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Study abroad in Melbourne

Introducing Melbourne

Melbourne's residents are fuelled by the best coffee in Australia, yet the city still runs at a slow pace. Trams travel back and forth along the city's grid, and cycling is a common way to travel between suburbs. It's also becoming increasingly fashionable to get about town on a scooter.

The natural geographic feature of the Yarra River meant that the area was prime settling land for Europeans in the 1830s, and the ornate Victorian-era architecture and leafy, established boulevards reflect this history. Cutting-edge, futuristic developments such as Federation Square the city's new meeting place and the waterfront development of the Docklands provide a striking contrast. The city centre is bordered by the Yarra to the south, Fitzroy Gardens to the east, Victoria St to the north and Spencer St to the west (although the Docklands has extended the western border). The main streets running east-west in the city's block-shaped grid are Collins and Bourke Sts, crossed by Swanston and Elizabeth Sts. The heart of the city is Bourke St Mall and Chinatown along Little Bourke St.

Character-filled neighbourhoods, such as Fitzroy, St Kilda and Carlton, hum with life and the city produces some of the most innovative art, music, cuisine, fashion, performance, design and ideas in the country. Melburnians love to shop, eat and attend the many festivals the city offers. They are also a sporty bunch who go crazy during the Australian Football League (AFL) finals in September, and the Spring Racing Carnival in November, when the whole country stops to watch the Melbourne Cup.

Melbourne's Weather

Melbourne's climate has an unfortunate reputation: wet, windy, unpredictable and liable to extremes – very hot or very cold and often both on the same day! On the plus side, Melbourne's multitude of parks makes it a beautiful place to witness the changing seasons. It is rarely unbearably chilly – in winter the average temperature ranges between 6°C and 13°C – and temperatures reach above 35°C only a few times each year. Despite its reputation for being wet, Melbourne actually receives only half the average rainfall of Sydney or Brisbane.

Cultural Overview

Melbourne's most defining characteristic is its cultural diversity. Around 40% of the city's population was born outside Australia, with over 130 countries recorded as Melburnians' places of birth. This ethnic mix greatly influences the way people live and play. There's an outlet, celebration and activity for every taste and preference – in one night in Melbourne you could see butoh (modern Japanese performance art) and take a salsa lesson before heading to a late-night jazz club.

The city has dozens of excellent galleries and probably the healthiest theatre scene in the country, with beautifully renovated venues such as the Princess and Regent theatres. As Melbourne prides itself on being Australia's most 'highbrow' city, it should come as no surprise that the more traditional musical and dance art forms are well represented classical music buffs will love the Melbourne Chorale and the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. The Australian Ballet also calls Melbourne home. To top it all off, Melbourne is widely acknowledged as the country's rock capital, and has long enjoyed a thriving pub-rock scene, from which bands such as AC/DC, Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds and Jet emerged.
Victoria Chorale:  Website:
Melbourne Symphony Orchestra:  Website:
The Australian Ballet:  Website:

And, of course, we mustn't forget the city's coffee culture. If good coffee and fabulous cafes are important to you, this is definitely the place to be.

Don’t Miss...

Melbourne's easy-going pace is perfect for enjoying its gracious Victorian architecture, its wealth of parks and gardens, and its many cultural highlights. Most of the city's main sights are just a short walk or tram stop apart, with plenty of coffee pick-me-up opportunities along the way. Following is just a tiny taste of what's on offer in marvellous Melbourne.

Get your bearings and enjoy a birds-eye view of new developments such as Docklands from the Melbourne Observation Deck at the Rialto Towers.
Rialto Towers:  525 Collins St, City Centre.  Phone:  03 9629 8222  Website:

Take a book, a picnic or a Frisbee; most importantly, take your time at the Royal Botanic Gardens, certainly the finest botanic gardens in Australia. During summer, don't miss the divine experience of a Moonlight Cinema session.
Royal Botanic Gardens:  Birdwood Ave, South Yarra.  Phone:  03 9252 2300 Website:
Moonlight Cinema:  Website:

Find out what makes Australians who they are at the inspiring and architecturally magnificent Immigration Museum.
Immigration Museum:  400 Flinders St, City Centre.  Phone:  03 9927 2700  Website:

