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Reasons to visit Melbourne include major sporting events, using it as a base for exploring surrounding regions such as the Grampians National Park, The Great Ocean Road, and visiting Phillip Island to view the penguin parade. Many UK visitors come to Melbourne for tours of filming locations of the TV soap opera Neighbours.
Melbourne is the unquestioned sporting capital of Australia with the largest arenas and two of the major sporting administrations basing their operation in Melbourne: Cricket Australia is a stone's throw from the MCG, and the AFL games are played at both the MCG and Etihad Stadium.
Melbournians are sports enthusiasts and particularly passionate about Australian Rules football, a sport invented in Melbourne. In fact the Australian Football League (AFL) is not so much a sport as a religion in Melbourne, with 9 of the 10 Victorian teams being based in Melbourne. As a guide, the entire national competition only has 18 teams, meaning half the league is based in Melbourne alone.
Horse racing is another passion, and the majority of the state has a public holiday on the first Tuesday of November for the racing of the Melbourne Cup, one of the world’s famous horse races.
Cricket is the big summer sport and the Melbourne Cricket Ground (the 'MCG') is one of the world's leading grounds. The National Sports Museum (NSM) (including the Racing Museum) Australia’s only truly dedicated multi-sports museum is also located at the MCG.
Each January, Melbourne hosts tennis' Australian Open, one of the world’s four Grand Slam championships.
In March, Melbourne hosts the first race of the Formula One season, the Formula One Grand Prix. The race is held in Albert Park in South Melbourne.
What to see
Parliament House of Victoria— The first seat of the Australian federal government, free tours are available on week days.
Queen Victoria Market— The largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere, 'Vic Market' as it's nicknamed is huge and colourful with an assortment of fresh and dry produce, souvenirs and other interesting things. A must-see experience.
State Library— Worthwhile if you're into books, amazing city architecture and free internet. Also has the former largest 'Domed Reading Room' in the world, capable of holding over 1 million books.
Shrine of Remembrance— Located on St Kilda Road, Major War Memorial with unique Ray of Light demonstration every half hour. Also offering panoramic views of Melbourne parks from rooftop balcony.
Coop's Shot Tower— 50m high shot tower from 1888, incorporated into Melbourne Central complex underneath a 84m high glass roof.
What to do
See interesting films at the Art Deco-styled Astor Theatre in St Kilda. There are several moonlight cinema programmes in summer. The Melbourne International Film Festival is on in August.
Try your luck with the Australian National Lottery.
Alternately, visit the Cinema Nova on Lygon Street (tram 1 or 8) on a Monday for $6 films before 4PM.
Want kitesurfing lessons? GoKite offers the high standard kiteboarding tuition to meet your needs. GoKite operates at Melbourne's most central teaching location - West Beach, St Kilda. Call them today to get started on your kiteboarding adventure!
The historic Block Arcade on Collins Street
Bourke Street Mall
Melbourne is known as the fashion capital of Australia with numerous malls and boutique lined streets.