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Media Kit (2005) - Melbourne, Victoria and Australia

Melbourne City Skyscrapers at nightVictoria

From stunning mountain ranges to endless golden beaches, from towering rainforests to red sandy deserts, Victoria has it all. Truly blessed by the natural wonders that border metropolitan Melbourne, Victorians have a choice of playgrounds that are the envy of many.

Melbourne’s playgrounds offer... just about everything. There are mountains and ski resorts, endless golden bays and beaches, craggy ocean cliffs, rolling green hills, towering rainforests and red sandy deserts. And what makes Victoria so special is that all of these treats are wrapped into one very accessible package.

Many people travel within Victoria for its natural attractions, history, gastronomic excellence or to participate in the major sporting, fashion and cultural events. Following the Commonwealth Games, some may choose to participate in a few games of their own.

Victoria boasts five of Australia’s top 10 golf courses. Of the 400 public and private courses throughout the state, most are open to the public and many, like Shearwater Cape Schanck and The National on the Mornington Peninsula, appear in breathtaking natural settings.

It’s not only golfers who will find Victoria exhilarating. Food and wine lovers know the state for its superb fresh produce, wineries, gourmet food producers and award-winning country restaurants. Victoria has about 560 wineries – more than any other state in Australia – with many of them also operating charming restaurants.

For an overwhelming choice of fine food, take a scenic drive through the Yarra Valley near Melbourne or around the Milawa Gourmet Region in the King Valley and sample delicious cheeses, mustards, honey, nuts, chutneys and preserves. From Stefano’s in Mildura to the fresh seafood at Lakes Entrance, Victoria is a food lover’s paradise.

Victoria also serves up lashings of history. In its earliest days, this was a state besotted with gold. By the mid-19th century, tens of thousands of prospectors had travelled to Victoria’s goldfields with their picks and prospecting pans. Now, these towns have become lively modern cities, balancing stunning period architecture with art galleries, cosmopolitan cafés and luxury retreats.

At Phillip Island Nature Park, visitors can meet koalas at the Koala Conservation Centre and the Little Penguins as they waddle out of the ocean at sunset, or view Southern Right Whales as they return to the waters of Logans Beach near Warrnambool to calve. Moving inland, Daylesford is the spa capital of Victoria, where visitors can sample the rejuvenating mineral waters.

Elsewhere, natural wonders like the rugged Grampians provide archetypal Victorian bushland: ancient yet beautiful. The Great Ocean Road, with its scenic coastline, is another unforgettable icon of regional Victoria. The majestic Murray River, with its breathtaking sunsets, stretches across the top of the state, while the Great Alpine Road offers endless views of snow-tipped mountains, fields of wildflowers and rustic country towns, before arriving at the spectacular Gippsland Lakes, Australia’s largest inland lake system.

Finding the many secrets of Victoria is as easy as looking at the map. But don’t forget to enjoy the journey – Victoria also has the nation’s most scenic roads. So pack a camera, a spare roll of film or memory card and prepare to discover some of the world’s greatest playing fields.

Visit the Tourism Victoria page for more information or these useful websites:

Yarra Valley

It’s like a postcard everywhere you look. The sleepy farms, national parks, rolling green hills and brilliant wineries make the Yarra Valley a rural wonderland, and all of it less than an hour’s drive from Melbourne.

Visitors can enjoy the natural beauty throughout the valley, on one of the many walking or cycling trails, from a hot air balloon drifting over the vines, or while teeing off on one of the scenic but challenging golf courses. Stop at Healesville Sanctuary to see Australian wildlife, including more than 200 species of native birds, mammals and reptiles, displayed in a beautiful bushland setting.

The Yarra Valley is home to some of Victoria’s most famous wineries. The region is regarded as one of the world’s finest cool-climate wine districts, producing award-winning sparkling chardonnay and pinot noir from internationally renowned and boutique vineyards. Wines can be sampled at more than 50 wineries that are open for cellar-door tastings year round. Domaine Chandon, with its beautiful glass-walled tasting rooms, is one of only a few Chandon wineries outside France. Visit St Hubert’s, which has been operating since 1863, the family-owned De Bortoli Winery, or Yering Station, Victoria’s first vineyard.

Besides the great wine, the Yarra Valley produces gourmet foods of the highest quality. Intimate cellar-door cafés, outstanding restaurants, fresh fruit farms and orchards, dairies and produce markets sit comfortably among the valley’s famous vineyards. The task of discovering the Yarra Valley’s gourmet delights has been made easier by the popular Yarra Valley Regional Food Trail. Bright blue signposts dotted throughout the landscape lead to more than 100 epicurean hideaways, from cheesemakers and trout farms to organic vegetable growers and orchards.

The climate is ideally suited to dairy farming, meaning the Yarra Valley produces some of Victoria’s most specialised cheeses. Make a stop at the Yarra Valley Dairy for handcrafted cheeses or visit The Produce Store at Yering Station, which stocks goods from more than 100 local producers, offering visitors a convenient culinary snapshot of the region.

There is also a wonderful array of accommodation in the Yarra Valley, ranging from peaceful B&Bs to the elegant Chateau Yering Historic House Hotel. Elsewhere in the valley, the TarraWarra winery is home to Australia’s first philanthropically funded museum. Exhibiting works from the past 50 years of Australian modernism, it also has superb views of the surrounding countryside.

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Linking the Yarra Valley with the mountain areas around Marysville is the road known as the Black Spur. Famous for its heady scenery of spectacular tall forests, the Black Spur winds its way up the Great Dividing Range, bordered by immense mountain ash trees.

But a trip to the Yarra Valley doesn’t mean missing any of the Commonwealth Games action. On the way, stop at Lysterfield Park, just 35 kilometres south of the CBD, home of the mountain biking competition. With 14 kilometres of trails, expect thrills and spills aplenty in this beautiful natural setting.

Set in the picturesque, semi-rural surrounds of Lilydale, the Melbourne Gun Club is recognised as one of the most scenic and best equipped shooting facilities in Victoria. Stop here for the clay target shooting before continuing on to the Yarra Valley. With all that beautiful food, wine, accommodation and Games action at hand, that only leaves the question of how long to stay.

Fast facts
  • For pure indulgence there’s nothing like Yarra Valley salmon caviar fresh from the Yarra Valley Salmon Farm. This private farm manages to obtain the precious caviar from salmon reared in freshwater ponds – a rare achievement, as normally it is only harvested from sea-going Atlantic salmon.
  • Probably the most famous Yarra Valley resident was world-famous Australian opera singer Dame Nellie Melba, who grew up in the valley and for whom Peach Melba dessert was created by the great chef Escoffier.
  • On the way to the Yarra Valley in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges is Puffing Billy, Australia’s favourite steam train, which trundles 25km from Belgrave to Gembrook through towering forests and fern gullies.

Visit the Tourism Victoria page for more information or these useful websites:
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Mornington Peninsula

Three simple words: the Mornington Peninsula. Yet, those three words represent a whole world of experiences. From glorious beaches and magnificent wineries to award-winning restaurants and fashionable cafés, this boot-shaped piece of land entertains visitors all year round.

Wedged between the mighty Bass Strait and the sheltered Port Phillip Bay, the Mornington Peninsula is just one hour’s drive south of Melbourne.

From the small, sandy bays of Mt Eliza to the rolling waves of the Portsea Surf Beach, there are opportunities to swim with the Port Phillip dolphins and seals, lounge on the sheltered beaches, participate in a cooking school, or sample wine at the many cellar doors.

Elsewhere there are coastal walks offering fabulous views, and the Mornington Peninsula National Park, with its 2,686 hectares of pristine bushland and abundant wildlife, is both beautiful and rugged.

The good life continues at the pretty holiday villages dotted around the beach fringes. One of the most popular is Sorrento, first settled in 1803 – 30 years before Melbourne. Filled with grand old limestone buildings and stunning hotels, it’s now a thriving resort town. Nearby Portsea is a small, gracious town, known for its cliff-top mansions and celebrated pub.

The hills around Arthur’s Seat and Red Hill are a tapestry of small orchards, vineyards and farms. Many small farms produce gourmet food, wine, cheese, bread and fruit for local restaurants. Red Hill has a monthly weekend market full to the brim with local crafts, antiques and fresh produce. Visit Red Hill Cheese for award-winning traditional farmhouse cheese or Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove to taste estate wines and olive oil before dining in the acclaimed Montalto restaurant.

For something different, sample lavender scones at Nedlands Lavender Farm, explore Australia’s oldest and most famous hedge maze at Ashcombe Maze or pick seasonal fruit at Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm.

It has been said that the Mornington Peninsula has more vineyards per kilometre than anywhere else in Australia – a total of 174 vineyards at last count. It’s no wonder, then, that the region has many excellent wineries and a range of winery restaurants with magnificent views.

Sample the Mornington Peninsula specialities – pinot noir and chardonnay – or perhaps the local pinot gris, which is also winning acclaim. From boutique operations like Red Hill Estate to the rustic trattoria at T’Gallant and the award-winning varietals produced at the Dromana Estate, this is a wine lover’s paradise.

Many visitors are lured by the classy array of golf courses on the peninsula, with some of Australia’s most picturesque and challenging courses. The Dunes at Rye is a superb links-style course, while the pretty Portsea course has stunning views of Port Phillip Bay. Two of the three courses at The National at Cape Schanck have been designed by Australian golf legends Greg Norman and Peter Thomson. At Peppers Moonah Links Resort find a unique combination of great golf, the pleasures of a stylish resort and the revitalising experience of an Endota spa.

The Mornington Peninsula has it all, and in abundance. It is easy to see why it’s been one of Melbourne’s favourite playgrounds since the 1800s.

Fast facts
  • There is a car and passenger ferry between Sorrento and Queenscliff, which is on the western shore of Port Phillip Bay. The crossing takes about half an hour.
  • Sorrento was Victoria’s first official European settlement, which lasted three months from October 1803. A convict, William Buckley, escaped from the settlement and lived with local Aborigines for the next 32 years before making contact with the Europeans who founded Melbourne.

Visit the Tourism Victoria page for more information or these useful websites:

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Great Ocean Road

Recognised as one of the world’s most scenic drives, the Great Ocean Road follows the stunning coastline of Victoria’s south-west. Stretching 300 kilometres from Torquay, just south of Geelong, to Peterborough, just east of Warrnambool, the road winds along cliff tops, up to breathtaking headlands, down onto the edge of beaches, across river estuaries and through lush rainforests offering panoramic views at every turn.

Visitors from Melbourne can travel south-west to the beautiful waterfront city of Geelong, where Commonwealth Games basketball preliminaries will be held. Stop at the Geelong and Great Ocean Road Visitor Information Centre for advice on the journey.

Join the serpentine road which traverses a breathtaking array of natural treasures. There are rainforests, rugged cliffs, picture-perfect sandy beaches, mountains and ancient forests, all with the magnificence of the ocean as a backdrop. But what makes this experience more special is the small seaside villages along the way.

Wedged among pristine nature, they are the ideal stopping-off points in this most perfect of journeys. Each town has its own special atmosphere, from Torquay – where some of the world’s best surfers lift their boards from the tops of their cars and slip into their wetsuits – to family-friendly Anglesea. Lorne is one of Melbourne’s favourite beachside destinations and it’s easy to see why: ultra-chic beachside cafés, spectacular forest walks amid tree ferns and waterfalls.

Along the route is the perfect, crescent-shaped beach of Aireys Inlet, and the former whaling town of Port Fairy (which has a fabulous folk festival every March). In between is Warrnambool, where the Flagstaff Hill Maritime Museum has a re-created port, complete with ships and a lighthouse, plus precious shipwreck relics.

But it is the natural world that makes this part of Victoria so special. The Port Campbell National Park covers a stretch of coast that includes the world-famous Twelve Apostles, London Bridge and Loch Ard Gorge. This is the ocean as sculptor, as centuries of waves have carved stunning shapes out of the soft limestone.

Moving inland, there’s the luscious, unspoilt wilderness of the Otway Ranges, offering bushwalks through cool, tranquil forest to spectacular waterfalls such as Sabine Falls, Stevenson Falls and Beauchamp Falls. And while in the region, visitors can choose from an impressive array of boutique B&Bs, cosy hotels, modern motels and backpacker hostels.

This close to the ocean, travellers won’t go hungry, either. Lorne’s restaurants are highly celebrated. Kostas has been serving fine Mediterranean food to seaside holidaymakers for more summers than most can remember, and marvellous locally caught seafood is on offer all along the route, including at the Lorne pier.

Fast facts
  • Great Ocean Road construction started in 1918, providing work for more than 3,000 ex-servicemen. With no heavy machinery to assist, it was an arduous task. Completed in 1932, it stands as a memorial to those who served in the 1914–18 war.
  • See Southern Right Whales from Logans Beach at Warrnambool between May and September (approximately).
  • In 1878, the iron-hulled clipper Loch Ard foundered off Victoria’s southern coast. Of the 54 people on board, only two 18-year-olds survived, swimming to safety at Loch Ard Gorge.

