"Wherever I Lay My Hat - That's My Home" Top 5 Page for this destination Melbourne by leffe3

Melbourne Travel Guide: 3,382 reviews and 7,618 photos

3+ million people, the 2nd biggest city in Australia and the capital of Victoria. As with virtually any 1st and 2nd sized cities, there is a rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney (this rivalry led to the creation of the federal capital in Canberra as both campaigned hard and long for the priviledged position).

A general view is that Melbourne is more European, Sydney more American. Melbourne has a laid-back aspect to it, Sydney the more in-your-face, slightly brash, party city. Sydney has its location - the harbour and beaches are spectacular. But if its architecture you want and more atmosphere, Melbourne is your place. And while Sydney is a friendly place, Melbourne positively welcomes you.

There are few major 'must sees' in the city – no iconic buildings, palm-fringed beaches or red-dust settings. The city is at its best when you kick back, take time out for a coffee and watch the people go by or soak up the atmosphere by exploring the hidden alleyways of the city centre. It's also the perfect base to explore other parts of Victoria – namely the Great Ocean Road, the vineyards of the Yarra Valley and, slightly further afield, the Grampians and Gold Fields of central Victoria.

Strangely, Melbourne itself, although built on the River Yarra and on Port Phillip Bay, is not an immediately obvious water city! The centre of the city is a couple of miles inland from the mouth of a rather muddy-coloured, not very wide River Yarra. No grand vistas of the rive on offer, and strangely, only until about a decade ago did the centre cross the banks of the Yarra. Up until then it was almost as if the river formed a boundary not ot be crossed - hence the railway lines run along the banks, separating the rest of the city from the waterside (this is changing now, with the controversial Federation Square built over the tracks, South Bank and Crown developments providing restaurants, hotels, apartments, cinemas etc as well as the famed casino on the 'other side' of the river).

The proud boast of Melbourne is that it is the cultural, culinary, sporting, fashion and shopping capital of Australia and has recent;y been voted as the most desirable place in the world to live (an 'honour' that it frequently shares with Vancouver in alternate years!).

What other city can boast an annual Formula 1 Grand Prix, Tennis Grand Slam, International Arts, Jazz, Fashion, Film, Comedy, Fringe, Food, Blues Festivals and any number of other events covering all the art forms as well as major one-off events such as the 2006 Commonwealth Games and 2007 World Swimming Championships (2007).

Melbourne is twinned with Osaka (Japan - the eldest sibling :)), Tianjin (PR China), Thessaloniki (Greece), Boston (US), St Petersburg (Russia), Milan (Italy) and the youngest - Galle (Sri Lanka) - adopted by Melbourne as a result of the tsunami in 2004.

Postally, 'Melbourne' is restricted to the CBD. Many of the addresses outside the centre do not 'feature' the word Melbourne. I live in Northcote, Victoria - even though I am 6 kms from the centre of the city and officially part of Melbourne.

VT has understandably followed this categorisation. But as the names of the suburbs will mean little, my Melbourne page will feature the areas made up of the city. As far as I see it, Melbourne Museum on a separate Carlton page will be of little help.

  • Intro Updated Feb 12, 2012
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