When a contest hosted by Australian tourism asked, “What’s your reason for falling in love with Melbourne, the most liveable city in the world?” I said this is the right time to publically declare my love for Australia. This is the time to give a loud shout and tell the world how passionate I am about Australia.
For me, whenever the name Australia pops up there are two other names that instinctively come up – Melbourne and Sydney.
In this blog we are going to explore Melbourne end to end.
Melbourne World’s Most Liveable City
Melbourne, the second largest city of Australia, is cosmopolitan and elegant. It is a dream city which you would never want to leave. I don’t want to see Melbourne like a tourist who is on a speedy visit to the famous sightseeing spots mentioned in a pre-decided itinerary. I would rather prefer to stay in Melbourne for a longer period and whiff in the Aussie essence, take my time to visit every spot, every restaurant and every tiny corner of the city for Melbourne has so much to offer that the city demands your valuable time. I am ready to give Melbourne its due time so I did my research and found out about every possible place to see and experiences to enjoy.
Before you start reading further I want to warn you that this is a longish post for I need to justify my passion for Melbourne. However, there is something for my reader too – Tell me which of these places would you want to visit in Melbourne and why? The best comment stands a chance to win a shopping voucher worth Rs 500
Not a bad deal, right? So Read, Enjoy and Comment.
1. Historic Melbourne City Centre
Melbourne City Centre is a historical place. It is the birth place of cosmopolitan and the huge Melbourne city that we see today. Way back in the year 1835, the founders of the now Melbourne city John Batman and John Fawkner marked the boundary and declared it as an independent city. Since then the city has been gradually growing and developing to become the enchanting city that it is now.
Melbourne City Centre is a huge place and there are many things to see and experience here.
- Hoodle Grid and Queen Victoria Market – These are the oldest areas of the Melbourne city. If you want to experience the old times and whiff in the history then roam about its famous alleyways and arcades. It is best to experience the place on foot. This might take time but it surely will be rewarding. Enjoy the Victorian architecture. Click pictures of majestic and British structures that still speak volumes of bygone aristocracy. When you feel tired then sit in the manicured parks and gardens and interact with the locals. For me, interacting with the locals is the high point and must do of every trip.
- Tallest Buildings of Australia – Did you know that Melbourne City Centre itself is the home to six tallest building of Australia? Get ready to crane your neck to enjoy this.
Trivia: Australia has more skyscrapers per person than any other country in the world with a population greater than five million. (Sourced from Wikipedia).
Bollywood Connect: Melbourne City Centre has been featured in the song My dil goes mmmm from the movie Salaam Namaste and in the song Badal Pe Paaon Hai from the movie Chak De India! (Sourced from MakeMy Trip).
2. Stand in the Sky at Eureka Tower
Every time I think of this place I get goose bumps. I mean 297 meters high rightly advertised as the Eureka Vertigo. The best time to visit climb up to the Eureka observation deck is during evening. From the top you can see the beautiful city of Melbourne lighted up in thousands of twinkling lights. It is a breathtaking sight. To add to the surreal experience is The Edge – this is a glass cube that projects 3 meters out of the observation deck. So literally you are standing in the sky! I think my heart will either stop beating or will beat super fast when I climb into this glass cube. While in this cube apart from getting myself clicked standing here I want to take to do a spin.
This place is any photographers dream destination to click. Awesome is the only word. How did they come up with this super fantastic idea? What a way to showcase Melbourne.
3. Royal Botanic Garden
When I heard of this place I thought what’s new in this? In India, we have so many botanical gardens like the one in Kolkata and Ooty. But it was a after a bit of research and talking to friends I realized that a Melbourne trip will be incomplete without going to the Royal Botanic Garden. Do you want to know why I changed my mind?
Royal Botanic garden dates back to the year 1846 and so it is an important part of Melbourne’s history. Spread over 38 hectares of area this is a Nature lover’s paradise. There are more than 10,000 different species of plants here and is divided into various gardens like the Rose Garden, the Herb Garden, Fern Gully, etc. Each garden is so beautifully sculpted with plants, lakes, manicured garden, colour contrasted flowers that it looks like a master painting.
The interesting thing about this place is the contrast from the outer city. It is correctly know as the Melbourne’s inner-city oasis.
I want to enjoy a day long picnic at Royal Botanic Garden with my son and let him explore Nature in the most natural way. There can be no better learning than this.
4. Legendary Melbourne Cricket Ground
Australia is hosting Cricket World Cup 2015 and this ground will see some historic matches? Do I need to say anything else about this place.
99 out of 100 Indians are cricket fans and almost all of them dream of seeing atleast one cricket match sitting at the majestic Melbourne cricket Ground. My dad is a huge cricket fan and it is his dream to see a match at this historic cricket ground and it is my life’s mission to make it possible for him. Someday soon dad, I promise!
