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Melbourne - Capital of Victoria State

Melbourne is a great city to visit. It's clean and grid-style layout makes the compact CBD easy to navigate.

Although certainly present, tourism seems to take a back-seat here and you're likely closer here than anywhere to experiencing real Aussie city living.

The climate here is very changeable and it's not uncommon to experience a gloriously sunny morning and afternoon while running for cover in the early evening from the raging overhead thunder storm.

Aussies are right into their sport so it won't come as a big surprise to find out that Melbourne is host to some top annual sporting events such as the Tennis Grand Slam - Australian Open and the Australian Grand Prix.

First founded in 1835, modern Melbourne has been ranked as one of the top three World's Most Livable Cities.

That must surely be worth a visit or two.

www.melbourne.vic.gov.au

Top 5 things to do in Melbourne

Royal Exhibition and Carlton Gardens

Completed in 1880, the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens is listed as a World Heritage Site.

It was built to host the Melbourne International Exhibition in 1880-1881 and later hosted the opening of the first Parliament of Australia in 1901.

During a visit to Victoria in 1984, Princess Alexandra (Queen Elizabeth II's cousin) bestowed the royal title on the building and it has been referred to as the Royal Exhibition Building ever since.

The large hall is home to various expos and exhibitions and serves as the main exam hall for Melbourne's universities and colleges. Guided tours around the building are available.

This building sits in Carlton Gardens, a 26 hectare area that also includes the Melbourne Museum, an IMAX cinema, tennis courts and a children's play area.

The Victorian-styled gentry undulating gardens are interspersed with European and Australian species of flora and the occasional fountain making it a great spot to take in some calm and serenity on your hectic visit.

museumvictoria.com.au/reb/

Melbourne Museum

The Melbourne Museum is located within Carlton Gardens and next to the Royal Exhibition Building and claims to be the largest museum in the Southern Hemisphere.

It's claim may be justified considering the seven main galleries, a Children's Gallery and a temporary exhibit gallery on three levels, Upper, Ground and Lower Level.

The museum is host to some permanent exhibitions including the Science and Life Gallery, 600 million years of Victoria, Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, the Te Pasifika Gallery and many more.

The large IMAX cinema on the lower level shows documentary films in 3D.

Open daily from 10am till 5pm.

museumvictoria.com.au/melbournemuseum/

Federation Square

With the Aussie's keen knack of shortening names Fed Square is a regenerated public space that's used by locals to get away from the hectic city streets.

Billed as a cultural landmark and entertainment destination, the area contains a diverse mixture of galleries, bars, cafes and shops.

A key part of the central plaza design is its large and fixed public screen, which has been used to broadcast major sporting events.

More importantly, Federation Square has recently become home to several beer award shows, and tasting's, including the Australian International Beer Awards.

www.fedsquare.com/

Aquarium

Melbourne Aquarium is a Southern Ocean and Antarctic aquarium and can be found on the banks of the Yarra River next to Flinders Street Viaduct.

The building was designed to look like a ship moored to the river and was opened in January 2000.

You would be forgiven to think that the aquarium is on the small side, however, the actual building extends 7m below the surface.

At its centre is a world first, 2.2 million litre 'oceanarium in the round' where visitors can see all the marine life swimming around them.

There are four levels to the aquarium with the octopus and shark display on the two lower levels.

Exhibitions change regularly and the aquarium's website will tell you what's on and when including ticket prices and opening times.

www.melbourneaquarium.com.au/

Luna Park

Located in the Melbourne suburb of St Kilda, Luna Park was opened in 1912 and has been going strong ever since.

Loved by locals and tourists, small kids and big kids, the amusement park includes many modern attractions such as the Metropolis roller-coaster, the Spider, a Ferris wheel, and other thrill-seeking rides.

As you would expect, the park also includes a picnic area and an assortment of overpriced and very busy 'carnival' food and beverage outlets. Best to bring your own shrimps and beer.

Opening times for the park vary with the seasons as do some of the rides.

www.lunapark.com.au/

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Temperature & Rainfall Guide for Melbourne

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Great Airfare Deals to Melbourne

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Station Pier (Port of Melbourne)

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