Lay of the Land
Melbourne is a relatively easy place to get around and most attractions are located within walking distance of the city center, which is divided into easy-to-explore sections. Bars, restaurants and art can be found throughout Melbourne; shopping on any budget can be done on Bourke and Collins streets; St. Kilda Road offers a host of galleries and gardens; Yarra and the Docklands areas offer great dining options as well as spectacular water views. The neighborhoods surrounding the city are no less interesting: Toorak, Fitzroy, Collingwood and Northcote are an easy tram ride away and worth exploring.
Traveling to Australia from the other side of the world is not easy: it takes about 23 hours from New York and 14 from Los Angeles. Qantas (qantas.com.au), Australia’s national carrier, flies daily from the United States; from the east coast, flights are routed through L.A., where there’s a short stopover.
When to Go
Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere, so seasons are the opposite of those in the North America and Europe, with summer running from December through February and winter from June through August. January is typically the warmest month (temperatures average 79 degrees Fahrenheit, 26 degrees Celsius), while July is the coldest (average temp: 55 degrees Fahrenheit, 13 degrees Celsius). Spring can be a great time in Melbourne, but Summer is also ideal, especially for tennis fans, who can enjoy the action of the first grand slam of the year, the Australian Open, held in mid-January.