Melbourne is a maze of hidden laneways, opulent bars, exclusive restaurants and off-the-beaten-track boutiques. Here you can soak up culture, hit the sporting grounds, taste the dynamic food and wine scene, dance til dawn or wander the parks and leafy boulevards. Visit Federation Square, the city's landmark cultural space, and enjoy a sunset beer on the St Kilda promenade. Shop till you drop on funky Brunswick Street or upmarket Chapel Street. Wander Southbank's cafes, bistros and bars and get a world tour of cuisines in Carlton, Richmond and Fitzroy. Take an Aboriginal Heritage Walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens and cheer with a capacity crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
Five Must-Have Melbourne Experiences:
1. Shop till you drop
Bag a bargain at the Rose Street Artist's Market and browse the funky boutiques on Brunswick Street. Buy designer labels such as Akira Isogawa and Zimmerman on Chapel Street in Prahran or in the historic Melbourne General Post Office, which covers an entire city block. For everything from fashion to furnishings at fantastic value, visit Bridge Road in Richmond. Melbourne is a shopper's haven, offering eclectic boutiques, high-end fashion, funky homeware stores and European style piazzas in the city's arcades and hidden laneways.
2. Bar hop and dance till dawn
Sip a cocktail in a converted sea container in Chinatown, enjoy a sunset beer in a St Kilda pub or listen to cabaret in lush retro surroundings in jazz bars in the city. Linger over exquisite tapas and exotic wine in a Little Collins Street bar and mingle in a pink parlour with fake grass in Bourke Street. You can party from dusk in the bars of Brunswick Street. Or dance till dawn in bars in the city's lantern-lit laneways, secret apart from the spill of coloured light under heavy brass doors.
3. Get into the gourmet goodness
Let the aroma of good coffee waft over you in Melbourne's gothic European laneways. The city is famous for its coffee and old-world café culture but there's so much more to explore. Once you've downed a 'short black' or taken an afternoon aperitif, try tea in a nineteenth-century hotel or salivate over your silver spoon in acclaimed restaurants like Nobu, Botanical and Becco. Pick up fresh fruits, vegetables and seafood at the Queen Victoria Market on a Saturday, known for its bustling crowds and buskers. Try out the restaurants, cafes, bistros and bars in Southbank or Federation Square. Make your way around Melbourne's multicultural cosmos of cuisines: Carlton for Italian classics, Richmond for budget-friendly Vietnamese and Fitzroy for Spanish tapas.
4. Fill up on culture
See a performance by the Australian Ballet, which is based here in Australia's cultural capital. Or enjoy a dazzling musical at the Princess Theatre. Browse the Southern Hemisphere's best collection of international art at the National Gallery of Victoria. Or visit the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Federation Square, a landmark cultural 'space' for Melbournians. Challenge yourself with the creative collections in the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art in Southbank. To learn more about Melbourne's Aboriginal cultural heritage, see contemporary and dreamtime art or take an Aboriginal Heritage Walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens.
5. Go sports mad
Cheer for an Australian Rules Football game with a capacity crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground over winter. Go cricket mad in summer, when the city hosts the Ashes and one day internationals. Or join the huge crowds watching the Australian Tennis Open at Melbourne Park. Rev heads head to Melbourne in March for the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix in Albert Park. And whether you are a racing fan or just a casual punter, you won't want to miss the Melbourne Cup - the world's richest horse race on the first Tuesday in November.
Learn about Australia's culture, history and way of life in our nation's capital. Explore our political past and modern democracy at the Museum of Australian Democracy and Parliament House. Find out more about our sporting heroes at the National Institute of Sport and Science and experience an earthquake at Questacon. Once you've exhausted the monuments and galleries, get into the great outdoors. This culturally-rich capital is famous for its lake, parklands and native bushland surrounds. Beneath the foliage, Canberra offers stylish restaurants, hip bars, boutique shopping and a non-stop calendar of festivals and events.
Five Things to Enjoy in Canberra:
1. Capital Attractions: Visit National Attractions to Modern Australia
Delve into Australia's political past at the Museum of Australian Democracy and watch Australian politicians debate current issues at Parliament House. Discover Australia through the eyes of our artists at the National Gallery of Australia. For interactive, family-friendly fun, don't miss the National Museum of Australia and Questacon - The National Science and Technology Centre. You can learn about our military history at the Australian War Memorial or the secrets of green-and-gold sporting success at the Australian Institute of Sport. Pore over records, photos and stories at the National Library and check out Australia's first constitution at the National Archives.
2. Fantastic Festivals: From Hot-Air Balloons to Hotted-Up Cars
Start your year with the smell of burning rubber at January's Summernats car show. Or celebrate Australia Day with two non-stop days of entertainment, including a cricket match and live music in the grounds of Parliament House. Join the Australian Prime Minister and Governor General for the Anzac Day dawn service at the Australian War Memorial. In autumn, Canberra's skies fill with hot air balloons for the Canberra Balloon Fiesta. In winter you can warm your heart and fill your stomach at the Fireside Festival in the Canberra countryside. In spring, Canberra's parks come alive with the colour and scents of Floriade, Australia's largest floral festival.
3. Sports Galore: To Watch or Play
Test out the world-class mountain biking trails at Mount Stromlo or in Brindabell Nature Park, nestled in the Australian Alps. Nearby Namadgi National Park is great for rock climbing, hiking and horse riding, as is the inner-city bushland of Canberra Nature Park. Meet elite athletes and test your skills at virtual rowing, wheelchair basketball and football at the Australian Institute of Sport. Watch rugby league and rugby union at Canberra Stadium or catch a cricket or Aussie rules game at the historic Manuka Oval. For rev heads there's the Rally of Canberra and the Summernats Car Festival, which combines racing events with a showcase of customised street machines.
4. Namadgi: A National Park of Riches
Follow the Yerrabi Walking Track into the rugged Bimberi wilderness, home to some of the least disturbed eco-systems in the Australian Alps. Or explore forests of snow gum and alpine ash on the Square Rock walking track. Four wheel to the top of Mt Coree, fish from trout-filled streams and cross-country ski the winter slopes. See kangaroos, wallabies and northern corroboree frogs and explore snow-gum woodlands, wetlands and wildflower-cloaked plains. See the campsites, ceremonial stone arrangements and rock art sites left by the Ngunawal people thousands of years ago. Then trace the trail of pastoralists and gold hunters and see the memorial to the Apollo space tracking station at Honeysuckle Creek.
5. Food and Wine: on the Poachers' Trail
Follow the Poachers Way to some of the 140 vineyards and 33 wineries dotting the tranquil countryside around Canberra. Take a gumboot tour through the vineyards and learn about the factors that shape the region's diverse styles - from sangiovese to riesling, chardonnay, pinot noir and shiraz. Stop in at a farm for cheeses, oils, chutneys, jams, wood smoked meats and homemade wine. Or team a bottle of last year's vintage with a wood-fired pizza at a winery. Visit local studios and galleries showcasing handmade art, glassware and pottery. At the end of the day, stay in a boutique bed and breakfast, historic homestead or a luxurious country retreat.
Beechworth is a small town is Victoria, Australia, offering plenty of exciting things to do. Beechworth offers fine dining and local wineries, festivals, and frequent reenactments of colonial history. Adventurous visitors can enjoy the extensive walking and biking trails where an abundance of wildlife can be viewed, or cool down in Woolshed Falls, one of Beechworth’s most famous natural attractions.
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