Sophisticated and slick, edgy and rough, Melbourne’s physical and cultural landscape is shaped by a dynamic population, ever-ravenous for a bite of global culture. The result is Australia’s most accessible multiculturalism. Ornate Victorian-era architecture and leafy, established boulevards reflect the city’s history, and cutting-edge developments such as Federation Sq exemplify its enigmatic contemporary style. But, Melburnians still keep their urban frenzy to a deliciously sedate 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 Z.
Character-filled neighbourhoods, such as Fitzroy, St Kilda and Carlton, hum with life and the city produces some of the best art, music, cuisine, fashion, performance, design and ideas in the world. Melburnians are also devoted to their sport and they go ballistic around the Australian Football League (AFL; ‘footy’ to the locals) finals and during Spring Racing Carnival. They love to shop, eat and attend the myriad festivals that the city offers. You’ll even find them defending the city’s temperamental weather, and if you’ve ever experienced Melbourne’s inclination to plummet from searing heat to drizzling rain in the space of an hour, you’ll understand that this must be the true definition of unconditional love.
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Best places to stay in Melbourne
Top 40 rock 'n' roll travel sites countdown (40-21)
You don't have to worry about road trip tunes when rock 'n' roll is your destination. The beat comes naturally when you're connecting the dots between crossroads, polyester suit shops, distortion pedals, death sites and links to those Gallagher brothers. To help start, here's our Top 40 list.
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Melbourne's art beat
Melbourne destination guides
Conquer your fear: 4 tips for solo women travelers
Lonely Planet produced this article in conjunction with our partner, Self Magazine. Take our travel poll to see what kind of solo traveler you are. I used to be scared to travel alone. Now I jump right in. Before spending a year studying in Turkey, I had never traveled solo.
Yarra Valley Wine and Winery Tour from Melbourne
Join a full-day Yarra Valley wine tour and visit four of the region's best known wineries: Yering Station, Balgownie Estate, Yering Farm and Domaine Chandon. Over lunch and a series of wine tastings, see why the Yarra Valley is one of Australia's most picturesque wine regions on your Yarra Valley wine tour, the perfect day trip from Melbourne.
Melbourne Balloon Flight at Sunrise
Come on a magical hot air balloon flight over Melbourne - one of the few cities in the world that you can soar above in a hot air balloon! Admire Melbourne's city skyline at early dawn as your balloon flies for approximately one hour and then toast your good fortune with an optional champagne breakfast.
Best places to get naked
It's not news to point out that the human body has been fetishized by advertising, consumerism, cinema, etc. There is, however, no better way to realize the folly of this fetishism than to get naked with others (in some non-sexual way) and see how quickly the symbolic becomes hyperbolic.