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Sport, art, and great coffee Down Under

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Wilson Jone |
Melbourne
Melbourne   The food capital of Australia

If you like sports and art come with us Down Under to visit Melbourne, the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria in Australia and the only city in the world to host both a Formula One Grand Prix and a tennis Grand Slam tournament, and one of the most famous horse races in the world, The Melbourne Cup.

Melbourne streetsWhile at "the world only", Melbourne is also the only city in the world that has five international sporting facilities near its central business district, the highest Greek population outside Greece, and the highest Italian population outside Italy. It is a cosmopolitan and modern city but in its heart you will find another Melbourne, the one of old European influences.

St. Paul's CathedralSt. Paul's Cathedral, located in the centre, is a tranquil place where people come to calm down and enjoy moment of distant peace away from the rush of a typical big city. The cathedral itself is a building masterpiece worth to stand next to the Notre Dame in Paris. Across the road there is Flinder's Street Station, another architecture jewel. That transit hub is surrounded by shops and cafes and it is almost a holy place for all coffee fans.

Melbourne restaurantsWhen you are done with a morning drink, it is time for a delicious snack and there's no better place for that than the Queen Victoria market at the corner of Victoria and Elizabeth Streets. No matter which cuisine you love, you will find it there. Melbourne is the food capital of Australia and has the highest number of cafes and restaurants per capita in the world. Yes, the city that had its pubs closed down at 6.00 pm until 1966. Well, we guess tourists and closed pubs are not going together very well.

View from Eureka SkydeckWhen you are stuffed, it's time to lose those calories and we can't see anything better than Eureka Skydeck. Its location makes it perfect to see every part of the city, and outside it, and while it's a natural place to take picture it is also a good place to plan your future Melbourne wanderings. If your stomach is strong enough, why don't you try The Edge? The view is gorgeous from that glass box over the edge, and it will surely give you a dose of adrenaline you didn't think you have.

Colonial Tramcar RestaurantBut how to go around? Melbourne's public transportation is probably the best in the country, but bikes are also welcome here and a great way to explore city shops, less-known street, and neighbourhoods. You can also take a Victorian horse drawn carriage and look around in style, but what you shouldn't miss is the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant, the true highlight of the city. You can enjoy a tour around the city while eating great food at the same time and there's no doubt that for some that's close to a definition of heaven.

Brunswick StreetOK, now when you know how to go, where to go? Brunswick Street is a good place if you want to experience Melbourne's multiculturalism and different aspects of life. Brunswick is full of bookstores, vintage clothing stores, and shops where you can find nice souvenirs, and even find some good jazz music. You can spend the whole day there and that's not exaggerating.

Melbourne small streetWhile going around try not to miss smaller street full of arcades and small architectural treasures. Stop by and talk to a local, they will show you around with pleasure. Need a haircut? Why wait to be back home to go for it when there is a salon where men get a free beer with the haircut? Men's heaven, indeed.

Federation SquareArt is one of the strongest sides of Melbourne, and if you love it Federation Square is for you. More than 2000 events are hosted there every year, from festivals and exhibitions, to concerts and fashion shows. The best part: Most of them are free. After you see a movie or two on a huge screen, leave Federation Square and head to see a few galleries, among them don't forget to visit Ian Potter Centre, the Australian Centre For The Moving Image, and The National Gallery of Victoria, the oldest public art museum in Australia that has the largest stained glass ceiling of the world.

Phillip IslandIf that all is not enough and you have enough time, visit Melbourne Aquarium, a place that hosts the 2.2 million litre Oceanarium, take a look at the Antarctic penguins and then try the shark dive. Yes, that's an extreme experience but it's safe and recommended even if that's your first dive. Melbourne Zoo is also a place worth visiting but if you want something special, head to Phillip Island. There you will meet the world's largest Little Penguin colony, Penguin Parade, see Koala Conservation Centre, and enjoy the beautiful scenery.


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