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Melbourne
Melbourne is a maze of hidden laneways, opulent bars, exclusive restaurants and off-the-beaten-track boutiques. Here you can soak up culture, hit the sporting grounds, taste the dynamic food and wine scene, dance til dawn or wander the parks and leafy boulevards. Visit Federation Square, the city's landmark cultural space, and enjoy a sunset beer on the St Kilda promenade. Shop till you drop on funky Brunswick Street or upmarket Chapel Street. Wander Southbank's cafes, bistros and bars and get a world tour of cuisines in Carlton, Richmond and Fitzroy. Take an Aboriginal Heritage Walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens and cheer with a capacity crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

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Five Must-Have Melbourne Experiences:

1. Shop till you drop
Bag a bargain at the Rose Street Artist's Market and browse the funky boutiques on Brunswick Street. Buy designer labels such as Akira Isogawa and Zimmerman on Chapel Street in Prahran or in the historic Melbourne General Post Office, which covers an entire city block. For everything from fashion to furnishings at fantastic value, visit Bridge Road in Richmond. Melbourne is a shopper's haven, offering eclectic boutiques, high-end fashion, funky homeware stores and European style piazzas in the city's arcades and hidden laneways.

2. Bar hop and dance till dawn
Sip a cocktail in a converted sea container in Chinatown, enjoy a sunset beer in a St Kilda pub or listen to cabaret in lush retro surroundings in jazz bars in the city. Linger over exquisite tapas and exotic wine in a Little Collins Street bar and mingle in a pink parlour with fake grass in Bourke Street. You can party from dusk in the bars of Brunswick Street. Or dance till dawn in bars in the city's lantern-lit laneways, secret apart from the spill of coloured light under heavy brass doors.

3. Get into the gourmet goodness
Let the aroma of good coffee waft over you in Melbourne's gothic European laneways. The city is famous for its coffee and old-world café culture but there's so much more to explore. Once you've downed a 'short black' or taken an afternoon aperitif, try tea in a nineteenth-century hotel or salivate over your silver spoon in acclaimed restaurants like Nobu, Botanical and Becco. Pick up fresh fruits, vegetables and seafood at the Queen Victoria Market on a Saturday, known for its bustling crowds and buskers. Try out the restaurants, cafes, bistros and bars in Southbank or Federation Square. Make your way around Melbourne's multicultural cosmos of cuisines: Carlton for Italian classics, Richmond for budget-friendly Vietnamese and Fitzroy for Spanish tapas.

4. Fill up on culture
See a performance by the Australian Ballet, which is based here in Australia's cultural capital. Or enjoy a dazzling musical at the Princess Theatre. Browse the Southern Hemisphere's best collection of international art at the National Gallery of Victoria. Or visit the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Federation Square, a landmark cultural 'space' for Melbournians. Challenge yourself with the creative collections in the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in Southbank. To learn more about Melbourne's Aboriginal cultural heritage, see contemporary and dreamtime art or take an Aboriginal Heritage Walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens.

5. Go sports mad
Cheer for an Australian Rules Football game with a capacity crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground over winter. Go cricket mad in summer, when the city hosts the Ashes and one day internationals. Or join the huge crowds watching the Australian Tennis Open at Melbourne Park. Rev heads head to Melbourne in March for the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix in Albert Park. And whether you are a racing fan or just a casual punter, you won't want to miss the Melbourne Cup - the world's richest horse race on the first Tuesday in November.


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39-night World Segment Cruise: Circumnavigation & Sapphire Seas

Price: $22,664 - # of Days: 39 days

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16-night World Segment Cruise: Southern Australian Coasts

Price: $9,874 - # of Days: 16 days

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13-Nights Vibrant Cities and Red Centre

Price: $6,199 - # of Days: 13 days
Embark on an unforgettable journey to Australia's coastal treasures with our exclusive vacation offering: "Australia's Coastal Treasures." This 13-night adventure promises to immerse you in the breathtaking beauty and diverse experiences that Australia has to offer, including accom...

