Travelling to Australia? Today we introduce the capital of the southern state of Victoria, Melbourne. Known for food, culture, festivals and sport, here are our top 4 sites to check out when you’re visiting down under.
Botanical Gardens (central)
Accessible by foot or tram from the cities’ largest train station (Flinders St Station), the Royal Botanical Gardens is great for families, exercise junkies, solo exploration or group events and picnics. Amongst a picturesque, nineteenth century landscape, there are grand, established trees, colourful perennials, an arid garden, fern gully and waterfall, as well as natives and other plants from around the world. Cosy into a secluded green space with your own picnic or head to the café in the heart of the gardens. Our current favourite activity is punting on the lake, where you can take a serene cruise around the ornamental lakes in an elegant wooden punt.
Better than the typical zoo, Gumbuya World is a newly rejuvenated theme park that boasts three key areas. First – experience the thoughtful balance between a free-range zoo and traditional animal enclosure habitats in the wildlife section. Gumbuya has serious space and room for humans and animals to stretch out and features over 52 species of animals. The wildlife trail has numerous Aussie icons from kangaroos and koalas through to an impressive array of snakes and critters. The other two areas of the theme park offer a number of rides for people of all ages and perhaps best of all for summer – a water park. As the best and newest water park in Melbourne, you can slide, surf, drift along the lazy river or enjoy water play on Typhoon Island. Bookable cabanas are available for an inevitable afternoon snooze or snack break.
National Gallery of Victoria
Home to the iconic waterwall and over 75 000 works in their collection the NGV may be Australia’s oldest and most distinguished public art collection, but it also features many interactive spaces, both indoors and out. There’s also a pretty rad gift shop that exceeds the typical tourist knick-knacks. There are several tasty places to refuel after a busy day of culture including casual dining or luxe high tea experience. For the night owls, they also run a seasonal series of Art After Dark events with live music and performances, talks and food and wine.
Collingwood Children’s Farm
Not just for kids! Only 5km from Melbourne’s city centre in the inner suburb of Collinwood, the Collingwood Children’s Farm is a rustic working farm. For a small entry fee of $12 per adult, you can admire from afar, or engage in dedicated animal experiences. Picnics are welcome, but the onsite Farm Café offers exceptional coffee and meals using local fresh produce – and Melburnians take their brunch very seriously, so expect good quality. Look on their website for special events such as Music afternoons/evenings, Collingwood Children’s Farm also attracts many trendy locals, so be ready for a friendly and cultural vibe amongst the farm atmosphere.