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Melbourne Travel Guide
Melbourne is Australia's "second city" and is also the financial and commercial hub, home of the most prestigious schools, and the arbiter of art, fashion and Culinary delights. This Victorian capital lacked the natural advantages of her rival, Sydney... no breathtaking harbor, and her only river is a brown apology. Therefore the city was designed to look like the nation's #1 place.

Mutual Building: Look down from the top (447 Collins St) and you'll see how truly beautiful the city is.

Victorian Arts Centre: St. Kilda Road, includes a 450-foot spire, a theatre, a concert hall, and an art gallery. Both the building and its contents are reputedly the finest of their kind in the Southern hemisphere. The structure looks like an immense granite slab from the outside, but the interior is a wonderful blending of architectural elements. The entire ground floor is devoted to Asian Art. Above there is a European section covering early European Art and another section which includes works by Manet, Degas and Pissaro. 10-5PM... 'til 9PM on Wednesday. Closed Monday.

National Museum Of Victoria: Russell Street... concentrates on natural history, with sections on anthropology, zoology, geology, etc.

City Square: Extends from Town Hall to St. Paul's Cathedral... and is a kind of architectural goulash garnished with lawns, shops, cafes, and waterfalls that remind one of flushing toilets. The real attraction is the Video Matrix, a huge screen consisting of 25,000 lamps individually controlled by a computer. The matrix acts as an electronic town crier, announcing what's happening, where, when, as well as showing direct telecasts from TV Stations. It's a great and free special event.

Saona: ...is a romantic paddle steamer that plies the Yarra River from Princess Walk to the Botanic Gardens, Como Park, and Fairview Park. These are leisurely two-hour cruises, giving you ample Shore leave at the stops, and a chance to view Melbourne from the river - probably the best vantage point.

Old Melbourne Gaol And Penal Museum: On Russell Street, this is an old bluestone prison built in 1841. It contains relics from the grimmest and wildest pages of Australia's history.

Captain Cook's Cottage: At Treasury Gardens, is the residence of one of mankind's greatest explorers and the discoverer of Australia. Open daily.

La Trobe Cottage: By the Botanical Gardens, was Victoria's first Government House. Quite small and simple outside, it has a remarkably elegant interior. Governor La Trobe, who ran the colony until 1854, was as much a visionary as an administrator. He conceived, among other projects, the Melbourne Botanical Gardens. Open daily.

The Shrine Of Remembrance: St. Kilda Road...is dedicated to Australia's war dead, and the monument has a great dome with an opening so contrived that precisely at "Armistice Hour 1918", a single ray of light shines on the Stone of Remembrance below.

Melbourne Zoo: In Royal Park...take the electric train from Flinders Street Station. If you have not yet seen Koalas and Kangaroos, see them here in natural environments. Open daily.

Luna Park: St. Kilda Esplanade, is a handily compact amusement park crammed with devices to shake, whirl, rattle, bump, swing, slide and bounce one around - if this be of interest to you.

Como: Como Avenue, is a century-old mansion preserved by the National Trust. On view inside is the entire lifestyle of the Victoria rich - coaches and kitchen gear, furniture, drapes, and bathroom utensils. The house is very enchanting, with wonderful white verandas and delicate wrought railings, set among 5 acres of neat lawns, flower gardens and fountains. Catch the #8 tram from Swanston St. Daily until 5 PM.

Rippon Lea: 192 Hotham St...Another Victorian mansion on 13 acres of gardens and lakes, populated by peacocks. Daily until 5 PM.

Royal Botanical Gardens: The most beautiful in Australia and among the world's finest examples of classical landscaping. There are 3 lakes, some 43 acres of flowerbeds, 35 acres of lawns.

King's Domain: Between the Botanical Gardens and the city, it's noted for its flower clock containing 10,000 plants.

Shopping: Melbourne is the country's shopping center par excellence. This applies to the entire retailing range from monumental department stores to plush little boutiques to flea markets. The two main shopping drags are Bourke St. and Collins Street. There are also shopping arcades: Royal Arcade on Bourke Street... Australia Arcade and Block Court off Collins Street. The Flea market on Drummond Street opens Friday nights and Saturday mornings.

Aboriginal artifacts and handicrafts: 167 Collins St. Genuine handmade spears, boomerangs, bark paintings, etc. sold on behalf of the Aborigines.

Altman And Cherny: 227 Collins... for Opals. Also Wentworth Jewellers, a subsidiary of the above... with the world's most valuable black opal.
About the Author
Author of this article is Gene Gill. For more information visit his website: Gene Gill Miniatures.
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