Head Over Heels In Love With Melbourne

We only live once. A lifetime is probably not enough to fulfill every little dream or capture every sweet memory. So whenever life presents a chance to explore an uncharted terrain, I am always game. Suffice to say, the charm of the unknown attracts me the most.

I've traveled to ten countries in the past eight years – either for work or education – and each time returned with bags full of experience and adventure. In fact, South Korea became my second home from 2005 to 2012, a period of time when I was employed with Samsung Electronics. 

Surprisingly, I've never been down under.


A Soil Untouched, A Continent Unvisited


The only visa stamp missing on my passport is that of Australia.

Australia, its interesting shape and location on the world map, and the clear waters that wash its shores have always beckoned me. Even when my favorite celebrity Oprah Winfrey rounded off her 25th season with a surprise visit to Oz, I watched her each step of the way … penning down my own itinerary and the must-see places.

And there it stood out, the city of Melbourne. A chic and vibrant mélange of style, sport, diverse cultures, fine exquisite dinning and high fashion boutiques. To me, Melbourne is like a mysterious maze of laneways, a city blessed with breathtaking natural beauty and landscapes … and unarguably home to some of the most astonishing architectural wonders in the world.

Laneways of Melbourne
(Image courtesy: http://linksservice.com/melbourne-laneways/)

Melbourne – My Next Holiday Destination


Melbourne is the beautiful capital of the state of Victoria and is the second most populated city of Australia. Often lauded as the most livable city in the world, Melbourne is also one of the country's leading financial centers. No surprise then, it was tagged by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) as the fourth most expensive city in the world in the year 2013.



Stop 1: Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)


The holiday would ideally kickstart with a visit to the Mecca of all cricket lovers, the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). For a cricket aficionado like me, it'll be a dream come true to have a firsthand, real life experience of the ground that has witnessed enumerable historic cricketing encounters.



As Australia prepares to host the ICC World Cup 2015 in collaboration with New Zealand, the best time to visit the MCG is surely early next year. A golden opportunity to experience the hard work, preparation, and enthusiasm of the locals.

The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)
(Image courtesy: http://www.epicure.com.au/)

Stop 2: Federation Square


Talking of enthusiasm, another landmark and an absolute unmissable place in Melbourne is its ever-so-vibrant Federation Square. Touched by around 10 million visitors annually, Federation Square plays host to nearly 2000 events per year. The events are as diverse as the cultural festivities, exhibitions, event launches, performances, films, concerts, fashion shows, and so on. In short, a one stop shop for cultural attractions, world-class events, touristic expositions, specialty stores, and simply, the best of everything.

If you're a foodie like me, allow the culinary diversity of the place to take over. Don't forget to enjoy a multicourse meal at any one of its sixteen most exquisite restaurants, bars, or cafes.

Federation Square
(Image courtesy: https://cristianruboniphotography.wordpress.com/)

For the art connoisseurs, visit the Ian Potter Center or the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) where you can enjoy and explore around 20,000 Australian artworks comprising of paintings, sculptures, prints, photographs, and textiles.

Fortune of Sir Ian Potter, one of the country's most acclaimed businessman and philanthropist, the gallery houses an ensemble of the oldest artworks.

The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV)
(Image courtesy: http://www.sydney-australia.biz/)

Another distinct offering of the Federation Square is the ACMI or the Australian Center for Moving Image. The place promises to be a journey into the evolution and growth of the moving image. This one-of-a-kind facility not only preserves but also exhibits and promotes Victorian, Australian, as well as International screen content.

ACMI or Australian Center for Moving Image
(Image courtesy: http://alida-altemburg.com/)

Stop 3: Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges


Melbourne, the city of joy, is located on the south-eastern part of the Australian island and enjoys a pleasant oceanic climate for most part of the year. The nearby Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges provide and preserve Australia's diverse flora and fauna.

