There are two major airports, Tullamarine and Avalon, serving the city so be mindful when booking which one you choose.
Melbourne’s city centre is that of a planned, grid-like city next to the banks of the Yarra River which makes orientation ridiculously easy. Major shopping roads are Bourke and Collins Streets which both run parallel to the river, with Swanston Street crossing both main arteries in a right angle. It is here that you will find the most important buildings and venues such as the Town Hall, the St. Paul’s Cathedral and major department stores.
Flinder’s Street Station is the most recognisable landmark of the city, right on the bridge crossing the Yarra River and opposite Federation Square and ACMI, a cultural centre dedicated to film, television and gaming. Upriver you will find the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the Rod Laver Arena, while downriver is SeaLife, the Crown Casino, the Convention and Exhibition Centre, the Eureka Skydeck (the highest observation deck in the Southern Hemisphere), and Docklands.
The real essence of Melbourne, however, can be found in the maze of laneways and arcades which connect the major roads for pedestrians but not cars. A wonderland of exciting bars, cafés and restaurants, as well as cool shops and surprising street art – start at Degraves Street and just drift along in the sea of people.
Melbourne’s beaches are just a tram or a train ride away, with St. Kilda being the most notorious one of the bunch, known for its vivid party scene, the trendy restaurants on Acland Street and the eclectic Sunday market on the Esplanade. From St. Kilda onwards it’s a string of beaches, each one with its own distinguished feel. Since Melbourne is located around the bay of Port Phillip you will need to wait for strong winds to give you the right conditions for surfing.
Melbourne is a fantastic base for a diverse range of day trip destinations. Great day trips can be organised to Ballarat (where you will find the fantastic open-air gold mining museum of Sovereign Hill), the Great Ocean Road (with the famous 12 Apostles rock formation), the wine producing region of the Yarra Valley, the picturesque countryside of the Dandenong’s (where you will find Puffing Billy, the historic railway) and Phillip Island (with the biggest fur seal colony in Australia and some really cute penguins which you can spot during the daily penguin parade at sunset).