Visit the Tourism Victoria page for more information or these useful websites:
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Phillip Island

The reasons to visit Phillip Island are many, but there is one that impresses nearly everyone. It happens every day, around sundown, when some of the local wildlife put on one of nature’s great shows: the Phillip Island Penguin Parade.

Every night of the year these delightful little creatures waddle out of the ocean and up to their burrows, as punctual as a city banker. This is the most popular wildlife attraction in Australia, with over half a million visitors each year.

There is something miraculous, even moving, about these brave little birds that swim ashore from bracing Bass Strait, gather in groups, and then march up the beach to their dune burrows. They pass within metres of spellbound spectators, seemingly oblivious that they are the stars of a marvellous natural stage show. But they are not the only Phillip Island native that follows a tight schedule.

On 24 September each year, short-tailed shearwaters arrive on the island, having completed their annual migration around the Pacific. They’ve earned a rest, so they stay until April, only to return the following September. The wildlife attractions don’t stop there. Up to 16,000 fur seals head for Seal Rocks each October-December for breeding season. And anyone interested in getting a close-up look at a koala can visit the Phillip Island Nature Park.

The island is home to many of these iconic Australian animals, but they can be hard to spot in the wild. One foolproof method of watching them is by strolling the treetop boardwalk at the Koala Conservation Centre. Other key stops include historic Churchill Island, and the natural attractions of Rhyll Inlet, Woolamai and the Nobbies.

Not everything is focused on the natural world. Phillip Island has hosted motor racing for the past 50 years. Racing enthusiasts gather in their tens of thousands for the Superbike World Championship in March and the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix in October. All the action, both on and off the track, is just 140 kilometres south-east of Melbourne, and less than two hours’ drive. The island is accessed by a long bridge across The Narrows from the fishing town of San Remo. The largest town, Cowes, has a range of accommodation from caravan parks to luxury guesthouses.

Fast facts
  • Phillip Island Nature Park covers 2,750 hectares of Phillip Island, Victoria’s wildlife haven.
  • Phillip Island Nature Park employs a team of researchers who conduct the most comprehensive research on Little Penguins in the world. In addition, the team researches other wildlife conservation and management issues on Phillip Island, Australia wide and internationally.
  • The Phillip Island beaches provide some of the most consistent surf in Australia. Cape Woolamai and Smiths Beach are patrolled by surf lifesavers in summer, while the surrounding waters provide unique snorkelling and diving opportunities.
  • Phillip Island Nature Park
  • Phillip Island & Gippsland Discovery
  • Phillip Island Circuit

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In the mid-19th century, central Victoria was stricken with gold fever. Tens of thousands of prospectors left their homes in China, Canada, the United States and various European countries for the goldfields of southern Australia. Some became very rich. Many didn’t. But the townships that sprang up around those gold diggings became places of prosperity and importance – and remain so to this day.

Located north-west of Melbourne, Bendigo and Ballarat are outstanding regional cities that exude history and style. Both are filled with magnificent period buildings, wide streets and the majestic public gardens of a bygone era. The main streets are filled with splendid shops, nestled in the shade of their vast verandahs. And both cities celebrate their gold-mining past.

Bendigo offers the Central Deborah Gold Mine, an operational mine that takes visitors deep underground. In Ballarat, the fascinating Sovereign Hill outdoor museum attracts half a million visitors each year. Set up to replicate an 1850s version of the local goldfields, it extends across 25 hectares of what was once the world’s richest alluvial gold mine. Every night Sovereign Hill is transformed as the Blood on the Southern Cross light and sound spectacular re-creates the Eureka stockade, an 1854 uprising by Ballarat’s miners against unjust colonial rulers.

But it’s not just the allure of gold that draws visitors to Ballarat and Bendigo. Bendigo’s absorbing Golden Dragon Museum pays tribute to the city’s Chinese heritage, while nearby is the Shamrock Hotel, a living example of the impressive Victorian architecture that gives Bendigo its flavour.

Art lovers also have the chance to visit Australia’s two premier regional art galleries. Both Bendigo and Ballarat Fine Art Galleries house extensive collections of early Australian art, as well as works by international artists. And like other Victorian regional cities, Ballarat and Bendigo will host Commonwealth Games events.

As well as in Geelong and Traralgon, the preliminary rounds of the basketball competition will be fought out here. To embrace the beauty of the goldfields, discover the region’s magnificent history and picturesque surroundings on the Ballarat Gold Trail, Mount Alexander Diggings Trail, Koori Heritage Trail and Ballarat Chinese Heritage Trail, or sample beautiful local wines on the Great Grape Touring Route.

Stay at gracious B&Bs and travel further afield to see the historic buildings and antique shops of Castlemaine, or the beautifully maintained mining township of Maldon, with its steam train service. Visit Clunes, home of the first gold discovery in Victoria in 1851, a town which served as a film set for Ned Kelly starring Australian actor turned Hollywood heart-throb Heath Ledger.

Ballarat Wildlife Park is another must-see attraction, offering close contact with koalas, wombats, kangaroos and even crocodiles. It houses a rich collection of Australian wildlife in 16 hectares of natural bushland.

With a vivid history and plenty of contemporary luxuries, and with Commonwealth Games action in easy reach, Victoria’s goldfields are a gorgeous and elegant treat.

Fast facts
  • The rowing, kayaking and canoeing events of the 1956 Olympic Games were held on Lake Wendouree in Ballarat.
  • Bendigo’s Golden Dragon Museum is home to Sun Loong, the longest Chinese Imperial Dragon in the world. Every Chinese New Year Sun Loong stars in a parade through the streets of Bendigo.
  • Ballarat
  • Ballarat Fine Art gallery
  • Sovereign Hill
  • Bendigo

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Everybody loves to be pampered. Everybody needs to relax. While there’s no denying the excitement of big cities, the thrill of big crowds and the exhilarating feeling of being a part of the action, everybody needs rejuvenation. That’s when it’s time to visit Daylesford and Hepburn Springs, deep in Victoria’s spa country.

Located just an hour’s drive north-west of Melbourne, these beautiful villages are the last word in relaxation. There is nothing like being able to step out of the spa and hear the birds in the trees and see the gentle rise of the mountains in the background.

Indeed, Victoria’s spa country is a natural wonder that has been attracting visitors since the 19th century. With the highest concentration of 100 per cent mineral springs in Australia, it was noted that the local water improved people’s health. A spa was established for the town’s early residents (and visitors) to bathe in the water. Now, more than 100 years on, the many spa facilities around Hepburn Springs and Daylesford provide solace for the tired muscles and minds of visitors from all over the world.

However you like to relax, Victoria’s spa country has the answer. There are spa couches, a heavy mineral salt pool, flotation tanks, saunas, mud wraps, body polishes, facials, aromatherapy and homeopathy. Or have a relaxation massage and perhaps combine it with reiki, reflexology, acupuncture or shiatsu. Homeopaths and naturopaths work alongside Chinese herbalists, and there are boutique stores selling an enormous range of balms for the weary body, mind and soul.

But there’s much more to Daylesford than relaxation. There are also award-winning restaurants and luxury accommodation. The Lake House, situated on beautiful Lake Daylesford, is renowned for its fine food, luxury spa, exceptional cellar and plush waterfront suites.

Elsewhere, romantic villas and boutique B&Bs are dotted through the landscape. Alongside the hard work of serious relaxation, Daylesford has a main street bustling with lively cafés, restaurants, gift shops and local handicrafts. View the local art at the famed Convent Gallery, or browse the local bookshop-cafés.

And what would a regional Victorian town be without classy wineries located nearby? The Macedon Ranges, between Daylesford and Melbourne, are filled with boutique wineries, vineyards and renowned commercial producers. Also on the route is Hanging Rock, the stunning granite monolith made world famous by the movie Picnic at Hanging Rock. Stop there, take a stroll, and then prepare to immerse in all the pampering that Daylesford and Hepburn Springs can offer.

Fast facts
  • Visitors are welcome to bring empty bottles and fill them with mineral water to take home from the various wells situated around the town.
  • Five kilometres from Hepburn Springs is Lavandula, an expanse of lavender, olives and grapes. The stone farm buildings were built in the 1850s by Italian-speaking Swiss. There is a harvest festival every January.
  • Daylesford was settled during the gold rush – being on the route between Ballarat and Castlemaine – and attracted a lot of Swiss-Italian immigrants, whose influence in developing the town can still be seen.

Visit the Tourism Victoria page for more information or these useful websites:
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The Grampians

How do you convey the magnificence of the Grampians? Is it possible to convey the ancient grandeur, astounding vistas and wonderful bushwalks in words? Even photography can only hint at the feeling of walking through this landscape.

While words and pictures can only partially re-create the majesty of the Grampians, numbers certainly help us understand the sheer size and biological importance of this region. The Grampians National Park is 167,000 hectares of prime Aussie bushland, and stretches 90 kilometres north to south. It contains 970 species of native plants, 200 species of birds, 35 types of mammals, 28 different reptiles, 11 amphibians and six species of freshwater fish.

Though we know the rugged ranges were formed about 50 million years ago by volcanic activity and are largely composed of granite and sandstone, facts and figures will never describe the sensation of standing in a landscape as ancient as this.

To say it verges on the mystical is not an exaggeration – the local Koori Aboriginal people regard it as a sacred place. When Major Thomas Mitchell encountered the Grampians in 1836 (and named them after a Scottish range of the same name), he wrote that they were ‘a noble range of mountains, rising in the south to a stupendous height, and presenting as bold and picturesque an outline as a painter ever imagined.’ Clearly, the Grampians move people’s souls.

The Koori presence is evident throughout the park. There are about 60 different Aboriginal rock art sites, with more than 4,000 different motifs, making this one of Australia’s most significant locations in terms of Indigenous culture. The award-winning Brambuk Aboriginal Cultural Centre in Halls Gap gives rich insights into the Aboriginal connection with the surrounding area.

Off the beaten track, there are more than 50 signposted bushwalking trails, from the easiest nature trails to full-on bush adventures. Springtime brings a covering of wildflowers as complex and colourful as any tapestry. For those who like to sleep out under the stars and watch the billy boil over a bed of burning embers, this is a camper’s paradise.

However, those who prefer a higher level of comfort will find a variety of options in Halls Gap, or at nearby towns like Ararat, Hamilton, Horsham and Stawell. There are also some fine wineries in the area, most notably the famous Seppelt’s Great Western, one of the largest and oldest producers of sparkling wines in the country. Tour the underground cellars, sample the excellent product, and then take another look at the ancient landscape. That feeling will stay with you for ever.

Fast facts
  • Nearby Mt Arapiles is Australia’s best rock-climbing venue, with more than 2000 designated climbs, some rated as high as level 30. • The indigenous name for the Grampians is Gariwerd.
  • The Grampians National Park encloses two lakes, Lake Bellfield and Lake Wartook, as well as Fyan’s Creek and the Mackenzie River. Fisherfolk can match wits with brown trout, rainbow trout, Murray cod, golden perch, blackfish and catfish.
  • Ownership of Brambuk is shared between five Aboriginal communities with historic links to the Grampians region.

Visit the Tourism Victoria page for more information or these useful websites:
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The Murray River

Picture this: the sun is going down and there is a tug on the fishing rod. You put down your drink, reel a Murray cod onto the deck of your houseboat, and then prepare it for the frying pan. It’s time to open the bottle of Victorian wine bought from a riverfront winery visited earlier in the day. The sky is turning on a light show – gold, then pink, then mauve – and an old paddlesteamer chugs by. This is possibly the most peaceful place in Australia to be at sundown.

Renting a houseboat is the ideal way to explore the many picturesque sections of the Murray, the third-longest navigable river in the world, behind the Nile and the Amazon. From its genesis in the hills beyond Corryong in north-eastern Victoria
to its mouth at Encounter Bay, South Australia, it stretches about 2,560 kilometres.

Historically, the Murray was a crucial conduit for bringing supplies and sending out local produce. More recently it has been a crucial link in the irrigation system, allowing farmers to overcome the vagaries of the weather.

Along its banks, amid the red-gum forests, townships sprang up. A thriving modern city with a leisurely country style, Albury Wodonga is a charming mix of stately heritage buildings, established parks and gardens and tree-lined streets. Further along the Murray, enterprising winemakers have been taking advantage of the fertile land and mild climate around Rutherglen since the early 1800s, making this one of the oldest wine-growing areas in Australia.

The twin towns of Yarrawonga-Mulwala, separated by the Murray River, boast a large and beautiful man-made lake and attract holidaymakers, golfers, anglers, tennis players, aquatic sports fanatics, bushwalkers and campers from all over the world.

Located two-and-a-half hours north of Melbourne, Echuca was Australia’s largest inland port in its heyday. More than 100 paddlesteamers plied their trade up and down the big river, carting wool and wood downstream and making the return journey with provisions and farm equipment. Nowadays, the Port of Echuca has been completely refurbished, creating a stunning tourist precinct.

