Deservedly ranked as one of the world’s most liveable cities (along with Auckland). Melbourne is a great place, if disconcertingly flat compared with living on a volcanic plain. I’ve visited at least half a dozen times, here are some of my favourites sights in the city, further afield and some ideas for runners.
Possibly the most impressive shopping mall I’ve been to (though the one in Singapore with a canal running through it was pretty swish), thanks to the huge dome built over an old coop’s shot tower built for a shotgun powder factory. Also home to a good food court, and has a busy, energetic atmosphere at any time of day, hard to find in New Zealand (mixed blessing).
Can’t match the beaches of Sydney as a beach on its own but it is home to a huge range of bars and restaurants on the beach front, something annoying hard to find in New Zealand, where roads seem to take priority.
Shrine of Remembrance
One of the most impressive and moving war memorials I’ve seen anywhere. Situated in beautiful parkland close to Albert Park, with great views from the top toward the CBD skyline.
Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne
Unfortunately if understandably not open to runners, the gardens are rather pleasant, as botanic gardens tend to be.
State Library Victoria
Home to more than just books, including art exhibitions and an interesting collection of Victorian (the state rather than the period) history, including Ned Kelly’s famous suit of armour.
National Gallery of Victoria
The waterfall by the entrance is a nice start to a fairly eclectic art and design (furniture & fashion) collection. I like eclectic.
Funky angular building by Federation Square focusing on native art, home to some great Aboriginal artwork.
Old Melbourne Gaol
See where Ned Kelly was imprisoned in a pretty standard if still impressive Victorian jail.
Victoria State Parliament
The free tours are interesting, though after visiting the New Zealand, British and Canadian Parliaments they’re starting to look a little similar (apart from New Zealand not having an upper House of Representatives).
Great Ocean Road
Doesn’t entirely live up to its name with about a third of it running inland through farmland, but the coastal sections are pretty impressive (though Picton to Kaikoura or along the West Coast are as good). Lots of nice places to stop along the way, though I may have overdone it with the amount of cheesecake eaten.
About three hours west from Melbourne lies a national park of rugged beauty, home to semi wild kangaroos, emu, koala and echidna. Perfect spot for day walks in quite a different, far more arid, environment than you’ll find in New Zealand (despite being home to seemingly every other type of environment).
Melbourne running routes
Mostly flat terrain and plenty of footpaths makes Melbourne a great place for runners, if somewhat stop start in the CBD due to the grid system and lack of barn dance style traffic lights.
South Bank west toward Docklands – home to about the only hill in town out by Flaffstaff Gardens if you head inland, otherwise stick with the flat promenade around the waterfront close to Etihad Stadium
South Bank east along Yarra River – footpaths continue along both sides of the Yarra for many kilometres, difficult to get lost, and pretty scenic throughout
Casino south to Port Melbourne – follow the footpath for about 3km alongside tram route 109 out to Port Melbourne, then if keen head along the beach down to St Kilda’s
Albert Park – home to the F1 GP and lots of ducks, a circuit of the lake is a very pleasant 5km loop