29 Dec Escaping the winter cold with a trip to marvellous Melbourne
Boasting comfortably warmer climates during December and January, escaping the northern hemisphere chills is reason enough for many, as they depart south around the globe to enjoy the sunnier weather in Australia, where summer is still in full swing. Along with being the state capital of Victoria, the stylish and cosmopolitan city of Melbourne has also gained a reputation as Australia’s sporting and cultural capital, attracting visitors with a dynamic variety of activities and offering no shortage of things to see or do.
Laneways and Arcades
In the oldest and most historic part of the city, the laneways and arcades are a bustling sensory overload of sights, sounds, and smells. From the European-style atmosphere of Hardware lane, to the gourmet grandeur of Flinders Lane’s eateries and shopping arcades, to the lively buskers and mesmerising street art of Centre Place; every street and alleyway has its own history and story to explore. If you’re snap happy with the camera, there’s a wealth of great photo opportunities to be found here. The key to enjoying the laneways is a sense of adventure and exploration, with something new to discover around every corner. Those around the Chinatown district are filled with a string of fine Shanghai-style restaurants, particularly around Tattersalls Lane, which also caters to practically every Asian flavour. For great guitar riffs – “If You Wanna Rock ‘n’ Roll” – then head to AC/DC Lane, named after the legendary rock band, after they filmed the 1976 music video there. Nowadays, popular live music venues like Cherry always keep the vibe going. One of the most famous locations, and almost like a microcosm of everything Melbourne’s small bar scene has to offer, is Meyers Place, including the original bar of the same name. Whether you fancy sampling the Argentine cuisine at San Telmo, or the simple Italian dishes at the Waiters Club, there’s always something to tease your tastebuds. Once you’ve had your fill, you can even enjoy a relaxing hot soak at the Onsen Ma traditional Japanese bathhouse.
Southbank and South Wharf
If eating and drinking is at the top of your priorities, whether day or night, South Warf Promenade is home to countless cafes, bars, restaurants, or simple eateries for a snack. This is a great place just to take a stroll and enjoy the views of the Yarra River, or to soak up the vibrant atmosphere. Pop in to see ‘Polly Woodside’, a historic ship taking you back to the age of the sail and a central feature of the Maritime Museum, or get your shopping fix at the DF0, packed with stores and boutiques. if you’re looking for entertainment, Melbourne has become a popular casino gambling destination, with the Crown Casino in Southbank the biggest resort complex of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Roulette, blackjack, baccarat, craps and “pokies” are among the many distractions. There’s also the Aussie Millions Poker Championship held in January, so you can watch how the professionals play. Almost like a city within itself, the expansive Crown Entertainment Complex boasts 3 hotels and all manner of attractions, including an indoor amusement park, cinemas, signature restaurants featuring star chefs, and renowned international designer boutiques. Just along the St Kilda Road and neighbouring these two popular areas is the Arts Precinct, marked by the towering spire above the Arts Centre, where you can catch the latest production by the Australian Ballet. There’s the Melbourne Recital Centre or the renowned Malthouse Theatre, for more dramatic acting performances. For visually stunning artistic exhibitions, be sure to wander to The Australian Centre for Contemporary Arts, the NGV International, or the Victorian College of Arts.
The Sports Precinct
One thing Aussies are certainly proud of is their sports, and Melbourne is host to some of the greatest sporting venues and events around. What’s more, all the key venues are concentrated into one area, conveniently located just 15 minutes (walking distance) away from the central business district. If you’re in town over the festive Christmas period and like the sound of leather on willow, head to the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) for the traditional Boxing Day Test. This iconic venue is also home to Australia’s National Sports Museum, boasting a remarkable collection of all kinds of sporting memorabilia. The first major tennis Grand Slam event of the year also takes place in Melbourne with the Australian Open (January 10), bringing an opportunity to see the leading stars of the game in action at the Rod Laver and Margaret Court arenas. For rugby aficionados, head to AAMI Park to see Melbourne Storm in the National Rugby League, or Rugby Union side, Melbourne Rebels – thee rectangular stadium built between 2007 and 2010 can seat 30,050 fans. If you prefer soccer, the same venue also hosts A-League matches featuring Melbourne Victory and Melbourne Heart; with the atmosphere especially electrifying if it’s a derby encounter between the two sides.
Much More to Melbourne…
This article is only scratching the surface of all the wonderful experiences to be enjoyed in marvellous Melbourne. The city is packed with amazing architecture and monuments, scenic and beautiful parks, whilst also surrounded by remarkable natural wonders and rural retreats to explore. Whether as a destination for a city holiday, or as a base for wider adventures around Victoria; Melbourne certainly doesn’t disappoint.