Explore further and discover the Swan Hill wine region. Here there are excellent wineries, producing easy-drinking red and white table wines. Downstream, in the far north-west corner of the state, travellers will discover the marvellous regional city of Mildura. In the midst of an arid landscape, Mildura is an oasis. Stefano de Pieri’s innovative restaurant in the basement of the Grand Hotel and the local wineries, restaurants, golf courses and fresh produce are as much a feature of the local landscape as the endless blue sky and scorching sun.

Mother nature is also a star attraction, with the Mungo National Park located just 110 kilometres north of Mildura. Here are striking natural formations made of coloured layers of sand, salt and clay. It is also the region where Mungo Man was discovered, his ancient remains suggesting the Mungo area has been inhabited by humans for more than 60,000 years. Mungo National Park is quite unforgettable – just like the Murray and the towns perched along its banks.

Fast facts
  • Paddlesteamers traded along the Darling and the Murrumbidgee Rivers as far as the Queensland border, and brought their wool to Echuca for transport to Melbourne and eventually London. Echuca is now home to the world’s largest collection of paddlesteamers and offers a unique insight into Victoria’s past,/li><li> The River Murray Basin stretches across 1,057,000 square kilometres.
  • The kangaroo playground of Hattah-Kulkyne National Park is traversed by two scenic driving routes. There are also ex-camel tracks which are great for bicycle exploring.

Visit the Tourism Victoria page for more information or these useful websites:
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Great Alpine Road

Traversing the beautiful high plains of Victoria and winding its way through some of the state’s most majestic alpine peaks, this 308 kilometre touring route takes travellers through some of Victoria’s most scenic areas. Travelling from Wangaratta in Victoria’s north-east to Bairnsdale in the heart of Gippsland, it peaks at 1,825 metres before descending through a spectacular array of local sights to the wide open spaces of the Gippsland Lakes.

Start in Wangaratta, a historic town renowned for its hospitality and popular annual jazz festival. Known also for its fine food and wine, there are gourmet cheeses available from nearby Milawa and the famed Brown Brothers winery sells world-class muscats and fortified wines at the cellar door.

While at the northern end of the journey, take a side trip to Beechworth, a village built on the wealth of the gold rush of the 1800s, and explore the historic granite buildings, including the courthouse where bushranger Ned Kelly’s final trial commenced. In Bright, a beautiful town on the Ovens River, there are grand deciduous trees and Simone’s of Bright, one of Victoria’s great restaurants.

Perhaps the most compelling reason to take this journey is, of course, the high country. In winter snow brings skiers to the downhill runs and cross-country trails of the region’s resorts. In summer these areas are transformed into a favourite destination for bushwalkers, horse riders, cyclists, fishermen, campers and 4WD enthusiasts.

Continuing through Omeo, the Great Alpine Road journeys south towards Bairnsdale – East Gippsland’s only city. Originally settled as an inland port, Bairnsdale sits on the banks of the Mitchell River. It’s also the gateway to the Gippsland Lakes, where boating, fishing and windswept ocean beaches complement the gourmet producers of the area. Stop for top notch wineries and cheese makers or to discover tiny Walhalla, one of Victoria’s most historic and charming towns.

Follow the coast road to Melbourne, touching the Australian mainland’s southernmost point, Wilsons Promontory National Park. From unspoiled sandy beaches to eucalypt rainforests, Prom Country offers striking scenic landscapes.

For a different view of Victoria, travel east from Bairnsdale, at the southern end of the Great Alpine Road, toward the New South Wales border and experience the beauty of Croajingolong National Park.

The park is a recognised UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. It encompasses 100 kilometres of coast and hinterland, featuring towering eucalypt forests, rainforests, heathlands, granite peaks, coastal headlands and sandy beaches.

Fast facts• The Alpine National Park, at 646,000 hectares, is Victoria’s largest national park.
  • Australia’s alps are of crucial importance to Victoria’s water supply. Most of the major rivers of south-eastern Australia have their sources here.
  • Croajingolong National Park covers 87,500 hectares.The name of the local tribe, the Krauatungalung, part of the Kurnai (Gunai) nation, is reflected in the name of the park. Descendants continue to live there and local communities maintain links with the park.
  • Aptly named, Lakes Entrance is where five rivers end their journey to the sea, creating a unique marine landscape ideally suited to boating, fishing, surfing and swimming.
  • Parks Victoria
  • Victorian High Country
  • Wangaratta
  • Bairnsdale

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Sydney Harbour BridgeAustralia

Australia is a land of the unexpected. With endless miles of unspoilt beaches, tropical rainforests, vast untouched mountain ranges and tracts, it’s a land of natural wonders. Step into the modern sophisticated cities and you’ll discover it’s also a land
of stunning contrasts.

Ask anyone who has visited Australia what they remember and many will list the icons: the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef, the Great Ocean Road, sunshine, kangaroos and koalas. But in between these Aussie icons, there is a surprising breadth of experiences on offer that are just as exhilarating.

From watching migrating whales, visiting rainforests or dusty opal-mining towns, to enjoying imaginative world-class cuisine, Australia has many fascinating corners.

And there is one thing all visitors take home with them. No, not a snow dome of Sydney Harbour; rather, the knowledge that Australia is a truly unique country. For starters, the native plants and animals set it apart from every other continent. While you are unlikely to see kangaroos hopping down the main street of major cities, nature is easily accessible, from the possum that lives in the attic and the kookaburras that roost in backyard trees, to the brightly coloured lorikeets that feed in the gardens.

In the sun-scorched outback, kangaroos, emus, giant lizards and eagles are easily spotted. The steamy rainforests of New South Wales and tropical North Queensland are a biological time capsule that dates from when flowering plants first appeared on the planet.

Kakadu National Park, the world’s largest national park, is a treasury of bird species and wildlife. The Grampians National Park, with its grand and rugged mountain ranges, has spectacular wildflower displays and a wealth of Aboriginal rock art sites. The Great Barrier Reef is a living chain of coral that spans more than 2,000 kilometres – it’s also the largest living thing on Earth. Clearly, mother nature saved some of her most wondrous creations for the world’s biggest island continent.

In the nation’s cities, visitors will discover a richly multicultural population. Since 1945, Australia has seen waves of immigrants from Italy, Greece, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, China and South-East Asia enliven the culture. Along with their fascinating history and unique stories, they have revolutionised Australian dining. Now, almost every shopping strip has a Thai restaurant, a Turkish kebab house or a sushi bar.

Needless to say, the Aboriginal people of Australia have a fascinating culture all their own. Analysis of ancient art sites and settlements places them on the continent at least 40,000 years ago – possibly longer. In recent times, the country’s original inhabitants have become involved in the tourism industry, offering special insights into their traditional lifestyles and their unique relationship with their homeland.

While Australia’s richly coloured outback exerts an irresistible pull, the nation’s cosmopolitan cities offer a fabulous array of metropolitan delights. Take a leisurely, sunset stroll out along Melbourne’s St Kilda Pier, a trip to Rottnest Island from Perth, or cruise the deep-blue Sydney Harbour to Manly. Fill a roll of film with memories and vivid impressions of relaxed cities where nature complements a stylish urban lifestyle.

For those in need of action, try the riding and hiking trails of the Victorian high country, the galloping waters of Tasmania, the crystalline waters of the Whitsunday Passage, or the raw, remote beauty of the Kimberly. If beaches are more your speed, Australia is the place for you. Despite the immense size of this ancient continent, Australia has an excellent road, rail and air system, with a nationwide tourist information network.

Factor in the favourable exchange rate, the huge range of climates, and the celebrated outdoor Australian way of life, and you have a wonderful destination for a short break, an extended tour or full-on adventure.

But there is one element missing here. There is one uniquely Australian attribute that ties the whole nation together – the people. This is a country where the wonders of nature have shaped the people. Relaxed, colourful, warm – and always offering a friendly welcome. More than a different place, Australia is a different way of life, a life in a different light.

Fast facts
  • Australia is the sixth-largest country in the world. It’s about the same size as the 48 mainland states of the USA and 50 per cent larger than Europe, but has the lowest population density in the world – only two people per square kilometre.
  • The kangaroo is unique to Australia and one of our most easily recognised mammals. There are more kangaroos in Australia now than when the country was first settled. Estimates suggest around 40 million
  • Australia supports at least 25,000 species of plants, while Europe only supports 17,500.
  • The world’s longest continuous fence, known as the ‘dingo fence’, runs through central Queensland for 5,531 kilometres. It is 1.8 metres high and is designed to keep sheep safe from Australia’s native dog.

Visit the Tourism Victoria page for more information or these useful websites:
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Australian Capital Territory

All Australians are reflected in their capital Canberra. The city’s national museums and attractions hold and share the treasures of our nation. Celebrate Australia’s proud sporting achievements, delve into our unique political history, and reflect on our young nation’s experience on the international stage. See our country and our people through the eyes of our artists and experience Australian character through sound and film, books and exhibitions.

Canberra is one of the world’s few planned cities, a city in a park, surrounded by native bushland with golden autumn leaves and glorious spring blooms. But hidden beneath the leafy surrounds is a thriving modern city.

Home to about 320,000 people, the Australian Capital Territory and its centrepiece Canberra are located 286 kilometres from Sydney, and 648 kilometres from Melbourne. With a good highway system linking Canberra to surrounding New South Wales, driving to Canberra is easy, just three hours from Sydney or seven from Melbourne.

Once here, you can see the essence of Australia’s culture, history and way of life reflected in the national museums, galleries and institutions in Canberra. These national icons offer an intriguing insight into Australian character and democracy, and our journey from an indigenous continent to a modern nation.

Canberra is a great destination for food lovers. With over 300 restaurants, cafes and pubs, the dining scene just gets better and better. In the city centre, some of Canberra’s best restaurants line West Row, in the Melbourne Building. Not far away, the Kingston and Manuka shopping centres have many fantastic cafes and restaurants, gourmet food stores and bakeries. Dickson offers a small flourishing Chinatown and much more.

Canberra boasts plenty of stylish cocktail lounges, pumping clubs, and traditional pubs offering live music, beer gardens and televised sport. Many can be found in the city and in the fashionable inner city suburbs of Manuka and Kingston.

People can also try Casino Canberra, or drop into one of the many licensed clubs, where you can try your luck on the poker machines. For shopping enthusiasts, Canberra offers everything from luxury boutiques, malls and department stores to street markets and local designers.

The Canberra Centre in the city is the largest mall, with three floors of fashion, department stores, designer labels, homewares, gift shops and boutiques. The small 1920s shopping centres of Manuka and Kingston offer Australian and international designer labels, beautiful antiques, gourmet food, high quality homewares and exquisite jewellery amongst the cafe-lined streets.

Sport is a vital part of the Australian way of life, and Canberra is home to some of Australia’s best sports heroes including the Brumbies rugby union team. Cheer on Canberra’s top rugby league and rugby union teams, watch Australian Rules Football or cricket, play golf on the many outstanding golf courses or cycle or horse ride through beautiful scenery.

Events like Summernats in January and the Subaru Rally of Canberra in April draw motor enthusiasts from all over Australia and overseas. The Canberra Balloon Fiesta each March fills Canberra’s autumn skies with balloons of all shapes and sizes, while the National Folk Festival in April celebrates music, song, dance and spoken word with hundreds of performers.

From mid-September to mid-October every year, millions of bulbs and annuals transform Canberra’s Commonwealth Park into Floriade – Australia’s largest floral festival. Each year, Floriade presents fresh and different floral displays, as well as great entertainment, displays, demonstrations and special events.

Canberra makes the perfect base for exploring a wider region. The Capital Country region surrounding Canberra offers world-class arts and crafts, historic villages, award winning wineries, stunning nature and gourmet delights, no more than an hour and a half’s drive from Canberra.

A two-hour scenic drive from Canberra takes you to the famous Snowy Mountains, where you can find top ski resorts, beautiful alpine flowers, wild brumby horses, fishing, trekking, horse riding and much more. The unspoilt coastlines of the South Coast are just two hours’ drive from Canberra and offer lots of things to do, from fishing, dolphin and whale watching and golf, to beautiful beaches and great surf.

Top 10 activities or attractions
  • Visit Parliament House, a spectacular, modern building and marvel at the 81 metre flagpole. The flag is larger than a London double-decker bus.
  • Rise above the national capital in a hot-air balloon to see Canberra’s beautifully planned layout from the air.
  • Cycle around the foreshores of Lake Burley Griffin, taking in the sights. Canberra has approximately 1,500 kilometres of cycleways in and around the city.
  • Tour the Australian Institute of Sport with an elite athlete to see the institute from the inside, and test your athletic skills in the Sportex exhibition.
  • Discover fascinating stories of Australia’s past and present in the National Museum of Australia, and wander the Garden of Australian Dreams outside.
  • Discover the magic of the gardens at Floriade, Australia’s largest floral festival, in Commonwealth Park (mid September to mid October every year).
  • Hand feed a tiger or let a bear lick honey from your hand at the National Zoo and Aquarium.
  • Take time out to reflect at the multi award winning Australian War Memorial, which commemorates the commitment and camaraderie of Australians in war.
  • Take a ranger-guided walk in Namadgi National Park or enjoy a picnic with the emus.
  • Take a tour to some of the 33 cool climate wineries around Canberra. Many are within 30 minutes’ drive of the city, and you might just get to meet the winemaker at the cellar door.

