MelbourneCopyright: Aleksandar Todorovic/Shutterstock.com
MelbourneMelbourne is an artistic powerhouse with a vibrant and multicultural soul. Nicknamed "Paris of the southern hemisphere", Melbourne is not only known to be Australia’s cultural hotspot, but is also famous for its major sporting events and its culinary delights from all across the world. With its high-rise city centre and far-reaching suburbs, it is hard not to be dragged in by the life of the capital of Victoria, but day trips to the wild nature of the state are also extremely attractive.
The CityMelbourne is the second-largest city in Australia and is known to be Australia’s most cultured city — although some Sydney-siders would contest this. The city’s main attractions are museums, galleries and theatres, large green spaces and the Yarra River flowing across the urban centre. Melbourne has seen wave after wave of new arrivals with Italians, Greeks, Chinese and Vietnamese all adding ingredients to the cultural and culinary mix. And there are the sports-mad, of course. Each year, Melbourne plays host to some of the world’s major international sports events such as the Australian Open in tennis, and Formula 1 racing. The city developed during the height of the Victorian gold rush in the late 1800s, which shows through the Victorian-era architecture in some neighbourhoods. However, developments over the years have also left their mark, recently with the new and modern Federation Square complex, and the Docklands re-development. Probably the most famous snapshot of Melbourne is the television series "Neighbours" recorded here and broadcast across the world for more than 20 years. If you fancy a trip out of the city, Melbourne is also a great base for 1-2 day tours to, for example, the Grampians National Park, the Great Ocean Road with the Twelve Apostles, local wineries, or to observe the masses of penguins on Phillip Island coming home from a day at sea. Enjoy your stay in what many claim is the hippest city in the southern hemisphere.
Do & See
It is not without reason that Melbourne is often dubbed the world’s most livable city: the vibrant metropolis has plenty of attractions to visit and landmarks to see. Here are some of the main attractions that should be on your bucket list.
Melbourne’s ethnic diversity is reflected in its culinary world, and as gastronomic outings are a bit of a local obsession, there is a vast variety of restaurants to choose from. It is no surprise that Melbourne is dubbed the eating capital of Australia. Many of Melbourne’s areas have distinct culinary character — from the Greek atmosphere of Lonsdale Street, to Carlton’s "Little Italy", to the wide choice of Chinatown around Little Bourke Street. Near the Yarra River, at the Southgate complex you can enjoy striking views of the city and spectacular waterfront while you dine. You will find something for every palate and price range — from fine dining to quick noodles, from focaccia to fish of the day. Discover Melbourne not only through your eyes, but also with your taste buds.
Melbourne has heaps of cafes, so whether you fancy a long and relaxing brunch, a quick coffee or an afternoon drink — it is all here, to be found on street corners or in the small alleyways. Do not leave Melbourne without stopping by a few of these excellent hidden gems.
Bars & Nightlife
Melbourne is awash with bars of all themes and clientele imaginable. Although you are never more than a couple of blocks away from a bar, they are mainly concentrated in central Melbourne, save for a handful in the Fitzroy and St Kilda areas. Rooftops are great for taking advantage of Australia's climate. Seek one out and enjoy the breezy setting with a drink in hand.
Melbourne is a centre for art, music and theatre as much as it is for designer shopping. Its neighbourhoods have developed distinctive identities, from fashion-conscious South Yarra to retro Fitzroy, funky St Kilda by the bay and the bargain-shopping inner hub of Richmond. Little Bourke Street is famous for its hub of outdoor gear shops while Elizabeth Street is a great choice for cameras, computers and Hi-Fi audio equipment. Keep your eyes open for the numerous laneways branching off Little Collins Street for some of the best-hidden treats. Retro fashion, exclusive one-off boutiques and heaps of cafés can be found on Flinders Lane. Last but not least, no Melbourne shopping trip would be complete without a visit to the infamous Chapel Street where young and independent designers have their outlets. The exclusive shops along Toorak Road offer the latest designer labels where, between star-spottings, you can pick up the latest fashions.