Southbank

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The city centre of Melbourne represents the city's cultural, entertainment and financial heart. Locally called the Central Business District, the CBD or simply the City, it is where international and interstate visitors spend the bulk of their time. Most must-see attractions sit within the city's grid-planned centre, as is much of the accommodation and nightlife.

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Points of Interest in Southbank

Historic sites

  •    Flinders Street Station, Cnr Flinders and Swanston Streets, toll-free: 1800 800 007. Open 24 hours, daily. Arguably the defining landmark of Melbourne, this colonial-era railway station was designed in an 1899 competition. The station's front steps, below a row of clocks announcing train departure times, are a popular meeting point for locals. It is the busiest suburban station in the Southern Hemisphere. Although grand from the outside, the interior has become dilapidated over the years and many rooms including the ballroom are closed to the public. A 2013 design competition by the government hopes to bring it back to its former glory.
  •    Government House.
  •    Governor La Trobe's Cottage.
  •    Melbourne Town Hall, Cnr Swanston and Collins Streets (Tram routes 11, 31, 48, 109 or 112: Stop 6),  +61 3 9658 9658, e-mail: townhalltour@melbourne.vic.gov.au. Tours: M-F 11am and 1pm. Built in 1870, the city's town hall can be describes as no less than grand and historic. 1 hour tours allow visitors to see the ornate Council chambers, the richly-carved Grand Organ and sit in the Lord Mayor's chair. Bookings recommended. Free.
  •    Old Melbourne Gaol, 377 Russell St (2 minute walk from Melbourne Central Station, or tram routes 24, 30 or 35 (City Circle)),  +61 3 8663 7228, e-mail: info@oldmelbournegaol.com.au. Daily 9:30am-5:30pm except Good Friday and Christmas Day. Night tours: M, W, F and Sa. Built in 1841, it is now a penal museum, with a watch house and magistrate's court also on-site. Bushranger Ned Kelly was hanged here in 1880. The scaffold on which he and many others were hanged is displayed, as is Kelly’s death mask. There are other displays in many of the cells. Allow an hour or so for your visit. $25 adult, $20 concession, $13.50 child (5-15yrs), family tickets available..
  •    Parliament House of Victoria, 110 Spring St (Parliament Station or tram routes 35 (City Circle), 86, 95 or 96: Stop 9),  +61 3 9651 8568, e-mail: tours@parliament.vic.gov.au. M-F 9:30am-3:45pm. Tours: Sa-Su 9:30, 10:30, 11:30am, 1:30, 2:30 and 3:45pm; on sitting Tuesdays, 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30am. Built between 1856 and 1879, the Australian federal parliament sat in this impressive building from 1901 to 1927 while Canberra was built. The majestic façade can be seen right down Bourke St. Tours of the assembly halls and libraries are conducted when parliament is not in session. Visitors are also welcome to sit in the public gallery when parliament is in session. Free.
  •    Scots Church, Cnr Collins and Russell Streets (Tram routes 11, 31, 48, 109 or 112: Stop 7),  +61 3 9650 9903, e-mail: admin@scotschurch.com. M-F 11am-2:30pm; Sunday visits only for Mass services. Gothic church built in 1873, the first Presbyterian house of worship in the city. Free.
  •    Shrine of Remembrance.
  •    State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston St (Melbourne Central Station, or tram routes 1, 3, 6, 8, 16, 67 or 72: Stop 8),  +61 3 8664 7000. M-W 10am-9pm, Th-Su 10am-6pm, except public holidays. Built in stages beginning in 1854, it has an impressive classical revival façade. Includes a good newspaper reading room, genealogy room and an art collection, as well as the fantastic La Trobe Reading Room and its huge dome. Bushranger Ned Kelly's armour is stored permanently on display, along with a variety of galleries and exhibitions. Internet terminals are provided for research only, not email, and usually need to be booked because of high demand. Coin-operated lockers are available just off the lobby, where large bags must be deposited before entry. Free Wi-Fi and guided tours are also available. Free.
  •    St Michaels Uniting Church, Cnr Collins and Russell Streets (Tram routes 11, 31, 48, 109 or 112: Stop 7),  +61 3 9654 5120, e-mail: reception@stmichaels.org.au. M-F 10:30am-1:30pm. Romanesque-style church built in 1866. Free.
  •    St Patrick’s Cathedral, 2 Cathedral Pce, East Melbourne (2 minute walk from Parliament Station, or tram routes 11, 31, 109 or 112: Stop 11),  +61 3 9662 2332. M-F 9am-5pm. The original part of this Gothic Revival cathedral was built in the 1850s. It was consecrated in 1897 and the spires added in 1939. It is the largest and tallest church in Australia. Free.
  •    St Paul's Cathedral, 198 Flinders St (Flinders Street Station),  +61 3 9653 4333, e-mail: welcome@stpaulscathedral.org.au. M-F 8am-6pm, Sa 9am-4pm, Su 7:30am-7:30pm. Gothic-revival cathedral on the site of the colony's first church services in 1836. Free.

