Melbourne is the coastal capital of the southeastern Australian state of Victoria. At the city’s centre is the modern Federation Square development, with plazas, bars, and restaurants by the Yarra River. In the Southbank area, the Melbourne Arts Precinct is the site of Arts Centre Melbourne – a performing arts complex – and the National Gallery of Victoria, with Australian and indigenous art. Melbourne is a city that knows how to live. Choose from high-end cuisine to basement rock gigs, plays, festivals and blockbuster sporting events – all happening across a city full of parks, gardens and historic architecture. With so many places to stay, you can find all sorts of short-term accommodation.
Laneways and byways Explore historic arcades and laneways lined with fine dining restaurants, chic cafes, hidden bars and fashion boutiques or head to one of the many lush gardens throughout the city.
Cheer on your heroes Discover Melbourne’s obsession with football, cricket, soccer and just about anything else that involves working up a sweat. Head to the sports precinct to visit the hallowed ground of the MCG.
Festival fever In Melbourne, everything has its own festival. From food, film, art and music festivals to celebrations of writing, anime, design and projections – get involved and experience the city through the arts.
In sports-mad Melbourne one venue stands head and shoulders above the rest as the epicentre of Victorian sport – The Melbourne Cricket Ground. Affectionately known as ‘The G’ to locals and cricketing fans the world over, the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is a cultural icon and one of the most important cricket grounds in the world. The spiritual home of Australian cricket as well as the Australian Football League (AFL), the MCG has also played host to countless high profile events, including the 1956 Olympics, the 2006 Commonwealth Games, and concerts by the Rolling Stones and Madonna. With a massive seating capacity of 100,000, the MCG hosts more than 90 days of cricket and Australian Football each year, with more than 3.5 million excitable fans passing through the gates each year. Seating is usually divided into three areas: public, MCC members and AFL members. Most events allow for pre-purchase of reserved seats in public areas for guaranteed entry. Unsold seats are available for purchase on a general admission basis at the public gate on event day. Some exceptions exist, so call ahead to check.
Why travel thousands of kilometres when a taste of African adventure is available just 30 minutes from Melbourne’s city centre, at Werribee Open Range Zoo? You will find an amazing array of animals living on 225 hectares of wide, open savannah. On the Pula Reserve Walking Trail, come face-to-face with amazing gorillas, a pride of lions, see monkeys and cheetahs at play and feel the sand between your toes at the new Hippo Beach. No trip to the Zoo is complete without heading out on safari across grassy plains where you will find rhinoceros, giraffes, zebras and antelopes grazing together on the picturesque Savannah. All of the above, including the 40-minute safari tour, is included in the Zoo admission price. For those looking for even more adventure, why not try one of the behind-the-scenes Wild Encounters? Feed a giraffe, stroke a serval, see amazing animals on the savannah from an open vehicle, and, in the new Gorilla Behind the Scenes encounter, get up close and personal with three gorilla bachelors.
Journey through a world of wildlife in the heart of Melbourne. You won’t believe how many animals are at Melbourne Zoo. Over 320 species from around the world can be found in a natural setting just five minutes from the city centre. Stroll through lush Asian and African rainforests, Australian bushland and even underwater. Walk where tigers roam and monkeys swing from tree to tree. See eye-to-eye with Orang-utans in their special elevated exhibit, explore the Trail of Elephants, then head down the bush track to see unique Australian wildlife including koalas, kangaroos, wombats and emus. Submerge yourself in their underwater world to see Victoria’s iconic Little Penguins and Australian Fur Seals. Zookeeper talks and feeding times are a great opportunity for visitors to find out more about the fascinating world of wildlife and the conservation programs Melbourne Zoo supports. Children under 16 years of age receive free entry every weekend, during Victorian Government school holidays and on Victorian public holidays.
Attracting over 1,800,000 visitors annually, Melbourne Gardens is a treasured part of cultural life and a valuable asset to the heritage-rich city. With its stunning vistas, tranquil lakes and diverse plant collections, the Gardens are a place of continual discovery and delight. Enjoy the Aboriginal Heritage Walk, Garden Discovery Tour, a ride on the Garden Explorer or punting on the tranquil Ornamental Lake, all set against a beautiful backdrop and just moments from the city. These beautiful Gardens are home to amazing and diverse plant collections such as camellias, rainforest flora, succulents and cacti, roses, Californian species, herbs, perennials, cycads and plants from Southern China. Guilfoyle’s Volcano offers visitors a fabulous precinct to explore. The Gardens are also a natural sanctuary for native wildlife.
The Children’s Garden has everything that children could want to help them discover the natural world, with plant tunnels that they can crawl through, rocks that they can climb and a bamboo forest in which they can hide. Visitors can unwind at one of two cafés, The Terrace or Jardin Tan. Or find botanical-inspired souvenirs and gifts at the shop.
The Shrine of Remembrance is a building with a soul. Opened in 1934, the Shrine is the Victorian state memorial to Australians who served in global conflicts throughout our nation’s history. Inspired by Classical architecture, the Shrine was designed and built by veterans of the First World War. Renowned for its architecture the Shrine offers a multi-layered journey rich in meaning and symbology. Set in an elevated position as the centrepiece of the sprawling parklands at the southern end of the city’s cultural precinct, the Shrine provides unrivalled, panoramic views of Melbourne.