A vibrant city, located on the magnificent Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne is the state capital and cultural heart of Victoria and showcases the best of Australia.
Melbournians’ claim that it’s 'the best city in the world to live in' may rile their rival Sydney-siders along Australia’s East Coast, but few would dispute this is a scintillating place to visit. In fact, the traditional rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney has resulted in a proud, dynamic city that strives for excellence in all things, particularly Aussie Rules footy, which has its spiritual home in Melbourne’s MCG, host venue of the Australian Football League final each September.
Melbourne's diverse immigrant population has undoubtedly contributed to its vibrant, cosmopolitan culture. Waves of immigration from European and Asian countries over the past 50 years have resulted in an eclectic and energetic blend of theatre, music, art, literature and food, with Chinatown and the Italian inspired Lygon Street being great examples of the city’s diverse cultural appeal.
Renowned Australia-wide for its cuisine and coffee, Melbourne serves up a glorious feast of dining and drinking options, from breezy outdoor cafés along the Yarra River, to tiny, colourful eateries in Chinatown and seafood restaurants in trendy St Kilda Beach.
The city centre along the north of the Yarra is home to atmospheric laneways and arcades ideal for boutique shopping, discovering unique street art or grabbing an al fresco snack.
The range of museums, including the Immigration Museum, The Melbourne Museum and the State Library are great places to get a historical perspective of a city whose Aboriginal beginnings, Gold Rush enhanced development and rapid expansion saw it become Australia’s political capital by 1901.
Just north of the central business district lie Carlton and Fitzroy, creative, leafy and literary areas full of vintage shops, galleries, and home to the University Of Melbourne. East Melbourne and Richmond are perfect spots for sports fans, with the MCG, AAMI Park and Olympic Park worth discovering, especially if you have tickets for a football or cricket game.
South Yarra and Prahan has designer stores, the sprawling Royal Botanic Gardens, stylish nightclubs, as well as markets such as Chapel Street Bazaar and Camberwell Sunday Market. Keep heading south down Chapel Street for the bohemian beachside suburb of St Kilda where a walk along the pier provides fine views of Port Phillip Bay.
For better views of Melbourne, back in the city centre, Eureka SkyDeck 88 is a must to gain a soaring impression of a city whose other big attractions include Federation Square, Flinders Street Station and Old Melbourne Gaol.
With a good transport infrastructure, including tourist tram and cycle routes, Melbourne is easy to navigate and is the perfect base from which to head out and discover other parts of Victoria, such as the Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula and the Great Ocean Road, one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives.
In 2012 Melbourne was named the most liveable city in the world in a Global Liveability Survey.For those visiting, it’s not hard to understand why.