Melbourne, the capital of the state of Victoria, is a warren of laneways that reveal buzzing bars, galleries, live music venues, acclaimed restaurants and designer boutiques to those who dare to delve. It's also a city with a passionate love of sports and relishes any opportunity to party, boasting an action-packed calendar of events.
Set on the Yarra River and reaching to the shores of Port Phillip Bay, sophisticated Melbourne is at first sight a balanced grid of neatly angled streets. But beneath this sense of restraint lies a restless creative energy.
The CBD comprises many precincts - enclaves with distinct charms. Some are just a lane or two, while others cover a suburb or a busy CBD street. Spend time experiencing the richness of Melbourne in the creative Flinders quarter, the city arcades, the arts and adjoining sports precincts, Chinatown and the Paris End of Collins Street. Visit some of the city's iconic streets in Fitzroy, St Kilda, Carlton, Richmond, Toorak and South Yarra.
Melbourne's melting pot of cultures is reflected in its restaurants, cafés and bistros serving a dizzying spread of great cuisines, from the substantial and classic to the exotic. World renowned restaurants plate up alongside cheap and cheerful ethnic eateries and cafés-cum-laboratories dedicated to the city's obsession with coffee.
Explore the inner city shopping centres and venture down arcades and laneways to uncover locally designed originals and the best of international fashion brands in stores as notable for their design as the wares on show.
Leave time to admire the elegant Victorian-era streetscapes and gardens, take in a film or food festival and add a visit to one of the many galleries and opulent theatres. Be sure to include a cocktail or glass of wine in any of Melbourne's famed bars.