Australia's second largest city frequently tops the list of the world's most liveable places. With its tangle of hidden laneways, tree-lined promenades, and grand Victorian buildings Melbourne has a distinctly European feel.
Here are a selection of Melbourne's top ten attractions to put on your 'to do' list during your next stay-
Located opposite Flinders Street Station, a major public transport hub, the building's ultra-modern design of open and closed spaces contrasts with the surrounding Victorian architecture. With more than 2,000 events annually, you can always find entertainment in the central outdoor performance space and intimate indoor venues. Federation Square also houses the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, dedicated to Australian art, and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI). More commonly called "Fed Square," it is also one of the largest free Wi-Fi sites in Australia.
Location: Corner Swanston and Flinders Streets, Melbourne
With a capacity of 100,000 and a history dating back to 1853, the MCG is considered one of the world's greatest stadiums. As the main stadium for the 1956 Olympic Games and 2006 Commonwealth Games, the birthplace of Test Cricket, and the home of Australian Rules Football, "the 'G" is woven into the fabric of Melbourne. Daily 75-minute tours take visitors for a trip down a memory lane of great moments in sporting history and incorporate the National Sports Museum, including the Australian Gallery of Sport and Olympic Museum. You can also catch a game of cricket in summer or football during winter.
Location: Brunton Ave, East Melbourne
City Circle Tram Tour
The City Circle Tram offers tourists a free and easy way of seeing the CBD. Accompanied by a commentary, the hop-on, hop-off heritage tram passes many of the grand historic buildings, including Parliament House, the Old Treasury Building, Princess Theatre, and the Windsor Hotel. The trams run every 12 minutes and take about 50 minutes to complete the entire loop.
Perfect for the whole family! Visit 320-plus species of animals in state-of-the-art enclosures. The award-winning Trail of the Elephants is an insight into the lives of the resident Asian elephants in a traditional village-garden setting. Another highlight is the Orang-utan Sanctuary, where the animals live in their treetop home. With many wild encounters, including "roar and snore," twilight music concerts, and behind-the-scene tours of some enclosures, Melbourne Zoo offers animal-lovers a fun-packed experience.
Location: Elliott Ave, Parkville
A short tram ride from the CBD, the Melbourne Museum is surrounded by beautiful gardens and parkland. This modern purpose-built museum houses a diverse collection depicting society and cultures. Highlights include Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre; the Phar Lap exhibit, about Australia's greatest racehorse; and the Children's Gallery, a series of hands-on activities designed to stimulate and engage youngsters.Adjacent to the Melbourne Museum is the elaborate Royal Exhibition Building. Built in 1880 to host Melbourne's International Exhibition, the building also held the first Commonwealth Parliament of Australia in 1901. Regular tours are available, and the building is still used for exhibitions and special events.
Address: 11 Nicholson Street, Carlton
Eureka Tower stands 91 stories above ground in the heart of Southbank. The skyscraper's gold crown and gold-plated windows add to the theme and literally sparkle when the sun catches the top of the building. Skydeck, on the 88th floor, affords the highest public view in any building in the Southern Hemisphere. Adding to the experience is The Edge, a glass cube that slides out three meters from the building for vertigo-free visitors.
Address: 7 Riverside Quay, Southbank
The National Gallery of Victoria holds more than 70,000 works of art in two city locations. The international collection is housed in the St. Kilda Road building, originally opened in 1968 and extensively renovated in 2003. The building is renowned for The Great Hall, where visitors are encouraged to lie on the floor and gaze at the colourful stained glass ceiling. The extensive Australian collection is held in the Ian Potter Gallery in Federation Square, featuring the history of Australian art from Aboriginal works through to the Heidelberg School, and contemporary mixed media. One of the highlights is the large triptych format, The Pioneer by Frederick McCubbin.
Address: St. Kilda Road, Melbourne and Federation Square
Visiting the gardens is one of the best free things to do in Melbourne. In summer, live theater is a highlight of the gardens, and a moonlight cinema is set up under the stars. This is also a popular spot for a picnic by the lake or a traditional high tea at The Terrace cafe.
Location: Birdwood Ave, South Yarra
Captain Cook's Cottage, Fitzroy Gardens
The quaint cottage is an insight into the life and times of Cook's seafaring adventures and exploration of Australia and other parts of the world. Also in the beautiful Fitzroy Gardens is the magnificent Spanish-mission style conservatory that is always filled with a vibrant floral display. Children will love the tiny Tudor village and Fairy Tree.
Address: Wellington Parade, East Melbourne
The Seafarers Bridge
An iconic footbridge over the Yarra River between Docklands and South Wharf. The bridge connects the north and south banks of the river while providing a formal entrance to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre and is especially beautiful to visit during the evening.
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