Often referred to as Australia’s “culture capital,” Melbourne boasts an impressive mix of old and new, from 19th century architecture to trendsetting shopping districts. The city, located in the state of Victoria, is the second most populous city in Australia and welcomes visitors with open arms.
Founded in 1861, the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) is Australia’s oldest public art gallery, featuring both local and international pieces in a variety of artistic mediums. The Gallery offers locations in two of Melbourne’s most vibrant arts and cultural precincts. A recent Art of the Pacific exhibit will be open until the end of the year, featuring barkcloth by Ömie women and body ornaments by Melbourne-based Samoan artist Maryanne Talia Pau. Other featured items not to miss include contemporary Temar figures from the volcanic island of Ambrym and a metal Phantom shield from the Highlands of Papua New Guinea. Learn more about current and upcoming exhibits at the National Gallery of Victoria at www.ngv.vic.gov.au.
Food fanatics will love the fact that Melbourne is a melting pot of world cuisines. As Frommer’s travel guides attest, “Melbourne offers something from just about every corner of the world, to suit all palates and budgets.” At Transport Hotel’s Taxi Dining Room, visitors will not only get a gourmet meal, but also jaw dropping views of the city. Designed by Peter Maddison Architects, the main room overlooks Kilda Road and Southbank while The Terrace boasts unbeatable vistas of Federation Square. Grab a table next to one of the floor-to-ceiling windows and enjoy meals inspired by Japanese and modern Australian flavors. Favorites include the hiramasa kingfish sashimi with ponzu jelly and the roasted Bangalow sweet pork with apple puree and hot mustard dressing. View the complete menu and read about Executive Chef Tony Twitchett at www.transporthotel.com.au/main.htm.
Few experiences compare to seeing Melbourne from the clouds in a hot air balloon, so let the experts at Global Ballooning
take you on the ride of your life. Opt for the five-star champagne breakfast at the Hilton on the Park before your early morning flight, then take in the views as the sun comes up. You’ll fly over everything from downtown skyscrapers to major sporting venues like the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Melbourne Park and Albert Park Racetrack. Flights last approximately one hour and are carbon neutral, meaning Global Ballooning takes special steps to offset their emissions and help protect the environment. Check out photos, videos and more at www.globalballooning.com.au/hot-air-balloon-flights-melbourne.htm.
January and February are generally the warmest months in Melbourne while June and July are typically the coldest; March and April usually offer comfortable temperatures averaging between 53 and 75 degrees F. Melbourne’s bus system runs more than 300 routes and makes frequent stops at major city hubs. There’s also a free City Tourist Shuttle that will take you to popular attractions on a daily basis. Melbourne, like the rest of Australia, uses the Australian dollar. Most major credit credits cards (such as Visa and MasterCard) are widely accepted throughout Victoria.
Friendly and full of scenic wonders, Melbourne promises visitors a trip to remember. You’ll find more information at www.visitvictoria.com.