Modern attractions

  •    Crown Entertainment Complex, 8 Whiteham St, Southbank (5 minute walk across river from Flinders Street Station),  +61 3 9292 8888. 24h daily, closed 4AM-noon Christmas Day, Good Friday, and Anzac Day.. A Las Vegas-style gambling palace (including the Crown Casino), also containing restaurants, upmarket boutiques, nightclubs, two hotel towers, a cinema complex and floorshows. Free.
  •    Eureka Tower, 7 Riverside Quay, Southbank (5 minute walk across river from Flinders Street Station),  +61 3 9693 8888, e-mail: info@eurekaskydeck.com.au. 10am-10pm. Contains the highest observation deck in the Southern Hemisphere on level 88, with panoramic views of the entirety of Melbourne. Only recommended in clear weather. Also offers an additional cost "Edge" experience whereby visitors are protruded outside of the building inside a glass-panelled cube. $18.50 adult, $14 concession, $10 child (4-16yrs) and various family tickets. Discounted price for additional same-day visit at nighttime..
  •    Federation Square, 2 Swanston St (Flinders Street Station),  +61 3 9655 1900, e-mail: info@fedsquare.com. The city's most popular meeting place. The striking architecture of its buildings create a nice backdrop to this open plaza, directly opposite Flinders Street Station. There are usually live, free performances from various groups, along with coverage of major sporting and cultural events on the huge television. A number of museums and organisations call the site home, as well as Melbourne's major visitor information centre in the 'shard' building.
  •    Melbourne Aquarium, Cnr Flinders St and Kings Way (Tram routes 35 (City Circle), 70 or 75: Stop 2),  +61 3 9923 5999, e-mail: info@melbourneaquarium.com.au. Daily 9:30am-6pm, last admission at 5pm. Home to over 10,000 aquatic creatures, there are four distinct areas of the aquarium dedicated to Antarctica, seahorses, the rainforest and the ocean, the latter of which includes a glass walk-through experience. Shark diving and animal feeding available. $35 adult, $21.50 child (4-15yrs), $29 concession, $92 family (2ad+2ch); discounts online.
  •    Melbourne Star, 101 Waterfront Way, Docklands (Tram routes 35 (City Circle), 70 or 86: Stop D11),  +61 3 8688 9688, e-mail: contactus@melbournestar.com. Loathed by Melburnians for its exorbitant cost and constant faults, this observation wheel opened late to much fanfare in 2008, to only be closed a few months later due to engineering faults and cracks. The whole wheel is currently being completely rebuilt to reopen in late 2013, though it can still be viewed from the ground.

Galleries and the arts

  •    Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI),  +61 3 8663 2200, e-mail: info@acmi.net.au. Daily 10am-5pm, except Christmas Day. A museum, gallery and collection of cinemas dedicated to film, TV, video games, new media and art, both old and new. Regularly holds a number of interesting exhibitions. General entry free; charges apply for exhibitions.
  •    Hosier Lane (Across from Federation Square). If you want to sample street art, head for this little lane full of ever-evolving, colourful graffiti from end to end.
  •    The Ian Potter Centre (NGV Australia), Federation Square (At the back of Federation Square),  +61 3 8620 2222, e-mail: enquiries@ngv.vic.gov.au. Tue-Sun 10:00-17:00, except Christmas Day and Good Friday; 13:00+ on ANZAC Day. Houses over 25,000 works of only Australian art, including paintings, sculptures, photography and fashion. Famous artists such as Frederick McCubbin and Sidney Nolan are on display, along with a fine collection of Indigenous art. Free for the permanent collection.
  •    National Gallery of Victoria (NGV International), 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne,  +61 3 8620 2222, e-mail: enquiries@ngv.vic.gov.au. Wed-Mon 10:00-17:00, except Christmas Day and Good Friday; 13:00+ on ANZAC Day. The premier venue for international fine art exhibitions in Melbourne, with a permanent collection and international collections. A must-see for art lovers. Free for the permanent collection.
  •    Victorian Arts Centre.

