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Magnificient Melbourne

We hopped on to the tram making our way to the Flinders street station. As the tram gracefully moved through the city, I couldn’t help but check again for the tickets realizing and reminding myself again that I didn’t really need any tickets as travel on the tram was free! The first must- do for every visitor to Melbourne should be a trip on the City Circle tram. A perfect orientation tour of Australia’s most stylish and vibrant city, traveling on the tram in Melbourne couldn’t be more convenient. I was admiring the beautiful Victorian architecture of the city as we reached Flinders street station.

Melbourne is Australia’s most stylish capital. Beautiful architecture, a rich combination of arts, culture, good restaurants, shopping and its famous trams give the city a diverse charm and distinct cosmopolitan atmosphere. Behind the historic Victorian-era architecture of the main city streets lies a hidden web of tiny laneways and alleys. Here you will find one-of-a-kind fashion boutiques, hole-in-the wall cafes, and hip bars and restaurants. Choose from high-end cuisine to low brow rock gigs, plays, festivals and blockbuster sporting events, all taking place across a city full of parks, gardens and historic architecture.

The best way to discover the joys of any city would be to take the path less trodden and this time I was happy that we were joining a guide for the hidden secrets lanes and arcades tour. The next few hours were spent on a journey through the lesser known roads and lanes, some decorated with graffiti, others lined with numerous road-side cafes, some ornately decorated arcades telling the story of the years gone by. My favourite was a chocolate shop that served the most delicious hot chocolate and a coffee house built in a small niche which could seat only two people. The quirky cafes were inviting but we had to move on. Our next stop was the Eureka Skydeck 88 and what was most interesting was our vehicle to reach there. Very soon I was riding pillion on a gleaming black Harley Davidson for a city tour. A warm jacket and helmet was provided by my friendly Harley rider who would stop frequently to explain the sights and sounds of Melbourne. An exhilarating journey across beautiful although slightly cold Melbourne brought us to the Eureka Skydeck 88. Most of the observation decks are similar in their purpose of providing a bird’s eye view of the city but the Eureka Skydeck definitely has an extra edge to it ! Eureka Skydeck 88 is Melbourne’s must see attraction where two dedicated lifts propel visitors to Level 88 in under 40 seconds. Once at the top we enjoyed the views and then entered  “The Edge”. This was a switchable glass cube which slides out from the building, with you inside! Suddenly we were looking at the ground below when hanging out of the building.

There are many more attractions that would appeal to a first time visitor; watching the world go by from  the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel, hanging out like a local at Federation Square, marveling at the exhibits of Melbourne Museum and of course the mecca for cricket lovers the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground. Kids would love the  Melbourne Zoo and the Melbourne Aquarium, and the Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex is equally popular among children and adults too.

Melbourne is the perfect gateway city to discover the state of Victoria with myriad activities in and around the city to suit your liking. The romantics can hire a car and hit the road towards Yarra Valley famous for its wines and even stay here for a weekend or move towards the Great Ocean Road . The best way to discover the Great Ocean Road would be to drive your own car with the freedom to stop at the most picturesque areas as and when you wish. Stay overnight at many of the smaller towns and it would definitely be a trip to remember. Families can choose from spending an entire day at Phillip Island  or even staying here overnight. The  Phillip Island  Nature Park offers the chance to see the little penguins coming home from sea and the crazy upside down world of A Maze ‘N Things and the delicious treats at  Pannys Amazing World of Chocolate. For those with some time on their hands should head north of Melbourne towards Ballarat Wildlife Park and Sovereign Hill to try panning for some real gold. Wherever you visit, you are sure to find your pot of gold in Melbourne!

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