literature in bookstores these days, there's no doubt vampires are big. And when it comes to big vampires, the biggest one I know of can be found in Sydney.
Sure, she's a different kind than the kids are used to these days. But she's still beautiful and fascinating and well worth checking out.
|HMAS Vampire, Sydney|
HMAS Vampire is a Daring class destroyer (which sounds rather dashing in itself) and the last of Australia's "big gun ships". After the Darings our warships were decked out with missiles and things changed for the destroyers.
That's not to say this Vampire didn't have teeth. As well as her anti aircraft guns she had torpedo launchers and anti-submarine mortars. But I'll admit I'm relieved she didn't see much action with them and had what is described as a peaceful career.
HMAS Vampire served in the Royal Australian Navy from 1959 to 1986, and these days she can be found at the Australian National Maritime Museum at Sydney's Darling Harbour, where she holds the title of Australia's largest museum vessel.
Clambering about on an old war ship may sound like a strange way to spend an afternoon, but I was swept away in the history, and was interested in everything from the weaponry to the living quarters.
Oh, and she also offers quite a nice view of the city, which is no doubt just one of the reasons she gets hired out for private parties and functions.
For those who fall in love with the old girl, there's even an HMAS Vampire Association you can join to really get into the history.
HMAS Vampire visits are covered by the maritime museum's Big Ticket, which costs $25 for adults, $15 for children and $10 concession, and also includes access to the museum other major attractions including the tall ship James Craig and submarine HMAS Onslow.