Melbourne is the capital of the state of Victoria and is the second-largest city in Australia. It is located on the Port Phillip bay, in the estuary of the Yarra River. Often referred to as the “cultural capital of Australia” and ranks in the top three of the World’s Most Livable Cities. Melbourne is home to the largest tram network in the world and is a moderately populated city with a fairly wide urban sprawl. The University of Melbourne is internationally acclaimed and the second oldest university in Australia, and Melbourne is also home to may other state run and independent schools. There is an abundance of parks and gardens, and Melbourne is often called Australia’s garden city. Melbourne is an exciting, vibrant city with a strong cultural and art scene, making it an amazing place to visit and explore.
The first settlement in Victoria was established in 1803, but soon abandoned because of a perceived lack in resources. In 1835, John Batman set up a village on the northern bank of the Yarra River and Melbourne named after then-British Prime Minister William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, and declared a city in 1847 by Queen Victoria. Melbourne experienced rapid growth after gold was discovered in Victoria in 1851 and was the largest city in Australia for most of the 19th century, ultimately being surpassed by rival city Sydney in the early 20th century. Melbourne has seen great employment and population growth since the mid-1990s and has a large influx of immigrants.
Melbourne Tourist Attractions
There is so much to do and see in Melbourne and it may be impossible to do it all in one week. Plan your trip to Melbourne very carefully so you can take in as much as possible (without burning yourself out). Listed below is the best Melbourne has to offer…
Federation Square – Where all travelers/residents converge for visitor information, events and just to hang out. There are restaurants, cafes, bars, cinemas and galleries on this city block at Swanson and Flinders Streets worth taking a look at. The striking and unique architecture is reason enough to swing by this attraction.
Queen Victoria Market – This historic market is a culinary dream. Fish, meat, bread, cakes, pasta, produce, delicacies, everything you’ve ever dreamed of can be found here. In addition to all of the food, there is an area in the market for all kinds of neat finds including clothing, jewelry, art, crafts and other interesting treasures. There are even tours and cooking classes offered at the market, and in the summers there’s a night market with entertainment.
The National Gallery of Victoria – This gallery is where visitors will find rare pieces of artwork in a unique building located just across the Yarra River from Federation Square.
Melbourne Observation Deck – See the best views of the city from this Melbourne landmark.
Melbourne Zoo – Observe more than 350 kinds of animals in this phenomenal and attractive zoo. Wander around the lush grounds and see lions, elephants, tigers, rhinos and many more animals all housed in well cared for environments. The zoo also offers a variety of programs including concerts in the park, picnics and zoo sleepovers.
Melbourne Aquarium – Discover a world beneath the sea at this state-of-the-art facility. Located right on the Yarra River this interactive aquarium is home to all wonders of the Southern Oceans.
Old Melbourne Gaol – This is Victoria’s oldest surviving prison and is located right in the city. The prison is where the infamous Ned Kelly was housed and executed. Kept in excellent condition, the prison offers eerie night tours along with regular day time hours.
Melbourne Cricket Ground – The MCG is one of the most important cricket grounds in the world dating back to 1853. Not only a cricket ground the MCG hosted the 1956 Olympics, AFL games and various concerts.
Crown Entertainment Complex – This huge complex on the Yarra River offers a wide range of entertainment options. Casinos, restaurants, shops, cinemas, restaurants and bars are just a few of the services available here.