Everybody knows about Sydney, but what about Australia’s capital of culture, Melbourne, in Victoria? Perched on the banks of the Yarra River, Australia’s second city has a long and interesting history, particularly during the 1850s Gold Rush, which boosted the city’s population considerably. Go and see Federation Square, roam the Royal Botanic Gardens or brave the Eureka Tower: the skydeck on the 88th floor is the highest public viewpoint in the southern hemisphere! Find out what the locals have long known: Melbourne is Australia’s best kept secret.
Nocturnal Spectacular: White Night Melbourne
White Night Melbourne, based on the global phenomenon of Nuit Blanche, is Australia’s most celebrated cultural event, featuring unique dining experiences, illuminations, design, visual art, and dance and music events. On the night of the festival the streets, city landmarks and public spaces are suddenly filled with artists of all types and persuasions, showing off their creative talents for your amazement and entertainment, and the city’s museums and cultural institutions throw their doors open, offering special events and performances. Melbourne is the only Australian city to hold an all-night event like this – it’s an essential experience!
Shopper’s Paradise: The Queen Victoria Market
Described as ‘the heart and soul’ of Melbourne, the Queen Victoria market is where you’ll get a real taste of the city. Come for one of the many cooking shows or slowly wander through the market halls seeing what you can find. You’ll love the local chat here, too, as the traders are very friendly and funny. It boasts various themes such as car boot sales, fashion and clothing, and exotic spices. The market is the only surviving 19th century market in the central Melbourne business district and is still the largest open-air market in the southern Hemisphere.
An Extraordinary Life: The William Ricketts Sanctuary
Born in 1898, William Ricketts began making extraordinary clay sculptures in his teens and kept them on his land on Mount Dandenong, an hour’s drive outside Melbourne. The government purchased his land and the sculptures became available for public viewing, as they still are now. Rickett’s later work is very much inspired by Australia’s indigenous people, who so energised him on his many visits with them. The result is a fascinating and moving story of a creative life and a body of work set in gorgeous, natural landscape of ferns, trees and serene mossy glades.