You will love Melbourne. As you fly in, you will be struck by the contrast between the downtown city high rise buildings, the blue stretch of Port Phillip Bay and the surrounding countryside that stretches in every direction.
It’s a reminder of the immensity of Australia. Melbourne is a very cultured city with wide streets and boulevards, trams (streetcars) that are an efficient mode of public transport.
A well defined river frontage and docklands precinct, street cafes, excellent shopping and friendly, interesting people make it well worth including in your Australian Trip of a Lifetime. It is a city of contrasts, showing you the locals at work and play.
Things to do
- Drink the some of Australia’s best coffee
- Check out the amazing street art
- Wander through hidden laneways
- Visit Flinders Street Station and Federation Square
- Stroll through the botanic gardens
- Watch a sporting event at the MCG
- Shop to you drop
- Learn about Victoria’s convict history at Old Melbourne Gaol
- Wander around Queen Victoria Markets
- Go penguin-spotting at St Kilda
- Go bushwalking in the Dandenong Ranges
History of Melbourne
In 1835 John Batman and John Pascoe Fawkner arrived in Port Phillip Bay from Launceston, Tasmania and set up a settlement on the banks of the Yarra River.
This is now close to Flinders Street Station and Federation Square, the downtown heart of Melbourne. The Victorian Gold Rush that started in 1851 established Melbourne as a major port and swelled the population so that by 1865 Sydney was no longer the largest city in Australia.
A friendly rivalry has developed between Sydney and Melbourne, but the fact is that they are both very different cities, each showing their own aspect of the Australian lifestyle.
When Australia was federated in 1901, Melbourne became the seat of Australian Government until the establishment of Canberra and the removal of the Federal Parliament there in 1927.
The Capital of the State of Victoria, Melbourne provides an excellent base from which to explore the Yarra Valley, Ballarat and the Australian Goldfields, Phillip Island and the Penguin Parade and the Great Ocean Road between Lorne and Warrnambool.
Geography and Weather
Melbourne enjoys a mild, cool temperate climate, with rainfall distributed throughout the year, but higher in the winter months (June, July, August).
Annual rainfall averages 650 mm (26″). In Summer expect average daily temperatures of 26 C (79 F), with overnight average lows 14 C (58 F).
In winter, average highs will be 14 C (58F) with averages of 6 C (43 F) overnight. The downtown area centres on the point at which the Yarra River reaches Port Phillip Bay and is an area of about 3 Sq Kms.
The city suburbs extend some distance in a low density sprawl that gradually becomes rural Victoria, while the inner Melbourne suburbs are more compact. Melbourne downtown has at least 6 of the highest buildings in Australia, including the highest, Eureka Tower on Southbank.
Map of Melbourne
Zoom in and out for an interactive map of Melbourne