For further information contact:
Marika Harvey
PR and Media Services Manager
Australian Capital Tourism
Tel: +61 2 6205 0656
Email Marika Harvey
Visit Canberra

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New South Wales

Whether you want to hike through mountains or lie on a deserted beach, explore ancient aboriginal sites or sample a selection of the world’s best food and wine, New South Wales has any number of destinations to visit – all within easy reach of the vibrant harbour city of Sydney.

Sydney’s personality is a unique blend of culture and lifestyle experiences set on one of the world’s most stunning natural harbours. Certainly Sydney is a city that inspires participation with its temperate climate guaranteeing plenty of outdoor attractions starting with the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House. These two world-renown icons are easily accessible, proving to be extremely popular whether you want to see a show or just walk around. Or in the case of the Harbour Bridge, you can do the BridgeClimb, and check out the breathtakingly spectacular views from the top.

Bursting with energy, Sydney offers many shopping options – from funky weekend markets to haute couture boutiques. And Sydney’s multi-cultural precincts ensure there is wide range of ethnic food to choose from, whether it be in the inner city sidewalk cafes or the more prestigious restaurants that circle the harbour, offering fine food and spectacular water views. Sydney is also one of the few cities in the world with a mix of urban and natural environments so close together.

And you don’t need to be a bushwalker to enjoy Sydney and New South Wales’ nature and wildlife, nor do you have to go far to find it. Visitors can hike in the World Heritage listed Blue Mountains just two hours from Sydney or visit Taronga Park Zoo which overlooks the harbour. From waterfalls to World Heritage National Parks, there are a wide variety of ways to see rare, indigenous flora and fauna in New South Wales.

In the Mt Warning National Park, near Byron Bay, you can traverse from subalpine to subtropical terrain, all in the same day. And in the High Country of New South Wales in Kosciuszko National Park, you can hike to the summit of Australia’s highest mountain – Mount Kosciuszko.

There are four UNESCO World Heritage listed areas in New South Wales as well as 650 National Parks and reserves, three marine parks, eight aquatic reserves and 90 coastal lakes – 11 of which are currently being considered for World Heritage listing.

New South Wales’ coastline, running from Tweed Heads in the north to Eden in the south, is lined with miles of pristine beaches and inland waterways. While surfers from all over the world are attracted to the rugged coastline for the waves, there is plenty of safe swimming and beach fishing off the sand amongst the picturesque bays and popular beachside towns that attract both local and international holidaymakers. Some of the cliff walks around the New South Wales beaches have become hugely popular destinations as they offer the best platforms for panoramic views and whale and dolphin watching.

Perhaps the best way to discover the State is to jump into a car and set off for Outback New South Wales. You can see the rugged beauty of the landscape and the amazing wildlife of the region’s many waterways and National Parks. Visit Broken Hill, the region’s largest centre and home to many galleries and artists inspired by the vast red brown plains and the changing colours of the dazzling horizons. In outback New South Wales, the experiences really are as limitless as the country itself.

Kosciuszko National Park and the Snowy Mountains are best known for their skiing but they are equally well-known for their adventurous, outdoor activities during the warmer months. In spring and summer it is possible to explore the wildflower-strewn high plains on foot or horseback, as well as go camping and fishing in the surrounding lakes and rivers.

For those wanting to sample the best of good food and wine, New South Wales is overflowing with gourmet food options. Along the coast you can buy the catch of the day directly from the fisherman. Travel inland from the coast and you can pick tropical fruits or fresh produce from roadside farmer’s stalls.

Wine connoisseurs can taste their way from the vineyards of the fertile Riverina in the south west through Mudgee and Orange – home to over 150 cellar doors and a burgeoning produce and restaurant scene – to the Hunter Valley, the oldest wine growing district in the country.

The varied geography and landscape of New South Wales offers a plethora of destinations where it is possible to explore the landscape and engage with the friendly

Top 10 activities or attractions
  • The Harbour Bridge and Opera House – more than just a pretty postcard they encourage you to climb or walk across and around them.
  • Located less than two hours’ drive from Sydney, the Blue Mountains World Heritage National Park is a natural wonderland of untamed bush, spectacular rock formations and native wildlife.</li.<li> The Hunter Valley, Australia’s oldest wine producing region offers not only world class Shiraz and Semillons but also such delicacies as home made cheeses, olives and chocolates.
  • The 160 bottlenose dolphins who reside year-round in the harbour have earned Port Stephens the tag of ‘dolphin capital of Australia’.
  • Only 90 minutes south of Sydney, the Illawarra coast offers not only wilderness and beaches but also unique attractions such as the Nan Tien Temple, the largest Buddhist temple in the southern hemisphere, and the Five Islands Brewery, Australia’s largest micro-brewery.
  • Best known for skiing in winter, the Snowy Mountains are an increasingly popular year-round destination. In spring and summer explore the wildflower-strewn high plains and take in the breathtaking scenery, on foot or horseback.
  • Western Plains Zoo, Dubbo is home to more than 1100 animals from around the world, many of them endangered species. You can feed the giraffes, or see rare and endangered species such as rhinoceros, bisons and Bengal tigers.
  • Tucked away among the gorges, rockpools and creek beds lined with red gums are more than 300 recorded sites of Aboriginal Art in Mutawinji National Park, making it one of the best collections of indigenous art in Australia.
  • World Heritage listed Lord Howe Island is a stunningly beautiful destination that has retained its serenity and unique tropical eco-system by limiting visitors to 400 at a time.
  • Sydney-Melbourne Coastal Drive – Relaxing highway driving under canopies of eucalyptus trees, over rivers and past lakes, alongside long sandy beaches.

For further information contact:
Carolin Lenehan
Communications Specialist
Tourism NSW
Tel: +61 2 9931 1441
Mobile: +61 (0)412 959 095
Email Carolin Lenehan
Visit New South Wales
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Northern Territory

A holiday in the Northern Territory is a chance to experience all that is unique about Australia. An enormous wedge of dramatic landscape, the Territory is roughly the size of Spain, France and Italy combined. Its vast boundaries are home to a variety of ecosystems and magnificent wildlife.

A large proportion of the Territory remains Aboriginal land and while they represent one of the world’s oldest living cultures, the Aboriginal people of the Territory constitute a fundamental thread within the fabric of contemporary Territory life. There are over 40 Aboriginal dialects and cultures still spoken throughout the Territory, each with their own tradition, law and story.

The Northern Territory has two distinctly different environments, the tropical Top End on the northern tip and the drier desert area of Central Australia. Darwin is the Northern Territory’s capital city and overlooks the Timor Sea right at the northern tip of Australia. Well served in terms of communication, transportation and technology, more than 50 nationalities make up the city’s 100,000 population, including traditional owners – the Larrakia Aboriginal people.

World Heritage-listed Kakadu National Park is only a couple of hours away and Katherine (Nitmiluk) Gorge is an easy three hours by car. Melville and Bathurst Island, known collectively as the Tiwi Islands, lie 80 kilometres to Darwin’s north. A visit to the Tiwis is invariably an amazing cultural experience and travellers can purchase island-made art.

World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park is Australia’s largest national park comprised of rugged escarpments, lush wetlands, plunging gorges and waterfalls in an area encompassing around 19,000 square kilometres. Renowned internationally for its natural and cultural wonders, Kakadu has one of the highest concentrated areas of Aboriginal rock art sites in the world and contains over 1000 plant species, a quarter of all the freshwater fish species found in Australia, and over one-third of all the bird species. At its centre is the small mining township of Jabiru, which serves as a touring centre for the region and makes it the only Australian town set inside a national park.

A number of different Aboriginal clans, who now share joint management with Parks Australia, have called Kakadu home for some 50,000 years. Arnhem Land is vast (91,000 square kilometres) and virtually untouched. It is located in the middle of Australia’s northern coast and bounded by Kakadu National Park, the Arafura Sea and the Gulf of Carpentaria. Blessed with wild coastlines, deserted islands, rivers teeming with fish, rainforests, soaring escarpments and savannah woodland, Arnhem Land is one of the last great unexplored regions of the world.

Katherine is the third largest town in the Northern Territory and is located four hours’ drive south of Darwin on the banks of the Katherine River. Often described as ‘where the outback meets the tropics’, Katherine is an ideal place from which to explore Nitmiluk National Park including Katherine (Nitmiluk) Gorge.

Tennant Creek is affectionately known as the Northern Territory’s ‘heart of gold’, a reputation that refers not only to its gold mining heritage but also the warmth and friendliness of its people. Situated 507 kilometres north of Alice Springs and 1,015 kilometres south of Darwin, Tennant Creek is the main service centre for cattle stations in the surrounding Barkly Tablelands; an area characterised by grassy plains and wide blue skies.

Alice Springs is located in the heart of Central Australia and has been a welcome oasis for travellers since the 1870s. To the local Aboriginal people – the Arrernte – Alice Springs is called Mparntwe. It is linked to the sacred places where the Caterpillar people – the original Aboriginal Dreamtime inhabitants – originated in the nearby MacDonnell Ranges. Today, in less than three hours by air from Sydney, you can explore Alice and its magnificent surrounds on a camel, quad bike, balloon, bicycle or in a 4x4 vehicle.

Rising from the broad desert plain in the deep centre of Australia, Uluru/Ayers Rock is Australia’s most recognisable natural icon. The famous sandstone monolith stands 348 metres high, and, like an iceberg, has most of its bulk below the surface. It is located 440 kilometres south west of Alice Springs in the Uluru /Kata Tjuta National Park.

Top Ten things to do in the Territory
  • See Aboriginal rock art and stunning landscapes at World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park.
  • Reel in a barramundi on a fully-equipped guided fishing boat in remote Arnhem Land
  • Hire a canoe or join a cruise and drift down Katherine Gorge in beautiful Nitmiluk National Park.
  • See Tiwi artists at work at one of the three art centres located on the Tiwi Islands then take home their creations; from printed fabrics, clothes and carvings to paintings and pottery.
  • Explore Darwin’s distinctly Asian-style open-air-markets. Mindil Beach sunset markets run on Thursday and Sunday evenings from May to October. Parap, Nightcliff and Rapid Creek Markets run every weekend, all year round.
  • Learn the local Aboriginal culture on a guided tour around Uluru/Ayers Rock. On the trip, take in awesome Kings Canyon and Kata Tjuta/The Olgas.
  • Go on a date with a difference, take a camel to a Territory dinner.
  • See the sun rise over the West MacDonnell Ranges from a hot-air balloon, or the sunset on an overnight quad bike safari.
  • Challenge yourself by undertaking one of Australia’s most beautiful walks - the Larapinta Trail in the heart of Central Australia. The 223 kilometre walking track is divided into twelve ‘stages’ that can be tackled individually and runs in its entirety from Alice Springs west to Mt Sonder.
  • Take a wander around the Devils Marbles, a collection of giant spherical boulders strewn across the landscape 100 kilometres south of Tennant Creek, thought to be millions of years old.

For further information contact:
Joanne Harle
Tel: +61 8 89996623
Email Joanne Harle
Consumer site
Corporate site


Relaxing in gorgeous surrounds is high on most holiday wish lists. Queensland, just two hours flight north of Melbourne, offers a laid-back escape, unique food and wine, pristine rainforests, spectacular beaches, sophisticated cities, a rugged outback and the dazzling World Heritage listed Great Barrier Reef. Forget the crowds, the queuing and the bustle – you simply won’t find them in the Sunshine State.

The capital, Brisbane, offers wonderful weather, friendly people and plenty of exciting attractions. Quality shopping, international cuisine, and cutting edge museums, art galleries, and theatre are found in the city heart and inner city suburbs. Bushland, walking trails, wildlife sanctuaries and a marine national park are very close to the city.

Just off the coast in Moreton Bay National Park lies Moreton Island which can be visited on a sailing or four wheel driving day trip, or you can extend your stay. Beach camping, well appointed beach houses or a resort stay mean everyone can enjoy the island’s beauty. It’s the ideal spot for water sports, fishing, diving, snorkelling, bird watching and photography.

Put the Great Barrier Reef on your must-do list. The Reef can be accessed from many towns, as it lies off the coast beginning about an hour’s flight north of Brisbane. The reef flanks the coast for almost 2500 kilometres, north to the waters of Papua New Guinea. Cairns, Port Douglas, The Whitsundays, Townsville, Gladstone and Bundaberg are popular gateways to the reef and islands. No one can accurately tell you just how amazing this underwater wonderland is. You’ve simply got to see it to believe it. It is the Earth’s largest structure made by living organisms and arguably the most fascinating environment in the world. Imagine snorkelling or diving amid 1500 species of vibrantly coloured fish, graceful turtles, giant clams and brilliantly hued coral gardens.

