Melbourne

Sat in the south east corner of Australia Melbourne is a city that celebrates everything connected to sport and the great outdoors, the cosmopolitan nature of the city and the multicultural population leads to a city filled with heritage and history but one that embraces change; the leafy streets are lined with Victorian architecture whilst the areas of cutting edge design perfectly compliment the tradition of the old city.

A city filled with art, music, theatre, gastronomy and fashion Melbourne has seen a meteoric rise to the top and is now considered not only to be one of the most liveable cities in the world but one of the top locations for a city break that offers that little bit more.

For a taste of real luxury stay at the Lyall Hotel in South Yarra, styled almost as a grand country home this hotel is still only a few minutes from the heart of the Melbourne action; the walls are adorned with great pieces of art and the tone is hushed and understated. The hotel of choice for passing celebrities who want to remain out of the limelight this establishment is all about elegance that simply exists with no signs of effort.

Melbourne does of course also have its share of budget hotels and hostels, known as a popular destination for backpackers there is also accommodation available to suit the needs of the less affluent traveller; the Miami Hotel is a great example with good rooms that are more than adequate, free WiFi and a decent café, although not centrally located there is a tram stop close by that provides quick links into the centre of the city.

Melbourne prides itself on its culinary prowess, and the vast amount of cultures that have settled in the city provide one of the most diverse cuisines in the world, European roots are honoured with great chefs making Melbourne the place to eat some of the best Italian food outside Italy, but above all else the Asian influences are most loved by the cities inhabitants – sushi is particularly excellent with the prevalence of great seafood from the surrounding waters.

Cafe di Stasio in the St. Kilda district showcases how good Italian food can be in Melbourne, they serve the freshest of pasta which is made regularly throughout the day and have an excellent meat and fish menu, with the excellent food and reasonable prices this restaurant fills up quickly and booking is recommended.

Escape the city by heading to the beautiful wild Dandenong Ranges, the mountain forests are filled with towering ash trees and ferns that fragrance the atmosphere, this is the perfect place to breath in pure air and walk for miles without seeing a soul; after building up an appetite head to one of the villages with their eateries that serve unexpected delights such as cream teas. The highlight of this trip to the mountains has to be the magical view from the top, when seen at dusk the twinkling lights of the city below look almost like a miniature land of fantasy and fable.

You cannot visit Melbourne and ignore the cities obsession with competitive sports particularly cricket, the Melbourne Cricket Ground is also host to the National Sports Museum which celebrates all of the Australian sporting greats; when seen in one place it may be done grudgingly but you have to concede that Australia has a sporting history to be truly proud of.

Set in bay with the backdrop of the Dandenong Ranges Melbourne has unpredictable weather, the extremes that are created at sea are whipped into the bay and swirl around trapped by the low mountains – this leads to Melbourne’s reputation as a place to experience all four seasons in one day.

Although a sporty city Melbourne is less dictated to by the beach culture than other Australian cities and as such is a great place to visit at any time of year, the amount and type of cultural events that the city hosts in any particular month is more likely to be the deciding factor in the booking of your holiday than the prevailing weather conditions.

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