Melbourne and Sydney have always had a respectful rivalry, with each city challenging the other to be 'number-one' in Australia.
On first impressions Melbourne, with its elegant buildings, parks and tree-lined boulevards, would not seem out of place in Europe.
Despite its image as a centre of culture and the arts, the Victorian Capital is every bit as thrusting and dynamic as Sydney, perhaps more so now?
There always seems to be something new and exciting opening or a big world class sporting event taking place in Melbourne.
This is not a city which rests on its laurels.
Melbourne is also known for its fine dining as its restaurateurs are regarded as some of the best and most innovative in Australia.
Easy To Get Around
Melbourne has always been a well planned city with a well integrated and efficient mass transit system - the famous Melbourne Tram Network.
The trams not only add character to the city but are an efficient and fun way to get around. The City Circle route is free and the burgundy coloured trams cover the inner city grid and stop at every major intersection.
Melbourne inner city grid is at the heart of the city and bounded by Flinders Street and The Yarra River to the south, Spring Street to the east, Latrobe Street to the north and Spencer Street to the east.
Within the grid are famous Melbourne highlights such as Collins and Bourke Streets, shopping precincts 'The Block', 'Royal Arcade' and 'Melbourne Central', The Rialto Towers and Chinatown.
The Yarra River
The focal point for Melbourne is the Yarra River which runs to the south of the inner city grid.
The popular South Bank is over the river from Flinders Streets and has been developed as a leisure and shopping precinct with cafes, bars and riverbank walks.
Cruises on the Yarra can also be boarded from South Bank and are a good way to find your bearings. On the east side of South Bank are The Victorian Arts Centre and the Yarra Green Belt- an area of parks and gardens.
The west side has the Crown Entertainment Complex (which includes cinemas, accommodation, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, theatres and the famous casino) and The Melbourne Exhibition Centre.
There is a good selection of Southbank accommodation, ranging from 3.5 star to 5 star hotels.
World Class Events and Festivals
Sport has always played an important role in Melbourne, Victoria and Australia.
This is exemplified by the famous MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground) which is one of the oldest and most impressive of stadiums in the world ( It has recently celebrated its 150 year anniversary). Guided tours of the MCG run regularly throughout the day (not on event days).
As well as Cricket and Rugby League, Australian Rules Football (AFL) is played at the MCG. AFL is passionately supported in Victoria and regarded as one of the most athletic and skilful of the many football codes played in Australia.
Melbourne hosted the Commonwealth Games in March 2006 and once again demonstrated to the world how well Australia can organise and execute these massive sporting event.
Australian Grand Prix
The Australian Formula One Grand Prix is held in Albert Park in March and kicks off the Formula One season.
The race dominates Melbourne for around a week and as with the Melbourne Cup, accommodation in the city is booked up well in advance. Other world class events held in Melbourne include:
The Australia Tennis Open (January), Melbourne International Comedy Festival (April), Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (March), The AFL Grand Final (September).
See our Albert Park accommodation page for somewhere to stay near the Grand Prix.
Melbourne is one of the most visited cities in Australia and has an excellent selection of hotel accommodation of all standards.
Melbourne is located in the mid south of Victoria and has a Latitude of 37.8°S and a Longitude of 145.0° E.
Driving To Melbourne
Some approximate driving times to Melbourne:
12Hrs From Sydney (950Km)
19Hrs From Brisbane (1700Km)
10Hrs From Adelaide (730Km) )
See Route and Distance Calculator for more accurate driving times and routes from additional locations.
Flying To Melbourne:
Melbourne Airport (Tullamarine), has both international and domestic terminals, is around 25km (10 miles) north west of the city. There is a good selection of accommodation at Melbourne Airport
As a guide, the approximate flying time from Melbourne to Perth is 4 hours, to Sydney 1.5 hours, to Brisbane 3.5 hours and Cairns 3.5 hours. Times do not include travel time to and from airports and adequate time prior to check in etc.
The Melbourne Cup
The Melbourne Cup which is held at Flemington Race Course is one of the most famous horse races in the world and brings Melbourne, Victoria and indeed Australia to a standstill.
At 3pm on Melbourne Cup day there's a good chance that most offices throughout Australia will have a television tuned in to bring excitement to the traditional office sweepstake.
There is a celebratory atmosphere in the city as bars and restaurants overflow with 'cup breakfasts, lunches and parties.
Cup Day is on the first Tuesday in November and is a state holiday in Victoria.
See our Flemington Accommodation page.
Victoria School & Public Holidays
New Years Day Tue 1st Jan.
Australia Day Mon 28th Jan.
Labour Day Mon 10th March
Good Friday 21st March.
Easter Monday 24th March.
Anzac Day Fri 25th April.
Queens Birthday Holiday Mon 9th June.
Melbourne Cup (Melbourne Metro only) Tue 4th November.
Christmas Day Thu 25th Dec.
Boxing Day Holiday Fri 26th Dec.
(End and start school on preceding and next week day (Mon - Fri) respectively)
School Starts Tue 29th January
Easter Holiday 21st March To4th April.
Winter Holiday 30th June To 11th July.
Spring Holiday 22nd Sept To 3rd Oct.
Summer Holiday 22nd Dec To Jan 27th
Starts Sunday 5th October
Ends 5th April 2009
Note: Dates for guidance only. Always check with your individual School as variations may occur for individual education authorities or establishments and dates may be subject to change. Always check with relevant State or Territory education department to confirm holiday periods at the commencement of each school year. Not all Public Holidays for individual regions within each state and territory are shown and public holidays falling on weekends are not listed. Not all Public Holidays may be applicable to all employers, organisations etc so always check with your employer, education authority etc which public holidays are applicable.
These figures are for guidance only:
Approximate Max Average Temperature
Deg C/ Deg F
Winter(June-Aug):13 / 56
Summer(Dec-Feb):26 / 78
Autumn(Mar-May):20 / 68
Approximate Average Monthly Rainfall - mm