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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

The city of Melbourne is in the state of Victoria, and is the second largest city in Australia. It is a very popular tourist destination, and is renowned for its shopping, dining, parks and sporting events. It is home to the Australian Open tennis tournament, which is a grand slam event, the Melbourne Formula 1 Grand Prix and the Melbourne Cup horse race, which is one of the biggest races in the world. This article will give readers a brief background on the city and also other information that you may require when visiting.

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Melbourne CBD 1)

Geography and Climate

Melbourne lies in the south east corner of Australia, and has a population of approximately 4.25 million people 2). Only Sydney has a greater population in Australia. Melbourne is surrounded by Port Phillip Bay, which opens to Bass Strait and Tasmania to the south.

The climate of Melbourne is classified as moderate oceanic, with warm summers and mild to cool winters. The yearly average temperature is 19.8 degrees Celsius (68 degrees Fahrenheit) with the warmest month being January with an average temperature of 25.9 degrees Celsius (79 degrees Fahrenheit) and the coolest month being July with an average temperature of 13.5 degrees Celsius (56 degrees Fahrenheit). Melbourne gets consistent rain every month, ranging from 47mm (1.75 inches) in the summer months to 66mm (2.5 inches) in the winter months 3).

History

The greater Melbourne area was originally home to the aboriginal Wurundjeri tribe, and they are believed to have been in the area for approximately 40,000 years. The first white settlement was in 1802 near Sorrento, however it was abandoned shortly after due to the lack of water. The are now known as Melbourne was planned in 1837, and the town was officially declared a city in 1842 4).

The city continued to grow, and after World War I, there was a marked increase in the manufacturing sector. This in turn led to a population increase, and the city started to expand and new infrastructure was added. Melbourne underwent another big boom in the early 1950's, with a great influx of migrants from Europe which helped boost the cities workforce. Melbourne hosted the 1956 Olympic Games and that help thrust the city into the world spotlight. Since then Melbourne has continued to grow, and over time it has evolved to being the cultural and sports capital of Australia.

Accommodation

There are a multitude of choices for accommodation in Melbourne, with the major concentration of hotels in the city centre. You can also find plenty of accommodation in the inner suburbs, along with the beach side suburbs. There is something for all budgets, ranging from caravan parks to 5 star hotels and resorts.

Food

Melbourne is renowned for having some of the best restaurants and cafes in Australia. There is a vast choice of different foods and cultures, and if Australia is a multi cultural country, Melbourne has arguably the most diverse population. The city centre has a large range to choose from along with the inner suburbs such as Carlton, South Yarra, Richmond and Fitzroy.

Transport

The city of Melbourne has Australia's largest tram network. If staying in the city, there are always trams running to various parts of the city and suburbs every couple of minutes. It is advisable to use these service especially in the city, where parking can often be scarce. There are also bus and train networks, with an underground metro train system. You find a large range of car hire companies if you wish to drive. For more information on driving in Melbourne and Victoria please see this site http://www.vicroads.vic.gov.au/Home/Licences/NewToVictoria/InformationForTourists.htm.

Royal Botanic Gardens

The Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne is a must see attraction. It is located a short distance from the city and is on the south bank of the Yarra River. It is stretched out across nearly 100 acres of land and is home to many native and international flowers, plants and trees. There are a number of conservatories which display plants from various climates. The gardens run tours daily or you can wander around at your leisure.

Dandenong Ranges

The Dandenong Ranges is a low mountain range approximately 60 kilometres east of Melbourne. It is renowned for its breathtaking views and crisp clean air. There are a range of activities and attractions here, such as mineral springs and spas, nurseries and botanic gardens, tree walks or for something a little different a trout farm where you can catch and keep your own fish. Emerald Lake is also great for those with children, with many fun activities. If you wish to stay, there are a multitude of accommodation and dining options here.

Melbourne Zoo

The Melbourne Zoo is located in the suburb of Royal Park, which is only a few kilometres north of the city. There are several buses or trams that service this location. The zoo is home to many native and international species, including the critically endangered Sumatran Tiger. There are a range of attractions, and you will most likely need to set aside a whole day to see everything.

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Melbourne Zoo 5)

Queen Victoria Markets

The Queen Victoria Markets are an iconic feature of Melbourne. Located on the fringe of the city centre, the markets are home to market stalls and is the largest open air market in the country. Here you can find anything from local and important fruits and vegetables to gourmet foots, cosmetics, clothes and souvenirs. You can also participate in one of the many tours or just stroll around at your leisure.

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Queen Victoria Markets 6)

Lygon Street

Lygon Street is located in the suburb of Carlton, just outside of the city centre. Here you can find several restaurants, cafes and bars. The street is always alive and you can find something to cater to your tastes. Most of the venues have tables set up on the street so you you can enjoy the atmosphere of this vibrant location.

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Lygon Street 7)

Yarra River

The Yarra River flows from the north east region of the state, through Melbourne and out to Port Phillip Bay. It is an iconic location in Melbourne, and there are many board walks and other businesses on its banks. Here you can enjoy a range of cruises, from short cruises to day long tours, or you can dine on one of the many floating restaurants in the evening.

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Yarra River 8)

Port Phillip Bay

Port Phillip Bay is the bay that surrounds the city of Melbourne, and here you can also take one of the many cruises which take you around the fringes of the city and suburbs, or if you fancy you can join a fishing charter. There are also other activities such as kayaking and water skiing for those who enjoy water sports.

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Port Phillip Bay 9)

Australia | Travel

2) Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2013, 'Regional Population Growth, Available: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/Products/3218.0~2011-12~Main+Features~Victoria
4) State Library of Victoria, 2014, 'Victoria's Early History', Available: http://guides.slv.vic.gov.au/content.php?pid=135047&sid=1157513
5) Melbourne Zoo Entrance by Commander Keane licecne CC 3.0, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Melbourne_Zoo_entrance_1a.jpg
6) Queen Victoria Market by Sho Horiuchi licence CC 2.5, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Queen_Victoria_Market.JPG
8) Yarra River by edwin.11 licence CC 2.0, http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_Yarra_River.jpg

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