Along with its position at the very bottom of the continent – only Hobart beats it for southerly latitude and Southern Ocean chill – Melbourne might have been purpose built to challenge accepted notions of Australian city life. It can seem topographically bland, prone to capricious cold and hot snaps, and, if blessed by a sandy fringed bay, far from what you’d call a beach destination.
What Melbourne offers instead of sun and surf is a slowness and intent around everything culinary, plentiful museums and galleries, and a late night culture that’s definitely the country’s most varied and vibrant. It’s fashion conscious and trendsetting, defiantly intellectual, and a champion of diversity and multiculturalism. Its city centre is a joy to traverse by foot or tram and just beyond lie some delightfully intact Victorian streetscapes. Outdoorsy action comes in the form of an enviable sporting calendar and miles of gorgeous parkland. It’s a subtle, intriguing and enveloping mix – Melburnians wouldn’t have it any other way.
For further Melbourne inspiration, see our guides to the city’s best hotels, restaurants, bars, cafés, beaches, attractions and things to do for free. For further inspiration plan the ultimate road trip from Melbourne down Australia’s Great Ocean Road.