Most of the reef is around 2 million years old with the oldest sections dated at 18 million years. Access is just metres from the coast in some places while in others it is far out to sea. Island stays, diving, snorkelling and boating can all form part of a Great Barrier Reef holiday.

The reef is certainly a highlight, but it’s Queensland’s diversity that makes it a traveller’s paradise. There are many experiences you simply won’t find anywhere else. You’ll have the adventure of your life trekking the tranquil rainforests of the Tropical North, where you may even spot a rare cassowary bird.

You can enjoy Fraser Island, another World Heritage site from the luxury of a five star resort or from your own beach camp. You can come eye to eye with a humpback whale from August to October on a whale watch cruise from Hervey Bay. You’ll find fine examples of Queensland architecture and rich histories in charming towns like Maryborough, Cooktown and Charters Towers.

There are many unique hands-on experiences like learning about Aboriginal culture while collecting bush tucker with an indigenous guide; fossicking for gems at Sapphire in Central Queensland; learning to sail around the islands in the crystal clear waters of the Whitsunday Passage; or meeting the locals over a beer and a yarn at a country pub. Learn to surf the frothy rollers on Noosa’s Main Beach.

Witness a tiny turtle hatching at Mon Repos Beach. Taste our unique regional cuisine, exotic tropical fruits and fresh seafood in places like Port Douglas and Noosa. If you have the time, driving is a great way to see Queensland. Spend a couple of weeks motoring up the coast or exploring the vast Outback along the Matilda Highway. Take your time touring the wineries of Kingaroy in the South Burnett Valley or do a cellar door tasting trail in the Stanthorpe area of the Southern Downs.

Stop to smell the flowers and breathe the fresh mountain air in the garden city of Toowoomba. Sample prawns fresh from the trawler at Gladstone. Indulge in the cosmopolitan vibe and excitement of the Gold Coast’s nightlife or enjoy a quiet beach or hinterland holiday on the Sunshine Coast.

There’s so much to do, see and experience in Queensland, Australia’s beautiful one day, perfect the next state.

For expert local knowledge or to book your escape, contact the Queensland Travel Centre on 13 88 33 or go to Queensland Holidays

Top 10 activities or attractions
  • Experience The Great Barrier Reef, a World Heritage Listed area which spans more than 2000km of Queensland's coastline.
  • Visit The Daintree Rainforest Australia's most important lowland rainforest, harbouring lush tropical vegetation.
  • With more than 120km of ocean beaches, coloured sandstone cliffs and home to possums, gliders, wallabies and dingoes, Fraser Island supports rainforest trees such as satinay and brush box, some more than 1000 years old.
  • Spectacular Carnarvon Gorge lies hidden in the rugged ranges of Queensland's Central Highlands. Over millions of years, Carnarvon Creek has gouged soft sandstone from the vertical white cliffs of the Gorge.
  • The area surrounding the township of Laura is known as Quinkan country: a place where ancient rock paintings and forests combine to create a window into the lives of Aboriginal hunters and gatherers who have populated the landscape for centuries.
  • Discover the Matilda Highway, a place of colourful characters and remarkable history.
  • Soak up the sun on the Gold Coast's 70km of surf beaches and discover the hinterland rainforests.,/li><li> Explore the World Heritage Listed Riversleigh Fossil Fields.
  • Get back to nature in Noosa National Park. The park has some of south-east Queensland's most stunning coastal scenery.

For further information contact:
Bruce Wallace
Manager, Media & Publicity
Tourism Queensland
Tel: +61 7 3535 5405
Media enquiries
Holiday enquiries
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South Australia

South Australia might be the driest State in the driest continent on earth, but it offers a wealth of riches when it comes to good living.

Its capital city Adelaide is by any standards a friendly, safe city with a mild Mediterranean climate that allows an easy-going, relaxed lifestyle. Founded in 1836, it has well-planned broad streets and boulevards, squares and parklands surrounding both modern and fine old historic buildings.

There is a comfort and convenience about Adelaide that is rarely found in larger metropolises, with a highly competitive cost of living that makes it possible for everyone to enjoy life here to the full. Its city streets are filled with lively cafes and restaurants and reflect the huge diversity of its ethnic communities. Adelaide has taken multiculturalism to its heart and makes visitors of all nationalities feel at home.

The Adelaide Central Market is evidence of this multicultural appeal and is a wonderful destination for those who love great food and a great place to get a cheap eat. Offering not only fresh fruit and vegetables, most of which are grown within an hour’s drive of the city, the market features one of the largest ranges of meat and fish, along with gourmet specialities introduced by the waves of immigrants who now call South Australia home.

Adelaide’s rich cultural life is demonstrated not just in its galleries and theatres, but most vigorously in its many cultural festivals, including one of the world’s leading biennial arts festivals (Adelaide Festival of Arts and Adelaide Fringe Festival); its largest youth arts festival (Come Out); and international festivals of music (WOMADelaide); food (Tasting Australia); and literature (Adelaide Festival of Ideas).

Minutes from the city, the Adelaide Hills are dotted with vineyards and small farms which generate some of South Australia’s finest produce. Warrawong Earth Sanctuary, Cleland National Park and the National Motor Museum at Birdwood are other key attractions.

The Barossa (just an hour’s drive from Adelaide) is Australia’s richest and best known wine region. Premium wines, five-star restaurants and cellar doors abound among the vineyards and undulating hills. Local winemakers include household names such as Seppelt, Penfolds and Peter Lehmann.

Located an hour south of Adelaide, the Fleurieu Peninsula is a dramatic mix of cliffscapes, surf and pristine beaches. Its soils and climate produce great food and wines, while the southern coastal towns of Victor Harbor and Goolwa are some of the State’s most popular seaside holiday destinations.

The third largest island off the coast of Australia, Kangaroo Island is a nature wonderland. It’s a place where visitors can wander along coastlines dotted with sleeping seals, watch fairy penguins scamper up the beach or visit wildlife reserves brimming with kangaroos, wallabies, koalas and emus. More than 30% of the island is national parkland and many species of flora and fauna extinct on the mainland have been preserved here.

The Flinders Ranges and Outback is the largest region in South Australia. About 85% of the world’s opals are produced around Coober Pedy, in the north of South Australia, while further south are the natural wonders of the Flinders Ranges and Wilpena Pound.

The Clare Valley is characterised by classic farmland with pockets of pristine bushland and wine country. Heritage towns such as Burra, Auburn and Mintaro have been preserved as a tribute to 19th century copper miners and early settlers, while the 27km Riesling Trail from Clare to Auburn provides a unique way of moving between boutique wineries and cellar doors.

The Eyre Peninsula and its rugged West Coast, including part of the Great Australian Bight, offers spectacular scenery and is the gateway to the Nullarbor Plain. The Head of the Bight is one of the best locations in the world for watching Southern Right Whales.

The Yorke Peninsula is a fishing haven, offering bountiful catches of King George whiting, snapper, salmon and squid. It’s also home to some of the country’s premier surf beaches. Innes National Park, at the most southerly point of the Yorke Peninsula, is a Mecca for divers, surfers, salmon fishermen, bushwalkers and campers.

The Limestone Coast is home to Mount Gambier’s mysterious Blue Lake, the world heritage-listed Naracoorte Caves and the world-famous Coonawarra wine region. One of the world’s great rivers, the Murray River dominates the beautiful and diverse Riverland region.

Further south in the Murraylands region, the Murray River winds its way from Swan Reach to the spectacular Coorong, where visitors can explore the lakes and their unique birdlife and flora.

Top 10 activities or attractions
  • Stroll along Adelaide’s North Terrace for a touch of culture. Check out the revamped State Library of South Australia including the Bradman Collection, the South Australian Museum with the biggest collection of Aboriginal artefacts in the world, the Art Gallery of South Australia, then there's the Migration Museum, the Adelaide Botanic Garden and the National Wine Centre of Australia.
  • Taste Grange wines at Penfolds Magill Estate winery after taking a guided tour of the cellars in which it's been stored since Max Schubert started the legendary drop in the 1950s
  • Take a drive through Australia’s best known wine region, the Barossa, for a taste of some of the country’s finest wines.
  • Venture into a subterranean world of stalactites, stalagmites and ancient fossils at the World Heritage-listed Naracoorte Caves.
  • Play with sealions and dolphins on the swimming experience of a lifetime in the pristine waters of Baird Bay, on the far west coast of Eyre Peninsula.
  • Walk among the nation’s third largest colony of Australian sea lions at Seal Bay on Kangaroo Island.,/li><li> Play golf on a course with no grass, noodle for opals and keep what you find, or buy up big at more than 30 gem shops in Coober Pedy, the world's opal capital.
  • Cruise along the Murray River in any of South Australia’s houseboat fleet for an indulgent and relaxing getaway, only an hour from Adelaide.
  • Dive with giant spawning cuttlefish off the coast of Whyalla; great white sharks near Port Lincoln; the rare leafy sea dragon along the Fleurieu; try to find more than 50 shipwrecks around the coast of Kangaroo Island; or explore the former HMAS Hobart underwater.
  • The Flinders Ranges is home to Wilpena Pound, with excellent bushwalking tracks, abundant wildlife, scenery and dense native vegetation.

For further information contact:
South Australian Tourism Commission
Public Relations Unit
Tel: +61 8 8463 4583
South Australia

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Discover fascinating colonial villages. Explore ancient rainforests. Roam idyllic beaches. Indulge in fresh food and world class wines on an island journey that inspires the senses.

According to seasoned travellers who have explored the globe in search of excellence, Tasmania has one of the world’s top 10 best beaches in Wineglass Bay (US-based Outside magazine), the planet’s best little town, Strahan (Chicago Tribune) and is rated as ‘the best island in Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific’ (Travel + Leisure magazine) and the ‘world’s best temperate island’ (Conde Nast Traveller magazine).

Tasmania is only an hour away from Melbourne by plane making it an ideal short break or take the Spirit of Tasmania from Port Melbourne to explore the island’s 11 touring trails.

Arriving in Devonport, start your journey along either the Cradle Country Touring Route, where giant manferns and endless mountain ranges form a natural trail, or The Great Western Tiers Tourist Route, the path to a protected wilderness within the World Heritage Area.

Stories of bushrangers and skulduggery emerge from colonial villages along The Heritage Highway. The living history experience continues on the Convict Trail ending at the Port Arthur Historic Site.

The Great Nature Trail is the way to wildlife – from grazing wombats to penguins returning from the sea, seal colonies to shy platypuses in streams.

Gourmands can savour and source many of Tasmania’s exclusive ingredients – from mushrooms to saffron – on the Huon Trail and the Tamar Valley Trail is the capital of the island’s thriving cool-climate wine industry.

For a seaside sojourn, the East Coast Escape has endless pristine beaches and quaint fishing villages. Further north, endless fields of vivid lavender and poppies make the North East Trail a colourful journey.

Friendly locals in colonial towns and farming properties will gladly share the secrets of The Rivers Run route. Continue along the West Coast Wilderness Way to find Australia’s deepest lake, outdoor adventure, a wilderness railway and the famous Strahan village.

For a short break of indulgence and discovery visit Tasmania’s southern capital, Hobart, and major northern city, Launceston. Hobart has been rated the world’s third most photogenic city by readers of the Lonely Planet travel guide series. Australia’s second oldest city after Sydney, it was settled in 1804 on the banks of the wide Derwent River and has rainforest, mountains and beaches on its outskirts. Its architecture, most of which has been restored, reflects a colourful colonial history founded on convicts, wealthy merchants and seamen.

These days the city has a population of about 185,000 and is known for its innovative arts and crafts, maritime heritage and contemporary lifestyle. Sandstone Georgian warehouses have been restored as artist studios, galleries, cafes and restaurants in the historic Sullivans Cove precinct, where the street is closed each Saturday for Hobart’s famed Salamanca Market.

Take a leisurely guided walk and immerse yourself in stories and sights from Hobart’s colonial history. Step through the gate of Cascades Female Factory in South Hobart and immerse yourself in the hidden history of women and young children once incarcerated there. Absorb the beauty of this city from the summit of Mt Wellington after a drive that ascends through vegetation that changes from lush rainforest to sub-alpine plants.

In the north, Launceston is a city of contrasts, with its gracious Victorian streetscapes giving way to magnificent 160 ha Cataract Gorge.

The city is a time capsule of Tasmania’s fascinating built heritage and contains some of the country’s best examples of Edwardian, Victorian and Federation architecture. Launceston is located in wide valleys formed by the river system where the South and North Esk Rivers meet to become the Tamar River.

In recent years it has become the gateway to the Tamar wine region – famed for producing some of the world’s best cool climate wines – as well as home to what is officially Australia’s best beer, James Boag Premium.

Stroll the city and feast your eyes on the internationally-acclaimed Wood Design Collection, based in Macquarie House and representing Tasmania’s finest artists and craftspeople. Nearby is the cultural precinct of the Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery which houses one of the best national collections of colonial art.

