Things to Do in Melbourne - page 4
Completed in 1997, the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Center (MSAC) is one of the largest athletic centers in the southern hemisphere. Home of the 2006 Commonwealth Games and the 2007 FINA World Swimming Championships, the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Center has a wide range of facilities for both serious swimmers and recreational users. Aquatic facilities include a number of indoor pools such as a 50-meter competition pool and 25-meter lap pool, a multi-purpose pool, outdoor 50m pool, wave pool including toddlers' play area, spa, sauna and steam room, water slide, dive boards, and hydrotherapy pool.
The MSAC also boasts one of three FlowRider machines in Australia. The FlowRider creates a static wave of water that gives riders a similar experience to wakeboarding or surfing.
Other facilities include a 10-court squash facility with international standard glass show court, 12 court badminton stadium, 27 table tennis tables, a 10 court basketball facility with a 1800 seat show court, and three volleyball courts. These facilities can be rented by the hour, or visitors can come and watch some of the many amateur and professional sporting events taking place here.
Vibrant, bustling and lined with shops, Chapel Street is an essential urban adventure in Melbourne. This long inner-Melbourne street is perfect for a full day of shopping, café and bar hopping, people watching and riding the classic Melbourne trams that frequent the street.
Melbourne’s oldest food markets, the Prahran Markets, are a local favorite and can be found just off Chapel Street. There you can peruse multicultural flavors and buy fresh bread, produce, seafood and meat, as well as street food snacks like cheesy Turkish pastry and falafel.
If fashion is your weakness, treat yourself to the colorful quality of Gorman, the street wear at Fat, the minimalist designs of Cylk, the specialty denim of Dakota 501 and the Scandinavian style of Dansk, as well as wares from the many other Chapel Street boutiques.
The largest section of the Dandenong Ranges National Park, Sherbrooke Forest is known for its fauna and wildlife — including wallabies and the famous lyrebird which can mimic dozens of other birds, and even car alarms and camera shutters. Near the suburb of Belgrave, 40 kilometers east of Melbourne, Sherbrooke Forest is dominated by Mountain Ash — the tallest flowering plant in the world, and tree ferns.
Once prime logging land, by 1958 Sherbrooke Forest was officially protected parkland. On a visit, you’ll start at the picnic grounds from which a series of trails leads into the wet sclerophyll forest. One of the most popular trails is the 2.4-km round trip to Sherbrooke Falls through avenues of Mountain Ash. Or if you’d rather just relax, head to the tea room next to the picnic grounds where there are lots of birds to feed for a small fee, including parrots, rosellas, and around fifty cockatoos. And if you ride the Puffing Billy train, you’ll also ride through the southern section of Sherbrooke Forest.
An inner-city amphitheatre within the lawns of the King’s Domain Gardens, the Sidney Myer Music Bowl is a Melbourne’s entertainment icons known for its relaxed, outdoor approach to music, cinema and arts.
Free summer evening concerts, bring-your-own picnics and the sound of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra are delights that are quickly associated with this open-air venue. It is also a Tropfest film screening site, the home of Melbourne’s annual Carols by Candlelight and the host for an impressive catalogue of international artists.
The Sidney Myer Music Bowl complements the premier suite of cultural venues in Melbourne, and is conveniently located close to the Arts Centre Melbourne, Southbank, and the Royal Botanical Gardens. It accommodates up to 10,000 people on its sloping lawn, and another 2000 in up-front seating, making it a popular choice for big-name acts.
Established atop a hill in central Melbourne in 1862, Flagstaff Gardens is the city’s oldest park. Covering 18 acres, on a nice day you’ll see plenty of office workers lounging on the lawns during their lunch breaks. And given the park’s location next door to Queen Victoria Market, a picnic made up of goods from the nearby food stalls is a popular option.
Named after a flagstaff that was erected in 1840 to signal ships into Melbourne port, as you wander through the park you’ll see sculptures and memorial statues, flower and rose beds, leafy eucalyptus, paths lined with avenues of elms for shade, and Moreton Fig trees native to eastern Australia. Look out for local wildlife, including possums, too.
And in the northern corner, you’ll see the local bowling lawn and, for sporty types, along the William Street side of Flagstaff Gardens there are tennis courts which also double as volleyball, handball, and netball courts. Just next to the courts, the electric barbecues are especially busy come summertime. And for a fine example of Melbourne’s extravagant buildings built during the boom years of the Victorian Gold Rush, check out the Melbourne Mint building. Built in 1862 in the Renaissance revival style, it’s just across the street from Flagstaff Gardens and is now home to the Royal Historical Society of Victoria.
Everyone wants a gift from vacation, and the District Docklands are a practical place for finding a really good deal. Here on the city’s bustling Docklands just outside of West Melbourne, visitors might find that special gift at one of the 90 outlets. Start the adventure with coffee or tea from one of the cafés on site, and peruse the sprawling retail maze in search of the perfect fit. If visiting Melbourne from overseas, swing by the center’s Tourism Lounge for a second round of deals, since tourists often receive bonus discounts not available to other shoppers. Additional features include a Ferris wheel and occasional outdoor ice rink, and the District Docklands can be a family outing—not just another shop.
