You must never let the visual part fool you in Melbourne – a boring door can hide culinary secrets in form of top class restaurants, a rusty spiral staircase might lead you to a hip rooftop bar and a seemingly dead laneway is likely to offer the most trendy cafes, boutiques and galleries!
Melbourne, the capitol of the state Victoria, is without a doubt a true Mecca for travelers interested in culture, wine, dining and music with it's many annual festivals of any kind held throughout the year. Some of the biggest ones include Big Day Out (January), Moomba Waterfestival (March), Melbourne International Food & Wine Festival (March), Melbourne International Film Festival (July-Augu st) and Melbourne Cup Carnival (November). In addition to this, the city of Melbourne also hosts huge international sporting events like Australian Open (tennis, January), Grand Prix (formula 1, March), AFL Grand Final (Australian football, September) and Melbourne Cup (horse races, November). Find more information about these events.
Melbourne is classified as Australias top city for going out, whether it is for a freshly brewed latte with a cheddar bagel or an 8-course worldclass dinner accompagnied by local wines. The city offers an endless range of cafees, restaurants and small eatieries hidden in every laneway as well as the larger areas. Ok we know, a lot of cities can say the same – but you'll definetely get stunned by the high quality you get everywhere regardless of it being the local coffe shop around the corner or a modern cuisine restaurant, not to mention fall in love with Melbourne as you discover the so-called "melburnians" extreme passion for their own city and its exciting contents!
Trendy bars and nightclubs are to be found all over Melbourne, where you can either shake it until early morning or grab a few pints while passionly discussing Aussie sports with locals (a good way to make friends, but make sure you know what you're talking about!)
As mentioned above, Melbourne's laneways are the city's hidden treasures – check out, among others, the charming Hardware Lane (between Bourke and Little Bourke St) where outdoor restaurants are lined up offering al fresco dining while you listen to jazz music from live bands in the streets, or Bank PI (between Collins and Little Collins St) where you'll probably think you just rounded the corner to Europe with it's antique buildings and bluestone street.
The suburbs of Melbourne have all got their own, unique charm – one so different to the other that you might find it hard to believe you're still in the same city. St Kilda (15 min by tram from the city center) is a definite favorite among backpackers with it's sandy, golden beach, palm trees, trendy bars, well known hostels, a laid back atmosphere and awesome happenings all year round. Port Melbourne (5-10 min by tram from the city center) is funky, modern, hip and posh! You'll se lambourghinies rolling down the street next to polished porsches. Popular Chapel Street in Richmond (5-10 min by tram from the city center) let you stroll between international fashion boutiques and colorful bazaars, followed by a sip of a perfectly finished cappuccino at a street cafe while you look for celebrities. An alphabetic overview over the different suburbs and what they offer can be found at www.onlymelbourne.com.au/suburbs.php
When you've had enough of the big city-life it's good to know Victoria's outdoor gems starts just outside the city border. Great Ocean Road takes you along the beautiful coast southwest of Melbourne, past limestone cliffs and through small villages and is perfect if you've got a rental car. On the other side of Port Philip Bay is Mornington Peninsula offering picturesque vineyards, golden beaches and the popular Philip Island.
Grab your compulsory flip-flops and go explore Melbourne before it's too late...!
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