While Sydney is Australia’s center of business, commerce and possibly even nightlife, Melbourne has a whole other package of features. Situated at Port Phillip Bay in the state of Victoria, Melbourne is a hub for culture, sports, events and food in Australia. The residents of Australia’s second-largest city – a population of four million – are multicultural and love their sports.
Things To Do in Melbourne
The Melbourne CBD is made up of stiff Gold Rush architecture mixed with modern skyscrapers. The city is known for its byways and alleyways, historic arcades that are filled with fine-dining establishments, boutiques, cafés serving amazing coffee and unexpected bars. Street/graffiti art can usually be seen in these alleyways as well. Melbourne has a fine selection of museums. The Melbourne Museum and the Royal Exhibition Building, a World Heritage Site, are definitely worth visiting, as are some Victorian buildings such as Flinders Street Station, and the St Paul’s and St Patrick’s Cathedrals.
As the food capital of Australia, Melbourne’s cuisine is influenced by cultures from the four corners of the world. There are great Asian, Italian, Indian, Greek and South American restaurants. This is obviously just a small selection of ethnic foods that can be found throughout the city. Visitors can also take day trips to the Yarra Valley, visit a winery and sample world-class Australian wines.
Within the city, drinks can be had in one of the numerous rooftop bars – Melbourne claims to be the city that invented rooftop bars.
Besides eating and drinking, Melbourne is also a city of sports. Watching a major sporting event at one of the city’s legendary venues is a truly unforgettable experience. Believe me: I managed to get my hands on tickets to the women’s semifinals of the Australian Open tennis championship in 2011. Other major events are the Australian F1 Grand Prix and the Melbourne Cup, an annual horse race that stops the country. The Melbourne Cricket Ground is home to cricket in summer and Aussie Rules Football in winter.
Like all other major Australian cities, Melbourne also has beaches. The most (in)famous of those is located in St Kilda. This bohemian district, south of downtown Melbourne, is known for its nightlife, live music and beach culture.
A totally different experience can be had at the lively Queen Victoria Markets in the city center. Vendors sell everything from fresh produce to fashion and gadgets. People who want to spend some time relaxing outside can go for a stroll along the beautiful Yarra River or just hang out in one of the city’s many green areas and parks.
Its great location makes Melbourne a perfect base to explore the surrounding regions. The world-class Great Ocean Road lies at the city’s doorstep, as do Phillip Island and the Yarra Valley. Further afield, but no less spectacular, are the Grampians National Park and Wilsons Promontory National Park. Tasmania can be reached by ferry from Melbourne as well. There are so many things to do in Melbourne that it is worth booking a hotel and spending several days exploring.