Melbourne Australia's second largest city

on Wednesday, May 26, 2010

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Melbourne - the capital of Victoria and Australia's second largest city - is a modern, cosmopolitan city with a host of entertainment, sports, and culinary, cultural and shopping options to be enjoyed. The streets, parks, distinctive cultural precincts and waterfront area of Melbourne make it a magnificent city to explore at leisure.
The city has an amazing range of attractions and activities to keep you entertained all year round.
Enjoy a cruise along the Yarra River, re-live some great sporting memories on a tour of the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) or see some spectacular 360-degree views from the Melbourne Observation Deck.
Explore the animal kingdom at the Melbourne Zoo or dive with the sharks at the Melbourne Aquarium. Join in some interactive footy action at the AFL ( Australian Football League) Hall of Fame & Sensation or enjoy the international art on offer at NGV International and Australian art at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia.
To find out how Melbourne became the city it is today, spend a day or two at one of the many local museums. The Melbourne Museum houses the state collection in an imposing modern building. The Immigration Museum and Maritime Museum- home of the Polly Woodside, highlight key events in the growth of Melbourne, while the Gold Treasury Museum shows how Melbourne became a city built on gold.
Other histories include the stomach-turning tales of the Old Melbourne Gaol, Ned Kelly's armour at the State Library of Victoria and Cooks' Cottage the parental home of Captain James Cook. Kids will love the hands on workshops and new playground at ArtPlay, and the Champions Australian Racing Museum & Hall of Fame at Federation Square.
Melbourne attractions include:

Federation Square - Fast becoming the cultural icon of Melbourne with its 'Fractal Façade' system on each building in the square. The façade is made up of triangles made of sandstone, zinc and glass pieced together at different orientations and surface angles. See it from the inside at The Atrium and the BMW Edge Theatre indoor amphitheatre. The Square is home to restaurants, cafes, bars and retail outlets as well as venues including the Melbourne Visitor Centre, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, the Australian Racing Museum and the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia - dedicated exclusively to Australian art.
Queen Victoria Market - a Melbourne institution since the late 1860s, you can shop for gourmet food, clothing, toys, souvenirs and more. Closed Monday and Wednesday.
Melbourne Cricket Ground - Melbourne's home of cricket and Australian Rules football, and the heart of the 1956 Olympic Games and the 2006 Commonwealth Games. There are tours and the ground houses the Australian Gallery of Sport, Olympic Museum and the Cricket Hall of Fame.
Southbank - a bustling entertainment complex situated on the south side of the Yarra River, housing Crown Casino, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, cinemas, sculpture, artworks and more. There is an open air Arts & Crafts market on Sundays.
Melbourne Aquarium - a state-of-the-art aquarium located by the Yarra River, featuring sharks, stingrays and coral.
St Patrick's Cathedral - with soaring interiors and stained glass windows.
Melbourne Tram Car Dinner - A unique way to see the city of Melbourne whilst enjoying the fine Australian Cuisine.
Old Melbourne Gaol and Penal Museum - amongst the museum's chilling exhibits are the gallows from which Ned Kelly was hung. If you're brave, take a night-time tour of the jail.
Docklands - New Quay - a short walk or tram ride from the CBD, you'll find restaurants, cafes, bars and riverside walkways decorated with public artworks.
The Shrine of Remembrance - in the parklands of Kings Domain, off St Kilda Road, a fine European-style boulevard.
St Kilda - beachside suburb with restaurants, cafes, bars and famous Luna Park.
Scienceworks - a hands-on, innovative science museum in Spotswood also includes Melbourne Planetarium. Exhibits include Australia's first plane and car.
Melbourne Museum - innovative collection housed in a stunning modernist building.
Lygon Street, Carlton - known as "Little Italy", a popular restaurant, cafe and bar strip.
Brunswick Street, Fitzroy - a street with a bohemian heart, with cafes, restaurants, clubs and fashion shopping.
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 You can't help but fall in love with this southern city that boasts a vibrant cultural scene, a sports crazy population, and culinary indulgences aplenty. While not getting as much international tourism or media attention as its northern neighbor Sydney, Melbourne's sublime appeal lies in its laid-back attitude, its distinctive cosmopolitan flavor, and a rich calendar of events from Formula 1 to comedy festivals. The center of the city is a great starting point with Victorian architectural gems; myriad hidden lane ways; and hole-in-the-wall shops, bars and restaurants. Venture bayside to St. Kilda for a roller-blade along the beach, a slice of cake on Acland Street, and some serious people-watching, or head to funky Fitzroy for more fine food, art galleries, and nightlife. Make sure to drag yourself away from the city itself and explore the coastline along the rugged Great Ocean Road, one of the world's best road trips.