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Last updated : Nov 2009
 
Melbourne Travel Guide
Melbourne Travel Guide and Melbourne Travel Information - TravelPuppy.com
'The World's Most Liveable City'

A vibrant cosmopolitan city, situated on the magnificent Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne is the state capital and cultural heart of Victoria. The locals’ claim that it is ‘the best city in the world to live in’ may rankle their rivals in Sydney but few would dispute that it is indeed a extremely interesting place to visit.

In fact, the traditional rivalry between Melbourne and Sydney, which covers every sphere of life from business to culture and sport, has resulted in a proud, dynamic city that strives to be the best in all things.

All state roads lead into Melbourne and Victoria’s unique geography means that it is possible to spend the morning on the coast, ski in the afternoon in the Victorian Alps and enjoy an aperitif at a winery, before returning to the city to take in a show at 1 of the many theatres.

The banks of the Yarra River, home to Aborigines for 1000's of years, attracted British settlers who founded Port Phillip Bay in 1835. The settlement rapidly expanded and by 1851, the city, named after Queen Victoria’s Prime Minister, Lord Melbourne, was born. In the same year, gold was discovered near Bendigo and Ballarat, to the west of Melbourne, and the ensuing gold rush turned the city into a powerful financial centre, as well as the 1st political capital, until Canberra was established in 1927.

Several gardens and parks give a pleasant, open feel to the city, whose skyline mixes elegant spires with dazzling modern skyscrapers, which dwarf the elegant Victorian era buildings that are dotted along leafy streets. However, Melbourne is defined more by its diverse population than by its architecture.

Immigration at the end of World War II transformed the city into a thriving cultural melting pot, totalling over 3 million people, with sizeable Italian, Greek and Chinese communities each carving out their own quarter. In fact, large scale immigration has made Melbourne home to the largest Greek community outside Greece and the influx of Vietnamese and Lebanese has contributed to Melbourne’s claim to be the cultural capital of Australia.

The introduction of European and Asian communities has resulted in an energetic and eclectic blend of music, theatre, art and literature. The international population has also brought a wealth of various cuisine, served up in a wide range of restaurants, from the outdoor cafés along the Crown Promenade overlooking the Yarra River, to the pizzerias in Carlton, the Chinese banquet halls in Chinatown and the fine seafood restaurants in trendy St Kilda Beach.

1 topic that is guaranteed to be discussed over dinner is the weather. The city has 4 distinct seasons and usually enjoys a pleasant, temperate climate. However, summers usually see some swelteringly hot days, and winters can get chilly. Sometimes, all 4 seasons occur in 1 day. The ever optimistic locals joke that if one does not like the weather, one just have to wait 10 minutes and it will change.
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