The city that was has been named the world’s most liveable city by the Economist Intelligence Unit’s (EIU) Liveability Index for seven years in a row is Melbourne, Australia. It was only recently, and barely, overtaken by Austria’s Vienna. A thriving modern metropolis rivalling the world’s great cities, Melbourne is Australia’s second largest city and the capital of the south-eastern state of Victoria.
Home to nearly 5 million people of 140 different cultures from indigenous Australians as well as expatriates and immigrants from all over the world, Melbourne is a melting pot of cultures and nationalities and that is one of its unique qualities, and boasts a fantastic skyline featuring an eclectic mix of buildings with cutting-edge contemporary designs and heritage architecture. Ask anyone what is Melbourne known for, and you are likely to hear 3 things - its nightlife, coffee culture and street art, most of which can be found tucked away in a large number of iconic laneways.
For both lovers of arts and sports, Melbourne is truly an ideal city to reside in. Melbourne has a range of galleries and museums such as the National Gallery of Victoria and the Melbourne Museum, as well as world-renowned universities and research facilities. The Arts Centre Melbourne is Australia’s largest and busiest performing venues, and is certainly a flagship of the performing arts in Victoria and a focal point of Melbourne’s arts and cultural precinct. There are also international arts festivals throughout the year that will please any arts aficionados.
For sports lovers, Melbourne hosts a range of major international sporting events such as the Australian Open, Melbourne Cup Carnival and Formula 1 Grand Prix. Large scale concerts are also regularly held in Melbourne, with international superstars such as Bruce Springsteen, Madonna and Beyonce all having brought their world tours to the city before.
But the city is not only known for its laneways and winding river, it is also well known for its lush public gardens. Dating back more than a century, these grand spaces provide a natural escape close to the city. There are many gardens and park as well as easy access to national parks and other stunning scenery such as the Great Ocean Road, Grampians National Park and Phillip Island. The grand dame of the city’s national parks has to be the Royal Botanic Gardens with its rich heritage since 1846. With 94 acres of landscaped gardens, rolling lawns, lakes and walking paths, the Royal Botanic Gardens is internationally renowned for its mix of native and exotic plants and its timeless natural beauty. Building on the city’s reputation for public art, Melbourne’s parks and public spaces are home to many well-known sculptures and outdoor contemporary artworks.
Melbourne is known as the cultural capital of Australia, with the arts precinct home to some of the country’s best-known galleries, concert halls and theatre companies. Long before Southbank became renowned for its association with the arts, this part of Melbourne was known as a place to enjoy popular entertainment. The site which is now home to Arts Centre Melbourne once hosted circuses, theatres, cinemas, roller skating and rides.
All of Melbourne’s celebrated lifestyle options are at Southbank, a place now considered to be an international destination. Southbank is an inner urban neighbourhood 1 km south of the Melbourne central business district, bordered to the north by the Yarra River, and to the east by St Kilda Road.
Southbank was formerly an industrial area and part of South Melbourne. It was transformed into a densely populated district of high rise apartment and office buildings beginning in the early 1990s, as part of an urban renewal program. With the exceptions of the cultural precinct along St Kilda Road, few buildings built before this time were spared by redevelopment.
Today, Southbank is dominated by high-rise development and is one of the most densely populated areas of Melbourne. It is one of the primary business centres in Greater Melbourne, being the headquarters of Treasury Wine Estates, Crown Limited, The Herald & Weekly Times, as well as regional offices of many major corporations.
Southbank Promenade and Southgate Restaurant and Shopping Precinct, on the southern bank of the Yarra River, extending to Crown Casino, is one of Melbourne's major entertainment precincts. Crown Melbourne has also recently launched its latest highlight, the Crown Aviary, a rooftop “outdoor” venue that is equipped with air conditioning and heating suitable for both cocktail events and seated banquets.
The Southbank art and craft market occurs on the promenade near the Arts Centre every Sunday. The promenade is also home to several buskers and pavement chalk artists.
All in all, Melbourne is a truly a dream city to live in, one where you will never cease to be amazed by.