10 February 2012

Melbourne: What you need to know

The City
In Melbourne there is a multitude of laneways just begging for exploration. Discover trendy bars and cafes, plus exciting street art. In the more refined arcades you can browse through couture boutiques, discover new designers and spend up big at vintage stores. After hitting the shops kick back with a coffee at one of the many cafes in Degraves Street, the cobbled bluestone laneway from Flinders Street to Flinders Lane. 

Melbourne Laneway
Melbourne has a calendar packed full of sporting events. The Australian Open Tennis Tournament kicks off the year with 2 weeks of heart pumping tennis action in January; March brings the Formula 1 Grand Prix to Albert Park (just east of the city); winter offers AFL games each week at the MCG or Etihad Stadium in the redeveloped Docklands and the year caps off with Melbourne Cup Spring Racing Carnival. Sunlover Holidays enjoys a great tradition of offering packages to the Melbourne Cup each year. Choose from entry with reserved seating to marquee packages including lunch and drinks. 

Melbourne Cup Carnival
The city centre offers QV, Queen Victoria Market and the GPO with a offer a range of shopping options from budget to designer. Treasures are to be found in the laneways and alleyways, so don’t be scared to lose your way, as you might stumble across a gem. The best way to navigate the city is by the free city circle tram. On the fringe of the city centre is Bridge Road in Richmond, home to many high street factory outlets; Gertrude Street in Fitzroy offer eclectic clothing labels and Chapel Street in South Yarra and Prahran offers boutiques, designers and high street stores. Don’t miss Topshop, the first of the famous British fashion chain stores to open in Australia. There are also several large shopping malls offering the chain clothing stores and department stores in the suburbs of the city. To learn from those in the know, take a shopping tour of the best spots in the city. 

Tram outside of Flinders Station
There is a thriving live music scene in Melbourne. Inner city hipsters enjoy intimate venues in down city laneways or above a corner pub in streets such as Brunswick in Fitzroy. East of the city rock, folk and indie bands can be found playing in the trendy suburbs of St Kilda, Windsor and Prahran. Chapel Street in particular is well known for nightclubs, bars and restaurants that fill the streets each Friday and Saturday night.

Continuing with the trend of enjoying live entertainment comes Melbourne Comedy festival. Each year in March and April comedians from around the world take to Melbourne to enjoy one of the largest comedy festivals in the world.  If you can’t get to the city in autumn, you can still enjoy comedy all year in the smaller venues such as Comedy at Spleen.

Spend an afternoon strolling through the halls of the National Gallery of Victoria’s international collection or the Victorian Arts Centre. For outdoor art fused with architecture walk through Federation Square. If you prefer discovering new art then head to the laneways to find street art and small galleries offering local artists. 

Food and wine is a passion in this city. Visit Lygon Street in Carlton for great Italian fare, Lonsdale Street in the city for Greek food or Little Bourke Street in Chinatown for Asian dishes. Travel in March and you can be a part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. Over 250 events are open to the public, including markets at Southbank, Federation Square and the Docklands. There are master chef classes, cooking displays, wine tastings, degustation dining events, five course brunches, international cuisine evenings and chocolate making classes. 

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