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Welcome to Melbourne, Australia


Melbourne is the second-largest city in Australia, with a population of 3.8 million (2007), and the capital of the state of Victoria. Melbourne is generally regarded as Australias cultural & fashion capital. The citys features include Victorian-era architecture, extensive shopping, many cultural institutions such as museums, galleries and theaters, and large parks and gardens.

Travel to Melbourne

Melbourne Travel

Melbourne Tullamarine Airport (MEL) is located 22 km north-west of the city centre and provides regular access from all major Australian cities, as well as many international destinations across Europe, America, Asia and the South Pacific region. The airport has four terminals, T1, T2, T3 and T4 all are connected and within easy walking distance of each other. All arrivals are on the lower level of the terminals, with departures from the upper level.

Taxis between the airport and the city centre cost around $40-$45 and take about 25 minutes in normal traffic.

Skybus runs a 24/7 shuttle to and from the Southern Cross Station Coach Terminal on Spencer Street at the west end of the Central Business District.. The coach service takes 20 minutes and is the fastest way between the airport and city . [Departs every 15 mins, $15 adult one-way, $24 adult return, $5 child one-way ]

Melbourne Avalon Airport (AVV) is located 55 km (50 minute drive) to the south-west of Melbourne.

Sun Bus Australia operates a shuttle service to Melbourne's CBD. This is the most effective and cheapest transport to Melbourne.

Train services from interstate and intrastate destinations operate to and from Southern Cross Station located on the western edge of Melbourne's central business district. Great Southern Railway operate 4 services a week from Adelaide (10-11 hours away).

Coaches are available from many other locations in Australia. Greyhound has several daily services from Sydney and Adelaide to Melbourne.

Countrylink trains operate twice daily from Sydney (10 hours)

Motor Vehicle travel from Sydney takes about 9-10 hours (non-stop). Adelaide can be reached in 7 hours.

Melbourne Transport

Melbourne Central Station

Walking is the best way to explore the Melbourne CBD as the city is flat and easy to navigate.

Taxis in Melbourne are clean, safe and always use the meter. It may be difficult hiring a taxi late on Friday and Saturday night in the CBD area.

Metlink is Melbournes public transport system of trams, trains and buses. The "Met Shop" in the Melbourne Town Hall, on the corner of Swanston St and Little Collins St provides timetables and brochures, and sells tickets, maps and travel merchandise [open 8.30am-5pm Monday to Friday, 9am-1pm Saturday]. Metcards are available from many retail stores (eg 7-Eleven stores), train stations and trams have vending machines. A Metcard must be "validated" by inserting it into a validation machine before use.

Free City Circle Tram operates around the CBD perimeter, covering Flinders St, Spring St, Nicholson St, Victoria St, La Trobe St and Harbour Esplanade with recorded commentary about attractions. [The tram operates every 12 minutes, daily except from 10am-6pm].

Free Melbourne City Tourist Shuttle Bus service stops at key tourist destinations in and around the city. The buses run at 15 minute intervals between 9:30am and 4:30pm every day. A complete circuit takes 45 minutes, and there is onboard commentary.

Car rental is popular to visit the surrounding areas if you are not taking a tour. Melbourne and the surrounding area is easy to drive around with normal traffic conditions and parking is plentiful except in the CBD. Melbourne has fully electronic road tolls with no manual toll gates on the Westgate, Tullamarine and Monash motorways. Purchase a day pass in advance, or pay within 3 days of driving on the motorway by phone, internet, or at some Shell petrol stations. The registered owner of the car will receive a fine if the toll remains unpaid. Australia drives on the left side of the road.

Melbourne Hotels

The high tourist season is the Christmas and New Year period, Easter and Australian School Holidays.

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Melbourne Weather

Melbourne Travel Guide

The best time to visit Melbourne is in the autumn and spring. Melbourne receives only about half of the average rainfall of Sydney with October the wettest month. An average summer's day (December, January & February) has temperatures around 26-30C (79-86F). Heat waves are common during the summer and daytime temperatures can often exceed 40C (104F) with hot northerly winds. Thunderstorms are also common in summer after a hot day. Summer temperatures at night remain mildly comfortable with an average low about 16C (61F). Winter (June, July & August) is usually cool - with a mix of clear, sunny weather and cold & damp conditions. Temperatures in winter can range from 2C (36F) at night to 19C (66F) during the day.

Melbourne Attractions

Melbourne Cup Racing Carnival is the biggest horse race in Australia held every year on the first Tuesday of November attracting the best race horses, jockies and trainers from all over the world. The racing starts on the Saturday and continues all weekend to the Tuesday (a public holiday in Melbourne). Melbourne Cup carnival attracts many international celebrities and the whole nation stops to watch the race.

Colonial Tramcar Restaurant is one of Melbourne's star attractions, offering a sightseeing tour with a difference and two essential Melbourne experiences - taking a tram ride and enjoying a great meal. The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant is guaranteed to be a highlight of your visit to Melbourne. You'll be welcomed aboard your 1948 Melbourne tram restaurant by a smiling maitre d' and be served by a friendly, professional team of silver-service waiters. Choose from a four-course lunch, an early three-course dinner or a more leisurely five-course dinner later in the evening. You'll glide through the city streets and on to South Melbourne, St Kilda, Prahran and Malvern aboard the Melbourne Colonial Tramcar Restaurant, your privacy assured with one-way windows. Melbourne's tramcar restaurant-on-wheels is painted a distinctive glossy burgundy and is especially fitted out in velvet and brass like the luxurious Pullman-style European trains of the past.

