Melbourne is set around the shores of Port Phillip Bay. The city itself, laid out in a large rectangle and boasting a lively and cosmopolitan pulse, sits on the northern banks of the Yarra River, about five kilometres from the bay.
One glance at a map and it’s obvious that Melbourne is a planned city: a tidy, balanced grid of neatly angled streets. But beneath this sense of everything in its place restraint lies a restless creative energy constantly pushing back at the city’s seeming conservatism.
The CBD is made up of precincts – distinct enclaves each with its own flavour and charm. Some are just a lane or two, while others cover the banks of the Yarra River or a busy CBD street.
Extending around the bay are a number of inner suburbs, each with its own distinct character and personality. A short tram ride from the city centre, Melbourne’s suburban neighbourhoods are a must see for anyone wanting to experience what life here is really all about.
Melbourne is a city with something for everyone. From chic fashion stores to buzzing laneway cafés and trendy bars, botanic gardens to sports stadiums, elegant Victorian-era streetscapes to Manhattan-style skyscrapers, film and food festivals to galleries and opulent theatres, Melbourne has an activity and attraction that will interest you.
Dining & Eating Out
Melbourne’s melting pot of cultures is reflected in its microcosmos of restaurants, cafes, bistros and bars. Fashionable, eclectic and eccentric – Melbourne’s dining spots offer a dizzying spread of the world’s great cuisines, serving meals from the substantial and classic to the truly exotic.
In the city, you can enjoy afternoon tea in the genteel surroundings of a nineteenth-century hotel, watch and be watched in buzzing laneway cafés and bars, or handpick a bottle of Yarra Valley chardonnay at the latest über-chic hangout. Head out a little further and explore one of Melbourne’s specialist eating destinations – Richmond for cheap and cheerful Vietnamese dishes, Carlton for Italian classics, Fitzroy for tantalising Spanish tapas.
Art and culture in Melbourne
Scratch the surface in Melbourne and you’ll discover a city buzzing with dynamic and cutting-edge arts and cultural companies. Home to world-class arts and cultural heritage institutions, Melbourne also fosters edgy design and internationally recognised visual artists and performing arts companies.
Head to the Southbank precinct for the home of Melbourne art and culture – the Victorian Arts Centre and the National Gallery of Victoria’s international collection. Federation Square fuses art with architecture while city laneways and precincts showcase the innovation and skill of local artists and designers while any number of theatres, museums and events will introduce you to a new Melbourne.