Australia's multicultural hub
It's not difficult to see something memorable in Melbourne. You can hardly walk two blocks without running into a quirky piece of street sculpture or stencil art, a group of buskers or an unusual take on a familiar scene. Nevertheless, there are some areas and grand attractions that you shouldn't miss. The Melbourne Aquarium is a good first stop, especially for shark lovers. From there, you can cross the Yarra River and walk east along the riverside promenade making sure you take in the view from the Eureka Tower, Melbourne's tallest building. Eventually you'll reach Princes Bridge, which leads back across the river to Federation Square. There you can rest at a cafe and take in the stunning contemporary architecture or visit the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, a unique museum devoted to film and video.
The Ian Potter Centre is also on the square, home to the city's best collection of Australian art. (If you enjoy the pieces there, consider visiting the Heide Museum of Modern Art, which has more works by Australian artists.) Stroll along the Paris end of Collins—named for the exclusive shopping and grand Victorian buildings—and visit historic points along the self-guided Golden Mile walking tour. Check out the bustle of Chinatown with its shops and restaurants over numerous city blocks. Just north of the city centre is the Melbourne Museum, which is a great place to learn about Australia's natural history and Aboriginal culture. Botanists should check out the Royal Botanic Gardens, and history buffs should visit Old Melbourne Gaol, the former prison that once housed Australia's worst criminals. Wandering through one of Melbourne's colourful markets is a great way to spend the morning. Day trips to the wineries of the Yarra Valley or to the beaches are other options