Because of Melbourne's sheltered situation at the head of Port Phillip Bay there are no surfing beaches in the immediate neighborhood of the city. Surfers have to go further afield, to the seaward coast of the Mornington Peninsula and the coast south of Geelong (Torquay).Close to the city there are popular (and frequently overcrowded) beaches at Port Melbourne, Albert Park and South Melbourne; further south are Elwood, Brighton and Sandringham. The finest sheltered beaches are on the bay side of the Mornington Peninsula to the south of Frankston, which is usually crowded during the holiday season and at weekends.
Some of Melbourne's suburbs, such as Carlton, North Fitzroy and Richmond, which had become rather dilapidated have now taken on a fresh lease of life, and many of the Victorian houses have been lovingly restored. Every suburb has its own character, which depends on the dominant nationality, so to get any overall impression of Melbourne it is important to visit at least some of the suburbs.
Parkville, a district neighboring Melbourne, has many old buildings.
In Parkville is Melbourne's excellent Zoo, the oldest in Australia. Particular features are the bridge from which you look down on the lions' enclosure and the walk-through aviary and butterfly house.
Address: Elliott Avenue, Parkville, VIC 3052, Australia
Opening hours: 9am-5pm
Always opened on: Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Good Friday - Christian
Entrance fee in AUD: Family $53.90, Adult $23.60, Concession or reduced rate $17.80, Child 15 & under $11.80
Useful tips: On selected evenings during summer the Zoo stays open until 9:30pm for the Zoo Twilights concert series.
In the Royal Park is a monument marking the spot from which Burke and Wills set out in 1860 to cross the continent from south to north.
A fashionable meeting place is multicultural Fitzroy with its innumerable bars, restaurants, clubs and off-beat shops. Brunswick Street is particularly colorful.One can go cycling or just stroll in Yarra Bend Park, or visit the Studley Park and Fairfield Park Boathouses.
Richmond was always a predominantly Greek quarter, but recently Vietnamese immigrants have begun to make their mark on it. The Victoria Street area in north Richmond with its numerous Vietnamese restaurants and oriental supermarkets already has the nickname 'Little Saigon'.
Toorak, with its elegant old mansions, tree-lined streets and expensive shops and restaurants, is considered to be Melbourne's wealthiest suburb. Toorak House was the residence of several governors of Victoria and served until 1874 as Government House.
St Kilda, Australia
St Kilda is on Port Phillip Bay. The range of entertainment is wide for both locals and tourists in Fitzroy Street - restaurants, night clubs, discos, jazz clubs and the rest cater for every taste. There is also Luna Park, a large and noisy amusement center, the Palais Theatre and the Palais de Danse. There are also pleasant walks along the bay on the promenade and the Esplanade, where there is a bustling market on Sundays. Every evening and on Sunday afternoons at the swinging Esplanade Hotel (or 'Espy') there are live bands.
Williamstown, at the mouth of the Yarra, is one of the oldest parts of Melbourne, the port having been established at the same time as the town. From the piers there are views across Hobsons Bay to Port Melbourne, the skyscrapers in the city center and the high arc of West Gate Bridge. Moored in Williamstown is the old minesweeper Castlemaine, now preserved as a naval museum. In Champion Road, North Williamstown, is the Railway Museum.
The suburbs of South Melbourne, Middle Park and Albert Park, to the south of the city center and the Yarra, have preserved many typical 19th C houses. Armadale, Malvern, Hawthorn, Camberwell and South Yarra, with fine villas set in large gardens, reflect the wealth of their founders. Particularly notable are two grand houses open to the public, Rippon Lea (192 Hotham Street, Elsternwick, to the south of St Kilda), and Como (near Toorak Road, South Yarra).The suburbs of Heidelberg, Box Hill and Beaumaris are associated with the Heidelberg School, the first independent Australian school of painting. The chief members of the group were the painters Roberts, Streeton, McCubbin, Conder and Abrahams. The Montsalvat gallery in a spacious park in the suburb of Eltham is particularly worth noting.
Dandenong Ranges National Park is a lush area of forest covered mountains. The highest point in the park is Mount Dandenong at 633 m.
Churchill National Park
193ha.Churchill National Park, lying on the outskirts of the city, is a popular recreation area with the people of Melbourne, with attractive picnic spots and walking trails.In spite of the park's small size the vegetation is characteristic of the natural open woodland on the fringes of the Dandenong Ranges. It is the home of many birds, particularly bellbirds.
Kinglake National Park
11,430ha.Kinglake National Park is a region of hill ridges covered with dry eucalyptus forest and fern gullies. This is the nearest that the Great Dividing Range comes to the city of Melbourne.
Organ Pipes National Park
85ha.Lying so close to Melbourne, Organ Pipes National Park draws many visitors throughout the year. It takes its name from its 20m high basalt columns resembling organ pipes. The soil in the valley has been washed away by water. The trees were cleared from the area 130 years ago to provide grazing land, but since the establishment of the national park the vegetation typical of basalt soils is now beginning to reappear.
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