Yarra Valley
(Image courtesy: http://www.visitmelbourneblog.com/)

Blessed with natural bounties, Melbourne offers its nature-loving visitors innumerable destinations for exploring and admiring God's canvas. The world-renowned Royal Botanical Gardens, situated in the heart of the city, is a picturesque landscaped garden spread across 38 hectares and houses nearly 10,000 native and exotic vegetation. Abundant greenery, wildlife, and a “hidden in the woods” cafe makes for a day well spent.

Royal Botanical Gardens
(Image courtesy: http://www.gardensonline.com.au/)

Stop 4: Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens


If traveling with kids, make sure to visit the Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens (also known as the Melbourne Zoo) and have a tête-à-tête with nearly 320 animals from Australia and around the world.

Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens
(Image courtesy: http://melbourne.diarystar.com.au/)

Additionally, please your little ones with a visit to the sea life Melbourne Aquarium, the house of Southern Ocean and Antarctic creatures. Let them watch the penguins play at the Penguin Playground or enjoy the breathtaking Mermaid Garden Oceanarium and have a look at the Grey Nurse Shark and the Sandbar Shark as they swim alongside 2000 other marine creatures.

Melbourne Aquarium
(Image courtesy: http://commons.wikimedia.org)

Stop 5: St. Kilda Beach and Luna Park


To experience the sun and sand, try a host of beaches in the city. Though similar looking, each promises to be a distinct experience for the traveler of all ages. Like the St. Kilda Beach that welcomes you to fantastic cafes, bars, hotels, and restaurants.

St Kilda Beach
(Image courtesy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/pierodamiani/7949029934/)

It extends to the Luna Park, Australia's oldest theme-based amusement park. You can enjoy alongside fellow Melbournians something they have loved for over 100 years. Then there is the William's Town Beach or the Altona Beach that offers several water based activities.

Luna Park
(Image courtesy: https://www.flickr.com/photos/proimos/12121270906/)

Stop 6: The Shrine of Remembrance


For the admirers of architectural wonders, the city has enough food for soul. The Shrine of Remembrance, located on the St. Kilda Road, is a memorial built to honor the brave Australian men and women who served the country during war. The shrine has a classical style and its design is based on Mausoleum of Mausolus at Halicarnassus, which is one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

The Shrine of Remembrance
(Image courtesy: http://www.lodgebros.com.au/)

Stop 7: St. Paul's Cathedral


St. Paul's Cathedral is another major Melbourne landmark. It is the seat of the Anglican Primate of Australia. The cathedral is located on the very side where the first public Christian services were held in Melbourne. Build in the neo-gothic transitional style, the structure breeds history into the city's center.

St. Paul's Cathedral
(Image courtesy: http://static.panoramio.com/)

Stop 8: Eureka Skydeck 88


Fear heights? Then you must visit the Eureka Skydeck 88 to overcome it. The observation deck of the 297.3 meters high Eureka Tower offers a spellbinding view of the city. Spread across the entire 88th floor of the tower, the Eureka Skydeck 88 is the highest public vantage point and has around 30 view finders to aid visitors, have a closer look at the landmarks around the city.

Eureka Skydeck 88
(Image courtesy: http://national.atdw.com.au/)

The glass cube or "The Edge" extends from the building and adds on to the terrific viewing experience.



Stop 9: Her Majesty's Theatre


Some other architectural attractions include Her Majesty's Theatre which was built in 1886 and can seat around 1700 admirers. The place has also been visited by some very important people in the history. It currently plays the Phantom of the Opera to full capacity, which is also its longest running and most successful production. On your way around the city, visit the Melbourne Town Hall, the Central Municipal Building, and the Seat of the Local Government.

