By Tatyana Kogut
Thanks to its great amount if old buildings and parks, Melbourne is almost an “English” city. The history of Melbourne started in 1803, when first colonial settlements appeared around the Yarra River. In 1851 there was gold discovered at this region, and from this moment the city has been developing rapidly. It took Melbourne just a few years to turn into the capital of state Victoria, named after Queen Victoria. In 1901 Melbourne became the official capital of Australia.
Nowadays Melbourne is the cultural capital of the country, the continent’s liveliest city and one of the most visited cities in the world. Lots of music, theatre, cinema and literature festivals are held here every year. Most known city landmarks are the National Gallery of Victoria and the Victorian Arts Centre.
Many restaurants and entertainment venues are situated by the Yarra River, which runs through the city centre. Restaurants, cafes, discos, nightclubs – when the dusk comes, all of them are ready to welcome their guests. Life is boiling over and abates only in the morning.
There is definitely a lot to see in Melbourne. For instance, you can make a trip along the Great Ocean Road, during which you will find yourself within the Great Otway National Park, amongst its giant ferns and eucalyptuses. When reaching the coast, you will see the Twelve Apostles – twelve gloomy rocks that rise above the ocean.
One thing that Melbourne is famous for is its “penguin parade” – the Australian natural phenomenon. These funny animals spend the whole day in water, swimming several kms from the coast, and in the evening they return back to their nests.
A fourth of the city is occupied with gardens and parks. You will have a chance to walk around the Royal Botanic Gardens and the lanes of Queen Victoria Gardens. To feel the atmosphere of the past, make a captivating trip on the Puffing Billy steam train, which will drive you along the picturesque valley of the Yarra River. A trip to Fergusson Winery finishes with lunch and wine tasting.
Ballarat city gained fame during the gold rush. Nowadays you can make a “gold path” excursion around the city. There are 19-century buildings, green gardens and parks still found in Ballarat. A trip to Ballarat is also an excellent chance to learn more about the history of the period.
One reason why travelers often come to Australia is its weather. As for Melbourne, local climate is mild and humid. The best time to come to this city is October – April, when medium temperatures reach 24!. Water is rather cold, but suitable for summer bathing.