Melbourne – A City of Contrasts
Melbourne has been dubbed the world’s most liveable city four times and two years running in 2012 and 2013. From high end eateries to street art in Melbourne’s hidden laneways to major sporting events, the City of Melbourne is bustling with cultural experiences that have earned it a reputation for being the cultural and sporting capital of Australia. Melbourne hosts and supports many cultural institutions including events, festivals, street art, museums, galleries, popular music, live music, film, independent music, independent film and fashion.
The city hosts a wide variety of local, national and international cultural events. Cultural precincts in the central business district (CBD) include the Victorian Arts Precinct, with its distinctive spire, and Federation Square, one of the city’s main cultural hubs and tourist centres that celebrated its ten-year anniversary in 2012. Federation Square’s distinctive architecture, large digital screen and public space attracts congregations, rallies and public audiences for sporting events.
The capital of Victoria, Melbourne is home to over 4 million people. Melbourne’s suburban sprawl extends around Port Phillip Bay as far east as Mount Dandenong and as far west as Bacchus Marsh. Melbourne was founded on the Yarra River in 1835 after an 1803 attempt to establish a settlement inside the Port Phillip Bay heads near Sorrento failed. Gaining independence from New South Wales in 1850, Melbourne boomed in the 1850′s as a result of the gold rush in the region to the north.
Victoria Harbour or Docklands as it is now more commonly known is on the city’s doorstep is well worth a visit as are the beaches from St Kilda to Port Melbourne. The waterfront area’s offer a change of pace and lifestyle and are the perfect place to be during the summer months. Not bad in winter either. Bike trails stretch from the city to Beaumauris and offer some stunning beach side cycling.
Melbourne and Fashion
Melbourne is also known for its fashion and shopping. Melbourne Central, Myer and David Jones are centrally located between Bourke St and Latrobe St in the CBD. Melbourne is also known for its strip shopping areas – Bridge Road in Richmond, Chapel Street from Windsor to South Yarra, and Smith St in Collingwood. Chadstone Shopping Centre in the south east suburbs of Melbourne is also a major fashion hub. Spending a weekend in Melbourne? Best you bring your credit card.
Melbourne boasts some of the finest restaurants in the country and is acknowledged as Australia’s most important financial centre. Melbourne is a hub of multi-culturalism and walking through some parts of the inner city have an Asian feel. China Town dominates Little Bourke Street and there is also now a feast of Asian dining to choose from in Elizabeth Street. Lygon Street is famous for quality Italian eateries while Victoria Street in Richmond has quality Vietnamese cuisine at amazingly low prices. Melbourne’s cafe and restaurant culture offers hidden gems all over the city and suburbs and talking to the locals will open up a world of culinary delights.
Sport in Melbourne
Melbourne has long been known as the sporting capital of Australia and is the home of AFL football. Commencing with the Australian Tennis Open in January, there is a yearlong calendar of events that culminates in the Boxing Day Test Match at the MCG in December, an annual tradition for many cricket fans. The Australian F1 Grand Prix brings the city to life in March with the racetrack only five minutes from the city at Albert Park Lake. The horse race that stops the nation, The Melbourne Cup is held on the first Tuesday of November each year and the day is declared a public holiday. Cricket, Golf, Tennis, AFL, Soccer, Rugby, and Netball fill the year with a myriad of sporting events that Melbournians thrive on.