Established in 1846, Melbourne's magnificently-landscaped Royal Botanic Gardens boast a superb collection of over 50,000 plants from all around Australia and the world. Spend a few hours strolling around, observing the beautiful black swans and water birds that grace these premises. The Plant Craft Cottage sells unique handcrafts, and the Observatory Café is great for light refreshments. The more formal Terrace restaurant is ideal for corporate and private functions.
A war memorial built as a token of profound gratitude for all the men and women who served Australia in wars and conflicts, the Shrine of Remembrance was built in 1934 and features permanent and special exhibitions. The monument sits on a grassy knoll with its design inspired by ancient Greek architecture. Every year, on November 11th, celebrated as Remembrance Day, a ray of natural light shines through the roof onto the Stone of Remembrance at 11a, illuminating the word "love" in the inscription on the stone. Two guided tours of the peaceful yet sobering landmark are offered daily. The Galleries of Remembrance showcases artworks, artifacts and medals of soldiers.
The National Gallery of Victoria, or the NGV, is a historic art museum in the heart of Melbourne. Established in the year 1861, it remains famous as the country's oldest surviving public art exposition space. The museum building was built to the designs of Sir Roy Grounds and remodeled by Mario Bellini. The expansive art display of NGV incorporates native artworks, contemporary art, Impressionist works, and colonial art items, apart from other genres. Various art objects on display chronicle the evolution of Australian works and the influence of European techniques. Notable exhibits include Shearing the Rams by Tom Roberts and The Pioneer by Frederick McCubbin. International artifacts on display at the NGV cover categories like Pacific art, European textiles, Asian art, and Mesoamerican art. The museum is also home to a dedicated photography section that showcases more than 15,000 items.
This huge, Victorian-era building is World Heritage-listed for its architectural and historical significance. Situated among the tree-lined avenues of Carlton Gardens, it stands as a Melbourne landmark. The scale and grandeur of the building reflect the wealth of Victoria's gold rush era, so does its richly painted interior. The Exhibition Building was constructed in 1880 to host Melbourne's first Centennial Exhibition, a display of inventions and arts from around the globe. It went on to become the seat of Australia's first parliament in 1901. Daily tours provide an insight into the building's history.
At almost 300 meters (984 feet) from the ground, Eureka Skydeck 88 is the highest public viewing platform in the Southern Hemisphere. Located on the 88th floor of Eureka Tower, the viewing platform reveals sky-high views of central Melbourne, including the Yarra River and the Federation Square. For the thrill-seeker, an added attraction is The Edge, a glass cube which is gradually extended out from the building, giving the sensation of being suspended in space. Visiting the tower is highly recommended for an unforgettable experience.
Situated on the outskirts of the city, Carlton Gardens surround the magnificent Royal Exhibition Building and new Melbourne Museum. Featuring colorful flower beds, vintage carved fountains and glistening lakes, this is a great spot for a quick escape from the bustling city surrounding it. Housed within the garden is the famous Hochgurtel Fountain, which is a landmark by itself. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, the Carlton Garden is certainly the pride of the city and is surely a must visit attraction.
It has often been said that Australians are so obsessed with gambling, they would bet on two flies crawling up a window! While their passion might not run to that extent in all cases, there is certainly an affinity with horse racing. At the Australian Racing Museum you can take a trip back through time, perusing art, photographs and memorabilia inspired by the champions of the turf. For statistics buffs, the museum houses the complete records of all races in Australia. The museum is a tribute to all the jockeys and trainers and has a huge display which focuses on Thoroughbred horse racing. The museum is open throughout the year.
Take a trip down transport history by booking a tour for your family and yourself at Steamrail Victoria. It is a non-profit organization that has been restoring historic locomotives from 1965 and providing tours for adventurous explorations. Travel in the steam and diesel trains that were once considered a great mode of transport back in the day from different boarding points. You can travel from one town to another and treat yourself to delicious dishes and drinks onboard. Visitors usually praise the volunteers for the informative and kind service they provide.
Lyon Housemuseum is the creation of Corbett Lyon, an architect and collector based in Australia. The museum boasts a wide variety of artwork by upcoming and prominent artists. If one is interested and open to contemporary design, then this is the place to be. You can shop for various books and catalogs at the center.
Located at Federation Square, Artplay is an art center specially constructed for children to learn about art and have fun. At this place you can expect to have some family fun with your kids and get creative by designing and painting. There are professional artists here to help you with your paintings and artistic endeavors. There is also a park and playground with slides, swings, hammocks and sand-pits for more enthusiastic children. Need to catch your breath? Head to the kiosk for coffee and snacks. This center organizes workshops regularly and is also booked by schools for cultural events.
Fitzroy Gardens, with their leafy corridors of trees, ferns and flower beds, are one of Melbourne's favorite places. Another attraction is Captain Cook's Cottage (Cook's former home that was transported from Yorkshire, England, and rebuilt here), which displays the history of the famous explorer's life. Children will be delighted by the Fairy Tree, with its cute carvings of fairies and other "wee folk" and the model Tudor village. Evening visitors can even meet the locals, who come out to feed at night.