Melbourne Australia is a unique city in as much as it can provide the unsuspecting visitor with 4 seasons in one day.
When out exploring the city, wear comfy shoes, t-shirt, shorts/pants, perhaps a hat, as the sun gets mighty hot when it does show its face (even in the cooler months). It doesn't end there, you gotta carry something warm to throw on 'just in case the weather turns bad' and don't forget your umbrella.
It's known as the fashion capital of Australia.
The city boasts massive department stores like Myers and David Jones, huge shopping precincts such as Melbourne Central and small, intimate boutiques scattered throughout the streets, laneways and arcades. Don't miss the enormous direct factory outlets (DFO's) offering the most amazing array of quality designer goods at factory prices.
Smell those doughnuts - Yummy! South Melbourne Market is the place to go if you like a delicious, sugary, doughy treat (nothing compares). The legendary Dim Sims - oh, wow! You haven't tried a dim sim until you've tried one of these!
For a market experience like no other the Queen Victoria Market just has to be on the top of your must do list. The smells, the sounds, the entertainment and the atmosphere. This market is known world wide as one of the best international markets around. How convenient is it to have a market like this right in the heart of the city. You can even get to it using public transport. Now that's really handy.
Shopaholics can't resist visiting Melbourne Australia especially during the Spring Carnival when all the fashionistas are out in full force?
Take a wander through the city's art deco arcades and marvel at the beautiful decor of times gone by. These exotic thoroughfares house quaint little boutique style shops filled with fashion, food and other interesting paraphernalia.
Melbourne holds the title as the Sporting Capital of the World - the city took top spot at the Sport Business Ultimate Sport City Awards in 2016 - it's the 4th time it's won the title. How good is that!
Is it any wonder. Take a look at this impressive list of just a few world class events that are held right in the heart of the city.
Not to mention World Test Cricket matches and those thrilling one day/night games fought in Melbourne's own Colosseum, the mighty MCG. Yes, just like Rome, Melbourne Australia has her own.
There's nothing like the roar of the crowd at a footy match held in the MCG or the visual of 'the Mexican Wave' on Boxing Day. You need to experience them both to truly appreciate how Melburnians really love their sport.
The city skyline explodes with ginormous structures such as AAMI Park, Melbourne Park, Rod Laver Arena, Etihad Stadium, Hisense Arena, some being all season stadiums with retractable roofs.
World class Soccer, Rugby, Cricket, Football and Tennis matches are played in these arenas before huge, enthusiastic crowds. You have total permission to cheer yourself hoarse. A great way to get rid of all that stress you have built up!
Just imagine being able to drive on the same Formula 1 racing track as the mighty Daniel Ricciardo. Yes you can do that at Albert Park any day of the week.
The city doesn't have those exhausting, steep hills to climb you'll find in that other great Australian city.
Most of Melbourne Australia is flat.
That makes it an easy city to explore and enjoy. Not so much huffing and puffing and exerting oneself. Certainly easier to explore than its rival city, Sydney! And the great thing is if you do need to take a break, it really isn't too hard to find a refreshing cold drink at the nearby pub on the corner or a delicious barista coffee at that little place back there.
You're surrounded by the best in food, wine and not to mention that great amber brew, Melbourne Bitter. Yes, the city even has a beer named after it!
Right turn from left only? What on earth does that mean?
If you happen to be driving in the heart of the city, you may come across what is known as The Hook Turn. Apparently the city needs these to keep the traffic flowing. Well that's the story and they're sticking to it!
The jury is still out as to whether the city really needs these!
Of course you can't visit Melbourne Australia and not ride one of its iconic trams. These will transport you to the city's beautiful, bayside beaches such as St Kilda or Port Melbourne or down to the thrilling Docklands precinct to drool over the cabin cruisers. In fact, they can transport you north, south, east and west of the city.
The city even has a free tram zone within it. The Free Tram Zone signs at tram stops will identify the boundaries of the zone and then there is the hop on hop off Free City Circle Tram that talks to you as you ride around exploring the city. Thisis one of the most convenient ways to see as much of iconic Melbourne Australia as you can if you are short on time.
Take a walk through the Melbourne Art Precinct identified by the city's own Eiffel Tower. Yes, just like Paris, the city has its own. Here, locals and tourists are entertained in the luxurios Concert Hall and opulant public galleries.
The city's art galleries are amazing places to explore with some of the planet's most beautiful, exotic and eclectic pieces of art on display. The NGV is always hosting exhibitions from every part of the globe (don't miss your photo opportunity under the magnificent stained glass ceiling - credited as being the largest in the world). This gallery displays incredible international works of art. A must 'do' for art lovers.
The other city art gallery, the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, is over on the opposite bank of the Yarra River in Federation Square. The gallery houses famous Australian works of art and displays. You can spend hours wandering through the halls and still not see it all.
For more of a 'grunge scene' there is Melbourne's famous Street Art.
Laneways crammed full of colour and graffiti and some of the most incredible designs, paintings and themes. Even world renowned street artists, such as the famous Banksy, have art works splashed up on Melbourne's buildings. Wonder if you can find his art?
If you love to be entertained, Melbourne Australia can do that too. The city attracts world class performers to its stages and arenas. They know that their audiences are going to be massive because Melburnians love to have fun and enjoy themselves.
Perhaps, when you are in town and if you time your visit well, you might just happen to catch an idol or two of your own. Going to live theatre shows is a favorite pastime, with top class shows performing here from all over the world. The city has some really beautiful and exotic, historic theatres such as The Princess and Her Majesty's, both boast the existence of their very own 'Ghost'. Here, shows like the Phantom of the opera, performances are enhanced by the theatre's own atmosphere.
Melbourne Australia was voted as the world's 2nd most liveable city, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). Yes, it's official again. It can't be disputed. Facts are facts, Sydney, we still beat you. How great is that!
It's an exciting city that's not ashamed to say it's made mistakes in the past. Old fashioned planning errors (the ugly eye sores found in some parts of the city) are being torn down these days, They are being replaced by modern buildings and complexes, along with beautiful parks and gardens and recreational areas. It's exciting to watch the re-development. The Docklands Precinct is one area that has been turned into one of Melbourne's finest tourist attractions.
That's why Melbourne Australia needs to be visited more than just once in your lifetime. The skyline is changing so fast. There is so much re-development going on and it is so exciting to watch.
Melbourne's Great Mate, it's getting better every day!
My travel partner, Booking.com, can help you out with top suggestions on where to stay whether it be in the city itself, the outer regions or even further out into the Victorian countryside.
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