Her Majesty's Theatre
(Image courtesy: www.hmt.com.au)


Stop 10: Rippon Lea House and Gardens


Rippon Lea House and Gardens is a fine grand suburban estate and the first to achieve the national heritage listing. This estate boasts of a huge mansion situated within a vast garden spread across 14 acres and houses a windmill, a lookout tower, a heritage orchard, a lake, a waterfall, a fernery, and lots more. Built in 1868, the estate has a rich heritage and acres of greenlands waiting to be explored.

Rippon Lea House and Gardens
(Image courtesy: www.nationaltrust.org.au)

Contest


Yay! So finally, I get to host the first-ever contest on my blog.

Q. Which of these places would you want to visit in Melbourne and why?

The best answer on every valid entry will win a gift voucher. The contest ends on January 4, 2015.

[Visit the Tourism Victoria website at http://www.visitmelbourne.com/India.aspx
Come Alive in Melbourne (see http://bit.ly/CAMvideos)
@IndiBlogger]

Comments

  1. Wow! Bowled over!!! :) Australia seems to be more beautiful after knowing facts about such wonderful places... Thanx for sharing Rahul :) I am completely enthralled.. Now after the Dubai & Hong Kong trip, I am marking Melbourne as my next destination for vacations! Hurray.... :)

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  2. Great post! After reading your post & watching all the videos, I’d most like to visit the Dandenong Ranges for it’s scenic beauty, breathtaking view and cool breeze blowing through my hair. :P I’d give anything away for driving through the winding roads which are present throughout the ranges. I’d love to stay at one of the bed and breakfast cottages and go on frequent excursions in the forests with my camera which provides excellent views. And not to forget the famous ride in the Puffing Billy, a day reserved especially for that. To add to that, there are also several picnic spots for me and my friends to spend a fun-filled day and the ranges are a perfect spot for hiking and cycling.

    Pingback: https://cruxrebels.wordpress.com/2014/12/24/melbourne-the-place-to-be-see/

    Wish you and your blog a happy new year! :D

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'd like to visit the Great Ocean Road. The sand, the beaches, the natural beauty and the music of the waves-- who can resist such a beautiful thing. I can select a single beach as well, but then a road which moves along the side of the ocean seems like heaven. I will get some excellent pics and selfies too. :)

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  4. Wonderful post and interesting videos that make me feel that
    Melbourne invites the eternal romantic in me to hold hands with my beloved and go see the Twelve Apostles .Go on long drives on the great ocean road. In the middle of nowhere in a vineyard spread a table and enjoy a meal and a glass of wine with my dear one. Enjoy the sunsets holding hands and do lots of shopping at the Queen Victoria Market and see all the graffiti being created at the hosier lane.
    Great Post and interesting videos watching them I am sure to visit Sovereign Hill for spending some time in the era gone by. The lure of gold and panning for some nuggets is a temptation that is too much to resist. After I have found the gold I am bound to celebrate it with some wine so I will visit the vineyards and enjoy some great wine from the Yarra region .Visit the Pannys Phillip Island Chocolate Factory and have my fill with this yummy delight.
    therisingstarz.blogspot.in/2014/12/melbourne-selfie-capital-of-australia.html
    http://goo.gl/ByJqvP
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  5. MCG, the Australian mecca for cricket lovers. I would definitely like to be in Australia when either Indian team or the English team happens to be on tour, the nest time. Will be a memorable experience to watch the rivalry unfold right in front of my eyes, sitting right in the middle of MCG.

    - Ranjith (http://www.alightheartedtalk.com)

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  6. Great post! After reading your post & watching all the videos, I would definitely want to visit all those amazing places when I get to visit Melbourne :) But of all, my top pick would be a visit to Yarra valley for a beautiful sunrise balloon flight. After seeing the video, I can't stop myself from dreaming a romantic magical flight above the scenic vineyards and watching the sunrise from up above! Throw in my favorite wine, I will doubly enjoy the ride sipping my glass and taking sensational selfies all the way :) Now I can't think of a better way of spending a vacation!!

