Melbourne (Australia's second largest city) is the capital of the SE state of Victoria, located at the head of Port Phillip Bay. The city itself, laid out in a large rectangle and boasting a lively and cosmopolitan pulse, sits on the northern banks of the Yarra River, about five kilometres from the bay. Melbourne is recognised as Australia’s cultural capital, with Victorian-era architecture, extensive shopping, museums, galleries, theatres, and large parks and gardens. The 4-million residents are both multicultural and generally sports-mad.
Melbourne is an ideal destination for experiencing major sporting events and to use as a base for exploring surrounding regions such as Grampians National Park, The Great Ocean Road, and to visit Phillip Island to view the penguin parade. Many UK visitors come to Melbourne for tours of filming locations of soap operas such as Neighbours.Melbourne is sophisticated and slick, edgy and rough and is the cutting-edge for urban developments such as the Federation Square which is enigmatic and contemporary in style. Despite the city gearing itself to a jet-set pace, the locals still keep their urban frenzy to a delightfully slow pace. Trams lumber back and forth on routes radiating out like spokes from central Melbourne, and cycling is a common way to get from A to B.
The Central Business District is easily navigable by foot, and for those looking for a time-out from the numerous sightseeing opportunities and the extensive shopping options, there are numerous parks nearby, such as the Royal Botanical Gardens, Fitzroy Gardens and Carlton Gardens.
Melbourne's population of almost four million is made up of a variety of cultures. Chinese, Italian, Vietnamese, Lebanese and Greek residents all contribute to the ambience of this vibrant city.