Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, is Australia’s second-largest city. It’s also considered as the country’s cultural capital, as well as the birthplace of Australian contemporary dance, the Australian film and television industries, and even Australian impressionism. It’s also been designated a UNESCO City of Literature. In short, this huge city of almost 5 million people is overflowing with attractions—of things to do, see, and experience
Here are just five such destinations in the city that make Melbourne tour packages well worth your hard-earned money.
Federation Square was opened in 2002 in celebration of the 100th year of Australia’s federation. Since then, it has become one of Australia’s most popular venues for cultural and public events. In fact, it hosts more than 2,000 events each year. There’s a high chance that there’s an art show or cultural performance here when you visit, especially in the outdoor performance space. Federation Square is distinguished by its modern design, combining open and closed spaces and a “deconstructivist” style of architecture. Within “Fed Square,” you can also find the Australian Centre for the Moving Image or ACMI and the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia. The Eureka Tower is also within walking distance. Finally, those who can’t do without checking their social media feeds during the day will love Federation Square. It’s one of Australia’s biggest sites for free Wi-Fi.
National Gallery of Victoria
The National Gallery of Victoria or NGV is the oldest public gallery in Australia. It’s composed of two venues: NGV International for international art and NGV Australia for local and traditional art. NGV International boasts of artworks from Bonnard, Tiepolo, and Rembrandt. Meanwhile, the Ian Potter Centre in Fed Square houses Aboriginal artworks along with contemporary art. All in all, the NGV has an impressive collection that numbers up to more than 70,000 individual pieces. Other notable features of NGV include the stained glass ceiling in the Great Hall and the water wall at the entrance of NGV International (a popular spot for taking photos).
Royal Botanic Gardens
Just two kilometres from Melbourne’s central business district lies the Royal Botanic Gardens. Established in 1846, the Royal Botanic Gardens has more than 8,500 species of flora from all around the world. If you want a more educational visit, you can book walking tours of the Ornamental Lake and also participate in the Aboriginal Heritage Walk. The latter is an interesting look into the history, culture, and lasting heritage of indigenous Australians. For those bringing their children on the trip, you may want to visit the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden. During the summers, the Royal Botanic Gardens is a popular venue for live theater and outdoor cinema. You can also have picnics on the grounds by the lake.
Melbourne Zoo might be old (it first opened in 1862), but it has continued to evolve over the years to become one of the most well-loved and state-of-the-art zoos in the world. Some of the animals you can see here include Madagascar lemurs, Sumatran tigers, and Asian elephants that live in an enclosure designed to look like a village garden. Melbourne Zoo’s “Trail of the Elephants” provides a deeper look into the lives of Asian elephants and has won awards for endeavouring awareness and knowledge. Of course, you can also expect to see native Australian animals, including emus, kangaroos, koalas, tasmanian devils, and wallabies. The zoo also conducts music concerts, animal encounters, and behind-the-scenes tours.
State Library of Victoria
Not a fan of libraries? The State Library of Victoria might change your mind. It’s one of Melbourne’s most iconic cultural landmarks, perhaps most well-known for the La Trobe Reading Room. This is a six-storey-high domed room with awe-inspiring interiors that have been the subject of many a tourist photographs. There are also galleries and exhibitions inside the library, along with thousands upon thousands of books for your reading pleasure. The State Library of Victoria also has a collection of old maps, manuscripts, and newspapers. Best of all, you can access all sections of the library for free! Make sure to sample a cup of Australian coffee at Mr. Tulk or the Guild Cafe. If you want to take home a few books, there’s a Readings Bookshop inside.
There are a lot more tourist spots in Melbourne that would surely pique your interest, like the Yarra River, Queen Victoria Market, St. Kilda Beach, and the Royal Exhibition Building. The bottom line? Melbourne has everything a tourist could ask for.
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