Unlike Sydney, Melbourne tries very hard to look like a European city: old buildings have been elevated to the rank of almost cult places, and old trams run along the streets. The World Health Organization ranks Melbourne as one of the least polluted cities of its size in the world. Melbourne has now become the country’s main expat city. Its population is the most multilingual, with a predominance of immigrants from Asia and Greece.
The climate in Melbourne is similar to South European – mild, maritime, at the junction of temperate and subtropical with fairly hot summers and cool winters. All four seasons are clearly defined. Precipitation falls evenly throughout the year in small amounts.
The best time to visit is Australian spring, autumn and summer – from October to April. Spring and summer are warm, the most pleasant times of the year. Hot summer. In the Australian winter in Melbourne, it gets noticeably colder, with night frosts occurring.
Water temperature: the water in the ocean in the vicinity of Melbourne does not warm up well, as the south of Australia is washed by cold ocean currents. The average water temperature in winter is 10.5 C, and in summer 21.5 C. In summer you can swim.
Before the founding of the current capital of Australia, Canberra, from 1901 to 1927, Melbourne was the capital of the Australian Federation. This city has always been a center of culture and a center of attraction for big capital, in 1956 it also became the largest sports center – the Olympic Games were held here. The universities of the city are known all over the world, Prince Charles himself sat on the benches (or chairs) of the Geenong Grammar School.
Melbourne wins over the more provincial Sydney. Its inhabitants speak a beautiful language. The inhabitants of Melbourne also differ in dress, say, from the inhabitants of Adelaide. Even visitors feel some awkwardness from their suddenly turned out to be too short skirt. There are all four seasons here, it’s another matter that they can pass in one single day. The city is built on the northeast bank of the Yarra River (Yarra), on a small hill, not far from Port Phillip Bay. The downtown rectangle is an outlandish mix of Gothic and Victorian buildings set against a backdrop of glass and steel houses. Swanston Walk main streetis a row of Victorian and Art Deco houses. Behind the noble old facades are often chic interiors, decorated with copper, precious woods and real Victorian baroque crystal. City Square, on the corner of Main Street, often hosts street performances. Above, along the same street, in a place called “Paris”, is the entrance to the gardens Treasury Gardens and Fitzroy Gardens. The beautifully restored Royal Arcade, built in 1869, and Block Arcade, built in 1892, immerse pedestrians in the atmosphere of 19th century shops.
Former Flinders St. Station now serves only the suburbs. It is a monumental red-brick Victorian building topped with green bronze domes. It is located next to the Princess Bridge, which crosses the Yarra River.
The southern quarters, including the newly built Southgate, are located between the river and the sea. The port and beaches of Melbourne are not as attractive as in Sydney. Melbourne is rightfully considered the center of the arts of the entire continent. Here is the Victorian Arts Center (Victorian Art Center), Victorian State Opera (Victoria Opera), Melbourne Concert Hall (Concert Hall), National Gallery of Victoria (National Gallery), solemnly opened in 1968 and easily recognizable by the water curtain in front of the entrance. Located on the southern banks of the Yarra River King’s Domainpresents visitors with all the splendor of the Royal Botanical Gardens. Oaks, banyans, azaleas and bamboos, magnolias and tree ferns, pines and palms grow in abundance there. Among these romantic and picturesque gardens there are lakes and small valleys. Here you can even find stalls with music from the early 20th century.
The city has theaters of the highest class: Melbourne Art’s Theatre, Princess Theatre, Regent Theatre. For thrill-seekers, a casino opened in 1997 at the World Congress Center on the other side of the Yarra River. In addition, the Melbourne Zoo is rightfully considered one of the best in the world.
Those who come to Melbourne, first of all, tend to see not so much the city itself as its surroundings. The compactly planned center is full of museums, galleries and shops, and a large part of the city is occupied by parks, squares and the Royal Botanic Gardens, but the most interesting is located far from the city.
This is, first of all, the amazing “Penguin Parade” on Phillip Island. Every evening, the tiny northernmost penguins on the planet come out of the ocean and waddle cheerfully from one foot to the other and slap across the beach to their nests in the coastal bushes, ignoring the curious people who come to this beach with the same regularity to admire these touching creatures..
Another place that has long become one of the main symbols of Australia is the Great Ocean Road, and the majestic coastal cliffs – the Twelve Apostles. This excursion takes all day, but it remains in memory forever.
If you have a little more time, we recommend visiting the ancient gold prospecting town of Sovereign Hill near Ballarat. In this open-air museum you will see Australia during the gold rush. Here, ladies walk in puffy skirts, horse-drawn carts roam the streets, and gold diggers in their famous digger hats drink beer in the saloons. By the way, why not get yourself one of these.
In addition, we recommend taking an excursion to the Dandenong Mountains, located 50 km from Melbourne, and a ride on the old train “Puffing Billy” – Puffing Billy – through a dense forest, famous for its variety of Australian and imported European flora.