For many years now, Victoria has been known as the ‘Garden State’ of Australia. With an abundance of parks and gardens located throughout all major cities and towns all over the state. With Melbourne being the Capital City, it is blessed with some magnificent parks and gardens all over the metropolitan area, not just the famous ones closer to the CBD. In the early days of the city, up to 30% of land was set aside in Melbourne specifically for parks and gardens. Even though the ratio may have changed a little, any new areas of development must still contain parks and gardens for people to enjoy.
As well as the many beautiful parks and gardens located in Melbourne, it is also known as the ‘Sporting Capital’ of Australia. With such places as the MCG, Rod Laver Arena, Etihad Stadium, Flemington, Caulfield and Moonee Valley Racecourses, MSAC and the new AAMI Park, you will find a sporting event happening in Melbourne almost right throughout the year. The city is home to some of Australia’s largest sporting events, such as AFL, Melbourne Cup & Spring Racing Carnival, Boxing Day Test Cricket Match, Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix and the Australian Open Tennis. Other sports to be featured in Melbourne include NRL, ARU, Australasia PGA Golf Tournaments, Soccer, Hockey, Swimming and Baseball.
For those people that would rather a more relaxing time, you can check out some of the fine restaurants, cafes and bars that Melbourne has to offer. From the Italian of Lygon St. to Chinatown, you are assured of finding something that is to your liking. Sometimes the hardest thing can be choosing which place you will go, because there are so many to choose from. With the combination of European and Asian influences in Melbourne, the city is fast getting a very good reputation for fantastic venues.
Once you have satisfied your stomach, you may wish to start taking in some of the sights of Melbourne. One of the first things you will notice is the very diverse range of architecture in the city. You will see fabulous old buildings like Flinders St Station, Parliament House and St Patricks Cathedral, all located in amongst some of the newer buildings like Federation Square, Southern Cross Station and Eureka Tower. Not far out of the CBD you can visit the Arts Precinct, housing the NGV and Arts Centre and a little further down St.Kilda Rd, you will find the Shrine Of Remembrance. There are a number of different companies that offer guided tours of the sights or you may just wish to take advantage of the free Tourist Shuttle Bus or City Circle Tram.
Wine lovers are also very well catered for in Victoria, with some of the finest vineyards located quite close to Melbourne. Areas such as the Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula, Pyrenees, King Valley and Rutherglen are all very well known for the wines that they create. Day tours are conducted from Melbourne, mainly to the Yarra Valley, but you can also find some that visit the Mornington Peninsula as well.
Head off away from the hustle and bustle of Melbourne and you can experience some wonderful scenery. Take a trip along the Great Ocean Road, Hike around in the Grampians National Park, head for the Goldfields areas of Central Victoria, Visit the Dandenong Ranges or experiences the differences on offer on the Mornington Peninsula. Other popular tourist places are Sovereign Hill in Ballarat, the old gold mining area, Puffing Billy Steam Train in the Dandenong ranges and of course the Penguin Parade on Philip Island.
After a few days of sightseeing, it might be time for a little retail therapy. Melbourne certainly has a wide variety of different places for you to try and find a bargain. From the Queen Victoria Market, Chadstone Shopping centre to the Bourke St Mall, as well as numerous other areas also, bargains are generally not far away from you. Some companies even offer guided shopping tours to some of the more hidden factory outlets around the inner Melbourne suburbs.
So no matter what it is you are into, food, shopping, sports, sightseeing or even just plain old relaxation, you are assured of being able to find it either in Melbourne or somewhere else in the state of Victoria.