Renowned for being Australia's cultural capital, Melbourne is one of the most dynamic, cosmopolitan and livable cities in the country. Fashionably stylish, tasty gourmet, artistic treasures and architectural gems together make up the capital of the south-eastern state of Victoria. Swanky shopping complexes, museums, galleries, theaters, sprawling parks and gardens, there is a lot to view in Melbourne.
Melbourne is a city brimming with contemporary architectural wonders. One such iconic structure is the Federation Square (or Fed Square). It hosts social, cultural and commercial activities. The center is an entertainment hub in itself for there are abundant eating and drinking options available. If you wish to view a magnificent panoramic glimpse of the glittering skyline, then head out to Eureka Skydeck 88, perched on the 88th floor of Eureka Tower. This beautiful observatory deck offers 360-degree vistas of the city. If you're adventurous at heart, then be sure to step into the Edge Experience, a 3m (9ft) glass cube that juts out from the side of the building and is suspended almost 300m (984ft) above the ground.
If you're tired of the concrete jungle and need some fresh air then take a trip to the Royal Botanic Gardens and take a relaxing stroll along the native and foreign trees and shrubs, a stunning herb garden and a plethora of chirping birds. Book worms can promptly head out to the State Library of Melbourne where the historic structure is a piece of architectural gem with marble staircases leading to the Queen's Hall and La Trobe Reading Room - which is enclosed by a massive dome. Cricket fanatics will already be aware that the Melbourne Cricket Ground is considered to be the birthplace of test cricket. The MCG is a world-famous site where many legendary international matches have been played.
Be sure to spend a few hours in the Melbourne Aquarium, home to four different types of aquatic life: Antarctica, Coral Atoll, Rainforest Adventure and Seahorse Pier. Visitors are also given the opportunity to take basic scuba training and dive in to view and swim with the sharks in a 2.2 liter Oceanarium. Kids will love exploring the award-winning Melbourne Zoo that contains over 300 animal species from Australia as well as the globe. Children would love participating in Growing Wild, an interactive concept where they can burrow through tunnels and climb within giant tortoise shells.
Set up in 1841, the Old Melbourne Gal expanded swiftly during the gold rush. The jail was responsible for 136 hangings. Some of the exhibits today consist of death masks, the scaffold where Ned Kelly was hung, his gun and a suit of armour donned by a member of his gang. Some of the museums worth visiting are: Immigration Museum (talks about immigrant stories, journeys and timelines), Melbourne Museum (explores life in Victoria from the past to the present), National Gallery of Victoria International (exhibits Australia's finest collection of global art) and Heide Museum of Modern Art (showcases contemporary Australian art).
Shop-a-holics will get their deadly dose of retail therapy in Melbourne. Shoppers can spend hours perusing from one shopping complex to another. There is no dearth of chic boutiques, designer outlets and shopping malls. Visit Collins Street if you wish to look at luxury grands, particularly at the Centreway Arcade, a maze of stores providing the best accessories and boutique goods. For traditional kind of shopping, then Queen Victoria Market is one of the best where one can procure food items as well as other merchandise in the many halls.
The stay options in Melbourne are plenty with the richie-rich craving for the best luxury hotels and swanky apartments. Budget tourists and backpackers who wish for cheap accommodations will find many that suit to their liking as well. The city experiences temperate oceanic climate. The best time to visit would be between March and May and September-November for they feature moderate temperatures and less crowds.