While the area itself is relatively small, Melbourne’s South Wharf Promenade has a large city presence. Set on the scenic southern bank of Melbourne’s Yarra River, the shop-lined promenade faces north to Melbourne’s bustling downtown. While shopping here is the major draw, it’s the restaurants, cafés, and dining options that surprise its visitors the most. It is home to the Melbourne Convention Center and Direct Factory Outlets, and the South Wharf holds a piece of history in the Polly Woodside tall ship. Originally launched in Northern Ireland in 1885, the ship made 17 trips around the world in its 90-year career. Long retired from regular use after years of scouring the globe, the ship is now a floating museum that welcomes visitors and groups. Even here on the fresh water banks of Melbourne’s modern South Wharf, it’s possible to feel like a salty pirate sailing the Southern Sea.
The Kings Domain are a free, soothing retreat from the whirling energy of the nearby city centre.
Within Melbourne’s Domain Parklands, the Kings Domain is well placed to take a relaxing wander through hectares of natural peace. Visitors can enjoy lush lawns perfect for napping upon, spread picnics beneath mature trees, and wander into a fern gully of serene green.
The Kings Domain border onto the Royal Botanical Gardens, and there are multiple gardens within the Kings Domain area. The Queen Victoria Garden features roses, manicured flower beds and a statue of the monarch after which is it named. The Alexandra Gardens skirts the Yarra River and Alexandra Avenue, and features some barbecue areas with impressive city line views.
Take a guided tour through the elegance of wealthy pioneer lifestyle captured in the antique furnishings and manicured land of Melbourne’s Como House and Garden.
Established in 1847 by Edward Eyre Williams, Como House is a well-preserved example of aristocratic style, with fireplaces and chandeliers, gilded mirror frames and rich embroidery. Folktale suggests the house was named in memory of Italy’s Lake Como, where Edward is believed to have proposed to his wife, Jessie Gibbon. Over the years, the house survived the Great Depression and family financial ruin, before being passed through to the Armytage family to endure wartime and 95 years of family dynasty. In 1959, Como House and Garden entered the protection of the National Trust.
Although the House only admits visitors booked in groups of 15 people of more, guided tours are free and allow access to the picturesque gardens after viewing the house.
Known affectionately as Espy to locals, Hotel Esplanade is a performance venue in the seaside suburb of St. Kilda that’s been promoting live music since the 1800s. Almost all of Australia’s music legends have graced the stage at the Espy at some point in their career; in an average week the pub hosts more than 50 bands and DJs.
More Things to Do in Melbourne
Holding its own within Australia’s cultural capital, Melbourne’s Scienceworks is a top kid-friendly attraction offering hands-on science and technology activities, live demonstrations, cosmic adventures, electrifying displays, and historical exhibitions.
Highlights include the Melbourne Planetarium, with its domed ceiling and high-definition video of deep space, plus the museum's guided tours, dynamic shows, and temporary science and technology exhibitions.
Scienceworks has an onsite café, as well as a barbecue area, covered seating, and a playground, making it especially easy for groups and picnics.
For the ultimate ballet experience in Australia, be sure to see a production by The Australian Ballet, which is based in Melbourne.
Founded in 1962, this inspiring national ballet company has been delivering classical ballet with technical expertise for five decades. Lose yourself in the delicate romance of Odette and Prince Siegfried from Swan Lake, absorb the energy of Don Quixote or be mesmerised by the theatrical contemporary motion of Vanguard.
While based at The Primrose Potter Australian Ballet Centre in Melbourne’s Southbank, the company is one of the busiest in the world and tours nationally and internationally to stage more than 200 performances each year.
As well as seeing a performance in the acclaimed Melbourne Arts Centre, visitors can take a one hour behind-the-scenes tour of the dance studios and see how rehearsals, costumes, lighting, stage management and direction combine to create on-stage magic. Dancers from the public can also sign up for workshops and master classes taught by company ballerinas.
With its world-class aeronautical collection featuring 52 aircrafts and counting, the Australian National Aviation Museum is the biggest of its kind in Australia, and it’s a must for aviation enthusiasts. Located at Moorabbin airport, the museum offers a fascinating introduction to Australia’s aviation history, with aircrafts dating from WWII to present-day, and exhibits including uniforms, models, engines, and other flight memorabilia.
Highlights of a visit include rare aircrafts such as a WW2 Beaufighter and a Desoutter II; the world’s oldest surviving CAC Wirraway; a Vickers Viscount that alleged once served as Fidel Castro's plane; and a unique WW1-era Fokker DR1 fuel tank, believed to be from the Red Baron's aircraft.
Located in Victoria’s Great Dividing Range, Mount Macedon is one of the highest peaks in the Macedon Ranges at 3,284 feet (1,001 meters). It forms a part of the 5,878-acre (2,379-hectare) Macedon Regional Park, which offers scenic hikes and drives, wonderful views, a range of wildlife, and both natural and cultural points of interest.
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