In November we argued that Sydney is one of the best cities in the world to explore, and it’s for this reason that it tends to be at the top of most people’s Australia travel lists. We definitely wouldn’t go back on that, but in this piece we want to highlight another Australian city that’s worth your consideration. Melbourne lacks some of the world-famous attractions Sydney is known for, but it’s generally regarded as a fun, pleasant city with endless activity for visitors. If you should ever get the chance to visit, these are some of the things we’d recommend to get the most out of the experience.
Walk The Royal Botanic Gardens
Botanic gardens are popular attractions in big cities, but here the term is a little bit of a misnomer. The Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne (also called Melbourne Gardens, to differentiate the area from the Cranbourne Gardens) are more of a giant park, open to the public and offering both interesting nature and outstanding views of the city. The gardens were founded in the 1840s, and now spread across 36 hectares of land (nearly 100 acres). If you happen to get a particularly nice day when you’re visiting Melbourne, the gardens should be high on your list of potential activities. There are a few small cafés in the area, meaning you can break up a visit with lunch or coffee, but mostly you’ll enjoy walking through the beautiful plant life for a few hours.
Visit The Yarra Valley
As you might guess from the name, the Yarra Valley is an entire region rather than part of the city of Melbourne. It’s close enough to be considered part of the Melbounre experience however, and it’s another place that’s excellent to explore on a nice day. Known primarily as a wine-producing region, it’s a great place to tour a vineyard and learn a little bit about Australian wine. But there are also gardens, park areas, and even a kangaroo sanctuary in the valley, all of which can be wonderful to check out. Additionally, if you’re in the mood for a bit of adventure, you can take an early morning balloon flight over parts of the valley and treat yourself to some of the most amazing views in the country.
See A Sporting Event
Melbourne is home to some truly outstanding sporting events throughout the year. In January it helps to kick off the professional tennis calendar by hosting the Australian Open, a two-week even featuring the very best men’s and women’s players from around the world. In March, the Australian Grand Prix also helps to launch the Formula 1 season, and you need only look at a preview of last year’s event to see how much intrigue is usually in store: there are top driver rivalries, manufacturers showcasing their latest vehicles, etc. Then, in addition to basic sports throughout the year, the Melbourne Cup in November helps to wrap up the year in horse racing with one of the most prestigious thoroughbred competitions on Earth.
Ride The City Circle Tram
It’s certainly a little bit touristy, but the city circle tram, also known as route 35, is a key part of the Melbourne experience for a lot of travelers. Completely free to the public and used as a convenient means of getting around, it also functions as a sort of automated tour guide to some of the city’s main areas, with audio commentary that gives remarks on the different neighborhoods and attractions you’re passing by. Particularly if you only have time for a short visit to Melbourne, it’s an excellent way to learn about your surroundings and get to know the city.