Museums

  •    ANZ Banking Museum, 380 Collins St (Tram routes 11, 31, 48, 109 or 112: Stop 4). M-F 10am-3pm except public holidays. Housed in the late-19th century Gothic Revival ANZ Bank building, it walks through the history of Australian banking from Indigenous bartering economies to finance of the future. Free.
  •    Chinese Museum, 22 Cohen Place, Chinatown (Just off Little Bourke St, near the plaza with the Chinese arches. Nearest trams at Cnr Russell and Bourke Streets),  +61 3 9662 2888, e-mail: info@chinesemuseum.com.au. Daily 10am-5pm, closed Good Friday, Christmas and New Year's Day. Situated in the midst of Chinatown, it documents and explains the history of Chinese immigrants in Australia. The 'millennium dragon' is on display, the largest Chinese dragon in the world, along with an interactive underground exhibit highlighting the goldfields. Also on-site is a free visitor centre and a gift shop. The museum runs 2 hour walking tours of Chinatown by appointment ($15 adult, $10 child). $8 adult, $6 child/concession.
  •    Fire Services Museum, 39 Gisborne St, East Melbourne (Tram routes 11, 24, 30, 31, 109 or 112: Stop 12),  +61 3 9662 2907, e-mail: fsmvic@alphalink.com.au. Th-F 9am-3pm, Su 10am-4pm. A largely niche museum, it is the largest fire service-related collection in Australia. Houses historical uniforms, vehicles, photos and other memorabilia.
  •    Immigration Museum, 400 Flinders St (Tram routes 35 (City Circle), 70 or 75: Stop 3),  +61 3 9927 2700. Daily 10am-5pm except Good Friday & Christmas Day. Located in the restored Old Customs House, it covers customs and immigration history over the past 200 years. Details the stories and experiences of immigrations to Australia, both past and present. $6 adult, children/concession free..
  •    Old Treasury Building and Gold Museum, 20 Spring St (Parliament Station or tram routes 11, 35 (City Circle), 42, 48, 109 and 112: Stop 8),  +61 3 9651 2233, e-mail: info@oldtreasurybuilding.org.au. Su-F 10am-4pm, closed Good Friday, Christmas and Boxing Day. Built in 1858 by a 19 year old architect, it was the city’s first Italian Renaissance building and many consider that its elegance has not been surpassed by anything in Melbourne since. Contains displays on the history of Melbourne as well as the history of gold in Victoria, including the original gold vaults. Fun activities for children, including the chance to earn a novelty gold license. The expansive Treasury Gardens behind the building are also worth a visit. Free.
  •    Polly Woodside Maritime Museum, 2A Clarendon St, South Wharf (Near the Exhibition Centre; tram routes 96, 109 or 112: Stop 124A),  +61 3 9699 9760, e-mail: pollywoodside@nattrust.com.au. Daily in Summer, July school holidays and weekends in Winter: 10am-4pm. A maritime museum based aboard the restored 1885 sailing ship "Polly Woodside". Various kids activities available, including Pirate Sundays. $10 adult, $7 child.
  •    Victoria Police Museum, 637 Flinders St (Tram routes 35 (City Circle) or 70: Stop D6),  +61 3 9247 6354, e-mail: policemuseum-mgr@police.vic.gov.au. M-F 10am-4pm. Displays with over 150 years of stories and of crime, justice, courage and forensic techniques. Includes some of the famous Kelly Gang's armour, the burnt out car used in the Russell Street Police HQ bombing and various records about famous gangland figures. Regular free exhibitions are on display. Free.

