People visiting Australia often think about the wide-open spaces, the vast outback and golden beaches along coastline stretching thousands of miles. But this exciting country also major cities that boast an ultra-modern culture, making for some intriguing urban adventures, and few come better than taking a walkabout around Melbourne.
As the state capital of Victoria, the city of Melbourne is the second largest city in Australia after Sydney, although the wider metropolitan urban sprawl is actually the biggest in the country. Here, visitors will find a wide range of things to see and do, plus a whole host of activities to keep them busy.
But our particular focus here is to look at the most central of locations, which straddle the banks of the Yarra River, close to and within the beating heart of the city. This is where people are drawn to fabulous entertainment and sports venues, diving into a vibrant urban culture that’s welcoming and filled with an enthusiastic atmosphere.
Thriving Entertainment & Gaming Hotspot
Millions of Australians enjoy playing casino games for real money, and these days the large majority of participants tend to do so online. One of the most popular types of games is the pokies, which are otherwise known as video slots elsewhere around the world, while digital versions of table games like roulette or blackjack also captivate enthusiasts.
Nevertheless, many also like to visit physical casinos and in this particular city, the Crown Melbourne is by far the most prominent, towering high in the Southbank urban centre and overlooking the Yarra River. In fact, this gambling hotspot covers around 510,000 square metres, making it the biggest casino resort complex in the Southern Hemisphere.
The total gaming space within is 20,000 square metres in size, featuring almost 400 table games, 2,500 electronic gaming machines, and around 50 poker tables. There’s also exclusive VIP facilities for the high rollers, accommodating visitors who plan to splash the cash. Individually the largest casino in Australia, this place was designed to attract both domestic and international visitors, encouraging tourism and boosting the local economy.
And gambling isn’t the only attraction on offer to guests. Three luxurious casinos form part of the same property, all of which feature a wide range of attractions, from boutique shopping experiences to various other kinds of entertainment and leisure activities. These include numerous restaurants and bars catering for every taste, huge bowling alleys and cinema theatres, three lively nightclubs and an interactive video games arcade.
Major Domestic & International Sports Hub
Australians are famed for their love of outdoor activities, which can easily be attributed to the favourably warm climate throughout most of the year, and that’s encouraging for visitors or anyone planning to stay permanently. Companionship and teamwork are also strong national values, while the people Down Under are highly regarded for their competitive spirit. All of these factors contribute to high participation in sports.
For anyone visiting Melbourne who loves their sports, the city has become a thriving hub for major national and international events, and one of the most famous is the Australian Open tennis tournament. One of the four major Grand Slam competitions in tennis, the tournament moved to the Melbourne Park tennis complex in 1988, becoming famed for the distinctive blue hard-court surfaces at its showpiece Rod Laver Arena venue.
Directly adjacent is the Olympic Park is the indoor Melbourne Sports & Entertainment Centre, alongside Gosch’s Paddock playing field, both of which are used as training bases for local professional sports teams. Right next to these facilities is the impressive AAMI Park, featuring 30,000 seats hosting rugby league, rugby union, soccer, plus various other rectangular playing field sports.
Just a short walk away is Yarra Park, where visitors will find the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground. Typically referred to by the MCG acronym, the 100,000 capacity makes it the biggest stadium in Australia, boasting a spectacular atmosphere for both cricket and Aussie rules football. Just in case you need to learn more about the local sporting culture, the Australian National Sports Museum is also based within MCG, and always fascinating to visit.
Getting Around Melbourne
Making live much easier for travellers is the superb public transport network, including trains, trams, and buses that will get you around central Melbourne and the wider urban districts. But what’s even more handy, all the most popular destinations can usually be reached on foot, saving both time and expense when exploring this marvellous Australian city.