Once the interim seat of Government for a newly created Federation, Melbourne continues to wield considerable political, cultural and economic power from its southern location. Founded in 1835, the gold rush of the 1850s certified its wealth and importance almost immediately, becoming one of the largest and most prosperous locations in the British Empire. Marvellous Melbourne has rarely been off the world agenda, hosting the Summer Olympics in 1956 and the Commonwealth Games in 2006. The Australian Open, one of the Grand Slam Tennis tournaments, has been played annually in Melbourne since 1905. Today Melbourne is known for its artistic prowess, trendy bar culture, gorgeous eateries and a chilled, welcoming attitude.
Melbourne is a year round destination. In summer the mercury rises on average to 25 degrees, while winter is a little chillier with average highs of 13 degrees. Most rain falls in winter, with summers being considerably drier.
As a cultural and sporting beacon, Melbourne hosts many internationally recognised festivals and events including the Melbourne International Film Festival, the Melbourne International Art Festival, the Melbourne Comedy Festival and the Melbourne Fringe Festival. Performance venues include the Victorian Arts Centre, Regent Theatre, Princess Theatre and the Palace Theatre. The Melbourne Cup Carnival is an annual event that celebrates fashion, socialising and of course horse racing.
Melbourne Airport is 22 kilometres north-west of the CBD near the suburb of Tullamarine and handles passengers from major Australian cities and many smaller towns. The following airlines fly to Melbourne:
Flying from Sydney to Melbourne takes about one and half hours and Brisbane to Melbourne takes just over two hours. Perth to Melbourne takes just over four hours.
Melbourne boasts many of the major five-star international hotel chains including the Sofitel, Marriott, Hilton and the Hyatt. For a heritage experience, consider The Blackman Hotel, a boutique establishment accessorises with the artistic output of Charles Blackman.
To find out more about the range of holiday accommodation available with Travel Associates call 1800 017 849 or enquire online.
Sights to See
The city centre has many must-see sights including Federation Square, a popular meeting place, The Parliament House of Victoria, the GPO, the Melbourne Town Hall and the Docklands area filled with trendy bars and great shops. On Southbank, check out the National Gallery of Victoria, Crown Casino, the Royal Botanic Gardens and the Shrine of Remembrance.
The surrounding suburbs have many superb examples of stunning Victorian architecture, so park the car and enjoy a stroll to admire heritage buildings restored to perfection. St Kilda is a popular beachside locale on Port Phillip Bay that boasts the amusement park, Luna Park and a beautiful esplanade perfect for a casual saunter. Shopping enthusiasts will enjoy the Chapel Street Bazaar and the Prahran Market for fresh food.
For day trips outside Melbourne, the journey to Phillip Island to check out the fairy penguins is popular, as is the drive along the Great Ocean Road along the coast to Warrnambool. For further afield travel, consider Wilsons Promontory National Park, the southernmost tip of mainland Australia, where wombats waddle nonchalantly among campers.
Don’t Leave Without…
Melbourne is a modern, cosmopolitan city, so the chances are, if you accidentally forget your favourite moisturiser for example, it’s easily replaced at a local chemist or supermarket.
Things to be careful of…
Don’t get caught out on the tram without any coins. Tickets must be purchased onboard and ticket inspectors patrol trams regularly.