|Melbourne Travel Guide|
Other city attractions include the bustling Queen Victoria Market on the northern fringe of the CBD; the stiking Melbourne Museum and nearby the World Heritage listed Royal Exhibition Building; the mammoth Treasury and State Parliament House buildings; Scots and St Michael's churches; the 19th-century Block Arcade, which runs between Collins and Elizabeth Sts; the collection of Gothic-revival banks on the corner of Collins and Queen Sts; and the landmark Rialto Towers at the western end of Collins St which, boasting an observation deck on the 55th floor, provides a 360 degree view of the city and beyond. At the top end of Russell St there's the atmospheric Old Melbourne Gaol.
St Kilda is a day trip in itself. For years it was Melbourne's sex and sin centre - drunks, drugs, girls, shady deals and shady characters abounded - but the suburb is slowly being rejuvenated and is now one of Melbourne's most fashionable areas. Fitzroy St retains traces of its former tarnished character, although today you're more likely to be sipping a crisp white and dining on rocket salad than slugging a beer and looking for action. There is a string of average beaches running from St Kilda back into the city, including Middle Park, Albert Park and Port Melbourne. Luna Park, near St Kilda Beach, is an old-fashioned fairground that's fun for kids and coltish adults.
Opposite the arts precinct are the Royal Botanic Gardens - considered
to be among the finest in the world - and Kings Domain, which contains
the Shrine of Remembrance, Governor La Trobe's Cottage and the Sidney
Myer Music Bowl. The Southgate complex of shops, wine bars, snack stalls
and restaurants lines the Yarra's bank. Further along the Yarra, the Docklands
- the latest addition to Melbourne's Sydney-style waterside precinct -
is in the throes of birth, dotted with new high-rise apartment buildings,
riverside restaurants, the Telstra Dome Stadium and half-completed building
If you prefer not to get your hair wet, head west to Point Lonsdale,
renowned for the marine life in its huge number of rockpools. There's
also a good surf beach here and an early settlers' cemetery. On the ocean
side of the peninsula, Ocean Grove has some fantastic wreck diving in
one of the world's most dangerous waterways. Torquay, just south of the
peninsula, is one of the most popular surfing and summer resorts on Victoria's
coast, and the capital of Australia's surf industry.
The island's surf beach, Woolamai, is renowned for its strong rips, but
there are also safer bay beaches for less daring swimmers.
The valley is also one of Australia's most respected wine-growing regions, with more than 30 wineries scattered among these beautiful hills and valleys. The region is particularly noted for its pinot noir, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon and sparkling wines. The Warrandyte State Park in the valley is one of the few remaining areas of natural bush in the metropolitan area - there are walking and cycling tracks and picnic areas, as well as galleries and potteries dotted throughout the hills.
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