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Melbourne is aptly stereotyped as Australia's cultural capital. Its inner-city arts precinct hosts the splendid National Gallery of Victoria and some venerable performing arts venues, while in nearby Carlton is the absorbing Melbourne Museum. Musicians from around town and around the world play in convivial pubs and grand concert halls, and festivals devoted to comedy, writing and food litter the local calendar. The dining and wining scene is arguably the country's best - not just because of the diversity of cuisines and the idiosyncratic leanings of the pubs and bars, but also because of the sheer quantity of places to eat and drink. An ...

Melbourne is aptly stereotyped as Australia's cultural capital. Its inner-city arts precinct hosts the splendid National Gallery of Victoria and some venerable performing arts venues, while in nearby Carlton is the absorbing Melbourne Museum. Musicians from around town and around the world play in convivial pubs and grand concert halls, and festivals devoted to comedy, writing and food litter the local calendar. The dining and wining scene is arguably the country's best - not just because of the diversity of cuisines and the idiosyncratic leanings of the pubs and bars, but also because of the sheer quantity of places to eat and drink. An earthier experience is offered by the Melbourne Cricket Ground when football teams clash in front of tens of thousands of supporters. Those who have had their fill of human culture retreat to the superb Melbourne Aquarium or the Melbourne Zoo, or head east into the verdant Dandenong Ranges and lose themselves among the tree ferns and the mountain ash.

Paul Smitz
About the Expert

Paul Smitz has coauthored a dozen guidebooks for Lonely Planet on places such as Australia, New Zealand, Malaysian Borneo, Brunei, various Pacific Islands, Prague, and Brussels.

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Paul Smitz for Triporati

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Now Happening in Melbourne, Australia

Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Located around Port Phillip Bay in Australia's south-east, Melbourne is the state capital of Victoria.
  • Language: English
  • Currency: Australian dollar
  • Research: Melbourne | Wikitravel
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    Spring for gardens, summer for activities and outdoor eating/drinking