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World Travel Guide > Guides > Oceania > Australia > Victoria > Melbourne

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Things to do in Melbourne

Catch the breeze with a range of watersports

Port Phillip Bay is a suitably windy location for sailing, windsurfing and kitesurfing. Elwood and Middle Park beaches are also popular with windsurfers. If you fancy some wet and wind-powered pursuits, Gokite Kiteboarding and Kitesurfing (tel: +61 428 456 483; www.gokite.com.au) offer lessons and equipment at St Kilda's West Beach.

Cheer on the Baggy Greens

Catch a test match at the historic Melbourne Cricket Ground (tel: +61 3 9657 8888; www.mcg.org.au). It's within walking distance of the CBD, features a separate sports museum and has opportunities for guided tours of the grounds. For an unrivalled atmosphere, watch the Boxing Day Test Match.

Get a bird's eye view in a hot-air balloon

Those who like a slower pace of life (and rather like a bird's eye view) should try hot-air ballooning. Global Ballooning (tel: +61 3 9428 5703; www.globalballooning.com.au) offer sustainable ballooning adventures over Melbourne's cityscape or, less than an hour's drive away, the picturesque Yarra Valley.

Spend a day on a splendid beach doing very little

There's nothing more Aussie than a day relaxing at the beach. St Kilda, just 30 minutes from the city, is an attractive and safe stretch, whilst Port Melbourne, Williamstown and Brighton have great beaches with lifeguards. Whether you surf, swim, play volleyball or simply people watch - don't forget the sunblock.

Take a dip in hot springs

Take your pick from a Turkish steam bath, sauna, cave pool, massaging thermal shower or reflexology at Peninsula Hot Springs (tel: +61 3 5950 8777; www.peninsulahotsprings.com). The natural hot mineral springs were only discovered in the last 20 years and have become a popular place for many to unwind.

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Grand Hyatt Melbourne

This central and luxurious hotel has spacious rooms with inviting king-size beds and cool Italian marble bathrooms. Each room sports a sterling city or river view. The top floors are set aside for Executive Suites, which have superior views and allow guests to access the relaxing Grand Club Lounge. Amenities include a swimming pool, fitness club, cafe, food court, bar and round-the-clock business centre.

Grand Hotel Melbourne

True to its name, this whisper-quiet hotel is housed in a magnificent former railway building. The first bricks of the building were laid in 1887 and it served as the railway department headquarters for donkey's years. Located near Spencer Street station, these days it has plush red Pullman carpets in the suites and corridors long enough to drive a train down. This heritage-listed building is one of the most impressive hotels in Melbourne.

Miami Hotel, Melbourne

Located in West Melbourne, with the North Melbourne shopping village close by, Miami Hotel has great facilities for the budget conscious traveller, including wireless broadband, internet kiosks, and free off-street parking. The hotel specialises in group bookings and is described as clean, basic, warm and comfortable through several user reviews.

The Langham

Elegant refined warm and welcoming describes the ambience and room decor in this five star SouthBank Promenade located hotel. The Langham is ideally located on the banks of the Yarra (with stunning views across the river) and features all the best Melbourne has to offer right on its doorstep. With a Chuan Spa exercise facilities and a noteworthy restaurant – The Melba – there is much to savour at The Langham.

Crown Towers

Stunning views over Port Phillip Bay or the city, and impeccable finishes, greet you as you enter your luxury room or suite. Crown Towers sets the standard for luxury hotels in Melbourne and has been the recipient of several luxury hotel awards. Located a few minutes from the CBD, Crown Towers sits atop the Crown Entertainment Complex with its superb dining and drink establishments, the Crown Casino, high end shopping, cinema and day spa.

Hotel Ibis Melbourne

A reliable budget option located in the heart of Melbourne's Chinatown, Hotel Ibis boasts 121 rooms with comfortable, contemporary and primarily functional interiors. A buffet-style breakfast is served every morning, alongside a 24-hour "Grab it and Go" menu. The hotel also features a fitness centre and an LCD TV in every room.