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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 September, 2003, 16:04 GMT 17:04 UK
City guide: Melbourne
No trip down under is complete without visiting Australia's second largest city - especially for sports fans.

MELBOURNE FACTFILE
A train pulls into Melbourne
Population: 3.4m
Location: South-east
Climate: Hot summers and mild winters
Geography: Situated on the banks of the Yarra River where it meets Port Philip Bay
Interesting fact: Melbourne has been voted one of the world's best cities to live in

As well as being the venue for the traditional Boxing Day Test match in the Ashes series, Melbourne is famous for hosting some world-famous sporting events.

Tennis' first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open, takes place there, along with the Bells Beach Surf Classic and, of course, Australia's Melbourne Cup horse race.

Melbourne is also set to host the Commonwealth Games in 2006.

But the capital of Victoria, situated on the banks of the Yarra River where it meets Port Philip Bay, has plenty else to offer besides sport.

Home to 3.4m people, Melbourne is a bustling vibrant place, possessing an impressive range of food, architecture, theatres, galleries and gardens.

The city boasts impressive 19th-century architecture, along with picturesque parks and leafy boulevards.

Melbourne is also instantly recognisable by its network of green and yellow trams which carry passengers across the whole metropolitan area.

The area's first white settlement sprang up in 1803, although the Aboriginal people around Victoria resisted it for about 30 years.

Of course, the indigenous population could not hold off the inevitable forever and in May 1835 John Batman bought about 240,000 hectares of land off the local Aborigine clan on behalf of a group of Tasmanian entrepreneurs and Melbourne was born.

It took until 1837 before the settlement was named and military surveyor Robert Hoddle designed the city's familiar grid layout.

Melbourne has grown since then, managing to become both a leafy, bayside community on the brown Yarra River and a cosmopolitan, football-crazy haven for the avant-garde.

Given its range of qualities, there was no surprise when Melbourne was voted one of the best cities in the world to live in.





Links to more Venues Guide stories


 

WORLD CUP VENUES



DAVO'S CHOICE
Best boozerBest boozer
Esplanade Hotel, St Kilda

Best meat restaurantBest meat restaurant
Blue Train Cafe, Southgate
Gambler's denGambler's den
Crown Casino, 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank

IF YOU MUST
ShoppingShopping
Melbourne Central, Latrobe Street

Best veggie tuckerBest veggie tucker
The Coffee Shop, of course!
CultureCulture
Old Melbourne Gaol



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