The sporting capital of Australia
There is never a lack of sporting events happening in Melbourne.
But dig a little deeper and the “2013 World’s Most Liveable City” will open its doors to an array of entertainment, activities and nightlife for everyone to enjoy.
Like Circular Quay in Sydney, a great place to begin your explorations around the city of Melbourne is Flinders Street, the cities’ central train station.
From there, getting around the city is simple with the extensive tram networks to take you to all parts.
But first, we will start with the “City Circle Tram”, coated in a vibrant red it is hard to miss amongst the green trams that roam with it.
More than just a way to travel about Melbourne for free, it is a fantastic way to learn about the cities’ history.
The tram’s route runs around the CBD. It passes such attractions as the Princess Theatre, the Melbourne Aquarium and Parliament House, with the tram giving an informed commentary as it travels past.
A short tram ride from Flinders Street will take you to the famed Lygon Street, the fine-food mecca of Melbourne.
Far from being a budget breaker though, there is fantastic Italian food due to the large Italian population in the suburb of Carlton, where Lygon Street resides.
The street provides some of Melbourne’s best pizza that will have you coming back for more.
Speaking of Carlton while you’re in the area filling up that empty travellers’ belly, check out some of the towns best pubs such as the Queensbury Hotel.
A quintessential Aussie pub, providing excellent local beer and yes, of course, a ‘bloody load’ of sport, especially in the winter months.
Also, Pugs Mahone, which is an Irish pub that is well worth checking out particularly as St. Pats day rolls around.
Another easy tram ride will take you to one of Melbourne’s best free attractions, Queen Victoria Market.
Open most days of the week and all year round the ‘Vic Market’ offers a great days fun roaming the stores for great souvenirs and clothing, and if you’re looking to get your name on a number plate, this is the place to go.
Not only is it great for some harmless splurging, if you’re in dire need of filling that backpacker pantry, this market also has some of the best fresh produce and at low prices.
Another great Melbourne market is the South Melbourne Market open from Friday through to Sunday.
Back in the CBD, you’ll find yourself surrounded by many fun activities to fill in your day, oh and did I say great bars?
But back to the main point, Melbourne Central is a sweet and easy walk from Flinders Street during which you will pass some of Melbourne’s best shopping (also check out Chapel Street for more fashion haunts), cheap food outlets and Melbourne’s famed laneways.
A trip to Melbourne or even a longer stay would not be complete without a stroll, a croissant or an ‘eggs benny’ down Degraves Street.
It is a great hangover cure or even just a nice romantic meal if you’re looking to impress without blowing a hole in your pocket.
Just like its weather, Melbourne is unpredictable, but every day there will be something that turns itself into a great story.
Once you’re in Melbourne Central, everywhere you look you will see an array of clothing shops, four levels of them to make sure you’ve got all the choice you need (at least that is what they say) cinemas, food outlets, a bowling alley with a bar and a fitness centre.
As it is situated right next to RMIT and a short walk from Melbourne University, it is often full of students and youths, which can provide a great atmosphere but also some annoyance.
If it is not your scene, you can always sneak upstairs to one of the best bars in Melbourne, Asian Beer Café.
As you can tell by the name, it is full of Asian beers, mostly from the South-East but provides all your basics too.
It is perfect after a long day walking through the city and in summer, sitting out on the deck is a treat.
As the day rolls down, it is time to check out the Yarra River.
Often maligned for its ugly brown colour but as the sun rolls down and lights come on, it is perfect for a stroll as you pass the Royal Botanic Garden, the rowing sheds and large patches of green grass ideal for a rest.
A continued stroll following the flow of the river towards Docklands will see you pass Riverland; a sweet riverside bar dug into the wall. In football season they offer great pots and sausages for you to eat and drink and watch the river ferries pass.
On the southern side of the Yarra are some of Melbourne’s best restaurants, though some will burn a big hole in your wallet there are a few spots to eat at right on the river that won’t take your beer money away.
Also on this side of the Yarra River situates Crown Casino and Ponyfish Island a bar literally in the middle of the river.
Ok so it is finally night time, and depending on your style there are two things to do, pub crawl or go a little wild on the dance floor…or maybe both.
Pub Crawl? Richmond is calling.
Home to many of Melbourne’s best pubs it will be a while before you complete this crawl.
The Post Office or the Corner Hotel are great places to start. If you’re heroic and complete the trail, head off to South Yarra for even more fantastic pub and bar options.
So you like to dance? The centre of the city has many options, all of which vary in taste.
But to get the best you have to head a little bit out of town towards St Kilda.
From the Prince of Wales to the Greyhound, of which the latter is a staple on the gay scene, you will have all you can handle in St Kilda.
Taxis are everywhere and finding your way home no matter what hour of the morning won’t be hard.
Beaches in Melbourne aren’t great though on a hot day they provide for some decent sand time, but a two hours drive will get you to Sorrento, which is excellent for a weekend away.
Also, a similar drive will get to you the Great Ocean Road and some of Australia’s best beaches, including Bells Beach.
Melbourne is full of fun, fashion, food and great nightlife.
Not to mention the great parks, walks and treks that happen just out of town in the Alpine National Park.
Constant events are happening around town including the Spring Racing Carnival in November, The Grand Prix in March and the multitude of live acts that come year-round.