Pick up your car in Melbourne and prepare to discover a captivating city that really knows how to work, rest and play.
"Mother Nature made Australia beautiful, but all the other good stuff came from Melbourne - TV, movies and, most of all, Aussie rules footy."
The cultural capital of Australia is a world apart from the barbecue-mad stereotype of Aussie life. Equally appealing to bookworms, ballers and ballerinas, it's no surprise that visitors to Melbourne continue to fall for its charms.
Pretty near perfect - The Economist ranked Melbourne the third most liveable city in the world - good on ya, mate!
Melburnians are a cosmopolitan bunch thanks to the gold rush of 1851, which drew prospectors from every corner of the globe.
Melbourne has an oceanic climate, which is a clever way of saying the weather is a mixed bag. The city's all-time weather record was broken when temperatures soared to 46.4 degrees in February 2009.
Melbourne is a city of world cuisines - a haven for jet-setting gastronomes. Whatever you order, wash it down with a jar of the local draught - Melbourne Bitter.
Everybody's favourite pint-sized pop princess Kylie Minogue was born in Melbourne, as was her sister - singer turned X Factor judge - Dannii.
The world's first feature film was recorded in Melbourne. The Story Of The Kelly Gang was released on 26 December 1906 and told the story of legendary Australian bushranger, Ned Kelly.
"We're from Melbourne. And Melbourne has a scene where anything goes." - Felix Riebl, singer with Melbourne band The Cat Empire
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The Royal Botanic Gardens has got trees and then some - blooms, ornamental lakes and endangered wildlife are all here for the viewing. No picking the flowers, though.
Parking for up to four hours is available on the streets surrounding the gardens. Ticket machines operate in Birdwood Avenue, South Yarra, which is a 15-minute walk from the city centre.
Whether you prefer your high-kicks in musical or ballet form, you can take in some of the greatest shows on earth at this classically beautiful theatre.
There is a car park on Exhibition Street (under the Paramount Centre), Monday to Thursday after 5pm costs $7, Friday and Saturday evenings after 5:30pm cost $8. The theatre is at 219 Exhibition Street.
Investigate the past, present and future of crime and justice in Australia. This award-winning museum was once home to notorious gangster Squizzy Taylor.
Located on Russell Street (between Victoria and La Trobe Streets), try the car park on Lonsdale Street.
Cooks' Cottage is the only 18th-century building in Melbourne. Originally built in Yorkshire in 1755, it was later purchased and shipped over to Oz.
There is a 24-hour car park on Flinders Lane, which costs $18 for three hours. The cottage is nearby on Wellington Parade.
There's a proud cultural scene in Melbourne and with museums like this - covering indigenous cultures, Australian history and natural sciences - it's no wonder. Make a beeline for the dinosaur exhibit.
There is an on-site car park, accessed from either Nicholson or Rathdowne Streets. Open seven days a week from 6am-midnight, it costs $12 a day.
Take a break from the bustling city at this oasis of calm, with hot springs, acres of gardens and its very own wineries. Blissful indulgence doesn't get much better than this.
Just over 60 miles from Melbourne, take the Monash Freeway, merge onto Eastlink and head towards the Mornington Peninsula Freeway.
Huge national park with picture-perfect clear waters. Fish, surf or swim and remember exactly why you travelled halfway around the world to get here.
Roughly 150 miles from Melbourne, follow the Princes Freeway (merging with Princes Highway) east towards Sale. Rosedale Longford Road leads to Seaspray, at the western end of the park.
Meet 200 species of Australian wildlife - only some of them deadly - and bag the obligatory koala shot at this park nestled on the foothills of the Yarra Valley.
Just over an hour's drive from Melbourne, follow the Eastern Freeway merging with the Maroondah Highway.
Get your motor running and head out on the highway and experience arguably the most beautiful drive of your life alongside a dramatic coastline, through forests and past waterfalls - not exactly the M1.
The coastal road starts in Torquay (just south of Geelong) 60 miles southwest of Melbourne. Take the Princes Freeway.
" Driving in Melbourne is straightforward, as the centre of the city is designed on a simple grid system and there's plenty of space, so there are rarely traffic jams. Watch out for trams, though, and don't be phased by the infamous Melbourne 'hook turn', which means you turn right from the left-hand lane. It feels unnatural at first, but take your time and you'll soon be 'hooking' like a local! "