The museum at Melbourne cricket ground is a must visit for every cricket lover. You will feel like an excited teenager when you see the memorabilia and the legendary names associated with it. And what adds to my excitement is that the next cricket world cup in 2015 is hosted by Australia. Double Dhamaka!
Though I am not a big fan of museums but this is the kind of museum that I will surely enjoy.
Bollywood Connect: Did you know that Melbourne Cricket Ground has been the shooting location for the popular Hindi film Bhaag Milkha Bhaag. (Sourced from MakeMy Trip).
Check out this cool video when Tanmay & Rohan visit the members reserve of the legendary Melbourne Cricket Ground
5. Wine and the Beauty of Yarra Valley
I have always fantasized about sipping classic Australian wine sitting amidst beautiful landscape and reading a book. Ah! Every writers dream! At Yarra Valley this dream of mine can come true for it is Australia’s official wine region. Apart from bestowed with beautiful landscape Yarra Valley is home to some of the world’s finest wine. I would like to take a wine tour here. It is one of its kind experiences. You walk through the wineries, enjoy panoramic views, sip wine, and climb down the wineries to educate you about wine making and processing.
Drinking wine is an art and you should do it in a classic style. I have taken a vouch not to just drink wine off the counter unless I learn the art and that too from the masters. So Melbourne is the place where wine drinking will be initiated.
Did I talk too much about wines? Well, blame it on excessive Hollywood romcom TV watching but wine is a significant part of every romantic moment. Yarra Valley offers many hiking trails and adventure experiences too.
For real time experience see this video on Yarra Valley on a Segway by Rohan and Tanmay
6. Thrill at Melbourne Goal
I am an avid reader of thriller book. In fact my all time favourite is Papillion which is a memoir by convicted felon and fugitive Henri Charrière. I love those prison escape stories so needless to say when I heard about old Melbourne Goal, I jumped with excitement. It is a prison museum and I would opt for the night tour for it is only during night time that the crime raises his head (Ouch, high sentiments running here). On a serious note I think Aussies are super creative when it comes to tourism. I mean having night tours for Melbourne Goal is truly the best way to enjoy it. To top the thrill are the ghost stories about the place. I am all ready to take this tour.
7. Plunge Deep and Enjoy Melbourne Aquarium
Being a Bengali it is needless to emphasize how much I love fish. Melbourne Aquarium is a unique concept. It is infact a 2.2 million litre Oceanarium! You don’t see a fish outside a glass cube as in regular aquariums but you take a plunge inside, touch, feel and see the ocean world closely. It is as if you are inside the sea. It is a dream to take my son there. I am waiting to see the surprise and joy on his face seeing a world which he till now has read only in books. Trust me there is no better teacher for kids than travel.
8. Shop in Style at the Queen Victoria Market
And finally comes the turn for some shopping. Yayy! Queen Victoria market is 7 hectares of open air market and that too at an iconic place. I am going to let myself loose and shop till I drop. Did you know that this market was created in 1857 and since then it has always been a bustling market? What an experience it will be to walk in the lanes of history and shop.
The market is then divided into many segments like the Deli hall (it has art decos), meat hall, Fruit n veggies section, organic section, General merchandise, Victoria street shops, Elizabeth street shops, F shed laneway, Vic market place food court, String Bean Alley are just a few names. There are many more shops and lanes here. I think one day is not enough to see this whole place. It is truly huge.
9. Night Out at Melbourne ZooSince childhood we would wait for the winter and then our favourite uncle to come to town who would take the whole family for a picnic in zoo. We have had some best memories of our childhood planning and enjoying those zoo picnics. Even today I ensure that the whole family goes for zoo picnic atleast once in a year.
Well, for me an emotional woman zoo is much more than seeing animals. It is about the family coming together and it is about elders becoming kids again. Melbourne Zoo will definitely be a treat for my family. I would want to take my whole family there and spend a leisurely day watching animals and playing games. Melbourne Zoo has so much to offer that it amazes me. They are quite innovative with their programs for instance the live concert in might against the backdrop of extinct animals. I would surely love to attend one such event. I have never been in a zoo at night. It has always been a scary thought – zoo, animals and night a combination not to dare. When we are talking of dare I think nothing can be more adventurous than Melbourne zoo daring you to enter Lion gorge. Though when you are on an international trip with limited time in hand then zoo is one place which is usually struck off the itinerary but I think Melbourne Zoo deserves a visit.
10. Adventure and Fun at Dandenong Ranges
Mount Dandenong offers exceptional experience with its verdant forests and picturesque landscape. I would surely want to take a walking trail amidst Mount Dandenong’s beauty. There is no better way to enjoy a place than by foot. This way you can observe everything at your own pace. I vouch to take the 10000 steps when here. The 1000 steps boast the Kokoda Track Memorial Walk, a popular walking trail of this area.
