Must-sees in Marvellous Melbourne

The Southern city of Melbourne is the capital of the state of Victoria. It grew up during the gold rush of the 1850s, when it was nicknamed ‘’Marvellous Melbourne’’. On the bank of the Yarra River and near Port Phillip Bay, the watery city is an attraction for those seeking sea and sand. The Victorian architecture, tree-lined streets and excellent shopping areas makes Melbourne a city for all people in all seasons. Federation square is a great place to begin your sightseeing, and then take in these suggested sites at your leisure.

The best for shopping: Flinders, Collins and Bourke Streets The maze of alleys and arcades around Flinders, Collins and Bourke Streets is the best place for leisurely shopping. Elegant, interesting and quirky, the Block Arcade has a mosaic floor and unique shops.

The Royal Arcade is the oldest, and Flinders and Degraves Lanes are excellent to explore. It is possible to get a guided walking tour of these lanes and alleyways, to soak up their fascinating history.

The best for history: Captain Cook’s Cottage The Fitzroy Gardens are a beautiful place to stroll and take in the magnificent flowers at the Spanish-mission conservatory. But the jewel in the crown of the park is the quaint cottage of Captain Cook, brought here to Melbourne from Yorkshire, England.

This small museum takes a fascinating look at the man who sailed the seas and explored Australia, and other parts of the world. His home is open for anyone who wants to get a glimpse of what this fascinating character may have been like.

The best for sports: Melbourne Cricket Ground This stadium is considered to be one of the greatest in the world, with its rich history dating back to 1853. The main arena for the 1956 Olympics, 2006 Commonwealth Games, birthplace of Test Cricket and home of Australian Rules Football; this 100,000 seater stadium has seen much excitement during its lifetime.

Visitors can take a 75 minute tour of the grounds including the Australian Gallery of Sport and Olympic Museum. Cricket games are played in summer and football in winter. Opposite is Melbourne Park, home of the tennis tournament the Australian Open, held in January.

The best gallery: National Gallery of Victoria There are two buildings to the National Gallery of Victoria, the oldest art gallery in Australia. International art can be seen in St. Kilda Road, opened in 1968. In the Great Hall, visitors are encouraged to lie on the floor to see the colourful stained glass ceiling.

Australian art is held in the Ian Potter Gallery in Federation Square. Works include Aboriginal creations, Heidelberg School artwork, and contemporary art. One highlight is The Pioneer by Frederick McCubbin.

The best beach: St. Kilda The most famous beach of Melbourne is St. Kilda, around 6km from the city centre. The bustling pier, great restaurants and cafes, Luna Park attraction and beautiful sands attract a multitude of visitors. St. Kilda is a trendy suburb attracting many young people, and the nightlife is buzzing here. The beach itself is busy all year, as it is a great and safe place for swimming and sunbathing.

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