Melbourne is the place to be

Melbourne may be the world’s most liveable city, but it is also a great city to visit. Renowned for both its sports and culture, Melbourne offers all this and so much more. Whether you visit for a weekend or a week, whatever your pleasure, Melbourne can deliver.

With its incredible array of cultures, whatever your taste or persuasion you will be spoilt for choice when dining out at one of Melbourne’s many restaurants, cafes, bistros and bars. From some of the best Italian in Carlton to delicious pho in Footscray or stay right in town where you can find an eatery to suit your budget. Choose from a budget meal in Chinatown through to fine-dining at one of the top class restaurants along the Southbank precinct.

While at Southbank you can indulge your cultured side with a vist to The Arts Centre or National Gallery of Victoria, while just across the way at Federation Square art meets architecture. There is always a live show to enjoy in Melbourne whether you are keen to see a stage show such as King Kong at the Regent Theatre, or perhaps live comedy or a band at one of the many bars around town.

Of course, if culture leaves you cold and sport is more likely to get your motor running, Melbourne has sporting events in spades. There is the excitement of the Spring Racing Carnival and the Melbourne Cup, the Grand Prix at Albert Park Lake, the Australian Open Tennis at the Rod Laver Arena, or attending an AFL or cricket game at the MCG, just to name a few events.

The best things in life are often free. Four things to do in Melbourne for free are:
Victoria Market – this architectural dream is located at the top of Elizabeth Street. The food halls offer a ‘trip around the world’ as you sample delicacies from all corners of the globe and speak to the people who produce or import this food. Take your time – at least three hours – and enjoy a coffee and German bratwurst for lunch.

The City Circle Tram – this free tram service provides a convenient and free way to get around Melbourne’s CBD. Tourists can spend all day on The City Circle Tram, however, the best way to use it is as a ‘hop on-hop off’ service. Trams travel both clockwise and anti-clockwise every twelve minutes. Just wait at any of the marked stops to hop on.

A picnic on the Yarra River is totally free. Stroll past Federation Square along the north side of the river, then cross at the Swan Street Bridge, turn left and you will enjoy a tree-lined boulevard with barbeques and a gentle grassy slope leading down to the water. To your right are Melbourne’s historic Botanical Gardens – but you will need to allow lots of time to explore the vast acres of horticulture. Another great picnic spot is by the lake in the gardens.

St Kilda Pier – a short tram ride from the city to the bottom of Fitzroy Street delivers you to the pier. Great for a stroll, a coffee, a chat with local fishermen and then the rest of the foreshore awaits if energy levels are high.

Budget: The Melbourne Central YHA is centrally located close to Federation Square, the Yarra River and Southern Cross Station. If you don’t enjoy this style of travel then there are wonderful, inexpensive hotels in the CBD, with great deals. Try the Oaks Apartments and Choice Hotels. I particularly like the Oaks as they offer self-catering, so you can buy some provisions and dine in, avoiding expensive breakfasts and evening meals.

Affordable: The Vibe Savoy Hotel Melbourne in the CBD with its art deco character and heritage charm is a great base from which to explore Melbourne’s quirky shops, stylish boutiques, edgy bars and elegant laneways.

Splurge: Really spoil yourself by taking a suite at Crown Towers. With opulent marble features and a 24 hour butler service you can live the life of a high roller during your stay.

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