Melbourne: City of lights & festivals
It was an early October morning when we arrived into Melbourne. Surprisingly, the temperature was a chilly 10C which challenged our preconception that everywhere in Australia was always hot and warm!
Located in the state of Victoria, Melbourne is the second most populous city in Australia. Its climate ranges from average lows of 6C in their winters – June, July, August – to average highs of 26C in their summers – January, February, March. The true challenge is the “changeability” of its weather which allows for rapid influxes of weather systems within a period of hours which has many Melbournites lament the “four seasons in one day” complexity.
Notwithstanding the weather, Melbourne is truly a city of exceptional beauty. The charm of the inner city tramlines lend themselves to wonderful walking tours of the city’s bustling and vibrant “laneways” which are home to some fabulous restaurants, bars and cafes. Federation Square is testament to the city’s vision to showcase the best of what their state has to offer. A large central piazza which features amazing modernistic architecture and acts as a world stage for fantastic year round music and art festivals. Take a step back in time and spend the day exploring the century old Queen Victoria Public Market – challenge your fear of heights and experience the Eureka Skydeck Tower. Gaze over the cityscape from the 88th floor of the 975 ft building and then to further the experience … step into "The Edge" which is a glass cube hanging out from the tower itself to give you the unique visual through a glass bottom floor! Not for the faint of heart!!
The area which I recommend my clients to stay is Southbank. Situated on the sunny south shore of the Yarra River this urban district is home to many of the newer hotels and resorts. It also lays claim to a beautiful wide boulevard lined with running tracks, art exhibits, street entertainers and a lovely array of of local bars, restaurants and cafes from which to view the spectacular city skyline at night.
Begin your visit with a local city tour which will orient you as well as educate you on Melbourne’s colorful past. Visit the world renowned Melbourne Zoo and garden enthusiasts will love the Royal Botanical Gardens. For those of you with a penchant for the games of chance, be sure to check out the Crown Casino – one of the largest in the world! An exceptional dining experience was the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant. You board the historical tramcars, cruise the city tram lines and experience fantastic service and cuisine to boot! Truly one of the highlights of my visit!
Two worthwhile day tours outside of Melbourne are the Yarra Valley Wine tour and the Phillip Island Fairy Penguin tour. The Wine Tour takes you through the picturesque Yarra Valley, visits five distinguished wineries and includes a spectacular lunch. Phillip Island is home to the funny little fairy penguin. This tour takes you on a journey into their weird and incredible life cycles. Truly worth the experience.
Melbourne is definitely a city to visit at any time of year. Its mild climate, vibrant cosmopolitan entertainment scene and sensational locale offers everything to everyone! A short 1.5 hour flight from Sydney or direct nonstop service via Qantas and/or United from Los Angeles. Required documentation is a Canadian passport with more than six month validity as well as an Australian tourist visa.
Melbourne ….. a definite inclusion to anyone’s Australian itinerary!!
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