My son wants to take a ride on Puffing Billy. I am sure he saw this in one of his cartoon shows and now it is on his must do lists. The Puffing Billy railway is a historic steam train that starts at Belgrave and runs through the mountainous region of the Dandenong Ranges.
Australia somehow to me appears as the quintessential romantic destination. They have a Sky High restaurant on Mount Dandenong which is scenically placed at a vantage point from where you can enjoy a perfect sunset.
Another experience on my must do list is the National Rhododendron Gardens. Well, infamously I was introduced to Rhododendrons though a childish game of repeating the names correctly and quickly 10 times, a tongue twister! Since then, I have fallen in love with this amazing and unique flower. Not to forget that Rhododendron wines hold a special place in my heart and bar.
One can never run out of activities in Mount Dandenong. There is so much to do and see that even a two day trip will look short.
11. Glitz and Glamour at Crown Casino Complex
Correctly advertised as the world of entertainment, Crown Casino is a scene right out of a James Bond movie – royal people, flirty setting and glitzy glamour. I want to dress up in high heels and a gown and walk into the casino with my handsome man by my side. Fun and feisty this is the place to let your hair down and enjoy. Come here to see how Australians enjoy their nightlife. With music, cocktails and lots of fun Crowns Casino is my must go to place.
12. Get Friendly with Native Animals at Healesville Sanctuary
Though not high on everyone’s list this one surely features on my customized Melbourne tour itinerary. What makes this place special is the fact that it is located in rural part of Melbourne and it breeds native Australian animals. There are two benefits of going to this place. Everyone keeps talking loudly about the glitz and glamour of cosmopolitan Melbourne but what I want to bring to the table is that rural Melbourne is equally beautiful and advanced.
This will surely be a different experience. Where else would you get a chance to see and learn about native Australian animals? Yes, Australia does have many other animals apart from Kangaroos like wombats, emus, dingoes, birds of prey and platypus.
13. State Library of Victoria is a Paradise for Book Lovers
Being a scholar-writer, libraries are close to my heart. It is one place that let you be you, that lets you quietly get lost yet gives a chance to find yourself. Oh! I can get philosophical when it is about libraries. One of the world’s great libraries, the State Library of Victoria is the state’s premier reference and research library and a gateway to the world’s information. So how can I miss this?
I want to sit here for hours together. Dreaming again! Well, as a tourist I can atleast whiff in the aroma of books and feel good sitting inside an important library. Founded in 1854 this place has open paths for many a renowned scholars and academia. Needless to say the library has a huge collection of book but what attracts you first is its marvellous architecture. The balconies encircling the dome shaped reading room cum exhibition hall is a magnanimous structure.
14. Freaky Luna Park
It is an amusement park which was built way back in 1912. It is interesting to know that even 100 years before the concept of an amusement park existed. I am yet to find such an old park which has been functional since then.
Luna Park in today’s avatar is freaky mad. At the entrance you are welcomed by a giant Mr Moon and you must step into his mouth to enter the park. The madness begins the moment step your foot inside Mr Moon’s mouth. The rides are simply out of the world. The amusement park entertains everyone and not just kids. In fact it transforms the adults and brings out the child hidden inside. I especially want to take my workaholic hubby there and I want to see him going mad and berserk.
Spider, Twin Dragon, Sky Rider, Ghost Train, Arabian Merry, red Baron, Silly Serpent, Street Legal Dodegems, Coney Island Top Drop, Enterprise, Carousel, Pharaoh’s curse (my personal favourite), Power surge and the Great Scenic Railway are some of the rides. If the names are so mad think of the madness when you sit atop them.
15. Enjoy Royal Dinner on Wheels at Colonial Tramcar Restaurant
No trip can be complete without good food and Colonial Tramcar restaurant is not just gourmet food but it is an experience. You sit inside a vintage tram and enjoy food. It is an innovative way to dine sitting inside a burgundy restaurant on wheels. You must be thinking what is so unusual about it. We have seen trams in our Kolkata too and their condition no better than vintage. The Tramcar restaurant in Melbourne is a moving restaurant. You take a tour of the city when enjoying your dinner. Now this is one experience I, an Indian won’t miss because we only have bad experiences in a tram or bus. For sure, once in life I want to have a pleasant experience in a moving vehicle.
16. Take a Bow at the Jewish Holocaust Museum
The Jewish Holocaust Museum and Research Centre was founded in Elsternwick, Melbourne, Australia, in 1984 by Holocaust Survivors. Its mission is to commemorate the six million Jews murdered by the Nazis between 1933 and 1945. Being a history buff and a sensitive citizen I would like to visit this museum and pay my tributes to Jews who were grossly wronged during the course of history and the Jews who showed immense strength to survive and tell their stories. The stories that till date inspire people like us to stand up and move on.
