The city lies on Port Phillip Bay, and that, combined with its flat topography and the Dandenong’s to the east, give the city its famously changeable climate – where it is quite possible to experience “four seasons in one day”!

While Melbourne has some fabulous surfing beaches, there are so many choices of activities that the weather is really incidental to having a wonderful time in this most surprising of cities.

What to do

Allow yourself plenty of time to sample the delights of Melbourne, as the city has something to offer everyone.

For those who enjoy a tipple, it is hard to go past the delights of the famous Yarra Valley wineries. With many wineries, restaurants and farm gate suppliers of fine food to choose from, the Yarra Valley is a must-see. It is under one hour from the city, but offers so much that many choose to spend a couple of days exploring this beautiful region.

The Colonial Tram Car restaurant is the first travelling tramcar restaurant in the world and brings you the delights of fine food and wine, as you tour the beautiful city. Fitted with special stabilisers, you can be sure not a drop of champagne will be spilled.

For a panoramic view of Melbourne, ride to the top of one of the tallest buildings in the southern hemisphere and drink in the view. The Eureka Tower is located in Southbank, one of the premier locations in this magnificent cityscape.

Southbank is rightly recognised as the entertainment and dining precinct of the city, featuring attractions such as the Crown Entertainment Complex, the Melbourne Exhibition Centre and the Southbank Artistic Centre.

Australia’s favourite steam train is still running on its century-old tracks in the Dandenongs, and Puffing Billy is an experience not to be missed!

Melbourne is famous for the fabulous array of shops, and is also known as a dressier city than most in Australia. Your only problem when shopping in Melbourne will be how to keep the credit card in check! A good starting point is Melbourne Central, QV, GPO and the many laneways and arcades that bring you everything from top-end fashion to the off-beat. You will be choosing from over 500 shops in one fashion precinct! There are also many shopping tours available, which take you to some of the fabulous factories and warehouses you would never find on your own.

For the committed diner, Melbourne is a paradise. A city renowned for everything from fine dining to hidden bars in laneways, there is something for everyone. The city has a well-deserved reputation for Italian cuisine, with Carlton’s Lygon Street offering everything from pizza and pasta to exquisite veal rib eye and seafood risotto.

Museums and galleries

Museum Victoria is the governing body for a range of fabulous museums – Melbourne Museum, the Scienceworks Museum, the Melbourne Planetarium, the Immigration Museum and the Royal Exhibition Building. Estimated at approximately 16 million individual items, Museum Victoria is custodian of the state's vast and priceless sciences, indigenous, history & technology collections.

The Heide Museum of Modern Art is a place of modern and contemporary art and design and exhibits the city’s colourful art heritage and social history.

The National Gallery of Victoria has such an extensive collection that it is now split across two locations; The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Federation Square - home of Australian art, and NGV International at St Kilda Road, the new redeveloped building dedicated to the gallery's magnificent international artworks.

Gardens and day trips

Victoria prides itself on many things, and being known as the “garden state” is just one of them! The Royal Botanic Gardens in the heart of the city offer a haven of beautiful plants, an award-winning garden shop and the tropical hothouse is the perfect place to visit for a winter warm-up!

A short trip to the Dandenong’s also opens up a delight of beautiful cool climate gardens and magnificent views, restaurants and shops. Or take a day trip to the Grampians and enjoy the wilderness. The last word in wild beauty is the Great Ocean Road and the Twelve Apostles – a sight guaranteed to take your breath away.

For another taste of wilderness, arrange a tour to Phillip Island, which is only 90 minutes from Melbourne by car. Enjoy the penguin parade, visit the new Nobbies Centre, get up close and personal with koalas … there is so much to do that you may choose to stay for a day or two, and there is a range of Phillip Island accommodation to suit every budget.

How to get there

An international airport, international port, railways and major highways make Melbourne an easily accessible place. All major airlines and bus companies travel to Melbourne.

Ideal length of visit

Melbourne has so much to do and see that you really need at least a week to scratch the surface. If you have more time at your disposal, you will never run out of things to do as Melbourne is a city that holds many surprises and offers much more than the few things mentioned in this article.

Image above: 

- The Eureka Tower is a must visit in Melbourne (left)

- Visit the Yarra Valley for some of the best wine you'll ever taste (top right)

- The Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road are just a few hours away (bottom middle)

- Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens are beautiful (bottom right)


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