Known as the cultural capital of Australia, Melbourne is a cosmopolitan, arty and stylish city buzzing with life and a must-do for anyone visiting Australia.
With much of its energy concentrated in its suburbs – lastminute.com has got hotels in every part of the city, from the seaside playground of St Kilda to the bohemian Fitzroy.
A gold-rush city
Originally set up as a trading post with just a handful of settlers, Melbourne became a thriving international city during the gold rush of the 1850s. The rush was responsible for some fine architecture, some of which remains in the city centre today, including Flinders Street railway station and the State Library of Victoria.
One of the best ways to explore the city is on its trams which wend their way silently through its centre. Hop off and on for photo opportunities, including the Queen Victoria Market - a vibrant and bustling inner-city market selling everything from fruit and veg to cosmetics, clothing and souvenirs. The market has been the bustling heart of the city for many years, and is a great place to people-watch in this most cosmopolitan of cities.
For a true slice of Australian history, visit the atmospheric Old Melbourne Gaol where Australia's most famous outlaw, Ned Kelly was hanged in 1880. And for an entirely different kind of cultural experience, why not make the most of the beautiful weather the city enjoys for most of the year and have a day at the cricket – the Melbourne Cricket Ground is more than just a sports stadium, it’s a place of worship for many in a country where sport is an intrinsic part of the national identity.
Once you’ve explored the city centre, make sure you get out to Melbourne’s suburbs which many find the most interesting and vibrant parts of the city.
At most Melbourne hotels, you’re never far from the beach, and St Kilda, just 6km out of the city is a much-loved and very sophisticated enclave of Melbourne. The suburb has it all: a beautiful beach, views across Port Phillip and great restaurants, bars and cafés. The National Gallery of Victoria and the Arts Centre are both based here, so you can get your fix of culture.
Fitzroy is the hipster hub of Melbourne and is packed full of art galleries, studios and bookshops as well as plenty of independent cafes, restaurants and bars, many of which are based on Brunswick Street – the beating heart of Fitzroy. Why not enjoy classic cocktails at The Attic or prop up the bar at classic Australian pub Labour In Vain?
Fitzroy and St Kilda are the best known of the ‘burbs, but there are many more to explore, including Footscray, Prahran and Yarraville, all of which have their own unique character and vibe.
Eating and drinking in Melbourne
Australia has a foodie culture which is a treat for visitors, with countless cafes, pubs, restaurants and markets selling fresh, locally sourced food used in a wide variety of cuisines. You can find everything from Mexican and Spanish tapas to oriental delights and everything in between to tantalise your tastebuds. Try the mouthwatering tapas at Mamasita in the centre of town, or, for more typically Aussie fare, try a burger made with fresh, tasty Victoria-raised beef at Hammer and Tong on Brunswick St.
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