The Australian capital from 1901 until the purpose built Canberra was ready, Melbourne today is still the Australian capital of fashion and sport.
Whether you’re feeling like a kid wondering around Melbourne’s exceptional animal attractions (be sure to see both the zoo and the aquarium in Southbank), sampling something unique in China Town or simply sipping that iconic VB looking out over the bustling Victoria market, you’ll quickly find that Melbourne has its own unique vibe.
There’s the bizarre ambience of the city centre gothic-revival building that’s now a bank (like making a withdrawal from something out of a Dracula movie, and perhaps the only place in the world where you’ll want a photographic memento of your money exchange), the old-world feeling of the colourful trams running through the town’s streets, the imposing drama of St Pauls Cathedral’s stone work and the bleak Melbourne Gaol, where 135 people have met their death by hanging.
Outside the city, meanwhile, there’s plenty more worth tracking down, like the Puffing Billy Steam Train journey through the Yarra Valley, which still feels like a day out in Victorian times, or the search for Australian wildlife amongst the hills of Grampians National Park.
Melbourne is notoriously multicultural, which can only be a good thing. You can spend an evening learning how to dance like an African tribesman, listening to the latest in German techno, or enjoying the high-end vibes of a top-class sushi restaurant. The city hasn’t lost any of its Aussie charms, either, though, with football around here referring purely to the Australian rules version of the game, a local passion that surpasses even cricket and the city’s sumptuous art scene in terms of getting the locals all fired up.
The people of Melbourne can’t seem to get enough of spending time enjoying their city. They’re not the type to sit at home and spend a quiet night in, expect vibrancies round every corner, with plenty of time spent enjoying a beer or two in the searing mid-summer heat (remember summer’s in December in Australia…) or wondering the popular districts of Fitzroy or St Kilda, shopping or listening to music. It’s a sparkling, sociable place that will make socialites glow, and wish their city had such a lively outlook.
Melburnians are sports mad with sports such as the Australian Open, Formula 1 Grand Prix, Cricket and the local AFL. Crowds of 90k are not uncommon at the MCG.