Melbourne, Victoria Travel Guide
- Australia's culture capital -- many art galleries, film festivals, operas, live music venues, and coffee hubs
- Beautiful, Victorian-era architecture
- Free public transit around the city's center -- the City Circle tram
- Live music concerts at inner-city clubs such as Richmond and Epsy
- Accessible and efficient biking paths throughout the city, which has flat a landscape -- ideal for cycling
- Known to be one of Australia's food capitals
- Plenty of green spaces, such as the Royal Botanic Gardens
- Diverse shopping options, including budget-friendly shops on Smith and Gertrude streets, and designer stores in Prahran
- Plenty of beaches about 1.5 to 2 hours outside of the city's center
- The sports capital of Australia, with the largest arenas for Cricket and the Australian Football League
- Laid-back and easygoing people
- Weather extremes, which may even be a daily occurrence (particularly in the late fall and early spring)
- Strict dress codes in many bars and clubs
- Some building deterioration; not nearly as preserved as Sydney
What It's Like
Melbourne may be Australia's second largest city, but it's the country's culture capital. It's situated on Port Phillip Bay, and packed with Victorian buildings, museums, galleries, large parks, and gardens. The tree-lined streets and green spaces create a clean, eco-friendly vibe, which is probably part of the reason Melbourne has consistently been dubbed as one of the world's most livable cities.
The city's roots can be traced back to the mid-1800s, when British settlers colonized the city after finding gold in the surrounding hills. Now, burgundy colored (and free!) City Circle trams zig-zag across the metropolis. It's easy for visitors to explore the city at a relaxed pace within a few days.
One of the city's most popular sights is Southbank's Eureka Skydeck 88, the Southern Hemisphere's tallest observation tower. Another hot spot, Melbourne City Centre -- also known as the Central Business District -- is a place where visitors will be able to find just about anything, from mini golfing, to churches, to malls.
Where to Stay
Business travelers will likely want to stay within the City Centre -– the Central Business District. As the city’s heart, the City Centre is also great option for those looking to be within walking distance of all the major sights. Visitors seeking Melbourne’s bohemian side should check out Fitzroy –- an interesting quarter filled with funky pubs and boutiques –- and possibly the inner suburb of Brunswick, which some have called the “new Fitzroy.” High-end shoppers should check out South Yarra, which lies just south of the river, and is chock-full of luxurious shops and eateries.