Melbourne - Australia's Cultural Capital
Melbourne, the southernmost metropolis on earth, has been elected the world's most liveable city by the business magazine "The Economist" several times. The great variety of culture, leisure activities and entertainment make the multicultural metropolis one of the most significant cultural centres on the Australian continent.
Geography - The second biggest Australian city
Melbourne is the capital of the Australian state of Victoria and it is the country's second biggest city with 4.25 million inhabitants. The southernmost metropolis on earth lies at the Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay and extends over an area of almost 10,000 km². Victoria Harbour, whose centrepiece are the Docklands, is one of the most prominent locations in the metropolis and the greatest seaport in the whole of the country. Melbourne is located in the temperate climate zone and has very changeable weather throughout the year. Sudden changes in the weather such as temperature fluctuations, storms and rainfall are common in Victoria's biggest city.
Culture - A wide range of cultural sights in a multicultural atmosphere
Melbourne was founded as a residential area by John Batman and John Pascoe Fawkner in 1835. Two years later, the city was named after the former Prime Minister Lord Melbourne. The new settlement grew large very quickly, which was partly due to the gold rush of the 1850s and the increased immigration during World War II. Almost four million people life in the metropolis today, many of whom have an immigration background. Chinese, British, Greek, Italian, Irish, Croatian or Vietnamese immigrants and students populate Melbourne now and constitute about 40 percent of the city's population. Melbourne is home to people from over 230 nations with more than 180 languages and dialects. The multicultural metropolis is most of all known for its great art and cultural scene. While Canberra is the country's capital and seat of government, Melbourne is considered Australia's cultural capital by many inhabitants. On a stroll through the city, you see numerous theatres, opera houses, galleries, museums and beautiful Victorian buildings from the 18th century. Highlights are the Victorian station in Flinders Street and the Melbourne Museum (the greatest museum in the souther hemisphere) in the Carlton Gardens. The latter and the impressive Royal Exhibition Building were declared World Cultural Heritage sites of the UNESCO in 2004. Other attractions are Captain Cook's Cottage, the family home of the famous navigator James Cook, the National Gallery of Victoria, St Paul's Cathedral, St Patrick's Cathedral, the Queen Victoria Market, the Parliament House and the Shrine of Remembrance, which is one of the country's largest war memorials. Prominent modern buildings are the Eureka Tower (297.3 m), which is the highest building in the city and in the southern hemisphere, and the Rialto Towers (251 m).
Experience - Little boredom, a lot of variety
Melbourne's entertainment facilities are as numerous and varied as its cultural sights. One of the most popular meeting points in Melbourne is the Federation Square at the Flinders Street Station, which was built in 2002 and accommodates countless cultural facilities, restaurants, cafes and bars. This public place is dimensioned for more than 10,000 people and often used as a venue for open-air concerts. Music generally plays a major role in Victoria's capital. Several world-famous artists like Kylie Minogue were born here and live concerts of regional, national and international musicians take place every day. Together with the wide range of night clubs, bars and pubs, there is no room for boredom when it comes to evening entertainment. In addition, there is a great number of festivals and events such as the Melbourne Jazz Festival, the Melbourne Cup Day, Australia's greatest horse race, the Australian Open Tennis Championship and the Formula One race of the Australian Grand Prix. Another entertainment and shopping oasis is the Waterfront City at the bank of the Yarra River near the city centre. Chapel Street and the Queen Victoria Market are equally popular shopping locations. The latter is one of the greatest markets in the southern hemisphere and consists of hundreds of (indoor and outdoor) stalls. Melbourne's variety of culinary facilities and specialities ranks among the best ones on earth. It is said that the metropolis has the highest density of restaurants, cafes, bars and clubs in the world, which do not only serve local food but dishes from all over the world because of the many multicultural influences.
Activities - Relaxing in the parks and at the city's beaches
Besides the great number of bars, restaurants, clubs, cultural facilities and sights, Melbourne impresses with its numerous leisure activities. The parks, gardens and national parks in and around the city, for example the Royal Botanical Gardens or the Brimbank Park, are the ideal location for a walk, a hike and an escape from the vibrant city life. The many green spaces are the reason why Melbourne is also called "Australia's Garden City". Holidaymakers can relax at the metropolis's wonderful beaches along Port Phillip Bay. The districts of Port Melbourne, Albert Park, St. Kilda, Elwood, Brighton and Sorrento have beautiful golden sandy beaches, at which you can do water sports such as swimming, surfing, sailing, rowing, fishing and kayaking. Other popular leisure activities are hot-air balloon flights and boat trips, games of golf and cycling tours. In addition, Melbourne is an excellent starting point for trips to Philipp Island and the Mornington Peninsula as well as for a road trip on Victoria's stunning coastal road, the Great Ocean Road.
Melbourne is a great travel destination at any time of the year. You best arrive at the Melbourne International Airport, which is about 22 kilometres north-west of the city centre. Taxis, buses and the SkyBus take you into the city.
Melbourne is one of Australia's most important cultural centres and of particular interest to culture enthusiasts and city tourists. In addition, active holidaymakers and lovers of nature get their money's worth in the many green spaces of the Garden City and at the golden sandy beaches around it.