Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Oct 01, 2016 Avatar Linda Kahn-Ferrell Linda Kahn-Ferrell

Melbourne, the second largest city in Australia, is known as one of the world’s most livable cities. Australia’s cultural capital is full of with Victorian architecture, extensive shopping, museums, galleries, theaters with plenty of parks and gardens. Getting around the city & its surrounding areas is easy due to an excellent tram, bus and rail system.

There’s plenty to do and see in and around Melbourne to easily fill up four or five days, or more.

There are two hotels in Melbourne I would recommend, both with exceptional accommodations and service. The Langham is located on the Southbank, across the Yarra River, with views of the city and just a short stroll to restaurants, cafes, shops, museums, galleries and more. The second hotel is the Park Hyatt, located in the historic ‘Paris Area’ opposite St. Patrick’s Cathederal, and bordered by Fitzroy Gardens and Parliament House. The area around the Park Hyatt is more serene and peaceful.

A great way to experience and learn about Melbourne’s history is by taking the Hidden Secrets Lanes and Arcades walking tours. On your walk through the lanes and arcades you will discover quirky cafes, independent designers, street art, and architecture. The Southbank area houses the National Gallery of Victoria, the Melbourne Concert Hall & the Arts Complex, where you can see various exhibits, attend a ballet, opera or the symphony.

When it comes to dining, Melbourne’s restaurants cater to all palates with affordable, high quality food representing every known cuisine. Melbourne’s food is a mix of European, Asian and the modern Australian concept; perfectly prepared local ingredients with a hint of traditional techniques. The city is famous for al fresco and sidewalk dining plus its café culture.
There are also places to visit outside of the city such as Healsville Sanctuary, which features Australian wildlife with more than 200 species of native birds, mammals and reptiles in a beautiful bushland setting. Healsville Sanctuary plays a critical role in fighting wildlife extinction as well as treating sick and injured native animals. If you want to connect with nature and interact with animals in their natural habitats, then you want to do one of the Echidna Walkabout Nature Tours. You can look for koalas sleeping up in the trees, or kangaroos and emus on an open plain while the experienced Wildlife Guide helps you understand them.
About an hour from Melbourne is the Yarra Valley, which is home to over 80 wineries ranging from small family-owned wineries to large estates. The region is known for its pinot noir and sparkling wines, as well as local craft beer micro–breweries. The area is also known for producing freshwater salmon, trout, caviar, organically grown fruits and vegetable, handmade cheeses and preserves. There are many self-drive wine trails and the Yarra Valley Food Trail. Spend at least a night in the valley to enjoy the beauty of the area along with enjoying the bounty of the area. Be sure to take time to visit some of the galleries and studios of local artists. If you will be staying in the Yarra Valley is recommend the Chateau Yering Historic House with its beautiful historic gardens and breathtaking views of the Yarra Valley.
If you are going to be staying in the state of Victoria for more than a few days there are many other areas to visit. You can drive the Great Ocean Road, visit the penguins on Phillip Island, discover Grampians National Park, Wilson’s Promontory or the Mornington Peninsula. Victoria has something for everyone and I look forward to my next trip there.