Things To Do In Melbourne
Melbourne is filled with splendid views of the beaches and the rugged coastline. You can admire unique landscapes and have unexpected glimpses behind every corner where a wonderful attraction is waiting. Along the way there will be a chance to stop for a bite right by the sea, visit a lighthouse, or go sunbathing. The Great Otway National Park and the “Twelve Apostles” are so amazing that it is really impossible to get bored when in Melbourne. Along the road you can pass through eucalyptus forests where you can see koalas a few feet away, and lots of beautiful ferns and huge trees. It is always windy in Melbourne, so if you like to stop and admire or photograph the outdoor panoramas, bring a jacket.
When To Go:
The month of December to January is the high season for travel and tourism in Melbourne. You'll discover normal high temperatures up in the 70s during this summer season. Temperatures can also range up to a high of 90, so make certain to pack light apparel and drinking water when you tour around. Lodgings are also fully booked, so make sure to reserve your room well ahead of time.
Melbourne's fall season months (March, April and May) sees the city filled with gold-topped trees. Also guests will delight in an agreeable climate -- daytime temperatures range from the 60s to the 70s.
The months of June to August constitute the city’s winter season and the weather is rather bleak and chilly. Sydney and Brisbane, on the other hand, are much hotter this time of year. Be that as it may, Aussies that make their home in Melbourne spend this crisp season with a calendar full of indoor social events, which showcase everything from food to movies. There are fewer tourists in this low season because of the extremely cold climate.
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These are the things to do and attractions to see when in the city of Melbourne:
The Great Ocean Road
It is impossible to describe the scenery of the Great Ocean Road -- it needs to be experienced. There are places of great natural and historical interest: the Twelve Apostles, the Shipwreck Coast, and an explosion of colors and breathtaking scenery. Along the way you can also stop at various points including the Cape Otway Lighthouse -- where you absolutely have to taste the sweets cooked by the manager of the lighthouse -- and the town of Lorne, where you can have a sumptuous meal.
Last but not the least is the idyllic landscape offered by the 12 Apostles, it is simply beautiful and breathtaking. There are numerous vantage points from which to take pictures and create memories. It is an experience not to be missed, to witness the scenic Australian nature that affects the heart and soul. After the 12 Apostles, be prepared for a long drive on the Serpentine road that goes along the coast -- and where you can enjoy the best panoramic views. The route is interesting but be aware of koalas and kangaroos that will cross the road from the forest side. On the road there are reserves with waterfalls and hiking trails; if possible, it is best to spend a couple of days exploring the surrounding area.
Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)
The Melbourne Cricket Ground is the symbol of the sporting capital of Victoria. The MCG is one of the most famous stadiums in Australia and beyond. It is very large inside and everyone is impressed by its capacity. This stadium hosts the Australian Football and cricket matches. You can easily get there via a footpath along the Yarra River. After only 10 minutes of walking you are in front of the stadium. Outside there are some statues of cricket players who have made sports history. There is an entrance fee ($20) to witness a match inside. Before finding a seat, visit the dozens of bars where you can buy a drink or bite to eat.
During a game, you will be amazed at the civility and respect of the people. The opposing fans are concentrated in a small part of the stadium and in contact with the fans at home court, but there is no police security. Incidents between supporters are totally non-existent. Smoking is not allowed inside the stadium, so the fans come outside to smoke. The MCG stadium is immense, neat, well kept and you can go down on the pitch and visit the changing rooms and interiors. The hall of the National Sports Museum is very informative and traces the history of cricket in Australia. The gift shop and memorabilia store can also be visited.
Shrine of Remembrance
The Shrine of Remembrance is a memorial dedicated to all citizens who died in wars since the First World War. Inside there is a chapel commemorating the fallen (20-80,000 Victorians sent to war), as well as an exhibition showcasing many military documents and files. The memorial provides a great overview of the city of Melbourne and it is free. To make the most out of your visit, go up the stairs to the roof of the Shrine and you will have a 360-degree view of Melbourne.
Inside it has impressive sculptures and reliefs. The guides here are also admirable as they narrate the history of the memorial with their deep and personal experience of World War II. This historic landmark is impressive in size and significance, and is a favorite photo subject especially when bright weather and blue sky serve as its background. This shrine is a beautiful monument overlooking the city and located next to the Botanical Garden. It serves as a great reminder to the new generation that everything we have today, we owe to those who fought bravely for peace and independence.
National Gallery of Victoria
The National Gallery of Victoria is striking from an architectural point of view. Inside there are corridors and passages but not enough attributions (some paintings do not have the title and an indication of the artist’s name). The European collection of paintings and art may seem small, but the section on the culture of China and Asia is very impressive. Art connoisseurs will also enjoy a large collection of glassware and porcelain.
