Melbourne Travel Guide (VIC, 3000)

The world's most livable city

Melbourne, the capital of the state of Victoria, is set around the shores of Victoria's Port Phillip Bay and boasts a lively and cosmopolitan pulse, with chic boutiques, buzzing cafés and bars, immaculate gardens and festivals and popular sporting events. The city sits on the Yarra River, about five kilometres from the bay.

One glance at a map and it's obvious Melbourne is a planned city: a tidy, balanced grid of neatly angled streets. But beneath this sense of restraint lies a restless creative energy. Discover the work of talented local artists, architects and designers in stylish fashion boutiques, buzzing laneway cafés, hidden galleries and trendy bars.

Melbourne is a city of style and sophistication, with an inviting cosmopolitan atmosphere. It is a melting pot of cultures reflected in its microcosm of restaurants, cafés, bistros and bars. Melbourne's dining offers a dizzying spread of great cuisines, serving meals from the substantial and classic to the truly exotic.

From locally designed originals to the best of international fashion brands you'll be spoilt for choice in Melbourne's shopping precincts. Explore the inner city shopping centres and the city's myriad of arcades and laneways.

The CBD is made up of many precincts – enclaves with their own distinct flavour and charm. Some are just a lane or two, while others cover a suburb or a busy CBD street. Spend time experiencing the richness of Melbourne’s different cultures from the Greek Quarter around Lonsdale Street, Italian in Lygon street, Vietnamese in Victoria Street to the Chinese culture in Chinatown and the upmarket Paris End of Collins Street.

Exhibition Buildings, Carlton Gardens | Melbourne

The main hall of Melbourne's Exhibition Buildings of 1880 still survives as a proud monument to high Victorian optimism and belief in progress. The original complex of buildings covered an area of 8 hectares in Carlton Gardens complete with lakes and fountains. The buildings were used for the centennial exhibition of 1888. In 1901 the building was blazed with 10,000 electric lights to celebrate th...

State Library of Victoria, Swanston Street | Melbourne

This institution, which began as the old Melbourne Public Library, is now known to scholars the world over. It contains more than 800,000 volumes and a notable collection of Victoriana-including more than 18,000 paintings, drawings, prints, and artefacts. © LBH

Helen Lempriere National Sculpture Award | Melbourne

The Award is held at the Mansion at Werribee Park, Melbourne, early March to early May. Enjoy contemporary sculptures from Australia's leading artists, in the magnificent grounds of Werribee Park.