17. Beachy Fun at St Kilda
Any trip to Melbourne is incomplete without a beach tour. St. Kilda is the most famous beach of Melbourne. It is beautiful and has some super restaurants where you can grab a bottle of bear and enjoy the views. You can even spot a penguin. Good local music and bakeries where you can relax and watch sunset. I want to talk a long walk along the Kilda beach during sunset. A quiet and introspective walk to reenergize myself.
18. The Great Ocean Road Tour
Great ocean road drive one of the world’s most scenic coastal drive. I have been to a lot of coastal drives and have always enjoyed the sea wind through my hair, the smell of salt and smooth roads with sea running by your side, and see sea as far as your eyes can see! I find such drives very relaxing.
Great Ocean road tour is a dream drive. It is scenic beyond words. The 12 apostles on this drive is another important attraction not to miss. It is the ultimate rugged beauty that you won’t find anywhere else. It is Nature at its best natural form.
According to Wikipedia,
“12 apostles, The Limestone cliffs are created by constant erosion of the limestone cliffs of the mainland beginning 10-20 million years ago, the stormy Southern Ocean and blasting winds gradually eroded the softer limestone, forming caves in the cliffs.
The caves eventually became arches and when they collapsed rock stacks up to 45 metres high were left isolated from the shore. View the 12 Apostles at sunrise and sunset as they change colour from dark and foreboding in shadow to brilliant sandy yellow under a full sun.”
I have to see this. Melbourne is calling!
19. See Melbourne from a Balloon
Melbourne is a beautiful city and now imagine seeing this city from a hot air balloon while you sip champagne. Isn’t it dream come true? Yes, I want to make this one dream true. Atleast once in life I want to enjoy a balloon ride. It is a four hours flight during sunrise. The thought itself is sketching a panoramic view in my mind. It surely will be a breathtaking experience.
20. Melbourne Cruise
I have never been to a cruise yet. I am already quite excited about a cruise along the Yarra River with music and performances, gourmet food, evening wind and the beautiful city.
I wish to have a romantic dinner with my husband cruising along the world’s most spectacular city, Melbourne.
21. Spooky Melbourne Tour
I am sure you didn’t hear about this earlier. Now this is truly spooky and brings out a new dimension of otherwise lively city. It is just another fun way to see Melbourne. This is an offbeat attraction that challenges the spooky streaks inside you. Have I stirred your spookiness enough? You can come face to face with the haunted spooky past of Melbourne. The tour is very informative and fun filled as the entire tour is guided by the famous Australia TV presenter, Drew Sinton.
This one is truly unique and I am all game for it.
22. A Treat for Movie Buffs
If you are a movie buff like me then Smith Street located between Collingwood and Fitzroy in Melbourne should be in our must see list. Apart from being home to many movies shooting this place is abuzz with local Melburnians. I always love to meet the local people to get the real essence of the place and I am going here for sure. Though I like the places marked for tourists but I love such hidden gems more.
23. Unique place to buy souvenirs
At the end of every tour who are desperately looking for some souvenirs some to keep as collectibles and others to gift family and friends. Now, Wunderkammer is a unique place to buy souvenirs, not exactly the type of souvenirs you are used to buying.
Wunderkammer, as the name suggests “Cabinet of Curiosities” in German, is one place you have to visit if you are into collecting rare and creepy masterpieces, fossils, dead animal heads, framed insects etc. Apart from being a place for buying souvenirs, gifts, articles etc, it is also a scientific and natural history museum specialising in medical and scientific instruments.
24. Face Death, Take A coffin Ride
Yes, you heard it right, a coffin ride. As the advertisers correctly sum up, “Do you have the balls to try our Coffin Ride? Where the smells of the dead and the bugs reside. Lie in wait while your creepy friends wait in line watching you on the TV screen.”
Here you lie in a dark coffin, smell the dead with creepy bugs moving around. Truly an adventure! I must say, Melbourne never fails to surprise me. When I thought I have researched all about adventure then this extreme adventure knocks.
Face death. Take a coffin ride in Melbourne.
25. Guided Food Tour of Melbourne
I am a foodie and food speaks to me. It tells you a lot about the people, customs and culture of that particular place. I want to know Melbourne better. I want to see Melbourne like an insider so I want to take a guided food tour of the most livable city. It is a fun tour which comes with cocktails, lots of stories, food and exploring offbeat places. Now that’s what I call being a true traveller.
Show me Melbourne like this.
Luna Soo, rightly says about this food tour, “The tour snakes through art-filled alleys and passageways that even the most die-hard proud Melburnian won’t know about which, along with the cocktails, will help you experience the city in a whole new way. It’s Melbourne’s history as seen through the bottom of a martini glass – surely the best way, no.”
I am coming to Melbourne soon!
Now that you have finished reading a long, very long post I want to reward you. Trust me not everyone can make it till the end.