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11-Nights Australian Experience

Price: Please call for rates - # of Days: 11 days
FIRST-CLASS | SPECIALITY GROUP: Discover the land Downunder on this group vacation full of city tours, wildlife encounters, and great food and wine. See some of the highlights of Australia, including Melbourne, Sydney, and the Great Barrier Reef. Our Groups Only Specialist would be delighted to tail...

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10-Nights Essence of Brisbane, Melbourne and the Great Barrier Reef

Price: $2,749 - # of Days: 10 days
FIRST-CLASS | TAILOR-MADE: Discover the best of Brisbane, Melbourne, and the Great Barrier Reef on this 11-day Australia vacation. Explore sunny Brisbane and its nearby rainforest on an exciting river cruise. Venture north to Port Douglas and immerse yourself in the Great Barrier Reef and ancient Da...

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18-Nights Classic Downunder: Auckland to Melbourne

Price: $4,964 - # of Days: 18 days
FIRST-CLASS | TAILOR-MADE: Get to know the true Downunder by experiencing the best of both Australia and New Zealand. Journey through New Zealand and Australia’s most spectacular sights including Rotorua, Milford Sound, Ayers Rock and the Great Barrier Reef, with exciting, cosmopolitan cities ...

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5-Nights Signature Melbourne

Price: $2,569 - # of Days: 5 days
DELUXE | PRIVATE-GUIDED: Discover the charms of Victoria on this regional vacation. Based in Melbourne, you’ll drive the Great Ocean Road before discovering the trendy laneway and arcade bars of the city.

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15-Nights Authentic Australia: Sydney to Melbourne

Price: Please call for rates - # of Days: 15 days
FIRST-CLASS | TAILOR-MADE: Journey through the best of Australia on this unforgettable vacation that takes you from Sydney to Melbourne. Along the way, you’ll see Uluru/Ayers Rock, venture into Kakadu National Park, dive the Great Barrier Reef, and explore the Indigenous Dreamtime in Kuranda.

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14-Nights Wine, Wilderness & Wildlife: Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne, Tasmania and more

Price: $4,829 - # of Days: 14 days
FIRST CLASS | TAILOR-MADE: Discover Australia’s unique icons, unforgettable flavours, and gorgeous wildlife on this exciting journey Downunder. Connecting from Sydney to Adelaide, Tasmania, and Melbourne, you’ll tour world wonders, get up close to kangaroos and Tasmanian devils, and samp...

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11-Nights Classic Australia: Melbourne, Red Centre, Cairns and Sydney

Price: $3,912 - # of Days: 11 days
FIRST-CLASS | TAILOR-MADE: Explore Australia’s most famous cities and natural wonders on this ideal introduction to the land Downunder. Connecting from Melbourne to Sydney, you’ll gaze upon the changing colours of Uluru, cruise the Great Barrier Reef, and go behind the scenes of the Sydn...

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Melbourne


Melbourne, Australia, offers a wonderful mix of Victorian architecture with world cultures. From its favored site on the banks of the Yarra River, Melbourne offers travelers some of the best shopping and theater in Australia, a varied arts scene, top-notch food and wine with restaurants to fit any taste and budget, and excellent hotels.

Melbourne also has a thriving fashion industry, sporting and leisure activities, a greenbelt of parks and boulevards with a distinctly European feel, and an unrivaled festival calendar. Its dynamic and varied lifestyle, cafe culture, affordable cost of living and low crime rate make it one of the world's most livable cities.

Must See or Do

Sights—The views from Eureka Tower; Old Melbourne Gaol; Queen Victoria Market; Chinatown; Federation Square; Fitzroy Gardens.

Museums—The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art; the Ian Potter Centre at Federation Square; the Heide Museum of Modern Art; Australian Centre for the Moving Image; National Gallery of Victoria; the Immigration Museum; State Library of Victoria.

Memorable Meals—The Flower Drum, for its Cantonese take on local ingredients; supreme pizza at Ladro; degustation delights at Vue de Monde.

Late Night—A bite to eat and a bottle from the vast wine list at The Melbourne Supper Club; absinthe on the rooftop at Transit bar; a live music show at The Toff in Town.

