Melbourne is located on the southeast coast of Australia and is the capital of the southernmost state of mainland Australia (excluding Hobart in Tasmania). It is located by the mouth of the Yarra River, near Port Philip Bay. Geologically speaking it is built at the confluence of the Lava Rivers to the west and sand accumulations to the south east, along Port Philip.
In 2011 Melbourne was chosen as the best city in the world to live in, due to its high quality of life and low poverty rates. It was also selected as the top tourist city.
Melbourne’s main beaches are located along the shore of Port Phillip Bay, in areas like Port Melbourne, Albert Park, St Kilda, Elwood, Brighton, Sandringham, and Mentone Frankston and in the western suburbs of Altona and Williamstown. The nearest surfing beaches are 85 kilometres south east of Melbourne CBD, at the Rye, Sorrento and Portsea beaches.
Melbourne has a moderate oceanic climate and is known for its varying weather conditions. The phrase ‘four seasons in one day’ is part of Australian pop culture, with people in Melbourne insisting that if you don’t like the weather you’ll only have to wait 10 minutes for it to change. The annual average maximum temperature is 20 degrees, and 10 is the minimum.
Tram: Melbourne has an extensive public transport system managed by Metlink. Melbourne’s tram network is the largest in the world. There are sections of the tram network on roads, others are separate and others use light train routes. The City Circle Tram is a free tram service that operates daily.
Train: Melbourne has trains running on 19 lines. All of them extend from City Loop which covers the business district of the city. Flinders Street Station is the busiest station. There are regional rail links to Victoria and interstate rail services to Sydney and Adelaide which leave from another station; Southern Cross Station on Spencer Street.
Bus: Melbourne also has an extensive bus network consisting of almost 300 routes, which mainly cover outer areas unreachable by train.
Car: Despite the extensive network of public transport services, Melbourne has a high level of private car usage. The main roads connecting the city are the Eastern Freeway, Monash motorway and the West Gate (including the large Westgate Bridge. The other freeways around the city, or connecting to other major cities, are Citylink, Eastlink, the Western Ring Road, the Calder Highway, the Tullamarine Freeway (main airport link) and the Hume highway, linking Melbourne to Sydney.
Plane: Melbourne has 4 airports. Melbourne Airport is situated in Tullamarine and is the main gateway for international and national entrance in to the city. The Avalon Airport, located between Melbourne and Geelong is a secondary Jetstar centre. This makes Melbourne the only city in Australia that has a second commercial airport. The Moorabbin Airport is a general aviation airport in the southeast of the city, with a limited number of flights. Essendon Airport was the main city airport before the construction of the Tullamarine Airport. Now it is used for some passenger flights, general aviation and cargo flights.
Melbourne has the best, most dynamic nightlife in Oceania and Asia.
There is an abundance of restaurant with a wide range of cuisines. The city has developed a reputation as a culinary capital celebrating the Festival of Food and Wine every year. One of the most popular spots in the city is “Little Italy” on Lygon Street in Carlton, as well as Fitzroy Street in St Kilda, Brunswick Street in Fitzroy, Victoria St in Collingwood, the centre of Melbourne and the Docklands and Southbank areas.
Dance music forms part of Melbourne’s thriving landscape. The biggest clubs are Melbourne Metro Nightclub, with a 2,500 capacity and QBH with 2,100. Melbourne is the birthplace of the Melbourne Shuffle, a dance style exported to Southeast Asia which continues to evolve today.
Melbourne is home to the National Sports Museum as well numerous sporting events throughout the year such as the Australian Open (tennis) and Australian Open (golf), the Melbourne Cup (horse racing), the Australian F1 Grand Prix, Australian motorcycling Grand Prix and Phillip Island Motorcycling Circuit Championship.
The city is also a hub of Australian football and cricket, the most popular sports in Victoria State. Melbourne Cricket Ground is the biggest cricket pitch in the world with a capacity of 100,000. 9 teams are based in the metropolitan area of Melbourne and 5 Australian Football League games are played each week, attracting an average of 40,000 people per game. The city also plays host to the Australian Football League Final.
Melbourne is also home to several professional teams in national competitions, such as Melbourne Storm (Rugby League), Melbourne Victory and Melbourne City (football) in the A-league, Melbourne Vixens (netball) and Melbourne Tigers and South Dragons (basketball) in the Australian basketball league.