, its breathtaking natural beauty and its artsy bohemian urban vibe. Melbourne is undoubtedly a city on the rise and they pride themselves on their laid-back and welcoming attitude. There are many things to see and do in Melbourne and they have positioned themselves as a unique destination that is unlike any other city in Australia. Melbourne has a well-established reputation as a “foodie mecca” and they have garnered global recognition as a gourmet hot spot in recent years. Sports fans from all over flock to the city and converge at the world famous Melbourne Cricket Ground, which is also known as the “MCG “or the “G”. This is Australia’s largest football arena with the capacity to host more than 100,000 people at a time. The climate is another attractive feature of this charming city and tourists who are planning a trip to Melbourne may want to consider visiting in March-May and in September-November. This is recognized as “shoulder season” and is one of the best times to visit because of the moderate temperatures and modest crowds.
Melbourne’s Top Attractions and “Must –Do’s”
Whether taking a day trip to Melbourne or planning a romantic holiday or family outing that might last for several days or weeks, there is a little something for everyone in this vibrant city. Melbourne attractions that are on the top of most people’s list of “sights to see” include the Melbourne Zoo and popular museums such as the Melbourne Museum and the National Gallery of Victoria. Visitors regularly visit the Royal Botanic Gardens and Port Campbell National Park.
On the other hand, history buffs should make their way over to the Shrine of Remembrance and the State Library of Victoria to learn about some poignant moments in Melbourne’s historical evolution. If delving into the rich history of the indigenous aboriginals peaks your interest, be sure to stop by the Koorie Heritage Trust’s Cultural Center in Federation Square and check out the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Center which is located in the Melbourne Museum. Both places offer insight into the fascinating indigenous people of Australia and allow visitors to have an opportunity to view art exhibitions, traditional performances and experience storytelling rituals. Finally, make time to visit the Eureka Skydeck near the Yarra River. It is the highest point in the city with the tallest viewing platform in the Southern Hemisphere where you can soak in awe-inspiring 360-degree views of the city.
If there is any truth in the famous quote uttered by CoCo Chanel “The best things in life are free”; then Melbourne should be at the top of your list as the city offers a plethora of free things to do. One of the most popular of these is Melbourne’s free City Circle Tram system which operates on a circular route through the CBD (Central Business District). You can get off and on as much as you like and it’s regularly utilized by locals, tourists and first-time visitors alike.
Other freebies include the National Gallery of Victoria which is a cultural hub that is part art gallery and museum and part urban oasis. Most of the public gardens and parks in Melbourne do not charge an entrance fee including the popular Royal Botanic Gardens located just south of the CBD. Melbourne’s biggest free park is the Royal Park which is just north of the city center and is home to Melbourne’s Zoological Gardens. Fitzroy Gardens is another freebie worth checking out and you will find it situated side by side with the popular Treasury Gardens.
Melbourne is highly regarded for its proliferation of free live music performances and two of the most popular spots are located in the beach suburb of St. Kilda which is accessible by the tram from the CBD. You will be sure to get your music fix at either the Esplanade Hotel; better known as “The Espy” on St. Kilda’s Esplanade, and at the ”Vineyard” on Acland Street. Ancillary benefits to sightseeing in St Kilda include access to one of Melbourne’s most famous beaches where you can soak up the sun and enjoy other no-cost activities by the sea including jogging, walking, rollerblading, swimming and surfing.
Food & Wine Lover’s
Melbourne is a “foodie” paradise with a stunning array of food-centric options including cafes, bistros, award-winning gourmet restaurants and ethnic local cuisine that is native to the region. Victoria is home to a thriving wine culture and it is very easy to arrange a self-guided road trip or pre-packaged tour of the regional vineyards. Located just a short drive from Melbourne you can explore the wineries situated in the Yarra Valley, along with the Mornington Peninsula, Geelong, Sunbury, and the Macedon wine belt where wine varietals such as chardonnay, shiraz and pinot noir reign supreme. If you prefer to stay within Melbourne city limits, you get your wine fix at one of the many wine bars or head over to Degraves Street which is famous for their Parisian-looking lanes that connect Flinders Lane and Flinders Street. This is an enchanting area that feels like a world all of its own and an ideal location to enjoy a bottle or two of the local wine at one of the iconic street cafés you can discover along this lane.
The Queen Victoria Market; another foodie hotspot that you want to be sure to visit, is the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere. They offer every conceivable food option you can imagine (and a few you’ve never even heard of before) including fresh produce from the farm, local seafood, to artisan meats, cheeses, and food stalls, restaurants, and cafes galore. If Asian cuisine is something you desire, you can easily satisfy your cravings for dim sum, noodles, and street food in Chinatown or opt for more international fare and the familiar comfort foods found on Bourke Street and at its adjacent shopping mall. Waterfront dining along the Yarra River is another highlight for those who prefer high-end gourmet cuisine, or you may opt for an indulgent dinner cruise tour where you can combine dining and sightseeing.