Hot Air Balloon Flight over Melbourne is great way to admire the city skyline at early dawn as you fly for approximately one hour and then toast your good fortune with an optional champagne breakfast. You will be transported to the launch site where you may help with the launch, or stand back and take pictures. In the early morning light you will drift by the array of parks and gardens and as the city comes to life you'll look down on some of the city's iconic venues including the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Melbourne Park and Albert Park racetrack. Your flight will last for approximately one hour. Depending on the winds you may fly over the CBD, which is laid out in a large rectangular grid like pattern on the northern banks of the Yarra River. Or you may head over the inner suburbs, parks and gardens to discover why Victoria is called the Garden State. After the final landing and packing the balloon away, head back to your hotel so you can enjoy the rest of the day.

Dinner Cruise on the Yarra River is a romantic adventure not to be missed. Watch the city light up on this three-hour Melbourne dinner cruise and enjoy Melbourne's famous fine dining in the comfort of a cruising restaurant. Your six-course, multicultural dinner is prepared onboard the Spirit of Melbourne by expert chefs, and matched with premium Australian wines. The changing vistas and colored lights will make this a memorable evening with a difference as you travel along the Yarra River on your Melbourne dinner cruise.

Wildlife Experience on a day trip to Phillip Island. You'll see penguins, koalas, wallabies, kangaroos and seals on this popular full day tour from Melbourne. The Phillip Island excursion includes a visit to Warrook Cattle Farm, the Koala Conservation Centre and the famous Penguin Parade. The penguins provide a wonderful spectacle as they break free of the surf and waddle home across the sand at dusk at Phillip Island. From the walkway, see Australia's largest population of fur seals living along the rugged southern coastline. Browse through the educational Phillip Island Visitors Information Centre and visit the popular seaside town of Cowes - the main town on Phillip Island and a holiday retreat for fishermen and beach lovers.

Great Ocean Road Tour gives visitors the experience of one of the world's great coastal drives. There'll be plenty of photo opportunities along the way on your full-day Great Ocean Road tour from Melbourne. You'll view wild coastal scenery and pristine beaches bordering the winding Great Ocean Road, peaceful beach townships, majestic rainforest and the rugged Shipwreck Coast. On the coast, drive pass world-famous Bells Beach, host of the World Surfing Championships, and drop into the seaside holiday resort of Lorne. Your tour of the Great Ocean Road passes under towering limestone cliffs and along sweeping beaches all the way to the Twelve Apostles rising abruptly from the sea. Here you'll have the option of taking a helicopter flight over the dramatic Shipwreck Coast. There are more photo opportunities here from the various coastal viewing platforms and your expert tour guide will share the tragic legends of the Shipwreck Coast.

Cruise the Yarra River and admire Melbourne's spectacular skyline on a one or two hour narrated city cruise. The cruise includes both the down and up river routes, encompassing the scenic river gardens and Herring island with the contrasting port and former-industrial Docklands area giving you an extensive appreciation of the entire Melbourne region. You'll get a new perspective on Melbourne from your Yarra River cruise. Accompanied by informative commentary that brings the past alive with historical details about Melbourne's original settlement by the port. There are plenty of opportunities to photograph Melbourne's skyline and port from the water. Cruises depart from the dock at Federation Square.

Rialto Tower Observation Deck gives visitors spectacular 360-degree views of Melbourne stretching from the heart of Melbourne all the way to Port Phillip Bay and the Dandenong Ranges from atop the city's renowned Rialto towers. A visit to the Rialto Observation Deck is one of Melbourne's must-do experiences. All visits include the award-winning free 20-minute film "Melbourne the living city" in the Rialto Vision theatre. Visitors can also enjoy the facilities of the licensed cafe and bar, souvenir shops and helpful information centre. [525 Collins Street, Melbourne, open 10am to 10pm]

Nightlife and Entertainment

Crown Casino at Southbank, across the river from the city, is a large casino and hotel complex with many restaurants, bars, nightclubs and shops. Crowns 26 restaurants and food court outlets offer an incredible variety of world class cuisine with views across to the city skyline. And as with most casinos the restaurants are very good value.

King Street in Melbourne city is the nightclub and strip club centre.

Melbourne Dining

There is an abundance of affordable, high quality restaurants representing almost every cuisine in the world - Chinese, Greek, Indian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Jewish/Kosher, Korean, Malaysian, Middle Eastern, Thai, Vegetarian, Vietnamese etc. Most hotels have restaurants and cafes providing buffet breakfast, lunch and dinner at affordable prices. Most shopping centers have a food court offering value-for-money meals. Caf chains like Starbucks and Gloria Jeans are everywhere as are western fast-food chains such as McDonalds and KFC.

Melbourne Shopping

Melbourne is considered the fashion capital of Australia and is home to some of the world's top designers and fashion houses.

In the CBD, Collins Street & Little Collins Street host numerous malls, boutiques and up-market stores such as Louis Vuitton. Bourke Street Mall is the citys central shopping hub with the department stores Myer and David Jones. Melbourne Central is a shopping mall adjacent to the Melbourne central station. For bargain shoppers, there is a DFO (Discount Fashion Outlet) Mall located on Spencer Street, just north of Southern Cross Railway station.

Richmond's Bridge Road is a strip where warehouse direct outlets offer great value shopping and no one pays the recommended retail price. Chapel Street in South Yarra is a favourite among the locals, with its spread of exclusive boutiques, cafes and well established chain stores. If looking for a large suburban shopping complex try Chadstone which has over 450 stores.