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Holiday Australia: Australia: Victoria & Melbourne - The Arts, Culture, Stylish & Classy: Victoria - the Garden State

All of Australia is actually on show in Victoria: Rugged crashing coastlines and rolling green hills so reminiscent of  England, alpine high country and spectacular surf beaches, superb hillside vineyards and harsh scrubby deserts are all to be found in this incredible state that makes up only 3 per cent of Australia. Talk about a pocket rocket! The first advantage of course is with so much packed into such a small area - it takes less time getting to - or from anywhere to anywhere in Victoria.

Variety, contrast and history are the hallmarks of this amazing state. The smallest of all the mainland Australian states it is the most densely populated, and also punches well above its weight in the economic stakes, producing over 1/3 of the gross national product of Australia.

Founded by Batman (no - not that one!) and Sir John Pascoe Fawkner (it’s quite a story!) it is an exciting paradox. Settled by some of the oldest and most blue blooded families in Australia, it also was the site of the only armed public rebellion ever to happen in Australia, as well as of course home to our famous bushranger - Ned Kelly. Its geographical and climatic diversity is such that it houses some of the worlds last remaining temperate rain forests - and some of the harshest desert areas in Australia.

So what’s with Melbourne, the capital city of Victoria? Well, for a start, it’s a very beautiful and alluring city of classic wide boulevards, charm and may we dare say - quite amazing sophistication and elegance. Ranked globally as one of the top 10 most liveable cities in the world, it is home to a most incredibly diverse melting pot of global cultures. (Melbourne is the second largest Greek city in the world after Athens!) This diversity is reflected in its superb range of ethnic restaurants, markets and clubs. Melbourne and ‘Melbournites’ - and not just in the rarified air of the incredibly chic suburbs of South Yarra &  Toorak - have the poise, grace, manners and - well - cultivated sophistication that makes this city a world leader not only for foodies, but also for architecture, style, shopping, the arts and events - the Melbourne Cup and the Melbourne Grand Prix just 2 of the leading world events held here ever year! And don’t miss the-oh-so-easy-to-get-around-on famous Melbourne tram network - the world’s largest!

And you HAVE not lived until you have watched a game of Victoria’s own unique brand of football - Australian Rules (‘Aussie Rules!’) and they do. Rule! Melbourne is ‘ga ga’ - (no - not lady GG) (!) about their Aussie Rules. DO NOT get into a conversation in an Essendon pub about the merits of the Collingwood football team. Not a good idea! Barracking (NO - not that ‘Barrack’ - In Oz ‘to barrack for’ means to cheer your team on!) for your favourite ‘footie’ (we love to shorten words!) team is so ingrained here that newborn babies have been christened in their Mums favourite footy players jumper.. Well - there are some cases I have heard of!

The weather
Hmm... thought you might ask. Melbourne is not subtropical like Sydney. However it does have a very hot summer (end Nov - early March) and a cold winter. Melbourne weather is reknown for being - well interesting (!) and is often called the ‘4 seasons a day city’. However for snow-seasoned brits - it’s the best time of the year to strut your new season winter fashions you purchased (with 1 UK pounds currently buying $1 .60 Aussie dollars) in the superb array of chic city shops. Discover Victoria - and go there soon with us - it’s our HOME city..! 

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