It would perhaps be fair to say that when most overseas travellers think of tourism in Australia, they are immediately drawn to Sydney and the wonders that can be found there.
But as is often the case in countries around the world, looking away from the main tourist traps can yield fantastic trips packed with unexpected surprises and Insta-worthy snaps.
Melbourne is one such example of that concept. Although the second-largest city in Australia behind Sydney, it remains a road less travelled with the average holiday-maker – despite the fun that there’s to be had in the capital of Victoria.
So here’s an ode to Melbourne: a city you should definitely visit on your travels Down Under.
It’s no secret that Australia loves its sport.
And for those who live or travel to Melbourne, the city is something of a shrine to sporting brilliance in the country.
Every January sees the Australian Open, just one of four tennis Grand Slam events each year, return to Melbourne Park, a mammoth venue in the heart of the city’s Sports and Entertainment Precinct.
The likes of Novak Djokovic (+110) and Daniil Medvedev (+650) lead the way in the betting odds for the men’s singles in 2024, while some sports tips may just have a surprise up their sleeve with a prediction of a Rafa Nadal victory – he’s making his long-awaited return to action at the January event.
If tennis isn’t your thing, there’s still plenty of other sporting options in the city. The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) truly is a sight to behold with a capacity of up to 100,000 people – the Boxing Day test match is a tradition for many Aussies across the country.
Elsewhere, there’s football, netball, basketball, golf and pretty much every sport under the sun, while for a truly authentic Australian experience why not take in an Aussie Rules football game at its spiritual home – Melbourne was the location for the first ever contest way back in 1859.
Head to Fed Square
Even the biggest cities on the planet, which sprawl over a mammoth square meterage, have their epicentre – the hub where so many great things can be found.
Melbourne’s is Federation Square, where no matter what time of the year you visit there is plenty to see and do.
There’s festivals of food and dancing, pop-up art exhibitions, stage shows, live music, interactive experiences and much more. Turn up, tune in and enjoy!
From New York to Barcelona, some of the most amazing travel experiences can be found in the hidden lanes, pathways and hideaways that are free of heavy footfall.
Melbourne is no different with its ‘laneways’ – a network of side streets that play host to boutique shops, irresistible eateries and tastefully artistic graffiti murals.
The city is famous for its coffee – you’ll find plenty of stop-offs for your favorite blend down the laneways, while shoppers seeking something unique (for a loved one… or themselves) will find exclusive clothing, accessory and footwear designs and jewellery pieces too.
Melbourne’s laneways are truly a hidden gem… although they’re fast-becoming a too-well-kept secret.
Something for Everyone
One of the amazing things about Melbourne is that you will find yourself in the heart of a bustling urban metropolis… and yet nature and tranquillity is less than an hour away.
You can scan your surroundings via two knee-trembling vantage points. The Melbourne Skydeck is the highest viewing station anywhere in the southern hemisphere – nearly 300 metres high, to be exact. And if that’s not enough jeopardy, The Edge is a glass cube dangling next to the Skydeck that provides incredible views across the city… if you dare to open your eyes.
Have a fantastic Saturday night Melbourne!!! 😍😍😍
📸: ditichintanmehta (Via IG) pic.twitter.com/D0qYAvZPdH
— Melbourne Skydeck (@MelbSkydeck) March 14, 2020
You can see all of the city’s parks and green spaces from up there, including the Royal Botanical Gardens and Melbourne Zoo.
So, if you are planning an Oceanic getaway, make sure Melbourne is somewhere near the top of your must-see destinations.