Walks—Strolling around Albert Park Lake; exploring the Yarra Trail; a walk along St Kilda Beach; wandering through the Royal Botanic Gardens.

Especially for Kids—Scienceworks and its interactive exhibits; observing the sharks at Melbourne Aquarium; riding the roller coaster at Luna Park; milking cows at the Collingwood Children's Farm; Roar 'n' Snore at Melbourne Zoo; watching films on the world's third-largest IMAX screen at the Melbourne Museum; riding Puffing Billy, Australia's oldest steam train, through the Dandenong Ranges.

Geography

Melbourne's city center sits on the banks of the Yarra River, about 4 mi/6 km upriver from Port Philip Bay. The portion on the north bank is known as the Central Business District (CBD), and the portion south of the river is called Southbank. The ambitious 495-acre/200-hectare Docklands project is extending the western border of the city.

The sprawling metropolitan area is made up of suburbs. Surrounding the city center are the communities of West, North, East and South Melbourne. To the south are Albert Park, South Yarra and, along the bay, St Kilda; Williamstown is on the western side of the bay. To the northeast are Collingwood and Fitzroy. The suburb of Carlton lies to the north, Footscray to the west, and Abbotsford and Richmond are to the east. All of these suburbs are nearly as old as the city center and are known as "inner suburbs." You can reach them from the CBD by foot, train or a short tram ride. To reach the "outer suburbs" (truly on the fringe of the urban area), you'll need a car or a longer train ride.

No matter what suburb you're in, Melbourne is relatively flat. In contrast to this flatness is a chain of hills to the east of the city. The Dandenong Ranges, 40 minutes by car from the city center, are a cool getaway as is a trip to the wineries of the Yarra Valley. To the southeast of the city, a string of golden beaches stretches more than 30 mi/50 km down the Mornington Peninsula to the head of Port Philip Bay.

History

Melbourne was home for the indigenous Koori people for 50,000 years before the arrival of Europeans in the 1800s. The newcomers established a town, but it remained a small settlement until the middle of the century, when a gold rush in central Victoria saw Melbourne grow to become Australia's financial capital and most glamorous city. The boom gave the town its magnificent public architecture, gracious parks, tree-lined boulevards, opulent mansions and the nickname "Marvelous Melbourne." The city developed so successfully that it was the original capital of the Australian Federation. (Melbourne relinquished this role to Canberra in 1927.)

Though it was no longer the capital, Melbourne continued to be one of Australia's leading cities. It took the next step—to world-class city—when it hosted the Olympic Games in 1956. Melbourne has since attracted large numbers of immigrants from China, India, Sri Lanka, North Africa, Lebanon, Vietnam, Italy, Malta and Greece (Melbourne has one of the largest Maltese populations in the world and the largest population of Greek origin in the world outside of Greece). Annual festivals such as the Italian Lygon Street Festa, the Greek Antipodes Festival and the Chinese New Year celebrate the cultural diversity of modern-day residents.

Melbourne has become a vital international business location, with world-renowned research universities and local companies developing groundbreaking technology in biological sciences, information technology, security and communications. The Port of Melbourne is considered a world-class hub for shipping and cargo.

Potpourri

For a short time in the early 1800s, the city was known as Batmania, after John Batman, one of its founders. Later it was briefly known as Bearbrass before finally settling on Melbourne.

Melbourne has its own hard-rock lane. ACDC Lane is a block and a half off Swanston Street near Flinders Lane. (Swanston Street was also the setting for the Aussie band's video for "Long Way to the Top.")

The bionic ear and the black-box flight recorder were invented in Melbourne.

The first ever frozen-embryo baby, a girl, was born in Melbourne in March 1984.

The world's first polymer (plastic) banknotes were developed and printed in Melbourne in 1988.

Melbourne's tram system is the fourth largest in the world and is the largest outside of Europe. It has 152 mi/244 km of track and 450 trams.

The National Gallery of Victoria features the world's largest stained-glass ceiling. It measures 167 ft/ 52 m long by 49 ft/15 m wide.

The world's first feature film, The Story of the Ned Kelly Gang, was made in Melbourne in 1906.

Melbourne has the world's second largest Greek population, behind Athens.




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