Renowned for being one of the most livable cities in the world, the city of Melbourne, located at the Southern part of the Australian continent, is home to world class events like the prestigious Melbourne Cup, the Australian Open, Aussie rules football, Aussie V8 supercars championships, world class rugby, MotoGP, and the pinnacle of motorsports the Formula 1 Grand Prix; the capital city of Victoria also boasts of having some of the finest wines in the world and food so good, dieting will be an exercise in futility. Weather down under changes rapidly, that you can experience four seasons, all in one day.
Melbourne and its surrounding suburbs has such a diverse landscape, that anywhere you go, one can’t help but be captivated by it all; from the Instagram worthy bath houses on Brighton beach, the child friendly amusement center that is Luna Park, to the fragrant Lavender fields at Mornington Peninsula.
But what makes Melbourne unique from any other city, are its people. Melbournians are a happy, easy going, and caring bunch, they personify the aussie expression “no worries” to the T.
Locals are always quick to have a chat, and help out; if you find yourself in a local pub, they can even be persuaded to hand you a pint or two. They have a way to make you feel comfortable, as if they have known you all their lives, which makes wandering the city streets both easy and safe; one of the best ways to get around is via public transportation, Yarra trams criss-cross the city on a regular basis, and, in the CBD, getting around in a tram is free. The famed Yarra river cuts through the city and with its wide tree lined promenade, going around on foot is the best way to soak in the essence of Melbourne. Located along the Southbank area is the world famous Melbourne museum, it is the largest public museum in Australia and there is no better place to soak in culture and the arts.
Fancy some retail therapy? Head on over to Bourke street; The Bourke st. Mall has all the top local international brand names, from clothes, jewelry, trinkets and even exquisite Swiss watches; for those of us on a budget, the DFO (Direct Factory Outlet), located all around the CBD, welcomes shoppers daily.
If you need a caffeine fix, you can grab a cup of joe in any of the local coffee shops strewn around the city; it is said that the locals love coffee so much, that you can’t throw a stone far enough, for it not to land in front of a coffee store.
Melbourne has got some of the best pastry shops you will ever find; bakeries like Brunetti has such an abundant selection that you’ll need to return more than a few times, just to try half of it. If by nature you are a casual creature, you can just grab a blanket, bring some sandwiches and hop over to any of the public parks strategically located in the city and watch the day pass slowly by.
The one activity you should never miss while down under is Ballooning; operated by highly skilled and professional pilots, the hot air balloons are a daily fixture in the early morning skies around Melbourne. There is nothing more tranquil than seeing the world from 3000 feet, with nothing beneath you than just the basket holding you aloft; you can literally feel all the stress leave your body as you drift silently by.
With all the major carriers operating daily flights, visiting Melbourne will be one of the best things you can ever reward yourself with, so you too can see first hand, why it is indeed one of the best cities in the world.
The author is the general manager of Red Rock Travel Facilitators, a travel agency based in Quezon City, Philippines. By starting Red Rock in 2006, William was able to mix two of his longtime interests — traveling and motor sports. Among the services offered by Red Rock are package tours, inclusive of air fare, accommodations, race tickets, paddock passes and other incidentals, for Formula One and MotoGP races. His expertise in and knowledge of travel management and motor racing mean he could serve as an excellent tour guide on any trip. That he is also a lover of timepieces only makes him the perfect person to add a distinct voice to Calibre. The following is the first of his soon-to-be-many appearances in this space.