Melbourne

Ah, the Marvellous Melbourne Melting Pot! Twice ranked the World’s most livable city, you are sure to feel right at home here. Melbourne claims to be the cultural capital of Australia and does indeed have something for everyone. There are plenty of cultural festivals, performances, galleries and museums plus the annual comedy festival.

Melbourne is known as the sporting capital of Australia (and maybe the world) being the home of Aussie Rules (AFL) Football, the Australian Tennis Open, the Australian Grand Prix and the Melbourne Cup, the premier horse racing Carnival which stops a nation. Melbourne also has the distinguished honour of hosting the 2006 Commonwealth games, the second largest event of its type after the Olympics.
Not only is it the third-largest Greek city in the world and the largest Italian city outside of Italy (!), there is also a vibrant mix of Chinese, Vietnamese, Jewish and Arabic-speaking communities which make up the more than 100 different ethnic backgrounds.

The city centre is packed with bars, cafs and shops, quaint arcades alternated with nice green parks to flee Melbournes hustle and bustle. There is also the Queen Victoria Market, the place to go on Sunday for a bargain, or good cheap fruit and vegetable most days of the week.

Outside the city you can try the various boroughs each with their own character instilled by the type of people who live and work there – Prahran and South Yarra with it’s fashion boutiques and nightclubs or try close by St. Kilda, the scruffy underbelly of Melbourne. It has the beach, live music and the bagel belt. Carlton has its Italian restaurants plus many other cuisines, while Fitzroy has a bohemian, free-living feel.

The tourist office offers some excellent day-trips that do not only offer you the chance to see the most interesting old buildings and museums but also a bit more of the surroundings.

When youve had it with the big city, make a day-trip to Philip Island (to see the penguins), the nearby Wilsons Promontory National Park, the goldfields or drive down the Great Ocean Road and let your breath be taken away by some astonishing views of the sea and its coastal rock formations.

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