Parks and nature

  •    Alexandra Gardens.
  •    Captain Cook's Cottage and Fitzroy Gardens, 230 Wellington Pde, East Melbourne (Tram routes 48 and 75: Stop 10), e-mail: cookscottage@melbourne.vic.gov.au. Cooks' Cottage: Daily 9am-5pm, closed Christmas Day. Features Captain Cook’s Cottage which is the cottage that belonged to Captain James Cook’s parents and was transported from Yorkshire to Melbourne in 1934. Cooks' Cottage: $5 adult, $3 concession, $2.50 child (5-15yrs).
  •    Queen Victoria Gardens. Features memorials to Queen Victoria and King Edward VII, sculptures and a floral clock of 7000 plants.
  •    Royal Botanic Gardens. Recognised as one of the world’s finest botanic gardens, with over 10,000 species and 50,000 individual plants in the 38 hectare gardens.

Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex

Melbourne Recital Centre

DFO South Wharf

Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA)

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Popular events in Southbank in the near future

Date: Category: The event list provided by Eventful
The event list provided by Eventful

About Southbank

Background

Tourist information

  •    Melbourne Visitor Centre, Federation Square, cnr Swanston & Flinders Streets. Daily 9am-6pm, closed Christmas Day and Good Friday. Provides information and tips about the city, accommodation advice and hands out free maps and travel brochures.

Precincts

  • Southbank — This major entertainment precinct spans the southern bank of the Yarra River, opposite the CBD. The riverfront features a large number of fantastic, but expensive, restaurants. The area is a hub of activity and movement, complemented by its family-friendly landmark, the Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex.
  • Docklands — Just west of Spencer Street in the CBD, the old shipping yards have been redeveloped into a mixed-use residential, commercial and entertainment district perched upon the waterfront. A variety activities, sights and shopping facilities exist throughout the area. Although often touted by tourism boards as a must-visit, the development has been widely criticised as stoic, clinical and unlively.
  • Chinatown — Melbourne's Chinatown is the longest continuous Chinese settlement in the Western world. It dates back to the times of the Victorian Gold Rush of the 1850s, which saw mass Chinese immigration. The locality has only grown since then and is still a mecca of activity and good food. Most of Chinatown is situated on the eastern part of Little Bourke Street.
  • Greek Precinct — Famous for its good food and Hellenic architecture and culture, the precinct is located in the general area surrounding the intersection of Lonsdale and Russell Streets.

Activities

  •    Medibank Icehouse, 105 Pearl River Road, Docklands (Tram routes 35 (City Circle), 70 and 86: Stop D11),  +61 1300 756 699, e-mail: enquiries@icehouse.com.au. 10am-10pm daily. The largest ice recreation venue in the Southern Hemisphere, the Icehouse allows visitings to skate around a large ice rink. Free beginners classes on weekends and school holidays. Regularly holds public events such as dancing, games and music parties. $25 adult, $23 concession, $21 child (includes skates).

Food

Cafe

Between Degraves St and Centreplace (which link Flinders St to Collins St, between Swanston St and Elizabeth St), you will find several breakfast restaurants. Most open from 7AM and serve all kinds of breakfasts. Competition is strong and keeps quality up so the range of choice is impressive.

  • Aix (Centreplace.). Has a huge selection of mouthwateringly good crepes.

Chinese

Melbourne's Chinatown district centred on Little Bourke St is filled with cheap Chinese options and some well-hidden (but excellent) Japanese alternatives. Search Tattersall's Lane for deliciously cheap dumplings. The CBD is also suffused with postmodern Oriental restaurants catering to the large Asian student market.

  • Camy Shanghai Dumplings, 25 Tattersalls Lane,  +61 9663 8555. Chinese food in large servings, notable for its dumplings. Meals served with complimentary tea.
  • White Lotus (Victoria St near Victoria Market.). Offering good vegetarian Chinese for those on a no meat diet.
  • Gigi, 237 Swanston St,  +61 9639 2233. This is the place for Japanese served fast and friendly.

Indian

  • Gaylords, 4 Tattersalls Lane,  +61 -3-9663 3980. Kitschy ode to Bollywood in the heart of Chinatown.

