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The Essence of Melbourne - Top 20 Picks

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by Lucy Watson (subscribe)
A stay at home Mum who doesn't stay at home much; too many exciting things to be discovering in this city...
Published June 19th 2012
Being a pom, my family has a steady stream of visitors from overseas. I love showing off Melbourne in all its glory, and try to come up with an itinerary for each lot of guests which will give them a taste of our city and its many faces. Below are my top 20 picks for highlighting the essence of what our wonderful state is all about.

City Circle Tram It's free, it's fun and it's a great introduction to central Melbourne. Plus Melbourne's trams are an iconic image of our city and a must-do for all visitors.

Puffing Billy A unique experience for all ages which will take guests back to the age of steam as they soak up the atmosphere in the beautiful Dandenong Ranges.

St Kilda Esplanade Market St Kilda has its own special vibe and this Sunday Market is chock full of interesting, arty knick-knacks. Combine this with a walk down Acland Street to soak up the ambience of St Kilda at its finest.

Street Art in Hosier Lane


Arcades and Laneways Download a map of the city or a walking tour and discover Melbourne's hidden streets. Degraves Street is a seething mass of humanity and the amazing street art on Hosier Lane takes graffiti to a whole new level.

Ramsey Street Any visiting poms will enjoy a quick trip to Ramsey Street (AKA Pinoak Court), made famous by the long running soap Neighbours. Join an organised tour if you want to part with your cash or simply drive there yourself.

Great Ocean Road Take visitors on a scenic drive along the Great Ocean Road, taking in sights like The 12 Apostles and stopping in quaint seaside towns such as Apollo Bay, Aireys Inlet and Ocean Grove. Great for a short getaway in summer.

Have a barbecue The great Aussie tradition. When your visitors need some relaxation time chuck some steaks and snags on the barbie, grab a cold one from the Eskie and kick back.

Luna Park Iconic Luna Park is always a crowd pleaser. Guests can stuff themselves with toffee apples and fairy floss and ride the scenic railway, before having a photo taken under that famous smiling mouth.

Feed your Face at Afternoon Tea


Afternoon Tea A Melbourne tradition, especially for the ladies. With so many great afternoon teas available we're spoilt for choice. Treat your guests to Afternoon Tea at The Windsor, the Chocolate Bar at The Langham, or Your Own Garden Party at Madame Brussels.

Penguin Parade Animal lovers will never forget this unique experience as they watch the fairy penguins coming in from the sea at sunset. Combine this with some of the other great activities on offer on Phillip Island.

Melbourne Museum The Melbourne Gallery gives an insight into all things uniquely Melbourne and life in the city through the ages. The whole museum is a major attraction and very reasonably priced too.

Colonial Tram Car Restaurant One of my favourite dining experiences ever. Beautiful food (the kangaroo is to die for), attentive service and the sights of Melbourne passing by your window. What more could you want?

Crown Entertainment Complex Victoria's biggest entertainment venue. There's something for everyone here; restaurants, shopping, casino, bars, a games zone, cinemas, hotels, functions, shows and nightclubs.

Elephants at Melbourne Zoo


Melbourne Zoos Choose from Healesville Sanctuary, Werribee Open Range Zoo or Melbourne Zoo, to get up close and personal with Australia's wildlife.

Royal Melbourne Show Annually in September, the Melbourne Showgrounds plays host to the Royal Melbourne Show. With a huge range of things to see and do for the whole family, cramming it all into one day will be a delightful struggle. Don't forget your showbag!

Sovereign Hill The 1850s gold rush was a huge event in Australia's history. Find out what it was all about as your visitors step into the past at this world class attraction. Combine this with some of Ballarat's other top attractions.

Visitors will love panning for gold in the Goldfields


A Day in the Dandenongs Head out of the city and mosey through the quaint streets of Olinda, Kallista and Sassafras. Plenty of interesting shops and delicious eateries, plus the rainforest is just begging to be discovered.

Federation Square You can't say you've visited Melbourne if you haven't been to Fed Square. Take a moment to soak up the hustle and bustle of life in one in Australia's major cities and check out the current installations with your guests.

Mornington Peninsula So many top attractions and must-dos in one location. Take time to sample the Peninsulas finest; Peninsula Hot Springs, Mornington Market, wineries, eateries, Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm, Arthur's Seat. Too many to mention!

Melbourne Cup The Race That Stops a Nation. The Melbourne Cup is Australia's major Thoroughbred horse race and a big draw card every November. Don your hats and posh frocks, suits and boots and become a part of it all.
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Why? To capture the spirit of our state
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