Aside from being known as one of the world's most livable cities, Melbourne is perfectly situated among several natural beauty spots. So any perfect trip to Victoria's coastal capital should include a nice balance of both nature and city in order to give you a taste of what makes Melbourne so special.
St. Kilda's Beach
St. Kilda's is a hot spot with locals and visitors alike. And for good reason. It's a lovely stretch of long, immaculate beach lined with a tantalizing array of nightclubs, markets, and even amusement parks. The ambiance is fun and friendly. It's easy to reach via tram. This is a good area to stay in. Check online for accommodations at Gumtree (http://www.gumtree.com.au/s-property-for-rent/c18364
), where you'll find the best selection.
Any trip to Melbourne is only complete after you've made a visit to the fantastic alleys and arcades where you'll find one unique shop and eatery after another. Heritage buildings like the Royal Arcade, in particular, have some of the most gorgeous architecture that you're likely to find anywhere.
Children and adults alike will get a kick out of visiting this charming old school amusement park from the early 1900s (http://lunapark.com.au/
). The roller coaster runs on wooden tracks, making for a truly vintage experience.
City Circle Tram
It has to be the most charming way to explore a new city ever invented. You'll love the vintage look and feel. And the best thing? It's absolutely free. You can get on and off as you like, or sit back and ride the loop to get an overview of the best the city has to offer.
Royal Exhibition Building
This World Heritage listed building was built in 1880 and at the time was the largest building in Australia. It's an architectural marvel that was constructed using Romanesque, Byzantine, Lombardic and Renaissance Italian influences. It plays host to all manner of shows, concerts, and exhibitions.
Phillip Island Nature Park
The nature park is situated high up on the cliffs and overlooks seal island. If you love penguins, you'll have your chance to get up close and personal with them, because they love to roam around and you're likely to find thousands of them everywhere you go. For a little extra, you can get an underground viewing that you'll never forget. Well worth your time.
Considered by many to be an authentically Australian experience. The forests are lush and filled with stunning wildlife and offer plenty of opportunities for hikers and walkers to take in nature. The Puffing Billy Steam Railway is not to be missed. You'll think you've been transported to an earlier time in history. Very authentic. You can catch it in Belgrave Village.
The Yarra Valley is home to world class wines. Spend the day exploring the area's wineries and sampling the vintages. It's the perfect place to enjoy a rustic picnic lunch while snacking on a selection of local cheeses, olives, and sourdough bread. Accompanied by a lovely glass of local wine, of course!
Royal Botanic Gardens
It is literally an oasis in the heart of the city. A sprawling park flourishing with wildlife. The gardens are stunning but the Aboriginal Heritage Walk will take you on an ancestral tour of the Gardens. You can ask the indigenous guides anything you've ever wanted to know about Australian flora.