Top 10 activities or attractions
  • Discover Tasmania’s World Heritage Area, one of the last great temperate wilderness areas in the world. It stretches over 1.38 million hectares of wild and natural country, from Cradle Mountain in the north to South West Cape and the islands beyond.
  • See Lake St Clair, the deepest in Australia (190 metres/623 feet), scooped out by glaciers 10,000 years ago during the Ice Age.
  • Roam around Sullivans Cove, where fishing boats bob in the picturesque docks and providores sell their produce at the Saturday Salamanca Markets.
  • The Port Arthur Historic Site is one of Australia's leading historic sites. It is the best known of Tasmania's penal settlements and is the most significant of seven locations on the Tasman Peninsula Convict Trail.
  • Cataract Gorge is located in a city of contrasts, Launceston has gracious Victorian streetscapes that give way to the magnificent 160 ha Cataract Gorge, which has peaceful gardens and the longest single span chairlift in the world.
  • Cradle Mountain is one of the favourite features in Lake St Clair National Park where icy streams cascade down the mountainsides, and ancient pines are reflected in the still glacial lakes.
  • Freycinet National Park features the red granite Hazards Range and secluded beaches, including Wineglass Bay.
  • Classified a historic town, Stanley has a busy fishing port at the base of an unusual land formation called the Nut – a flat-topped rock outcrop 150 metres high.
  • Tasmania’s northern wine region has produced world-renowned labels and spans the banks of the Tamar River and heads into the nearby hills of the Pipers Brook area.
  • The west coast fishing village of Strahan is located on the banks of Macquarie Harbour and is the access point to the island’s first penal settlement on Sarah Island and the World Heritage Area.

For further information contact:
Michelle Grima
Tourism Tasmania
Domestic Media Relations
Tel: +61 3 6230 8137

Delia Nicholls
Tourism Tasmania
International Media Relations
Tel: +61 3 6230 8161
Discover Tasmania

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Western Australia

Sun, adventure, an awesome natural environment and friendly people – it’s what you’ll find on a holiday to Western Australia whatever time of year you visit.

Nowhere else in the world can you experience and interact with such unique natural attractions. Dive with the world’s largest fish - the whale shark, snorkel with manta rays, swim with wild dolphins, walk amongst the tree tops of ancient trees, sleep under a canopy of stars in the desert, or explore the beehive-like formations of the Bungle Bungles with the help of an Aboriginal guide.

The big variety of landscapes and climates in Western Australia means there is always plenty of sunshine, making it a perfect year-round destination.

The capital of Perth is Australia’s western gateway and a great place to start your holiday. Perth City offers an easy-going lifestyle – the beautiful Swan River and inner-city parks like Kings Park add to the relaxed, natural feel. In Perth you’ll find all the essential ingredients for a great holiday – some of the country’s best beaches, plenty of nightlife, bustling markets, inner city parks, outdoor dining and amazing marine adventures.

Fremantle’s majestic historic architecture takes you back in time, while its marine heritage draws you to the ocean and a short ferry ride to Rottnest Island. Locals head over to ‘Rotto’ to be soothed into a state of total relaxation among sheltered bays and stunningly clear crystal waters.

Drive south to Rockingham and Mandurah for dolphins, foreshore picnicking and excellent crabbing. Inland lies the sweeping Swan Valley – a showcase for local produce, including premium wineries and art galleries. Travel further east and you’re into the historic Avon Valley. For something unique visit New Norcia, Australia’s only monastic town.

The freshest food, award winning wines, tall timbers, pounding surf and stunning national parks – you’ll find it all in the south west pocket of Western Australia. Here, life is simple and genuine, offering a taste of rural Australian living along with relaxing country retreats and secluded chalets.

Margaret River and its surrounds are a popular destination for world-class wineries, top surfing and fun family holidays. Further south are towering ancient forests, home to the famous Tree Top Walk, suspended 40 metres above the forest floor.

If it’s an Aussie frontier adventure you’re after head north to the north west. Here you’ll find rugged ancient landforms, remnant rainforest, deep red gorges, vast cattle stations and pioneering personalities, ancient Aboriginal culture and unique quality accommodation. Not to be missed is Bungle Bungle range in the World Heritage listed Purnululu National Park.

In Broome, on the west Kimberley coast, relax on the timeless stretch of glimmering white sand called Cable Beach or indulge in locally made pearl jewellery. A little further south is the Pilbara – famous for its rich red earth and the rocky landscape of Karijini National Park. This region is a treasure trove of beaches, exotic marine life, national reserves and the bluest ocean you’ll see anywhere in the world. Here you can swim with the world’s largest fish – the whaleshark, snorkel from the beach to the stunning Ningaloo Reef or meet the dolphins of Monkey Mia.

From Geraldton, fly or cruise to the Abrolhos Islands, where you’ll find fascinating history, secluded beaches and sheltered snorkelling waters. Inland, the desert-scape of Nambung National Park is home to the strange limestone pillars called the Pinnacles – a West Australian icon. Images of the vast clear skies and theatrical landscapes of this region will stamp themselves forever in your minds eye.

Four-wheel drivers will relish the Canning Stock Route, the Gunbarrel Highway through to Uluru and the sealed Eyre Highway across the expansive Nullarbor.

Kalgoorlie is the heart of Western Australia’s gold mining country. Still a thriving mining town, it’s also a living museum where visitors can visit a vast operational open-pit mine, explore an old mine shaft or try their hand at gold-panning.

In extreme contrast, the rugged coastline and sandy coves of Esperance offer some of Australia’s best beaches. Nearby islands offer amazing eco experiences, while surrounding farmland rolls into rocky national parks.

This is a land of natural beauty with a fresh outlook on life. And as perfect days go, they do not come much better than in Western Australia.

Top 10 activities or attractions
  • Ningaloo Reef, accessible from the towns of Coral Bay and Exmouth, is one of the largest fringing coral reefs in the world.
  • The Margaret River region is a superb blend of good living and stunning nature just three and a half hours' drive south of Perth.
  • Purnululu National Park is a World Heritage listed area featuring the famous orange and black stripes across the beehive-like mounds that make up the Bungle Bungle range.
  • Karijini National Park is one of the most spectacular sights in the Pilbara. It’s home to some of the most dramatic and oldest gorges, secluded pools and magnificent waterfalls.
  • Only a few minutes from the centre of Perth, Kings Park has sweeping parklands, Botanic Garden, wildflowers and native bushland.
  • Spectacular coral fringed beaches and sparkling sands ideal for swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, surfing or sunbathing. Rottnest Island is an enjoyable 30 minute ferry ride from Fremantle.
  • Broome is The Kimberley’s largest town and home to the world famous Cable Beach. A camel ride at sunset is becoming just as famous as the 20 kilometre stretch of white sand.
  • The heritage listed Busselton Jetty is the longest timber jetty (pier) in the Southern Hemisphere. The Underwater Observatory provides an amazing view of the tropical fish and coral.
  • The bizarre limestone pillars of the Pinnacles are at their best when the sun is low. The formations rise out of yellow quartz sand in Nambung National Park.
  • Explore the world famous gigantic tingle trees and take a bird’s eye view of the towering forest from the Valley of the Giants Tree Top Walk, a spectacular lightweight bridge ascending 40 metres through the forest canopy.

For further information contact:
Sue Waters
Manager Destination Public Relations
Tourism Western Australia
2 Mill Street
Perth WA 600
Tel: +61 8 9262 1708
Fax: +61 8 9262 1735
Western Australia

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Melbourne Tram and Luna ParkMelbourne

Melbourne, Victoria. A leader in fashion, food, sport and the arts. Australia’s second-largest city. Filled with striking public spaces, state-of-the-art museums and galleries, a world-renowned range of restaurants, heritage sites and unique architecture, this cosmopolitan city is the envy of the world.

Blessed by nature and with a dynamic spirit, Melbourne is a city deeply committed to excellence in commercial, artistic and sporting pursuits. It is sophisticated and elegant, and also friendly and accessible. It’s a shopper’s paradise, a food and wine lover’s dream. And in March 2006, this sports-mad city will host the 18th Commonwealth Games.

Settled in 1835, Melbourne stands on the traditional land of the Wurundjeri people. On arrival, John Batman, Melbourne’s founding father, signed a treaty with the local Aborigines to purchase 243,000 hectares of land. After the discovery of gold in 1851, Melbourne expanded rapidly. By the late 1800s the city was known internationally as ‘Marvellous Melbourne’, a description that remains true today.

Immigrants from all over the world, including Europe, the Middle East and Asia, have created a lively multicultural community. This diversity of backgrounds and talents has helped push Melbourne to a prominent position in fields such as the arts, education, medical research and multimedia. Recent developments have re-created Melbourne’s public spaces in beautiful, innovative and challenging ways, further proving this is a city of evolution.

Federation Square is a good case in point. Sitting at the crossroads of Flinders and Swanston streets, this vibrant new development is surrounded by three Melbourne landmarks: the beautiful St Paul’s Cathedral, the historic Young & Jackson Hotel and the iconic Flinders Street Station. With its bold architecture, cutting-edge arts venues, fine restaurants and a lively nightlife, Federation Square is the perfect place to discover the vibrant heart of the city, meet friends and experience Melbourne’s outgoing and friendly character.

Elsewhere in the CBD, Melbourne is reaffirming its position as a major international shopping destination. The historic GPO building, built during the gold boom in 1867 in a grand neo-Renaissance style, has been transformed into a $95 million luxury shopping centre. QV, a new inner-city laneway precinct, also features a dynamic mix of high-end fashion and lifestyle retailers. Melbourne Central has also been redeveloped to expand the Melbourne shopping experience. Home to the giant Shot Tower and Glass Cone, it is one of Melbourne’s architectural feats.

On the city fringe, NewQuay at Docklands has added a new dimension to Melbourne. Opened in late 2002, this waterfront precinct offers an exciting mix of dining, shopping and entertainment options. Nearby, Southern Cross Station (formerly Spencer Street Station) is being redeveloped into a highly efficient transport interchange, with fast rail connections to regional Victoria and new facilities for rail, taxi and bus passengers. Factor in the innovative, fluid styling of what has been renamed Southern Cross Station and it’s both a distinctive destination and a world-class transport facility.

But there’s more to Melbourne than its marvellous public spaces and shopping. Melbourne is a major international business centre. The entrepreneurial culture, highly skilled workforce and strategic proximity to the Asia-Pacific region have seen national and international businesses establish offices and strong commercial ties with the city. Melbourne is also a city that nurtures great artistic talent.

Music fans have long known the city as a source of diversity, invention and creativity. Kylie Minogue began her career in Melbourne, as did rock legend Nick Cave. Actors such as Guy Pearce, Rachel Griffiths, Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush and Eric Bana have called Melbourne home. In literary circles, Melbourne is notable for producing Booker Prize winning author Peter Carey, the genius behind The True History of the Kelly Gang and Oscar & Lucinda.

In the visual arts, Howard Arkley took the world by storm with his colourful, airbrushed impressions of suburban Melbourne, and great Australian painters like Arthur Boyd, Albert Tucker, John Brack, Fred Williams and Tom Roberts drew inspiration from Melbourne’s streets and surrounds. Local filmmakers like Fred Schepisi (Evil Angels, Six Degrees of Separation) belong to a generation of celluloid pioneers who took Australian cinema to the world, while two legends of Australia’s theatre, Barry Humphries (alias Dame Edna Everage) and David Williamson, both grew up in Melbourne.

Along inner-city laneways visitors can discover galleries exhibiting contemporary photography or work by local painters and Aboriginal artists, just as venues like Bennett’s Lane in the CBD play host to Melbourne’s – and the world’s – best jazz musicians. Music of every style spills onto its streets from Melbourne’s bars and clubs, not to mention the rousing performances by buskers in the Bourke Street Mall.

To top it all off, Melbourne was recently recrowned the world’s most liveable city in a survey by international newspaper The Economist. No surprises there. With world-class public spaces, a sophisticated culinary scene, outstanding entertainment, shopping and sport, it’s hard to imagine a better host city for the 2006 Commonwealth Games. And once you’re here, it’s even harder to imagine leaving.

Visit the Karak the Mascot page for more information

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World Class Events

The formula is simple: get the best of the best, provide a great venue, then sit back and let the fans revel in the thrill of being there. Every year, Melbourne’s events calendar is full of exciting festivals, shows and sporting action. But these are not just any events – they are the best the world has to offer.

At the peak of summer, the world’s finest tennis players gather in Melbourne, just as they do in London, Paris and New York later in the year, for one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments – in this case the Australian Open. On long hot summer nights, the Titans of international tennis battle it out for the titles while fans congregate in the stands at the Rod Laver Arena, many with flags, others with painted faces.

Many cities host car races, but Melbourne has the Formula 1™ Foster’s Australian Grand Prix. That means Ferrari, McLaren and Williams all gathering to compete at Albert Park, one of the world’s most picturesque motor racing tracks. Each year, the fans flock to watch those magnificent men in their racing machines hurtle by at breakneck speeds.

