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Whether you’re embarking on one of the cruises from Melbourne that calls the city a home port, or your Australia cruise itinerary includes a stop in Melbourne, you’re in for a fabulous stay in this iconic city. Located in the Victoria state of Australia along the southeast coast of the continent, Melbourne is a melting pot of cultures, with a thriving economy, dynamic food scene, and an array of fun, artistic, and historic activities.
There's always something new to discover in Melbourne's hive of bustling, creative laneways, with their covert boutiques, famed restaurants and hole-in-the-wall cafes and bars. Give 'Mainstreet' a miss and head down alleyways to find an ever-changing outdoor gallery of street art. Check out the murals, paste-ups and stencils in the laneways off Flinders Lane between Russell Street and Swanston Street. Don't miss Hosier Lane.
Queen Victoria Market has been the heart and soul of Melbourne for 140 years. Home to over 600 small businesses, it is a great place to discover fresh and specialty produce, hand-made and unique products, great coffee and food, souvenirs and clothing. The Queen Victoria Market is also home to the Night Market on Wednesday nights, showcasing global street food, live music and entertainment, festival bars, specialty shopping and a great Melbourne night out.
Federation Square, located across from Flinders Street Station, is the main hub of Melbourne culture. With a focus on arts and music, Federation Square serves as a performance venue and is home to art galleries, restaurants and bars, public art demonstrations, and a weekly book market. It’s also home to the visually striking Australian Centre for the Moving Image, which features a contemporary exterior in a myriad of patterns jutting off the side of the structure. Step inside the museum if you’re interested in screen content, including cinema, television, gaming, and digital culture.
Melbourne is often called one of the street art capitals of the world. So important is the artistic endeavor that the Melbourne City Council even designated certain streets acceptable for street art, giving artists full reign to express their creativity. For a more in-depth approach to the street art of Melbourne, sign up for a guided tour.
The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) has two impressive galleries right in the city center and just a short stroll from one another. Visit major international touring exhibitions at NGV International with its famous waterfall and Great Hall. Cross the river to discover the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at the heart of Federation Square. With more Australian art on permanent display than any other in the world, the Ian Potter Centre is a must visit.
Open every day, explore Australia's favorite stadium by taking a guided MCG tour. Experience the inner sanctum of the MCG, walk on the hallowed arena and learn the secrets of the ‘G. For a unique and truly Melbourne sporting experience, head to the MCG to watch an AFL (Australian Football League) game. Also known as 'Aussie Rules', the popularity of the game in Victoria often approaches obsession and is the sport of choice.
Take a deep breath and relax in the 38 hectares of the Royal Botanic Gardens. There's a place in these gardens for everybody, with space for children to explore, families to picnic, couples to canoodle, or individuals to relax and recharge in a tranquil setting. The popular Aboriginal Heritage Walk shows the land through the eyes of traditional owners. As summer evenings grow longer, the gardens light up with outdoor cinema screenings, theater performances and exhibitions.
Melbourne is a dream city for foodies. You can find just about any type of cuisine and dish that you’re craving here, ranging from delectable budget eats to exquisite fine dining. Those on Melbourne cruises head to Lygon street for Italian cuisine. Vegans will appreciate the Organic Food & Wine Deli. If you’re craving Asian food, visit Melbourne’s Chinatown or go to the South Melbourne Market (especially famous for its dim sims). For views, you’ll find a number of restaurants and cafes along Acland Street in the waterfront neighborhood of St. Kilda, and Greek food in the aptly named Greek Precinct. It’s also where you’ll find some of Melbourne’s famous cake shops, which are as tasty as they sound and perfect for a dessert. Grab a slice (or a whole cake) and a few forks to enjoy on the beach before heading back to your ship.
You can’t skip out on having a cup of coffee in Melbourne, which is often said to have the best coffee in the world. The baristas who create these decadent coffee and espresso drinks treat their coffee-making skills like a true craft of art, both in taste and presentation.
Melbourne was founded in 1835, making it a fairly new city by world standards, especially since it’s so populated and plays such a key role in the economy of the Australian state of Victoria. The roots of the current city makeup of Melbourne were formed when businessmen from the nearby island of Tasmania were looking to start a port settlement and lost out on a bid to do so in Port Phillip. Even before it was proclaimed a settled city, the land of Melbourne was inhabited by the Kulin Nation, which the city of Melbourne respectfully recognizes as being the traditional land of this indigenous culture. The Kulin Nation still views Melbourne as a place of significant importance where its people can gather, work, and socialize, just as they did before British colonists settled the land. Today, Melbourne is known as a melting pot of cultures, rich in restaurants and international cuisine and a thriving art scene.
Cruise ships will dock at Station Pier in Port Melbourne, which is a short walk away from public transportation that will take you into the city center. Most people head straight into the city, but there are also some souvenir shops and eateries within walking distance of the pier.
Melbourne has a convenient tram system that connects the pier with the city center and other sights around the city. In addition, Melbourne has an extensive bus system. Taxis are available to hire by the pier or at one of the taxi ranks around the city center. Trains that connect with other towns and cities in Australia can be boarded at Flinders Street Station or Southern Cross Station.
The attractive Bourke Street Mall boasts great shopping along a pedestrian-only street. Wander down the picturesque street and duck into the stores housing popular brand names. Another great place for shopping that you can get to from the port for Melbourne cruises is the Melbourne Emporium, which is a fairly new complex that offers popular shops in a modern setting.
The currency used in Melbourne is the Australian dollar. You’ll find ATMs located around the city dispensing Australian dollars. In addition, most businesses accept credit cards. It’s common in Melbourne and the rest of Australia to leave a tip, but it may be a smaller amount than what you’re used to at home. Tipping 10% of the total bill at a restaurant is the usual amount expected, while most people just round up to the nearest whole dollar amount for taxi service or a drink at cafes and bars.