Melbourne Airport (MEL)

Residing on a bay in the southeastern corner of Australia, Melbourne is the second largest city Down Under. Established in 1835, it blossomed during the Victorian gold rush in the mid-19th century. Today, this thriving city of over three million residents is the capital of Victoria and one of Australia's must-see destinations.

The Cultural Capital of Australia

Melbourne is considered the cultural capital of Australia for good reason and you could come away with that impression even if you confined your travels to the City Centre. Here, the National Gallery of Victoria — Australia's largest — awaits, and it offers visitors a wealth of Asian, Australian, European and Indigenous art. Nearby, the 165-year old Royal Botanic Gardens, with its impeccably manicured lawns and 10,000 floral species, is a lovely place to spend an afternoon. For something a little more fast paced, visit Federation Square, Victoria's second most popular tourist destination. Teeming with galleries, cafés, restaurants and shopping, it's where you'll find the Melbourne Visitor Centre whose friendly clerks can help you get the most out of your stay.

Melbourne's public transportation system, Metlink, is a safe and inexpensive way to get around this big city and it's definitely possible to enjoy your visit without renting a car. But if you're the type that likes to motor, do yourself a favor and take a drive out of town to tour the Great Ocean Road region. It's parade of charming fishing villages and seemingly endless postcard-quality vistas will delight. Don't miss the "12 Apostles," the dozen breathtakingly large rocks that tower over a scenic, quiet beach in Apollo Bay. Without exaggeration, this is one of the most dramatic meetings of land and sea on Earth.

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