The capital city of the State of Victoria, Melbourne is known for being at the forefront in food, fashion, style and the arts in Australia.
Melbourne has a totally different look and feel to Sydney. A cosmopolitan city with over three million inhabitants, over the years it has been a major ethnic melting pot; it started in the Victorian gold rush days of the 1850s that attracted many Irish and Chinese miners to the city, laying the foundation for the distinctive multicultural flavour of the city today. Their arrival was followed by large scale post war immigration from Europe which attracted migrants from Greece, Turkey, Italy and Yugoslavia.¬ÝAs a result, Melbourne is known for its diverse cultural backgrounds that are reflected in its restaurants that serve a multiplicity of foreign cuisines.
The city has thrice shared top position in a survey by The Economist of the World’Äôs Most Livable Cities on the basis of its cultural attributes, climate, cost of living, and social conditions such as crime rates and health care.
Melbourne is the cultural hub of Australia. It is a focal point for many branches of the arts in Australia ’Äì music (all kinds), dance, theatre, cinema, stand up comedy, sculpture, painting ’Äì you name it, Melbourne performs it and has a festival to celebrate it. The festival season is from February to June.
There is no other place in Australia that offers the array of culinary experiences like Melbourne does. Street cafes are everywhere, the choice of restaurants, in terms of ambience, location, price and variety of fare, is almost unlimited. The standard of food and service is pretty high across the board ’Äì it has to be as a cafe or restaurant would not survive in such a competitive Multicultural melting pot such as Melbourne is, where good food and service is not only valued and appreciated but demanded.
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Melbourne sees itself as the sporting capital of Australia and backs up its claim by hosting some quite heavy duty sporting events, including The Australian Open tennis; The Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix; The traditional Boxing Day Cricket test match: the Melbourne Cup, and pretty well any other national or international sporting event it can get its hands on.
Melbourne is a shopaholics paradise, particularly in terms of clothing and homeware. The centre of Australia’Äôs fashion industry, the city has a number of shopping precincts full of designer fashion outlets where there are bargains on offer all year round.
Where Is it?
The City of Melbourne is located near the geographical centre of the state of Victoria. The state has a wide diversity of landscapes ’Äì everything from semi arid scrub to rugged granite-strewn coastline, snow-capped mountains, National Parks with dense lush undergrowth, to goldmining ghost towns and a cosmopolitan capital. All are easily accessible from Melbourne, Australia’Äôs second-largest city, and many are no more than a few hours’Äô drive away.
Visitor Information Centre
Federation Square, 2 Swanston Street, Melbourne, Victoria 3000. Phone:¬Ý03 9658 9658¬Ý
How To Get There
The city of Melbourne is the hub of the state of Victoria, with all forms of transport radiating out from it.
Only two interstate capital cites are linked to Melbourne by rail ’Äì Sydney by an XPT service via Albury-Wodonga, and Adelaide via The Overland.
V/Line rail services operate daily between Melbourne and East Gippsland, terminating at Bairnsdale (3 hours 35 minutes); Melbourne and Albury (3 hours 34 minutes); Melbourne and Shepparton (2 hours 18 minutes); Melbourne and Echuca via Bendigo (3 hours 20 minutes); Melbourne and Swan Hill via Bendigo (4 hours 8 minutes); Melbourne to Ararat via Bendigo (2 hours 10 minutes); Melbourne to Warrnambool via Geelong (3 hours 14 minutes).
Most domestic and international air traffic into Victoria is through Tullamarine International Airport on Melbourne’Äôs northern outskirts.
Victoria has a system of sealed highways and major roads which link Melbourne to all major Victoria's regional centres and the capital cities of neighbouring states.
Best Time To Go
As Victoria has a temperate climate, there is no one season or month that the visitor needs to avoid, except perhaps summer (December - February), if you find hot weather unbearable. Even then, only the north and the north-west tend to suffer from extended periods of intense heat, so those areas would be the only ones to contemplate avoiding in summer if you don't like the heat.
In and around Melbourne, which gets more cloud and disturbed weather despite a lower rainfall, sunshine hours per day in winter (June - August) are three to four as against seven to eight in summer. Cold spells are brief and never severe on the coast, and temperatures can drop much lower inland in winter.
Autumn (March - May) is probably the best season to visit Victoria, particularly if you intend touring the whole state. The uncomfortable heat of summer has then been tempered in the north and the north-west and the weather is more stable in the mountains and along the coast. This is also the best time for bush walking or mountain climbing. Snow sports and wildflower enthusiasts, however, should do their travelling in late winter-early spring (August to October).