    Next of course, cruising through the great ocean road in a open-top car to enjoy the coastal scenery and the iconic 12 apostles for the nature's amazing work at play. Then a ride around the city in the vintage trams to enjoy its urban splendor and the legendary puffing billy to enjoy its natural splendor. Finally a day at the hot springs to unwind and totally rejuvenate myself :)

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  7. Interesting Post
    After reading your post and watching all the videos
    I feel I have stepped into a kaleidoscope called Melbourne
    Where Vistas of experiences would unfold one after another
    The nature lover in me is enticed by the thought of watching the penguin parade.
    Traveling though the great ocean road, soaking up the freshness as the breeze ruffles my hair gets me in the mood to pack my bags for Melbourne.
    But before I can move ,Puffing Billy whistles and invites me for a ride. The kid in me jumps with joy at the thought of visiting Pannys Phillip Island Chocolate Factory
    Even before I can deside on the list of places that I would like to see in and around Melbourne.
    What’s that noise that I hear ?
    Oh its loud cheer from MCG as the cricket world cup 2015 is about to kick start.
    So many plces to see and so much to do.
    I am thetimetraveler ( http://goo.gl/wdXDzu ) and I have decided … Melbourne here I come ( http://goo.gl/RvUCQf )

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  8. Nice post, you have detailed the Melbourne beautifully....
    After watching all the videos I would like to visit 'Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm'.
    I'm fond of strawberries and I have a special liking towards farms cause I love the silence and the fresh air. The green scenery is also breathtaking. So I fall for that place.
    Arpita- http://shinningappy.blogspot.in/

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  9. Hi!
    We know beauty never need words but without words it cannot be explained and when you get wordless after seeing it... your mouth still get open wide and WOW comes out. Dear! Your explanation about Melbourne is wonderful and picturesque description. I am a person who always attracted to nature first of any place so I would love to see the Melbourne Nature & Wildlife. The 12 Apostles rock formations is world famous rocks which changes its color in sunrise and sun set. And then I will see the Phillip Island Nature Park where I want to see the animals which I hardly see in India. I never saw Penguins, Koala and other animals.
    Driving on a smooth road with natural beauty around you, it always gives you a feeling of heaven on Earth. I would love to drive on Great Ocean Road which is also famous in world to give you a scenic experience and the pleasure of that driving is amazing.

    Bhawna

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  10. Given a chance to visit Melbourne, I would absolutely make a run for Eureka Skydeck 88..Imagine the view of the city from such a great height of over 300 metres and while you are suspended in air in a glass box!
    This is an experience not to be missed and I hope I get a chance to visit Melbourne and go explore Eureka Skydeck 88 soon :)

    -Nikita@Njkinny's World of Books & Stuff

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  11. Being a person who loves to travel this place has struck my eye.
    And here, Eureka Skydeck 88 is going to be first on my list.. i can just imagine the view after reading about it and i feel its going to be awesome.
    Then the St. Kilda Beach,the long walk on the beach during the sunset will be just perfect.. And finding gold is also there.. :D
    why not get my pockets filled with some tresure hunt..Laneways and Arcades is going to be the place to explore my "Lara croft" skills.. :D :D
    Melbourne is going to be a great place to visit and enjoy a holiday..

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  12. I would love to visit the open air art gallery, the street art of Melbourne. This is a place where Melbourne has gone global with artists around the World collaborating to produce rich street art.

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  13. I always feared heights but after reading your post, I feel like visiting the Eureka Skydeck 88 to overcome it. I also want to have a closer look at the landmarks around the city, so this would be perfect!

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  14. Hi
    My email id is hemmma09@gmail.com
    in case you decide me as a winner

    ReplyDelete
  15. Time to announce the winner of the first-ever contest on my blog.

    Congratulations to Sadhna Goria who mentioned that she always feared heights but after reading my post wants to visit the Eureka Skydeck 88 to overcome it.

    Thanks to others as well who participated in the contest. Much appreciated!

    ReplyDelete

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