There is a good exhibition of furniture and interior items, along with a recently opened section on textiles and costumes. The atmosphere in this museum is always warm and the weekly exhibitions are always interesting. The collection of paintings and artifacts is truly remarkable so if you want to spend a half-day devoted to culture you cannot miss this attraction. To get there you can also take advantage of the free tour bus that stops just right outside its main entrance.
Admission is free. Do not miss the collection of Aboriginal Art (includes the typical technique of the Aboriginal dot painting) with beautiful sculptures (wood and bark depicting mostly their spirit guides and their typical ceremonies) -- all in a bright and warm ambience that highlights works of the local and contemporary artists in Melbourne.
Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens
The Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens offer a huge variety of flora that is divided into themes and by geographic areas. It has great green lawns for relaxing and picnicking. The clean and large botanical garden shows a rare and unique species of fig and other plants. This wonderful place is right in the heart of Melbourne. It has many colors, with various orchids, trees and shrubs. Each plant has markers, and everything is well cared for, tidy and attractive. There is even a place where they grow spicy herbs and the favorite curled parsley.
There is also a mighty tree with its canopy hanging down to the ground -- you can go stand or sit there on a small stool. Those who will be in Melbourne should not miss a visit this truly unforgettable sight of the city. The artificial "Ornamental Lake" is a haven for dozens of bird species that can be beautifully photographed here. There is also a cactus garden, several walk-in greenhouses and a visitor center with a café and gift shop. Admission is free and it takes at least half a day to explore everything. The garden is open daily from 7:30 am until dusk.
The Dandenong Ranges are best explored by car with a good road map and are suitable for a nice outing on Sunday afternoon. From Melbourne you would head for the Mountain Highway. Near Olinda, you should make the first stop on the tour. In the town there are some nice shops and good cafes to discover. From there, you continue to Mount Dandenong, where you should head for the viewpoint "Sky High". Here you have a great view down to the City of Melbourne in good weather.
After that you should turn around and go to the Sherbrooke Forest, where you can take a walk through the rainforest and admire lots of animals in the wild. During the trip, you should take the liberty whenever it pleases (and is technically possible considering the traffic) to stop, get out and let the magnificent scenery affect you. The destination is just one hour by train from Melbourne center. The Dandenong Ranges are a beautiful wooded area with Kangaroos (Wallabies) and Platypus (you have to have luck to see these). You can take wonderful walks or ride an old steam locomotive provided for the visitors' use.
St. Patrick’s Cathedral
St. Patrick’s Cathedral is like a replica of the Westminster Abbey in London, but it is reduced in size and much less ostentatious. It is a Catholic church, so you will find all the typical things associated with the Catholic faith -- statues of saints, the usual paintings with scenes from the Bible and the Way of the Cross on the side of the church.
There is a luxurious episcopate and a very elegant main altar. The lovely cathedral has a colorful interior, in particular thanks to the magnificent stained glass windows. The organ is impressive. The only drawback is you cannot take pictures inside the building. Admission is free and the cathedral can accommodate almost 2,000 people.
A visit to the Melbourne Zoo is one of the easiest ways to see a kangaroo in Australia. These fascinating creatures can be viewed and photographed there without any problem. Near the playground, there is a giant tortoise that you can touch and scratch behind the ear. There is a beautiful aquarium with sea lions and penguins, you can watch (through glass) under the water as well as out of it. Admire the platypus, koalas and wombats inside the zoo.
If you want to see real live kangaroos you can go straight to them in an aviary. There is an unusual feeling once you're inside the cage with the animals. There are also ostriches that walk around and beg for food. There is a harem of lions but they sleep in the afternoon. Inside the zoo there are fountains with drinking water, which is very nice on a hot day. Generally, the zoo is remarkable because of the proximity of the animals to the visitors; it is all done very well and highly organized.
The Melbourne Museum and its permanent exhibitions include several sections -- dinosaurs, wildlife, rocks and minerals, flora (with a small greenhouse), Aboriginal art, everyday life, and the exploration of colonial times. The museum is very interactive and you can touch, twist, swipe and learn many things. Inside there are many touchscreen TV’s with more complete information about the featured displays and exhibits. There are live spiders and other insects. The museum is very factual and informative and truly ideal not only for children but also for adults.
City Circle Trams
One of the exciting things to do when in Melbourne is to take a ride on the City Circle Trams. These are cute vintage trams that are absolutely free and give not only a ride throughout the city center but also come with an audio guide that tells everyone on board about the interesting sites and landmarks encountered along the way. The tour throughout the entire city circle takes 45 minutes and gives a good general idea of the city along with an easy way for tourists and locals to move around and get to their destination within the city.
The trams run approximately every 10 minutes around the Central Business District and halt at every stop. Many tourist attractions are located either directly on the route, or within one to two blocks. Before each designated stop it is explained through the speakers where you are and what you can visit and do from that stop.
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