Melbourne Weekend Breaks

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Weekend Breaks to Melbourne

Planning a short break to Melbourne? Check out Travel Library's recommended Top 10 Things To Do in Melbourne. It's a perfect companion for weekend city breaks to Melbourne. Once you've been you can add your own tips and suggestions to help other visitors.

Melbourne Cricket Ground

Most Australians are sports mad and cricket is one of the national pastimes besides off course, Australian rules football a game unique to Australia. The first game of Australian rules football was played in these grounds when the game was invented in 1858. In 1877, the first test cricket match between Australia and England was also played here.

But the sports ground has more than just local significance. The ground was the central stadium for the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and will be used in the 2006 Commonwealth Games that will be hosted by the city. An interesting tidbit is that in an 1876 stand, now demolished, spectators could watch cricket and football matches that were being simultaneously played.

In front of the member's entrance to the MCG is the Australian Gallery of Sport and an Olympic Museum, dedicated to the country's passion for sport.

Crown Casino

There were some protests when this mega entertainment complex, that opens 24 hours, was being planned and constructed. Time always eases the pressure and the complex is now an integral part of Melbourne's social life. When it was constructed in 1997 it was the biggest of its kind in the world but time, once again, has let the casino off the hook in that regard.

There are 2 500 gaming machines, 350 gambling tables, cinemas that never close, designer shops like Armani, Prada and Versace, restaurants and nightclubs.

St Kilda

Two of the streets to visit in this lively and cosmopolitan Melbourne suburb are Fitzroy and Acland Streets. The Jewish community holds its own in Acland Street with their cafes and cake shops that give you the sense that you could be in a European city like Warsaw or Vienna, or even Tel Aviv in Israel. Fitzroy Street is ablaze with tables and umbrellas on the pavements on sunny days.

St Kilda has had its ups and downs as a community. In its early days it was a fashionable seaside resort but by the 1960s, its image had grown to be quite seedy with all the down and out people that it seemed to attract. Its image has rolled up again and it's the fashionable place to hang out. There is a luna park on the St Kilda pier that is some ways is old fashioned but nonetheless is fun.

The Jewish Museum of Australia is in this locality. If you are here in February, you can also catch the St Kilda Festival which is a showcase for local artists, musicians and writers and to boot there are street parties, parades and concerts.

Queen Victoria Market

This market has guided tours and not because the food and vegetable stalls just seem to go on for ever. The market is huge, there is 7 ha of it in an old building with high ornate ceilings. More than that, the tours are intended make sure visitors get to the right spots of activity in this robust place.

Visitors can go on a Foodies Dream Tour where they can sample the best of the fare at the market. Alternatively, the Heritage Tour familiarises you with the history of the market which has been in existence for more than 100 years, and was once the site of a cemetery. You can always go on a do-it-yourself tour and equally have fun.

At least 130 000 people visit the market each week

Please go to www.qvm.com.au

Chinatown

The Chinese were among the nationalities who joined the gold rush of the 1850s and their legacy lives on in this district. The Museum of Chinese Australian History, whose entrance is guarded by a dragon, preserves the heritage of the community. The museum also has items of contemporary Chinese art, temple regalia and furniture.

The museum also conducts walking tours of Chinatown which is distinguished by many old buildings and warehouses.

While in Chinatown restaurant, try out yum cha (sometimes known as dim sum) a series of small delicacies served from trolleys that are available at lunch time almost everywhere..

Old Melbourne Gaol

The prison was built in stages between 1841 to 1864. The gold rush of the 1850s caused quite a bit of lawlessness that it kept having to be expanded. The prison was closed for use in 1923 and today is a relic of the past. The Australian folk hero, Ned Kelly, who is still held with much awe and fascination by many, was hanged in this prison along with about 100 other people.

The museum outlines the histories of some murderers and their victims like the story of Martha Needle who poisoned her husband and daughters with arsenic.

For more info go to www.home.vic.au

Kings Domain

This is the elegant part of the city where amid the park like surroundings on a hill top is Government House, the residence of the Governor of Victoria. There are guided tours of the residence that are run by the National Trust, one of the highlights being the state ballroom which occupies the entire south wing. The building, constructed in 1872, is a replica of Queen Victoria's palace in England on the Isle of Wight.

In contrast to this residence is the humble La Trobe's Cottage just a short distance away. This was the home of the first Governor, Charles La Trobe. It was shipped out from England, in prefabricated form in 1840.

Other sites are the Old Melbourne Observatory and the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, an outdoor performance area all amid an area of statues and monuments.

Royal Botanical Gardens

This fine garden can be reached by tram in 15 minutes from downtown. When Melbourne people can't decide on what on earth to do, it is never a bad choice to come to the park. On weekends, it is a favourite picnicking spot where it common to see families unloading mountains of food. You can sunbathe, watch the swans cruising over the lake or just walk through the greenery.

The gardens, located by the Yarra River, have specialised garden spots like fern grotto's, cactus gardens and other indigenous and exotic plants on its 40 ha plot. There is an observatory and in summer there is an outdoor theatre that puts on various performances .

Windsor Hotel

This grand hotel is still growing strong since it opened in 1887. While some renovations have taken place here and there, it still holds its own as a figure of the lifestyle of a bygone era through its memorable architecture like the fa├žade, staircase and domed restaurant.

The hotel still serves high tea every afternoon from 3 - 5 pm just as it did in the 19th century, and in the style of Victorian England with its fancy crockery.

Immigration Museum

Many Australians can trace their roots to one of immigration and this museum, is a tribute to all those that decided to make Australia their home. In some cases, immigration was forced upon them like the convicts who were shipped over from England as punishment. Whatever the circumstances, the road was quite challenging for those who arrived in earlier times.

The museum recounts personal stories of immigrants using sound and light effects. There are stories of what it was like, for instance, for a post war refugee from Europe in the 1940s or going back even further, to someone who arrived on a square rigger in the 1840s. Each story is unique because of the personal, cultural and political background of their circumstances. The museum has Tribute Garden.

User Suggestions

The State Library

The library is situated in the heart of Melbourne. It is a wonderful place to visit because it shows Melbourne's heratige and is great for a good read.

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