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Melbourne, Australia

A cosmopolitan city that still retains its old world charms.   

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Melbourne is very much different from Sydney; the city centre is smaller and there is a nostalgic feeling of old world and tranquillity that is not usually found in a cosmopolitan city.

Melbourne is the capital of the State of Victoria and is the second biggest city in Australia. The city sits on the Yarra River, which extend along the Yarra, a popular wine producing region and around the shores of Port Phillip Bay. Melbourne is famous of experiencing 4 seasons in a day at times but the weather is generally pleasant with frequent light showers and sunshine.

As you walk along the street of Melbourne, there is a feeling of the old world in a modern city. The historical buildings and monuments in Melbourne revealed the city’s colonial past. Carlton, a suburb north from the city centre houses Australia's only World Heritage listed building, the Royal Exhibition Building. Built in 1880, it was the site for Australia's first Federal Parliament in 1901. The exhibition building has since host major events like the Melbourne Centennial Exhibition, which was held to promote the centenary of European settlement in Australia. The exhibition runs for 6 months and attracted more than 2 million visitors.

The Victorian Parliament Building is also one of Melbourne’s well known landmarks. The colonnade and portico facade on the west side of the building portray an aura of strength. The construction of the Parliament Building started in 1855 and it took 40 years to its full completion today.

Flinders Street Station which is located next to the Yarra River is the best known railway station in Australia. Built in 1910, the giant dome and clock tower was the winning design of railway employees, J.W. Fawcett and H.P.C Ashworth. The station was refurbished in 1984 and is listed in the Victorian Heritage Registrar. Standing from across the Yarra River is an excellent opportunity to take a photo of this grand building.

Other historical building in Melbourne includes the Windsor Hotel with its traditional Victorian elegance and grandeur, was built in 1883; St. Pauls Cathedral, a gothic inspired architecture built in the 19th century and the Old Melbourne Gaol, an iconic site where 135 people, including infamous bushranger Ned Kelly, were hanged. Build in the 1800s, the prison was also a focus during some of Australia’s most significant historical moments, including the Gold Rush and World War II.

Melbourne is also a great place for shopping. There are many shopping precinct and my personal choices are the Queen Victoria Market and Bridge Road in Richmond.

Queen Victoria Market is an open air market offering fresh produce, Australian handmade art and crafts, clothes and jewellery. The market has been operating on the same site since 1878. The stalls in the market is cleverly and clearly layout. It is divided into the Deli Hall, Elizabeth Street Shops; F shed laneway, Vic Market Place Food Court, Fruit and Vegetables, The Meat Hall, Organics, General Merchandise, Victoria Street Shops and the Wine Market. The market is open every day except Mondays and Wednesday.

Bridge Road in Richmond is a street of bargain outlets. You can find designer brands like Country Road, Timberland and Versace to lesser known local designers in Bridge Road. For the ladies, you will be mesmerised by the number of fashion outlets and for the men, there are also a good choice of men’s wear, book shop and cafes to relax.

A visit to Melbourne would not be complete without a trip to the Great Ocean Road. You can either make a day trip by hiring a car or follow one of the local tours. We hired a car and started our one day journey to the south west coast of Victoria. It was a lovely and exhilarating experience driving right next to rocky coastline and watch the waves crashing continuously on the rock. As we stop to admire the spectacular coastal view, the strong wind almost swept us off our feet. The Great Ocean Road is a stretch of coastal road that links several seaside resort towns such as Lorne and Apollo Bay. These towns provide a great opportunity to stopover for coffee or stay for a few days to enjoy the stunning beach and engage in water sports. The other attractions along the Great Ocean Road includes the Twelve Apostles, a series of striking rock stacks that rise out of the Southern Ocean along Port Campbell and historical towns such as Port Fairy and Portland where you will learn more about seafaring village life, admire beautifully preserved colonial buildings and read about shipwreck stories in maritime museums.

It is very easy to get around Melbourne. The Flinder Street Station is the major train hub in Melbourne and a great way to explore the surrounding towns in Victoria. When exploring the city and inner suburbs, you can choose to take the free City Circle tram, take the public bus or flag for one of the numerous yellow taxis.

Melbourne does lived up to its name as the cultural city of Australia. There are so many things to do and see here. We were spoilt for choice when it comes to food as there is a wide selection of European, Asian, Australian and Japanese food available.

 

 

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