Hugging the tip of Australia’s south-east coast, Victoria is a compact area with a wealth of regional areas and attractions, from sweeping coastline and pristine beaches to national parks and forests teeming with wildlife. It boasts numerous wineries as well as lakes and mountains offering skiing, climbing and hiking.
Victoria’s capital, Melbourne, is an exciting blend of old and new. The elegant and fashionable city is set on the banks of the Yarra River. The distinctive mid-1800s gold-boom era architecture blends with modern glass skyscrapers to create an exceptional cityscape. The river is at the heart of Melbourne’s charm with rowers skimming the water; scenic cycle tracks alongside, and outdoor cafes lining the banks in the Southgate precinct.
Melbourne showcases the best of Australia’s laid-back lifestyle, but it also revels in a more old-world sense of sophistication and style. With its diverse inner-city villages, chic fashion stores, over 3,000 restaurants, bars and cafes and an excellent transit system you have all the ingredients of a great destination.
Melbourne is known for its good taste, its intimate spaces and its creative people, all of which come together beautifully at its annual food and wine celebration which attracts around 300,000 foodies each March.
The Melbourne Food and Wine festival is internationally acclaimed for its fun and comprehensive approach to the world of gastronomy and wine. This year it takes place from 2-21 March 2012 and global chefs and winemakers will descend on the city and its surrounding food regions to cook, eat, drink and share hot tips and tasty morsels with the assembled gourmands.
The festival is made up of more than 250 events, including long lunches (around 900 people long, to be precise), hawkers markets, master classes, dinners, coffee roasting sessions, wine tastings, edible garden displays and theatrical renderings of food. It’s at the Melbourne Food and Wine festival that you’re most likely to find yourself pulling noodles, picking nettles, sipping Nebbiolo, talking trends and feasting on food films all in the space of 10 days.
Festival venues range from the city’s well known civic spaces like Southbank and Federation Square to its tiny laneway bars, highbrow restaurants and alfresco areas. Activities wander into Victoria’s regions, where produce, wine and feasting are taken equally seriously.The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival is a meeting of world famous chefs, local producers, wine makers and enthusiastic cooks who share a passion for Melbourne’s fine flavours.
Don’t just tickle your taste buds at the festival but give all your senses a treat with the sights and sounds of this beautiful city. Known as a style-setter, Melbourne’s history and culture collide with creativity and innovation. A focal point for the arts, events and entertainment is Federation Square – a creative mix of galleries, cafes and public space - connecting the city with the Yarra.
Discover the bustling laneways in the city centre or the peaceful Royal Botanic Gardens. Stroll along Melbourne’s Golden Mile, where you’ll gain an insight into a city created from the proceeds of the Victorian gold boom more than 150 years ago.
Striking public spaces, state-of-the-art museums and galleries, Australian wildlife, heritage sites and impressive architecture are all part of Melbourne’s cosmopolitan appeal. The city holds many attractions and hidden secrets just waiting to be uncovered.
Federation Square links the city centre with the Yarra River. It fuses art, architecture, events, culture, hospitality and open space into a striking public domain. Make your travel bookings and collect maps and brochures from the Visitor Centre here or wander through the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI). The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia is the world’s first major gallery dedicated exclusively to Australian art. It is a spectacular showcase comprising over 20 galleries.
Queen Victoria Market
A world of new tastes and flavours is waiting for you at the Queen Victoria Market – an icon of local trade and street life. Take a two-hour Foodies' Tour with an experienced guide and see the gourmet side of the market.
Take the plunge inside Melbourne Aquarium’s 2.2 million-litre Oceanarium and come face-to-face with a shark. It’s all part of the Sharks Alive dive adventure, where you’ll also encounter other creatures of the deep.
Spread over six huge levels, half of which are below ground level, this museum draws on the latest technology to give you an insight into Australia’s plants, animals and culture. The World Heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building, built in 1880, and lovely Carlton Gardens are right next door.
Eureka Skydeck 88
At 253-metres high, the Eureka Tower is a Melbourne icon and one of Australia's tallest residential buildings. For spectacular 360-degree views of Melbourne, take the high-speed lift to the Eureka Skydeck 88.
The Arts Centre
A focal point of Melbourne’s Southbank entertainment precinct, the The Arts Centre hosts many of Australia’s premier performing arts companies and international touring performances. The centre is open daily for guided tours, gallery exhibitions, and nightly performances. On Sundays, artisans and local producers sell their wares under market umbrellas lining St Kilda Road and onto the Southgate promenade.
Old Melbourne Gaol
Walk the path of the condemned to the gallows in this 19th-century prison, be arrested in a modern-day police station or put yourself on trial in court. A ticket to the Old Melbourne Gaol Crime & Justice Experience grants you visiting rights to the past, present and future of crime and justice in Australia. Our most famous outlaw, Ned Kelly, was hanged here on 11 November 1880. During World War II, the jail was briefly reopened as military detention barracks. Read about the experiences of Australian, German, Italian and American military prisoners.
Gorillas, pygmy hippopotamuses, mandrills, tigers and otters live happily together at Melbourne Zoo. Of course, all of our Australian favourites are here too. Watch orang-utans from a spectacular treetop viewing area. If you choose a Roar 'N' Snore experience, you will explore the mystery of the zoo after dark. Hear, smell and see nocturnal creatures, big and small and share the passion, knowledge and stories of your camp hosts.
Melbourne River Cruises
Complete your Melbourne experience with an award-winning cruise on the Yarra River. With great information, a warming cuppa and the comfort of a Melbourne River Cruiser you will see the city from a whole different perspective. Cruises depart from Southbank promenade.