After decades of living in the shadow of Australia’s world-renowned city of Sydney, Melbourne is enjoying its time in the spotlight. As the coastal capital of the Australian state of Victoria, the metropolitan city is continuously ranked at the top of the “world’s most livable city” list, thanks in part to its culture, cosmopolitan lifestyle, lush urban landscapes and moderate temperatures.
Also known as the European City of Australia, Melbourne is vibrant and filled with Old World charm and sophistication. Founded in 1835, to experience all that the city has to offer is to honor both its illustrious past and dynamic present. The founding forefathers of Melbourne had the foresight to create the inner city in a grid, making it easy to navigate the neighborhoods and subsequent “laneways.” Here one can find elements of Paris in the fifties and Manhattan, particularly in the architecture and world-class restaurant scene. Downtown has centuries-old and stately Victorian buildings and magnificent gardens such as the Royal Botanic Gardens on the banks of the Yarra River is a must-see. The beauty and variety of the Fitzroy Gardens, named after 19-century Governor Sir Charles Augustus Fitzroy in 1860, in East Melbourne gives the city yet another nickname – “garden city of Australia.” Designed in the shape of the Union Jack, be sure to visit Captain James Cook’s charming cottage on the premises.
And to further understand the city’s history, catch “The Melbourne Story” at the city’s natural history Melbourne Museum or tour Melbourne Past & Present which includes not only a stop at the museum but also the landmark Shrine of Remembrance and Royal Botanic Gardens coupled with a visit to the Eureka Skydeck 88 (the world’s tallest apartment building at 92 stories).
Present-day Melbourne is often compared to Berlin with its lively bars and music scene, cutting-edge art galleries, variety of restaurants (think Middle Eastern, Chinese, Italian and Vietnamese) and museums.
Melbourne is also known for its incredible array of sports. Football, horse racing (Melbourne Cup), Formula One car racing, cricket and tennis are a big part of the culture. One of the country’s most popular events is the Australian Open and if you are sailing aboard Seven Seas Mariner’s Circumnavigation of Australia grand voyage, you can enjoy a court side seat with the Australian Open Centre Court tour. Also check out one of the world’s biggest sporting venues – the “G” (Melbourne Cricket Ground) – that plays host to the Australian Football League (AFL). Housed underneath is another must-see for the sports aficionado, the National Sports Museum. Here you can see memorabilia and test your sports skills via interactive exhibits.
Ready to explore Melbourne? Plan your all-inclusive vacation today.