The capital of Victoria, Melbourne is Australia’s second largest city and its most diverse. Greek, Chinese, Italian, Vietnamese, and Lebanese immigrants have all settled here over the years giving the city a rich culture and the people a savoir vivre. There’s even a museum aptly named the Immigration Museum that’s dedicated to all the people who have migrated to Victoria since the 1800s. Although each Melbournian you meet will be unique in their own right they all have one thing in common: a love for sports. The Australian Tennis Open held in Melbourne Park, the Australian Grand Prix and the Melbourne Cup horse race are testaments of their devotion.
In recent years Melbourne’s popularity has grown to rival Sydney’s and travellers planning a visit should book their Melbourne flights early since there’s always an event taking place. But the lively buzz doesn’t stop at a single event; it’s there every day of the week coming out of its cool jazz bars, fashionable cafes and über-chic boutiques.
The city attracts more than just sports enthusiasts and culture seekers, nature lovers booking Melbourne flights won’t be disappointed. Outside the city are lush vineyards, outback wilderness, and captivating wildlife beckoning to be discovered.
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Summer in Melbourne, December to February, has warm days in the upper 20s (Celsius). Spring is cool and lasts from September to November. Average temperatures in winter range from seven to 12 degrees. Autumn brings the changing leaves and moderate temperatures.
When to fly to Melbourne
Melbourne is busiest in summer and winter. The Australian Open is last two weeks of January, and the Australian Formula One Grand Prix is held in early March. From the end of March through April, you can catch the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and the Melbourne International Film Festival is mid-July into August.
The Melbourne Fringe Festival takes place in the first three weeks in October, and the Melbourne Cup on the first Tuesday in November. October through March is cricket season, and winter skiing is just a three-hour drive from the city.
The shoulder seasons of spring and autumn are excellent times to book flights to Melbourne. In spring the gardens are blooming and in autumn the foliage is glorious.
Keep in mind though that Melbourne is busy year-round with international festivals and events, so always check the city’s event schedule before looking for a deal.
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Getting around Melbourne
Melbourne is lovely city to walk through. It’s fairly compact and the Yarra River, which runs through the middle of the city, offers cruises for those who want to spend their time floating through town. There are plenty of transport options to be found; trams, trains and buses crisscross the city. The trams are a great way to experience one of Melbourne’s cultural icons, and buses stop at all the major sights. Except for peak hours, it’s easy to hail one of the many cabs. Taxis tend to fill up quickly on Friday and Saturday nights. Driving can be a hassle, despite the ease of navigating through Melbourne’s streets, since trams and aggressive drivers complicate traffic.
Melbourne insider information
- Visit Captain James Cook’s family home in the Fitzroy Gardens in East Melbourne. The cottage was shipped - in 253 packing cases - from Yorkshire in 1933. The assembled cottage, restored twice, sits in the shade of large European trees in the park.
- St Kilda has been a popular seaside area since the 19th century. It is just 20 minutes by tram from downtown Melbourne. Fitzroy Street and Acland Street Precinct, two buzzy, vibrant areas, are two great draws. Not least for the patisseries.
- The Queen Victoria market, located on the corner of Elizabeth and Victoria Streets, is the largest open air market in the Southern Hemisphere. It covers seven hectares and has been going for more than 125 years.
- Take a wine tour in the Yarra Valley.
- Go to Philip Island in the evening. The best thing about this nature reserve is seeing the penguins returning “home” to the island after a day’s fishing.
- Melbourne Zoo opened in 1862 and has more than 350 species of animals, many of them native to the Southern Hemisphere. In residence are wombats, koala bears, kangaroos and wallabies among many others. There’s a fabulous butterfly house there with 12 species of Australian butterflies. There are approximately 800 butterflies in the house at any time.
- The Royal Botanic Gardens are one of the finest in Australia.
- Birrarung Marr, a riverside park that is almost a continuous green belt around Melbourne and Carlton Gardens extend around the Royal Exhibition Building which dates from 1880.