Melbourne, Australia-1
Cruise Ports Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne, Australia

Given the rivalry for Australia's best city between Melbourne and Sydney, let's see if we can convince you of Melbourne's charms and why you should explore this small state.

Melbourne CBD is easy to navigate. The city is full of hip laneways boasting street art, coffee spots and great restaurants to suit all tastes and budgets. If you do love your coffee, keep an eye out for anywhere with a line-up, or there are also dedicated coffee tours you can join. This city is one to explore on foot and, apart from the standard historic or foodie walking tours, it is unique that you can also join a tour to gain a better understanding of the dedicated street art scene, actually run by the street artists.

Lygon Street is still best known for its stretch of Italian restaurants, the Greek Precinct on Lonsdale street is great for authentic food, and you will find the best deli and fresh bakery selections at the Queen Victoria Markets. Flinders Street Station and Federation Square, the Palais Theatre (as Melbourne probably still boasts the best live music scene in Australia) and Luna Park and its 1912 rollercoaster are great spots to take in some history. For a little fun, have dinner on The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant (pre-booking essential), time your visit with some great Theatre or one of the many Festivals held here, catching a game of AFL at the MCG or, of course, going shopping (boutiques abound) round off a few of the highlights of the city.

But why spend all of your time in the city when the rest of the state has so much to offer. Hiring a car and spending time discovering Victoria is made easier by the offering of a second airport, which may mean you do not have to drive all the way back when you are ready to fly home.

The most well known of self-drive options (or there are coach tours that you can choose) would be to take in The Great Ocean Road, not only to see The 12 Apostles, but you can stop at the world-famous waves at Bells Beach or visit the charming old fishing village of Port Fairy and get among the buzzing arts community in Lorne. Not only is there a great selection of beachside villages to stay at, local restaurant options, and Wildlife…you can continue on to Adelaide (not the “other” airport we were referring to), but this spectacular coastal drive is a great State to State option.

Whilst you are down this way you can find thundering waterfalls and treetop walks at the Great Otway National Park, or attempt the 91km Great Ocean Walk for some magnificent scenery at a slower pace.

Of course the climate here means Vineyards. There are over 29 wine regions in this state. To accompany the vineyards, cheese and berries are also plentiful (pick your own raspberries and blackberries at Pennyroyal Raspberry Farm). After eating, drinking and walking, you need to relax and pamper yourself, and the Mornington Peninsula has some of the best natural hot springs (and golf courses) to discover. Daylesford is also known for its day spas and boutique hotels if you would like to truly spoil yourself.

Ballarat has the infamous Sovereign Hill and is full of galleries and vintage shopping. Torquay has its surf scene and Lorne has a laid back fishing village feel. The Dandenongs are truly spectacular, and riding the Puffing Billy Train is a fund must do.

A little further away, are the little penguins on Philip Island (too cute) and you should not miss this spot. Also known for the Grand Prixs (February, April and October), the Island is a great family getaway with its own beaches, walks, local brews, local Koalas, the Jazz festival in November, and definitely its own unique charm.

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