Vegetarian

  • Crossways, 123 Swanston St.. M-Sa 11:30AM-2:30PM. Tasty lunch cafe with a 2-course vegetarian all-you-can-eat meal. May be possible to work 30 minutes for your meal. $6.
  • Gopal's Vegetarian Restaurant, 139 Swanston St.,  +61 9650 1578. M-Sa 11:30AM-8:30PM. Sister restaurant to Crossways

Greek

  • Medallion, 209-211 Lonsdale St,  +61 3-9663-4228, fax: 03-9484-6474. Serves gyros and other standard Greek lunch fare. $5-15.
  •    Stalactites, 177/183 Lonsdale St, Melbourne,  +61 3 9663 3316. 24h. This Greek restaurant decorated with stalactites has delicious gyros and earthy meals.

Others

  • Melbourne Bar & Bistro, 168 Elizabeth St (Near Bourke St.). Hungry budget travellers can eat all they want. $7.95.

Drinks

Coffee

The CBD holds some hidden gems as far as coffee is concerned. Once again, Degraves Lane is the most popular destination while those seeking a little bit more style can head to the many malls for their fix.

  • Degraves Espresso Bar, 23 Degraves Street,  +61 96541245. Tucked into a bluestone laneway near Flinders St Station, this outlet has long-held the title of Melbourne's best coffee. Hours: Mon–Fri 6:30AM–7:30P, Sat–Sun 7:30AM-6:30PM.
  • Laurent Bakery, 306 Little Collins St,  +61 96541011. If Parisian pastries and good coffee are what you crave, then head here to a now franchised establishment with well-trained baristas.

Bars

  • A typical Italian Wine Bar Wine Lane (24 Artemis Lane, [1]) dedicated to wine and cheese lovers. They have also a good selection of prosciutto and dried cured meat and a surprising range of truffles specialties, just something different.
  • Serious cocktail aficionados should check out The Gin Palace (190 Little Collins St; 9654-0533), for a welcome mix of knowledgeable bartenders, funky bordello ambiance and a laid-back crowd.
  • The Carlton Club, 193 Bourke St. Melbourne. Great late night joint on middle of the day, very functional with heaps of little spaces to get cosy and open areas to get your Sunday on. The rooftop bar in up there with the best in town. A must for people coming to Melbourne.
  • A little more upmarket is Tony Starr's Kitten Club (267 Little Collins Street, tel 9650-2448 [2]) which offers a leopard-print throwback to the smooth cats and cool jazz of the 50's. The weekday crowd of funk loving twenty-something professionals sip on a range of cocktails blended and shaken by well-trained and attentive staff. The upstairs performance area hosts local and visiting funk, jazz and cabaret acts.
  • The Croft Institute (21-25 Croft Alley, tel 9671-4399) epitomizes the kitschy-hidden-bar trend of the past few years. Tucked within the narrowest and smelliest alley in Melbourne, this place is somewhat charmingly fitted out like a high school laboratory; complete with beakers, test tubes and retorts. Check out the upstairs 'gymnasium' playing house and electro, and the hospital gurney (with stirrups) on display near the women's toilets.
  • Arthur's Lounge (Corporation Lane, tel 9654 9744) is a decadent club / bar with prices and door policies to match. A crowd-friendly mix of house and electronica will keep you going, and the fun-loving (but sometimes pretentious) patrons are a pleasant mix of funky bohemia, city glamour and party people.
  • For a taste of Fitzroy in the CBD, drop into the cheerful Rue Bebelons (267 Little Lonsdale Street, tel 9663-1700) for a reasonably priced coffee or beer. The Nepalese family behind the bar mix up great music and a friendly vibe to a crowd of laid back artists and students from nearby universities.
  • Misty's (3-5 Hosier Ln, tel 9663 9202) hosts a smiliar crowd, but in slightly cooler retro-sci-fi surrounds. The staff are friendly, live DJs spin groovy tunes most nights and it makes a great launching pad for shows at the nearby Forum.
  • Cookie (Swanston St between Lonsdale and Bourke opposite the Lounge). Excellent bar and cocktails with an upstyle crowd that likes to party hard. Has a restaurant upstairs for dinner serving excellent thai inspired meals.
  • "Section 8" (27 - 29 Tatersalls Lane)bar in a car park made from shipping containers. 'nuff said?
  • Bar Americano on Presgrove Pl serves up awesome cocktails and excellent coffee, but we warned, they don't serve skim or soy milk.
  • Madame Brussels (63/59 Bourke Street PH:(03)9662 2775) This English Garden party themed bar is located on the roof and serves up excellent cocktails by staff in Tennis outfits. Cocktail jugs $30 and $50, 2+ and 4+ serves respectively
  • The Workshop Bar (Upstairs Cnr Elizabeth and A'Beckett Sts)This relaxed bar is located in a former motorcycle workshop hence the name. The Workshop has reasonable priced drinks and an outside (roofless) smokers area. It's run by the same people who run e55.