Ask a Melburnian what it’s like sitting with 80,000 other cricket fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) for the opening day of the Boxing Day Test, or for the excitement and colour of a One Day International. The feeling in the air has to be experienced to be understood. The excitement around the ground is almost palpable when the opening bowler turns at the top of his run-up for the first ball of the match.

Heading to the coast, the Rip Curl Pro surfing contest has the world’s top surfers battling it out at Bells Beach, one of the world’s great surf beaches. Towering cliffs and large ocean swells provide the setting for the action, with the men’s competition forming part of the professional tour.

On the first Tuesday in November, all eyes turn to Flemington, home of the Melbourne Cup, Australia’s richest horse race. As the showcase event of the Spring Racing Carnival, more than 100,000 people gather in their finest suits, frocks and hats to celebrate the race that stops the nation.

Alongside the regular program of events, including the Australian Football League season, Melbourne will host the 38th World Artistic Gymnastic Championships in November 2005. Then, after the last finishing line has been crossed at the Commonwealth Games, the FINA World Swimming Championships are scheduled for Melbourne in early 2007.

But what happens on the field doesn’t always stay on the field in this sports-mad town. The enthusiasm for grand sporting events is apparent everywhere you go. Climb aboard a tram or a train, or listen to the conversations around you at an inner-city pedestrian crossing, and you’ll hear sport discussed, debated and dissected. Switch on to any radio station and the locals will be talking about their shared obsession.

It’s a passion that stretches back to Melbourne’s earliest days. The first-ever cricket Test match was played at the MCG, as was the first game of Australian Rules Football. The MCG also hosted the 1956 Olympic Games and lovers of sport history will find the Australian Gallery of Sport and the Olympic Museum within its walls.

In Melbourne, sport divides and bonds in equal measure. It is not just a great leveller, but a wonderful social glue. Some of Australian Rules Football’s greatest players have been of Macedonian, Greek or Italian heritage. Managers and factory workers rub shoulders in the stands at the MCG. But don’t imagine sport is a trade-off for anything in Melbourne. The vibrant cultural life, passionate political activity and major business dealings are augmented by sport, not replaced by it.

Sport is only one of Melbourne’s obsessions. It is only one field of endeavour where the world’s best come to ply their trade. Look to Melbourne’s theatres, restaurants and gardens for a range of entertaining events.

Gastronomes from around the world gather to discuss, display, sip and serve all sorts of delicious creations at the annual Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, an occasion that is fast gaining an international reputation. Leading world chefs come to demonstrate the secrets behind their award-winning restaurants.

Learn about wine or cheese, or head to regional Victoria to indulge the senses at one of the many food and wine special events. How about attending the World’s Longest Lunch? Join a thousand people sitting at the same table for a feast that stretches long into the afternoon and out toward the horizon.

The Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show, staged at the World Heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens, invites visitors to step into a world of exquisitely scented floral and horticultural delights. Wander through the feature gardens for inspirational ideas, or just marvel at the displays presented by some of Australia’s most creative designers and gardeners.

Moving into Melbourne’s performance spaces, the annual Melbourne International Arts Festival provides unique international and Australian artists in the fields of dance, theatre, music, opera and visual arts, while the Melbourne International Comedy Festival rates alongside Edinburgh and Montreal as one of the top three comedy festivals in the world. An international cast of performers and Australia’s finest comics gather to tickle Melbourne’s collective funny bone.

During the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games the city will host a $12 million cultural festival, celebrating diversity and showcasing Victoria’s passion for the arts. The program will include a mix of contemporary music, dance, exhibition and circus. Events will be free or low cost. Whatever your passion, be it sport or the arts or anything in between, Melbourne has an event to amaze and entertain.

The Visit Melbourne section of this website has more information or visit these useful websites:

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Accommodation, Travel, Transport

Getting around Melbourne

With elite athletes gathering in Melbourne for the 2006 Commonwealth Games, the event is destined to bring people together from around the globe. Whether travelling from Ballarat, Bundaberg or Barbados, there is a are myriad of options for getting to Melbourne. The city has accommodation options for every budget and level of luxury, and a comprehensive public transport system for commuting around the city.

As a city with a rich sporting heritage, Melbourne is also home to a host of world-class sporting venues. Factor in the local passion for sport and it’s no surprise that many of these venues are within walking distance of the CBD. In fact, there are nine major sporting venues within three kilometres of the city centre.

Just 15 minutes by foot from the CBD and two kilometres east of the city centre, the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is the home of Australian sport and the centrepiece of Melbourne’s sports and entertainment precinct. To get there, go by train to Richmond or Jolimont stations, take a tram or drive and park nearby. Barely five minutes walk from the MCG, Melbourne Park has its own tram stop, with Richmond, Flinders Street and Jolimont train stations just a leisurely stroll away.

At the other end of town, adjacent to the NewQuay precinct, is Melbourne’s newest stadium, Telstra Dome. Holding up to 50,000 spectators, it’s just a five-minute walk from the CBD. Trams along Bourke and LaTrobe streets will drop spectators at the front gate, while elevated walkways connect it to Sothern Cross Station (formerly Spencer Street Station).

Keeping with the theme of convenience, spectators will find the State Netball and Hockey Centre just a few minutes drive from the city. With a tram stop inside Royal Park and a train station behind the neighbouring Melbourne Zoo, it’s perched on the city fringe and hemmed by leafy inner-city parklands. Other venues, like the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre, are also within easy reach of the CBD, while those located in outer urban areas (State Lawn Bowls Centre, State Mountain Biking Facility) can also be conveniently reached on Melbourne’s public transport.

Visitors can rely on Melbourne’s trams, trains, buses, taxis, bike paths and strategically located parking facilities to make moving between accommodation, competition venues and the many other attractions in town convenient and fast. The free City Circle tram puts visitors within walking distance of major Games venues, and travels past many of Melbourne’s landmarks on the way. Designed as a hop-on, hop-off service, it’s a great way to get to the Games or take a tour of Melbourne.
It couldn’t be easier.

Public transport - including buses, trams and trains - around metropolitan Melbourne will be free for Games ticket holders on the day of their event.

Fully integrated and running to convenient schedules, Melbourne’s other public transport services will move visitors from A to B with the utmost ease. Better still, services are free to Games ticket holders and a wheelchair-accessible shuttle service will help people with limited mobility to reach Games precincts.

Visitors can receive information on events, advice on the best things to see or do in Melbourne and Victoria and assistance with itinerary planning at the Melbourne Visitor Centre at Federation Square. Look for a sign with the distinctive yellow ‘i’ on a blue background. Melbourne’s award-winning city ambassadors are another good source of city information. Dressed in distinctive red uniforms, the ambassadors rove the retail centre of the city, dispensing directions or simply lending visitors a hand.

Make the most of a trip to Victoria with the See Melbourne & Beyond Smartvisit Card. The credit-card-sized smart card gives admission to more than 50 leading attractions across Melbourne and the surrounding regions for one all-inclusive price, providing great value for money and convenience for visitors.

The card can be purchased at the Melbourne Visitor Centre at Federation Square or by phoning 1300 661 711 (within Australia only). Alternatively, visit and purchase online.

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Making the journey from interstate

Getting from the hotel to the Opening Ceremony or swimming finals is only one aspect of navigating the Games. What about getting to Melbourne? Fans will be coming from all over Australia to experience this once-in-a-lifetime event, and there are plenty of reasons to make the journey itself a memorable experience.

Typically, those coming from interstate by road have a choice of routes. Whichever you choose, driving to Melbourne is a great opportunity to experience the beauty of the Australian outback, the serenity of our remote coastlines, and some of Australia’s most historic regional cities.

Adelaide to Melbourne

For those making the trip from South Australia, there are two distinctive routes to choose from.

Beginning in Adelaide, the coastal route winds its way towards the Limestone Coast, a region renowned for its extinct volcanoes and world-class Coonawarra wines. With a few bottles in the boot, cross the border and discover one of the world’s most dramatic coastal drives – the Great Ocean Road.

With stunning ocean views on one side, lush forests and coastal villages on the other, this will be the highlight of the journey. Make a stop at Bells Beach and the nearby township of Torquay, one of the world’s best surf beaches, located just 90 minutes drive from Melbourne.

The alternative inland route begins with a stopover in the tiny town of Hahndorf and the Coonawarra before crossing the border and travelling through the Grampians. Filled with waterfalls, scenic lookouts, wildlife and over 160 kilometres of walking trails, this ancient landscape is a treat for lovers of the great outdoors.

The area is also a gourmet paradise, with wineries, restaurants and local producers offering plenty of exquisite food options. Closer to Melbourne, visit Sovereign Hill, an outdoor museum in Ballarat which recreates a 19th-century gold-rush town, before making the short sprint to Melbourne for the Games action.

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Sydney to Melbourne

Hugging the shoreline, the coastal drive follows a strip of lush, green wilderness along the Pacific Ocean. In Victoria, pass through the peaceful town of Mallacoota and the surrounding Croajingolong National Park, a stunning stretch of pristine wilderness along Victoria’s far eastern coast.

Further along the Princes Highway at Lakes Entrance, take a break to wander along the breathtaking Ninety Mile Beach, and at Phillip Island visit Australia’s most popular wildlife attraction – the Penguin Parade.

For those preferring to travel inland, the Capital and Country Touring Route starts in Sydney before visiting Canberra, the nation’s capital. Travel through historic Albury Wodonga on the Murray River, before continuing further south to Bendigo in Victoria’s goldfields.

Bendigo is an elegant regional city, home of historic sandstone buildings, century-old gardens and a feast of gold-rush history. By the time you arrive in Woodend and visit Hanging Rock, the inspiration for Joan Lindsay’s classic work of Australian literature, Picnic at Hanging Rock, it is just a short drive to Melbourne.

Brisbane to Melbourne

Those embarking on the journey from Brisbane to Melbourne by road can also choose from coastal and inland routes.

The Pacific Coast Touring Route passes through coastal treasures like Cape Byron, the easternmost tip of the Australian mainland, and the whale-watching hotspots along the Coffs Coast. Don’t miss the chance to visit friends and family while passing through Sydney, before continuing to Victoria, where you’ll be within reach of Croajingolong National Park and Wilsons Promontory, the southernmost tip of the mainland. Pass through Gippsland, where food lovers will discover gourmet delights, while the Penguin Parade at Phillip Island offers the chance to meet Little Penguins at sunset as they waddle up the beach.

Those travelling inland can take the mighty Newell Highway, an inland adventure that skirts the edge of Australia’s outback. Explore towns like elegant Armidale before passing the extinct volcanoes of the Warrumbungle National Park.

Into Victoria, discover a host of acclaimed vineyards. Just outside Nagambie, Chateau Tahbilk is steeped in history and the Mitchelton vineyard has excellent picnic facilities and a superb range of locally produced wines. Later, Shepparton is a good place to stop and sample fresh produce in the ‘fruit bowl of Australia’ before the run into Melbourne.

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Making the journey from overseas

Melbourne Airport is 22 kilometres from the city centre and operates 24 hours a day. It is a major passenger and freight gateway into Australia, with more than 19 million passengers passing through the airport last year.

Renowned for its world-class facilities, Melbourne Airport’s international and domestic terminals are conveniently located under one roof.

Consistently graded highly in passenger surveys, Melbourne has also been ranked in the world’s top five airports. In recognition of its contribution to the Victorian tourism industry, Melbourne Airport has also won two Australian Tourism Awards for general tourism services – the only Australian airport to have won such an award.


Melbourne offers a host of affordable and convenient options for families, couples and groups. From self-contained apartments in the heart of the CBD and designer hotels, to serviced apartments, hotels and motels just minutes from Games venues, Melbourne has something for everyone, including many well-known accommodation brands.

Melbourne also has a thriving backpacker scene, with multi-bed hostels dotted throughout the city; or head to St Kilda for a huge range of budget accommodation options. Those heading to regional cities like Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat and Traralgon also have an impressive range of choice. From cabins and lavish B&Bs to homely farmstays, Victoria has accommodation options to suit every need.

Commonwealth Games Travel Office

The Commonwealth Games Travel Office, in association with the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games Corporation, has a comprehensive range of accommodation and travel/tourism options for media, broadcasters, Games Family, domestic and international tourists.

Bookings are available online at or by contacting the Travel Office.

Commonwealth Games Travel Office
Tel: 1300 133 232
(within Australia only)
Tel: +61 3 9676 2438
Fax: +61 3 9645 6985
Visit the Travel Australia page for more information.

For international visitors, official travel agents have been appointed around the world to help plan Games holiday experiences in Australia.

Visit the Tourism Victoria page for more information or these useful websites:

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Key attractions

Imagine a place where you can experience just about anything. From state-of-the-art museums to places of historical significance. From cultural icons to sporting events that grab the world’s attention. Believe it or not, Victoria offers all of the above plus a lot more. Among the many attractions are some highlights that no one should miss.

