Called “The World’s Most Livable City”, Melbourne offers visitors a myriad of fine restaurants, cafes and some of the best shopping complexes in Australia. A city of culture, entertainment, famous gardens and undoubtedly, the sporting capital of Australia. Melbourne is set around the shores of Port Phillip Bay. The city itself, laid out in a large rectangle and boasting a lively and cosmopolitan pulse, sits on the northern banks of the Yarra River, about five kilometres from the bay. One glance at a map and it’s obvious that Melbourne is a planned city: a tidy, balanced grid of neatly angled streets. But beneath this sense of everything in its place restraint lies a restless creative energy constantly pushing back at the city’s seeming conservatism. The CBD is made up of precincts – distinct enclaves each with its own flavour and charm. Some are just a lane or two, while others cover the banks of the Yarra River or a busy CBD street. The performing arts are essential parts of the city’s life. Galleries & museums offer a broad perspective of art through the ages. The Victorian Art Gallery & the new gallery at Federation Square have world-class exhibits. In the State Museum in Carlton, there are more things of interest to see than there is probably time to spare.
But sport is King! Melburnians are renowned for their love of sport and there’s no other horse race on earth which can stop a nation so convincingly as the Melbourne Cup held on the first Tuesday of every November. The other great sporting passion is Australian Rules Football which grips the city in a fever from March to September. The AFL Grand Final attracts up to 100,000 spectators at the venerable Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Dining out is an art form in Melbourne with cafes, bars and restaurants offering an eclectic mix of cuisines from around the world. One great experience for visitors is to dine out in the Restaurant Tram which cruises sedately around the city and the inner suburbs. Tucked away in the city’s lanes and arcades are endless shops & boutiques selling imported and local designer wear. More upfront, the major department stores, Myer and David Jones, compete fiercely for the shopping dollar. At the other end of the scale, Melbourne’s markets offer special bargains & the best in fresh produce.
After dark, Melbourne’s many clubs come to life & add to the aura. During summer there are Twilight Jazz sessions at the Melbourne Zoo & Moonlight Cinema at the Royal Botanic Gardens. The city is a wonderful mix of architectural styles. A great deal of Melbourne’s early wealth is still represented in the beautifully-preserved buildings constructed in the second half of the 19th century. The Yarra River, which divides the city, has become a new playground for Melburnians. Pedestrian bridges link both sides and the Southgate Arts & Leisure Precinct is a thriving mix of shops and restaurants. Extending around the bay are a number of inner suburbs, each with its own distinct character and personality. A short tram ride from the city centre, Melbourne’s suburban neighbourhoods are a must see for anyone wanting to experience what life here is really all about.
Tags: Yarra River.