While some Australian cities boast a harbour and iconic skyline, Victoria’s capital Melbourne is famous for a murky Yarra River and the Hoddle Grid. The Grid does mean laneways though, and that in turn means bars. More on that later.
Melbourne was initially explored in 1835 by John Batman, who unfortunately was not a former crime fighter from Gotham. Deciding it would make a great village he left to form a settlement party. In his absence another group aboard the vessel Enterprize landed and set up camp in the same area. Fortunately both groups decided to share and by 1837 the area was officially named Melbourne.
From these beginnings Melbourne has since gorged itself on food and drinks. There are more than 5000 restaurants and cafes in the Melbourne area, which apparently, per capita is the most in the world. There’s also an over abundance of clubs, pubs and bars. The city’s small bars, which exist off the many laneways on the Grid, show an enterprising use of space by developers. So impressed are other state capitals some have tried to replicate the "small bar" feel.
After eating and drinking it’s probably time to watch some sport. It may be the second largest city in Australia but Melbourne hosts some of the country’s biggest sporting events. In November a horse race, the Melbourne Cup, somehow stops the nation. In September the AFL Grand Final is held at the MCG which isn’t a surprise as Aussie Rules is virtually a religion in Victoria. In January tennis takes over the capital when the Australian Open Grand Slam is held. Motor sports also get a look in with the Formula One Grand Prix held annually.
When it comes to arts Melbourne again has plenty to offer. For something cheap just walk the streets and you’re likely to find some sort of street art — although council workers may disagree with the term "art". In Southbank you’ll find the National Gallery of Victoria which features modern and classic work plus touring exhibitions. In terms of music Melbourne is one of the few cities which hasn’t completely killed off its local live music scene. They also know how to laugh with the annual Melbourne International Comedy Festival attracting performers from across the globe.