National Gallery of Victoria

Victoria’s outstanding art collection now has two homes. At the recently refurbished NGV International, discover artistic wonders from all over the globe and touring exhibitions by acknowledged masters. At Federation Square, The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia houses an impressive collection, with more Australian art on permanent display than in any other gallery in the world. It’s a must-see destination on Victoria’s cultural landscape.

Federation Square

The size of a city block, Federation Square is Melbourne’s new public heart. Home of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image and The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, it’s a cultural hotspot in a culture-rich city. The bold, contemporary architecture is well supported by some of Victoria’s most impressive restaurants, wine bars and cafés. It is also the home of the Melbourne Visitor Centre.

The Mansion at Werribee Park

Just 30 minutes from Melbourne, the Mansion at Werribee Park is testament to the opulence and success of early Australian pastoralists. Built between 1874
and 1877, it has been lavishly restored and today visitors can experience much of its original splendour. While in the area, visit the adjoining Victoria State Rose Garden, which features 4,500 rose varieties.

Melbourne Aquarium

Ever imagined what walking through an octopus’s garden was like? Well, experience it first hand at the Melbourne Aquarium. Conveniently located on the banks of the Yarra River, the state-of-the-art aquarium harbours thousands of creatures from the Southern Ocean. Prepare for a simulated underwater roller-coaster ride, an exciting (and educational) experience for kids of all ages.

Melbourne Observation Deck

Take the high-speed lift to Level 55 of the Rialto for the Melbourne Observation Deck. Get set for spectacular 360-degree views of Melbourne and the surrounding area, and if hunger strikes, grab a snack at Café 55.Melbourne Museum

Explore a rainforest. See Phar Lap. Touch a dinosaur bone. Melbourne’s award-winning museum is situated in Carlton Gardens next to the historic World Heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building. Melbourne Museum is an exciting and innovative attraction – including permanent and touring exhibitions, dynamic performances and events, cafés, IMAX Theatre and gift shop.

Scienceworks Museum

Test your skill against Olympic gold medallist Cathy Freeman at Scienceworks, a museum that combines science and technology, chiefly through a variety of ‘hands on’ exhibits, activities, tactile displays and highly interactive touring shows.

Scienceworks also has a high-tech planetarium, where visitors can recline in comfy chairs and immerse themselves in ‘deep space’.

Crown Entertainment Complex

With a dazzling gaming floor that stretches half a kilometre, cinemas and nightclubs, the five-star luxury of Crown Towers and designer boutiques, Crown is always in the mood for fun. Just a short stroll from the CBD, sports venues and the arts precinct, Crown is ideally situated.

Immigration Museum

Located in the Old Customs House in the heart of the city, the Immigration Museum explores stories of people from all over the world who have migrated to Victoria from the 1800s through to the present day. Stories are brought to life through moving images, interactive displays, voices, memories and belongings.

Melbourne Zoo

Opened in 1862, Melbourne Zoo is the oldest in Australia. More than 350 animal species from around the world are on display in the zoo’s attractive enclosures and botanic settings.

Queen Victoria Market

The Queen Victoria Market officially opened in 1878 and has been serving Melburnians for 120 years. Sprawled over seven hectares, it is the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere and an historic landmark.

Factor in the miles of homewares, clothing and souvenirs and you have one of Melbourne’s most enticing destinations. Take a tour and discover this food lover’s paradise.

Visit the Tourism Victoria page for more information or these useful websites:

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Key activities

In Melbourne, there are certain experiences every visitor should have. Some will be at a restaurant, others will be in Melbourne’s beautiful gardens, and yet others will be inside the city’s cultural landmarks. Wherever they are, you will find they all have one thing in common – they are distinctly Melbourne.

Let’s start with the city’s restaurants. You can tour Melbourne by tram, bus or bicycle, but perhaps the most enjoyable way to discover the city is by knife and fork (or chopsticks). Melbourne is an epicurean heaven, with something to delight every palate. Within the city, there are enclaves and precincts, each with its own unique culinary personality.

Take St Kilda for example. In Acland Street are fabulous continental cakes and, at Café Scheherazade, one of the city’s most authentic bowls of borsch. Moving across to Richmond, there is a strip of Vietnamese restaurants alive with the sound of clattering woks. In Bridge Road there are groovy low-key cafés. In Sydney Road, Brunswick, try Turkish or Middle Eastern food.

In the heart of the CBD, the Queen Victoria Market is laden with fresh produce, from gourmet cheeses to freshly cooked bratwurst sausages. Step down one of the inner-city laneways for cosy cafés, fine restaurants and the ever-popular juice bars. Lovers of traditional Italian food will be dazzled by the range in Lygon Street, Carlton, while Chinatown, in the CBD, is the home of Chinese food in Melbourne.

Outside these precincts, there are many spectacular one-offs. Afghan, Argentinean, Brazilian, Burmese and Cambodian restaurants can also be found, along with more than 70 other ethnic cuisines. World-class Chinese cuisine can be found at the Flower Drum, while vegetarians are well catered for, with restaurants like Shakahari in Carlton now firmly ensconced as one of Melbourne’s favourites.

But Melbourne’s food doesn’t end with what you can pick up with a fork. Victoria is a wine producer par excellence, and there’s no better place to try it than at a rustic cellar door or beside a chef-prepared masterpiece.

With more than 560 wineries in the state producing wine in 22 distinct regions, Melbourne truly is a gourmet delight. Stepping out from behind the menu, another archetypal Melbourne experience can be found in the city’s shopping districts. Visitors from Japan, Hong Kong and other near-Asian neighbours have long known about Melbourne’s pre-eminence as a shopping destination.

So, what makes it so special? One: the quality. Two: the price. Three: the range. Four: the convenience. Five: the fun. And six: it comes pre-parcelled into bite-sized pieces. For shoes and a line-up of great boutiques, try Little Collins Street. For contemporary fashion, head to Chapel Street in Prahran, where designers like Akira Isogawa rub shoulders with local rag trade mavericks. Alternatively, visit the Crown Entertainment Complex at Southbank for designers like Gucci, Prada, Versace, Armani and Louis Vuitton.

Some of Melbourne’s most successful retail stores have their warehouses on Bridge Road, Richmond, selling the latest fashion items at clearance prices, while Chadstone shopping centre has almost 400 stores, including a range of international labels.

Down the inner-city laneways, experience the thrill of being able to find those unexpected surprises. Melbourne’s gorgeous arcades are a treasure-trove of rare gems. Specialist items, one-offs, oddities, the rare and expensive – you’ll find them all.

Of course, the legendary Queen Victoria Market is also filled to the brim with gifts, clothing and jewellery at generous prices. Alternatively, try the market on the St Kilda Esplanade, or the Sunday market at Southbank featuring the work of local artisans.

After all that fine food and exquisite shopping, where better to experience the refinement, the style and the excitement of Melbourne than in one of its bars? This is a city with a nightlife to suit every taste and budget. Try swanky inner-city locations like Rue Bebelon, the Gin Palace, Cookie or Double Happiness. Typically, they are nestled away down a nondescript lane, further adding to their mystique.

Or perhaps sample one of the many live music venues catering for every taste: rock, jazz, latin, swing, house, techno or folk. Coupled with the city’s art galleries, the constant supply of major sporting events, festivals (think comedy, gardening, music), and the lovely inner-city parklands, Melbourne is a city that is immediately charming, always exciting, and very hard to leave.

Visit the Tourism Victoria page or Citysearch for more information.

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Melbourne - Top 10 things to do

Melbourne is a city with a distinct character; a city that loves its food, wine, arts and sport. It has a personality all of its own. While there may not be time to experience them all, there are certain things that are simply unmissable.

1. Start with the simplest of activities – a stroll along the Yarra River. With walking shoes on, step out along the river and take in the marvellous riverside promenade. Sample a slice of Melbourne’s café culture and grab a delicious coffee, watch the rowers gliding past, and get a feel for the city as it rouses itself for another day.

2. Explore the newly renovated NGV International at 180 St Kilda Road. Prepare to be amazed by one of the most impressive collections in the Southern Hemisphere – a remarkable gathering of European, Asian, Oceanic and American art. This gallery is known for presenting touring exhibitions by the world’s greats – the Impressionists, Caravaggio, Andy Warhol and the Dutch Masters.

3. Drop in for a tour of the Arts Centre, home to Australia’s premier performing arts companies, before turning along Southbank Promenade. Watch the Crown Entertainment Complex rise into view, filled with world-class shopping and entertainment options. Turn around, unpack the camera and marvel at the wonderful views back across the river to the city.

4. It’s a law of nature that walking builds an appetite. At the historic Queen Victoria Market, located at the corner of Elizabeth and Victoria streets, find everything from persimmons to pineapples, pasta, organic wine and farm-fresh dairy produce. Take a Foodies Tour or Market Heritage Tour and uncover a world of new tastes and flavours.

5. Grab a walking map from the Melbourne Visitor Centre at Federation Square or join Hidden Secrets on a walking tour of the city’s retail precinct. Discover hidden boutiques, up-and-coming designers and learn about the culture and architecture of Melbourne. End the day at the Victorian Wine Precinct at Federation Square and choose from the lavish selection of Victorian wines.

6. If keeping fit tops your list of must-dos, then visit the Tan Track, a lovely 3.8 kilometre circuit that rings the Royal Botanic Gardens. Walking, jogging or riding, whatever your preferred mode, this is leafy Melbourne at its best. If you prefer a more sedate pace, take a stroll through the sweeping lawns and meandering paths of the Botanic Gardens. Perhaps stop at the Visitor Centre, Gardens Shop or The Observatory Café for fresh scones.

7. The undisputed fashion capital of Australia, Melbourne stands out for its style and sophistication. Shop in leafy Collins Street for high-end designer jewellery, fashion and luxury goods, or discover hidden treasures in Little Collins Street, which is brimming with cool men’s and women’s fashion from both local and international designers. Melbourne’s historic GPO has also been transformed into a $95 million luxury retail precinct, with more than 60 retailers guaranteed to tempt.

8. Take a ride on one of the historic burgundy and gold City Circle trams that provide a free and convenient way to move around the city, passing must-see sights and attractions including Docklands and the NewQuay dining and entertainment precinct. Ride the entire route around the inner city or make stops to see attractions such as Old Melbourne Gaol, where Victoria’s infamous bushranger, Ned Kelly, was hanged; the AFL Hall of Fame and Sensation at QV in Swanston Street, or the Champions Australian Racing Museum and Hall of Fame at Federation Square.

9. Join the hip crowd at St Kilda Beach for a frenetic Friday night out, a laid-back Sunday morning breakfast in funky Acland or Fitzroy streets, or a sunset stroll. Perhaps make a weekend stop at Luna Park for some rollercoaster fun, or catch some live music at the Palais.

10. After a long day of thrilling Commonwealth Games action, there’s no better place to wind down than at one of Melbourne’s laneway restaurants. Since the 1950s, Pellegrini’s at 66 Bourke Street has been serving exquisite coffee and home-style pasta and cakes. Elsewhere in the city, restaurants like Becco in Crossley Street and ezard at adelphi in Flinders Lane will round out the day in the most indulgent and satisfying way possible – with a fabulous meal and a glass of exceptional Victorian wine. If you still have the energy, why not sample some of Melbourne’s groovy bars or nightclubs.

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Melbourne - the facts

Everything you need to know about Melbourne.

Location: Melbourne is located in the south-east corner of the Australian continent. The city is situated on Port Phillip Bay, allowing easy access for ships to Melbourne’s Docklands. It is Australia’s second largest city and the capital of the State of Victoria.

Population: More than 3.5 million.

Language: English is the official language, but there are more than 170 other languages in use. The top five languages other than English are: Italian, Greek, Cantonese, Arabic and Vietnamese.

Ethnic diversity: More than one in four Victorians were born overseas. In order, the top 10 countries of origin are: United Kingdom, Italy, Greece, Vietnam, New Zealand, Germany, China, Netherlands, India and Malta.

Climate: Melbourne’s average temperature ranges from 25 degrees Celsius in summer to 14 degrees Celsius in winter. Melbourne’s average rainfall is 55 millimetres per month.

Currency: The Australian currency units are dollars and cents. Time zone: Australian Eastern Standard Time is GMT/UT plus 10 hours; in summer Daylight Savings Time is 11 hours ahead of GMT/UT. Alongside the statistics, Melbourne is also a city with an impressive social history. Did you know:
  • In 1856 a group of Melbourne workers, mostly stonemasons, won an eight-hour day from their employers. This was a world first, and is celebrated with a public holiday in Victoria
  • The 1956 Olympics, held in Melbourne, had 3,184 athletes. In comparison, the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games will have 4,500 athletes.
  • In 1869, the largest fully steerable telescope the world has ever seen was installed at the Melbourne Observatory. Known as the Great Melbourne Telescope, the device boasted a reflector of 122 centimetres (48 inches).
  • Melbourne’s famous tramway system is the largest outside the European continent and the fourth-largest in the world. There are 30 individual tram routes serviced by 498 trams.

This Website is closed and for reference purposes only. To guarantee the stability of Games data, all external links are being removed.

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