Eat a bratwurst (German sausage) on a Saturday morning while listening to musicians busking outside the deli at the Queen Victoria Market (QVM). The QVM's bustling night market (Wednesday evenings, late November to mid-February) is also well worth a visit.
Queen Victoria Market:  513 Elizabeth St, City Centre.  Phone:  03 9320 5822  Website:

Head to the lively seaside suburb of St Kilda (think fun, food, cakes and sea breezes). Highlights include Luna Park, an old-fashioned amusement park; the Esplanade Sunday Market (10am-5pm); and catching a ferry (weekends & public holidays) from St Kilda pier across the bay to charming Williamstown.
Luna Park:  Lower Esplanade.  Phone:  03 9525 5033  Website:
Ferry service:  Phone:  03 9682 9555

Eat & Be Merry At...

Melbourne is the city for food lovers. Everywhere you go, there are restaurants, cafés, delicatessens, markets, bistros, brasseries and takeaways. The city's ethnic diversity is reflected in the inexhaustible variety of its cuisines and restaurants. People eat out a lot. The city also has a famously lively night-life scene. You'll find bars and clubs hidden down tiny alleys, at the top of darkened staircases and in most luxury hotels. Here are a few of our favourite places to get you started:

Lovers of Middle Eastern food should follow the spice trail to Mecca, which offers Moroccan, Egyptian and Lebanese fare. After a delicious meal on the river-side balcony you'd be forgiven for mistaking the Yarra River for the Nile...
Mecca:  mid-level, Southgate, City.  Phone:  03 9682 2999

Open until 2.30am, Supper Inn is a favourite for late-night noodles, claypots or congee (Chinese rice porridge). The décor is nothing great, but the quality dishes are excellent value.
Supper Inn:  Celestial Ave, Chinatown, City.  Phone:  03 9663 4759

Breakfast, accepted as one of the best in the city, can be ordered all day at Marios, a Melbourne institution. Waiting for a table is part of the ritual, so get a coffee and a spot at the window to check out the Fitzroy scene while you wait.
Marios:  303 Brunswick St, Fitzroy.  Phone:  03 9417 3343

Climb the stairs and enter one of the coolest bars in Melbourne: Cookie. With its balconies overlooking Swanston St, gorgeous interior, diverse music collection, great cocktails and 10 beers on tap, this place could win Bar of the Year. It serves great Thai food, too.
Cookie:  252 Swanston St, City Centre.  Phone:  03 9663 7660

Honkytonks is a typical lost-up-a-laneway, at-the-top-of-a-staircase Melbourne bar/club. Down the back, past the grand piano holding the DJ decks, are views over the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), one of the world's great sporting venues.
Honkytonks:  Duckboard Pl, City Centre.  Phone:  03 9662 4555

Melbourne Events

Melbourne's love of festivals has earned it the nickname 'Events Capital'. Its festival calendar is overflowing, with city streets and venues turned over to the public to celebrate everything from fashion to anti-fashion, film and food. Following is a small selection; for more, pick up a copy of Melbourne Events from the Melbourne Visitor Information Centre in Federation Square.

Australian Open In January, Melbourne's National Tennis Centre hosts Australia's Grand Slam tennis championship. It attracts the world's top players and provides occasion for adult spectators to paint their faces – in national colours.
Australian Open:  Website:

Antipodes Festival March sees the city's Greek quarter in Lonsdale St (between Swanston and Russell Sts) celebrate film, music and visual art, finishing with a street festival on the weekend nearest 25 March.
Antipodes Festival:  Website:

International Comedy Festival One of the three largest comedy festivals in the world, this event brings together Australia's finest comedians and some first-rate international performers. It's held at various venues across the city from late March to mid-April.
International Comedy Festival:  Website:

Melbourne International Film Festival This celebration of cinema showcases some of the best in international and local film making. It's held over two weeks in July at various cinemas across the city. The programme includes guests, forums and the ever-popular Festival Club for discussions after film screenings.
Melbourne International Film Festival:  Website:

Royal Melbourne Show The country comes to town for this large and very popular agricultural fair, held at the showgrounds in Flemington in September. There are dog shows, a rodeo, showjumping, amusement park rides and lots more.
Royal Melbourne Show:  Website: