Melbourne is Australia’s second largest city and the capital of the state of Victoria.
Covering some 3,800 square miles, Melbourne is a popular coastal region and offers a whole host of activities for those on holiday.
Its main airport is Melbourne Airport – also called Tullamarine Airport. Melbourne also benefits from a strong transport network, with regular train services and it also has the world’s largest tram network.
The city has a number of relaxed cafes, bars and restaurants, with its city centre undergoing a reinvention recently to make it even more appealing.
Melbourne is particularly appealing to sports fans. The top sport for locals is Australian football, but cricket, horse racing, tennis and Formula One racing are also widely followed.
Melbourne Cricket Ground
Melbourne Cricket Ground or the G has it is commonly known has a capacity of some 100,000 and has hosted many of the world’s top cricket matches.
However, during the winter months it is also a venue for AFL football and it is worth making time to go and see a game if you are visiting at the right time of year.
If there are no games on during your stay, you can still be treated to a tour of the ground, which allows for a close-up view of the stands, changing rooms, media space and the coaches’ areas.
The ground is also home to the National Sports Museum, which makes full use of the latest technology to tell the story of Australia’s sporting history – there is even a Shane Warne 3D hologram.
There are a number of ways to get to the ground, including taking the Tourist Shuttle, travelling by train to Jolimont or Richmond station or taking the tram, with services 48,70 and 75 covering the ground.
Queen Victoria Market
If you prefer shopping to sport, then head to the Queen Victoria Market, where over 600 traders take part in one of the country’s largest open-air markets.
The market has operated from the same site for more than 100 years and there is even the opportunity to take a guided tour to discover the best stalls.
There is a whole host of items on sale ranging from kangaroo biltong to t-shirts. From mid-November to the end of February, the Summer Night Market is a fab event, with all the regular traders plus music and dance performances.
To get to the market, you can take the tourist shuttle bus, or trams 19,55,57 or 59.
Open every day from 10am to 5pm, the Melbourne Museum is a great place to find out more about Australian culture and history.
There are exhibits covering dinosaurs, with fossils and even giant squids on display in the taxidermy hall.
The museum also makes great use of technology to explain concepts, with visitors able to get up close to a 3D volcano and hear Indigenous Australian stories.
In addition, there is a IMAX cinema at the museum that offers a changing programme of movies.
Visitors can get to the museum by taking the tourist shuttle bus, going by train to Parliament station or catching the city circle, 86 or 96 tram.
Royal Botanic Gardens
Located in South Yarra, the Royal Botanic Gardens are open every day from 7.30am to sunset and are great for a relaxing day out.
The gardens are regarded as one of the best in the world and feature a whole host of plants native to Australia.
If you fancy a guided tour there are plenty of options based on your interests, while you can also visit the National Herbarium, which contains some 1.2 million dried botanical specimens.
There is even a special Children’s Garden, which is based on nature and invites little ones and parents to explore.
One of the annual highlights is the Moonlight Cinema and theatre productions held in the summer months.
The Tourist Shuttle stops at the gardens, while it is also visited by trams 1,3,5,6,8,16,64,67 and 72.
Royal Exhibition Building
Built in 1880, the Royal Exhibition Building was created as part of the country’s International Exhibition. A perfect example of Victorian architecture, the site gained UNESCO World Heritage status in 2004.
Interestingly, it was the first building to ever fly the Australian flag and hosted the country’s first parliament in 1901.
It is now a popular venue for all sorts of events including car shows and art fairs. You can also take a guided tour of the building every day at 2pm.
To travel by train to the attraction then head towards Parliament station, alternatively you can take the tourist shuttle or trams 86 and 96.