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Melbourne, Victoria City Info
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Australia and Oceania > Australia > Victoria
Melbourne




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The road to Melbourne is spectacular no matter the direction from which the city is approached. There is a route through the rugged Australian Alps; as well as a Princes Highway seaside route from Sydney that passes beautiful sandy beaches. The Hume Highway is lined with vineyards and fine wineries; and the drive from Adelaide along the Great Ocean Road provides a showcase for some of Australia's most dramatic scenery.

 

Melbourne (pronounced Mel bun) is located on the banks of the Yarra River is the capital of the state of Victoria in southeastern Australia.  The city overlooks the huge expanse of Port Phillip Bay, a sailing and boating paradise. Its beautiful beaches provide recreation for local residents and visitors throughout the year. The many parks along the banks of the Yarra and the Maribyrnong Rivers are popular spots for picnics, parties and barbecues by the water.

 

Magnificent landscaped gardens and parklands make Melbourne one of the greenest cities in the world. The streets of the city center are alive with thousands of residents bustling in and out of buildings that are a blend of grand Victorian and modern architecture and house everything from outstanding galleries to opulent theatres. Hundreds of designer fashion boutiques, many shops and countless rows of sophisticated little cafés line the main thoroughfares. Over 3000 restaurants present fine cuisine accompanied by superb local wines. This friendly multicultural city is home to people from over 140 nations, a fact that is reflected in the excellence and diversity of the food choices that are available. There is something to please everyone.

 

Green and gold trams circle the city providing efficient transportation in the gracious style of days gone by. Children will love the riverboat cruises, water taxis, and gondola rides that provide the best in aquatic travel on the Yarra River. They will also enjoy a visit to a shark at Melbourne Aquarium and an afternoon at the Melbourne zoo. It's only a short ferry boat ride across Port Phillip Bay to Williamstown and St Kilda, the beach suburbs that function as the playgrounds of Melbourne.

 

This cosmopolitan and sophisticated city hosts major cultural festivals, world famous horse races, smash hit musicals and international sporting events throughout the year. In fact, Melbourne is known as the sporting capital of Australia. Melbourne Festival, Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, Qantas Australian Grand Prix, Australian Football League finals series, Spring Racing Carnival, Australian Open, Melbourne Comedy Festival and Melbourne Food and Wine Festival are just a few of the key events.

 

Melbourne is the gateway to the State of Victoria. Victoria's walking and riding trails provide the perfect getaway for anyone who enjoys the beauty of the out of doors. They cover diverse landscapes ranging from National Park wilderness to immaculate gardens, from serene lakes to endless beaches, from rolling mountain ranges to deserts. Many hiking trails can be found close to Melbourne within easy driving distance of the city. Many other  major attractions are outside the city limits. Nature lovers visit the penguin parade at Phillip Island, the open-range Werribee Zoo and the popular Healesville Sanctuary. Food lovers gravitate to Yarra Valley wineries to sip on pinot noir and dine at the region's many restaurants. Hundreds of picturesque mountains, lakes and valleys lie within an hour's drive of the city.

 

Scientists believe that Australia is a piece of continental crust that broke away from Antarctica about 50 million years ago. The result is that many reminders of Australia's Antarctic heritage remain, and have over the centuries provided challenges to those who immigrated and sought to remake Australia in the image of their native lands. In the 1800's attempts were made to make the country look more like Europe. Salmon, sparrows, and trout were among the species introduced. All of them competed with native animals and forced their counterparts into extinction.

 

Since the 1980's there has been a massive team effort by environmentalists and farmers to reverse the extensive damage and to restore the land to its original beauty. Their efforts have paid off. Instead of trying to mould Australia to fit modern European farming methods, agriculturists have learned to work in harmony with the naturally occurring dust storms and floods. The earliest settlers, the Aboriginal people known as the Kooris, adapted to the ebb and flow of Australia's seasons over 60,000 years ago, and continue to do so today.

 

Sweeping efforts at modernization in Melbourne have occurred in the past 20 years. Highlights include Southgate, a world class casino; the new  Museum of Victoria, and the Tennis Center. Major national events such as the Australian Grand Prix have been attracted to Melbourne, and renovation and restoration of the city's buildings is continuing. High rise buildings have replaced the formerly low rise skyline, though the central area remains intact with its distinctive 19th century architecture including Gothic-style churches, neoclassical public buildings, and terraced houses decorated with cast iron. A result of this rejuvenation of Melbourne has been that residents have wanted to be in the midst of it.  Many have left the suburbs and moved into the city itself.  The waterfront has been transformed as has the older inner city into new and attractive residential areas.  Through it all, Melbourne remains affordable, welcoming, and the place to relax and be yourself while exploring one of  the great cities of the world.