With a population of over 4.5 million, Melbourne is the most populous city in the Australian state of Victoria and the second most populous one on the continent (beaten only by Sydney, of course). With an urban agglomeration spread across 9.900 square kilometres, it clearly is a modern-day juggernaut of its kind. Named after the renowned William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, the settlement was first declared a city by Queen Victoria in 1847. It soon became the capital of the newly-founded colony of Victoria in 1851. During those times (the 1850s), the local gold rush facilitated it to become one of the most prosperous cities in the world. Melbourne carries the torch in contemporary times as well with countless awe-inspiring sights and jaw-dropping monuments, so stay tuned for the in-depth exploration.
Melbourne is located within the bounds of the temperate oceanic climate zone. This means that it experiences mild temperature fluctuations depending on the season. Notorious for its changeable weather and often instantaneous turn-arounds, however, Melbourne sees everything from severe thunderstorms to falling hale (hence the title). This is due to the fact that it is located close not only to the cool southern ocean currents but also to the inland heat. Such duality can do nothing else but excite the elements and from extreme heat to swift cold fronts, again, Melbourne experiences them all. The summer/winter interchange adheres to southern hemisphere standards and thus the hottest months are January and February whilst the coolest ones are June and July. If you are travelling during wintertime, you are more likely to face rain and thunder, so we encourage you to pack those ponchos and prepare for the trip of your life (wink)!
Melbourne is served by the eponymous Melbourne Airport. Handling more than 33 million passengers each year, it is the second busiest airport in Australia (beaten only by the massive Sydney Airport). With just over 200.000 aircraft movements per year, it is located 23 kilometres away from the city centre. Oh, and let us not forget about the fact that the Melbourne-Sydney route is the 4th most frequently used air-connection in the world (over 7.2 million passengers per year). This means that nearly 25% of the flights are coming from and going there.
Melbourne has the largest tram network in the world. With a massive ridership of 182 million per year, it beats even juggernauts like the tram system of St. Petersburg. Operating with a track length of 250 kilometres, the system has nearly 500 trams and over 1.750 stops. These are all distributed into 25 massive lines (routes). Due to the generality of its use, it is as cheap as a transport system can get in Australia. Yet this may be of no consolation to those who travel on a light budget for Australia is the fifth country in the world on the ladder of average wages (beaten only by Luxemburg, Switzerland, the United States of America and Ireland). Plan your budget accordingly and you should run into no problems.
SIGHTS AND ACTIVITIES:
Visiting Melbourne without taking a deep breath within the bounds of the Royal Botanic Gardens would be a complete waste for such beauty can rarely be witnessed around the globe. Stretching upon a land area of 38 hectares the landscaped gardens are located on the south bank of the Yarra River. From local plants to exotic ones, you can find anything there. Yet it does not end here, for it has a separate extension 45 kilometres south-east of the city centre (in the suburb of Cranbourne) that you might wish to check out as well. That extension is much larger (363 hectares) and it offers greater variety.
Next up, you should head over to the Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens – commonly known as the Melbourne Zoo. Located 4 kilometres from the city centre towards the north, the establishment boasts with a collection of 320 species and over 5.000 animals. Stretching upon an area of 22 hectares, it is more than welcoming for you and your children. Oh, and let us not forget the fact that it is the oldest Australian zoo modelled after the London Zoo.
Have you ever wondered which market in the southern hemisphere is the largest? Well, you guessed it – it is Melbourne’s famous Queen Victoria Market (colloquially known as Vic Market). Approximately 7 hectares in size, the market has been registered on the Victorian Heritage Register. This is due to the fact that it is the only surviving Victorian market from the 19th century. As you can see, many parts of Melbourne reflect the grandeur of Queen Victoria and if you visit the city, you should probably research her a bit.
Located at the intersection of Flinders Street and Swanston Street/St. Kilda Road in the Central Business District, Federation Square is most indubitably the most celebrated landmark of Melbourne. Encompassing a substantial area of 3.2 hectares, the mixed-use development (as they call these sorts of complexes) includes St. Paul’s Court, The Atrium and The Square. If you happen to be exploring the city by rail, make sure you stop at the Flinders Street station (the busiest one in the city) and meander through the square.
One cannot visit a major city like Melbourne and be bored. The food is exquisite, the people are friendly and the multitude of fine establishments all sing beckoning songs. In spite of the chaotic nature of the weather (it may be appealing to some of you daredevils), things are usually smooth and tourist-friendly. Prices may be a bit steep (remember those salary stats) but if you are prepared, you can work your way around just fine. Plan your trip now and make sure you hit the comment section telling us all about it!