Melbourne is Australia's second-largest city and its cultural hub. A visit to the city will open any visitor's eyes to the sheer variation of activities and attractions on offer.
From historic architecture to modern festivals and sporting events, Melbourne is a vibrant centre that should be included on any Australian tour.
International flights land at Melbourne International Airport (MEL), also sometimes called Tullamarine Airport. This is the only international airport in Melbourne, the state capital of Victoria, although there are three other smaller airports for internal and cargo services, including the former primary airport of Essendon and Avalon Airport.
As the second busiest airport in Australia, Melbourne Airport serves over 27 million passengers a year. Located 23km from the city centre, it is accessible via both public and private transport. The Skybus Super Shuttle takes around 20 minutes to get to central Melbourne, while four local bus lines also serve the airport.
Founded in 1835, Melbourne is a relatively new city but one that is nonetheless brimming with culture, history and architectural beauty. On arrival in the city centre it is not difficult to see why it is a top travel destination. It was built along the Yarra River on Port Phillip Bay and Victorian buildings blend with modern skyscrapers to create a stunning skyline. While the business district contains towering high-rises such as the 62-floor Freshwater Place, other parts of Melbourne are home to outstanding examples of 19th-century design. The enormous white columns of Parliament House, the spires of St Patrick's Cathedral and Flinders Street Station, an icon of the city, should not be missed.
Also known as Australia's cultural capital, Melbourne is the nation's film, television and music hub, making it a great city for the arts. The National Gallery of Victoria is both the oldest and largest public arts museum in Australia.
Each suburb extending beyond the city centre has its own unique character, which has helped to shape Melbourne to become the eclectic city that it is today. Fitzroy is its bohemian heart and it is here that cafes, independent galleries and music venues can be found in abundance, as well as Melbourne's Fringe Festival, one of the many festivals occurring in the city each year.
Nearby is the 'Little Italy' suburb of Carlton, characterised by beautiful Victorian architecture and some of Melbourne's most significant buildings. These include the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Carlton Gardens that contains the Royal Exhibition Building and Melbourne Museum.
To the south of Melbourne, the suburb of St Kilda is home to the best beaches and many iconic attractions, including Luna Park and a number of major events and festivals. It also has a strong connection to a number of the nation's favoured sports, including the Australian Football League.
Melbourne is often also referred to as the sporting capital of Australia because of its strong tradition of sporting events and occasions. As well as hosting the 1956 Olympic Games and the Commonwealth Games in 2006, the Australian Open tennis tournament is held in the city and it is the venue for the Australian Formula One Grand Prix. It is also where the Melbourne Cup, the annual horse-racing event known as 'the race that stops the nation', is held.
Melbourne has a range of venues for those looking for peace and quiet. There are picturesque parks, such as the beautifully designed Fitzroy Gardens, miles of outstanding beaches and the underwater calm and curiosities found in Melbourne Aquarium.
Melbourne is an area of fantastic geographical and cultural variety and Melbourne flights will deliver visitors to a city that cannot go unexplored. With great public transport links, including a tram network that is the largest in the world, access to all of the sights is simple, helping to ensure that any visit is an enjoyable one.
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