Melbourne is an urbane city, with many theatres, cinemas,
band venues, galleries, and, of course, cafes and restaurants.
The city centre is largely free of traffic and flanked by substantial
gardens, including the Royal Botanic Gardens, Treasury and Fitzroy Gardens
(a few metres from the Sofitel), and King's Domain.
Melbourne is popular with pedestrians - many Melbournites visit the inner
city for recreation.
Panorama and still shots of Melbourne
In the CBD itself there is a mixture of modern office blocks and
19th and 20th century heritage buildings, including many lovely
churches, Melbourne Town Hall,
Flinders St Station,
the State Library,
Old Melbourne Gaol.
(Editor's note: Part of the gaol, including some pretty fearsome twenty-foot
gates, is now incorporated into RMIT.
Some staff have novel offices that appear to have once been cells, with
little barred windows and walls well over a foot thick.
This is not seen as a privilege.)
In addition to shopping and dining, Melbourne features several open-air
markets, in particular the arts and crafts market at Southbank
on Sundays and the famous Victoria markets at the upper end of town.
Melbourne has excellent
perhaps the best ;-) of any major city in the world,
including trains, buses, and, in particular,
The trams are both a practical and pleasurable way of touring inner Melbourne;
virtually everywhere of interest is on a tram route with a service every
few minutes, including all of
the CBD, St Kilda, Fitzroy, Carlton, the bay, and the Zoo.
Excellent views of Melbourne across to the Dandenong Ranges
are available from the Sofitel lounge on the 35th floor,
and from the viewing platform at the Rialto Towers.
Close to the CBD it is possible to visit grand residences of the
last century such as Ripponlea and Como House, and grand edifices such
as the Shrine of Remembrance and the Exhibition Buildings.
Many such National Trust buildings are open to the public in Melbourne
and across Victoria.
On a slightly smaller scale, and closer to town, is another old residence:
Captain Cook's cottage, imported (for some reason) stone by stone from
his native Norfolk.
The Yarra river borders one side of the CBD and for most of its length
lies in parklands-just a few kilometres upstream of the CBD
it runs through native bushlands.
In the CBD the river is a popular spot for lunch, either as a picnic or
at one of the many cafes at Southbank, a few minute's walk from the
The river is the spine of Melbourne's large network of bicycle paths.
Visitors can cycle upriver from the CBD for over thirty kilometres,
without leaving parks and bushland.
A highlight of the river parks is the area around Fairfield Boathouse
and Tearooms and Studley Park,
which is remarkably rural given its location near downtown Melbourne.
As can happen almost anywhere in Melbourne, visitors are often surprised
by the diversity of birdlife, which includes many species of parrot.
Just beyond the river is an extensive arts complex, including the
National Gallery of Victoria, the State Theatre and the State Opera,
the Performing Arts Museum, the open-air Myer Music Bowl, the small
maritime museum at Polly Woodside, and the vast Melbourne
There are around thirty live theatres in Melbourne and several hundred
venues for live music, ranging from anything to everything.
Melbourne has a long tradition of hosting musicals in the grand style,
with typically several running at any time.
For those in search of a good coffee and a tasty snack, from
early in the morning to early the next day, Melbourne has
several large concentrations of chic, fashionable cafes.
The bohemian centres of
Brunswick St in Fitzroy
and Fitzroy St
in St Kilda are both excellent haunts for
shopping, a meal, or a cappuccino.
Lygon St in Carlton and Chapel St in Prahran are more traditional
but equally as interesting.
There are two universities near the centre of Melbourne, the
utilitarian buildings of
in the city itself and the more
traditional buildings of the
University of Melbourne
just to the
Both are located on the edge of Carlton, which hosts Lygon St and
several fine bookshops.
Melbourne lies at the head of Port Phillip Bay, which year round is
popular for sailing and touring.
There are excellent bay cruises available, including the tall ship
Alma Doepel, a three-mast clipper.
If you are lucky, you can see one of Melbourne's least known
attractions - a colony of fairy penguins just a few kilometres from town
(as distinct from the widely promoted colony at Philip Island some two
hours drive from Melbourne).
The seaside suburb of St Kilda, with its bookshops, cafes,
and picturesque pier, is a popular family destination.
Simply one of the world's best zoos, and highly animal-friendly.
It is complemented by the Healesville Sanctuary
of native wildlife just outside town.
In the CBD can be found two magnificent Gothic cathedrals
(the Catholic St Patrick's and the Anglican St Paul's)
and several churches.
Inner Melbourne caters to a wide variety of religious denominations,
with many churches, mosques, synagogues, and other places of worship.
The MCG is the world's largest place of worship, with a capacity of
Every week from March to September hundreds of thousands of Victorians
flock here and to other pilgrimage sites to express their devotions to
the One True Code of Football.
Services are presented by two large groups of rowdy, athletic young men
and sealed by consumption of the sacramental Pie.
You can see how the temperature has changed over
or check the local
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to do in Melbourne.
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These pages were prepared by Justin Zobel and Michael Fuller
and do not represent the official views of RMIT or any tourism authorities.