Melbourne

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The iconic Melbourne tram

Once famously dubbed the ‘most liveable city in the world’, Melbourne might also lay claim to being the most ‘visitable’.

While the natural wonders of the Grampians, Philip Island, the Dandenong ranges, and the Mornington Peninsula are only up the road (by Big Lap stand­ards), most grey nomads can’t resist the urge to spend at least a few days in the Victorian capital … and nor should they.

This proud and beautiful city genuinely has something for everybody. With a popula­tion of just over 4 million, Melbourne packs the sporting, cultural and culinary punch of a city at least twice its size.

And it’s beautiful. The mighty Yarra River runs through the city’s heart and there are parks and gardens, historical buildings and an avalanche of activities to sate even the most ardent action seeker. It’s a fabulous place to walk around, drinking in the ambience and the history but – if you begin to flag – you can always hop aboard one of the iconic trams.

Melbourne was founded in 1835 and, thanks to the Victorian Gold Rush, was soon transformed into a major metropolis. While it is famously cosmopolitan and is a harmonious home to a rich diversity of cultures, Melburni­ans of all backgrounds seem to share one thing in common … they all love their sport! From the footy ovals, the Grand Prix circuit and the cricket ground to the racecourse at Fleming­ton and the tennis courts at Melbourne Park, enormous and enthusiastic crowds are guaranteed. Most visiting grey nomads are eager to sample this remarkable sporting passion.

Melbourne’s cultural diversity is deliciously represented in its cuisine. Diners are spoilt for choice. Is it going to be China­town for Chinese? Richmond for Vietnamese? Carlton for Italian? Fitzroy for Spanish? Or Brunswick for Lebanese? Bon appetit.

While the city’s weather is the butt of many jokes, there are still some great beaches to visit on a hot summer’s day. A tram ride out to St Kilda to enjoy the sand, the sun … and the patis­series … is a special experience.

There is so much to see and do here. There are art galleries, museums, zoos, theatres, a trip to the Old Melbourne Gaol to see where Ned Kelly met his end, and of course a dizzying array of festivals and events, including the spectacular Moomba Festival.

Unsurprisingly, there is also a wide selection of caravan parks to choose from. Happily, it’s one of those places that most grey nomads decide is well worth busting the budget for.

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