Shopping

Melbourne’s vibrant retail scene thrives with alluring labels, products and shopping experiences. It's an eclectic mix of high end fashion, funky boutiques and mainstream stores, all of which have a home in the city’s laneways, retail centres and tree-lined streets.

Fashion

  •    Bourke Street Mall (Easily reached by any Bourke or Swanston St tram.). A popular pedestrian and tram-only mall in the city centre lined with both big-name fashion brands and start-up designers.
    • Hussy, 338 Bourke St. A cult designer label that caters to a ultra chic and fashion forward clientèle.
    • Fat, Shop G03, GPO, 350 Bourke St. Renowned for discovering some of Australia's most beloved labels; stocks emerging labels as well as the now established brands.
    • Myer, 314-336 Bourke St. The flagship store of Australia's largest department store chain.
  •    Aesop, 35 Albert Coates Lane. QV A Melbourne born brand starting 17 years ago, Aesop is decked out in apothecary style and uses botanical extracts and natural preservatives where possible. Their products will definitely earn a prized rank in your bathroom.
  •    City Hatters, 211 Flinders St (to the right of Flinders St Station),  +61 3 9614 3294, e-mail: hats@cityhatters.com.au. Mo-F 9.30am-6pm, Sa 9am-5pm, Su 10am-4pm. A famous icon for many Melbournians, the City Hatters sits just beneath the main entrance to Flinders Street Station on the right. It has survived the test of time, opening at the location in 1910, and stocks a wide variety of accessories, mostly for men. The store also provides hat cleaning and measurement services.

Laneways and arcades

  •    Block Arcade, 280 Collins St through to Elizabeth St (Tram routes 19, 57 or 59: Stop 2; or routes 11, 31, 48, 109 or 112: Stop 5),  +61 3 9654 5244. M-W 8am-6pm, Th-F 8am-9pm, Sa 8am-5pm, Su 9am-5pm. A historic shopping arcade built in 1891, lined with boutiques and cafés, housed within carved stone and wood walls with a glass canopy above.
  •    Royal Arcade, 331 Bourke St Mall (Tram routes 85, 86 or 96: Stop 5; or routes 19, 57 or 59: Stop 3),  +61 3 9670 7777, e-mail: enquiries@royalarcade.com.au. M-Sa 9am-5:30pm, Su 10am-5pm. Built in 1870, it is a historic shopping arcade that runs between Little Collins St, the Bourke Street Mall and Elizabeth St. The carved statues standing guard next to the iconic clock are worth a look, along with the numerous small shops.

Souvenirs

  •    The Melbourne Shop by Lumbi, S2, 8 Driver Lane (behind the GPO),  +61 3 9663 2233. M-Th 10.30am-5.30pm, F 10.30am-6pm, Sa 10am-5pm, S 12-4pm. A variety of high-quality wares such as mugs, cushions, phone cases, clocks and a Melbourne-style Snakes and Ladders rip-off. Items are assembled in Yarraville in the city's west.

Art

  •    Outre Gallery, 211 Elizabeth St. For the art lover that doesn't have a lot to spend, Outre can get you started with originals for under $100.
  •    Arts Centre's Sunday Market, Between Hammer Hall and Arts Centre Melbourne (Just across the river from Federation Square). Sun 10am-4pm. Every Sunday, the small park between Hammer Hall and Arts Centre Melbourne is filled with stalls that sell arts and crafts locally made by the sellers. The place is animated with live performance at 12 noon. Free.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Melbourne/City Centre on Wikivoyage.

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