Port of Melbourne
Cruising and Travel

The City of Melbourne beats to an energetic cosmopolitan pulse. Lying about five kilometers from the Port Phillip Bay on the Yarra River, it is clearly a planned city with a balanced grid of neat streets. Beneath this apparent restraint, however, is a creative entertaining city with much to offer. The Port of Melbourne boasts many trendy bars and clubs and exciting live music venues in addition to its many theaters and cinemas. With so many things to see and do, this article can't describe all the tourist opportunities available in the Port of Melbourne. For more details, visit the Melbourne tourism website.

The Port of Melbourne has a moderate oceanic climate with changeable weather, so much so that the phrase "four seasons in a day" is a part of local culture. It is also colder than most other Australian capital cities in the winter, but snow is rare. With mild springs and autumns, the Port of Melbourne's summer days are frequently very hot. Temperatures in the Port of Melbourne range from an average high of 26 °C (78 °F) in January and February to an average low of 13 °C (57 °F) in July.

Perhaps the most interesting of the Port of Melbourne's attractions is the UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens. One of the oldest remaining exhibition pavilions in the world, the Port of Melbourne's Royal Exhibition Building was built in the 1870s for the Great Exhibition of 1880, and it was later the home of the first Commonwealth Parliament. Faithfully restored, the building contains a huge dome and galleries that host trade shows, fairs, and community and cultural events, including the annual International Flower and Garden Show. The Carlton Gardens surround the Royal Exhibition Building with tree-lined streets, a beautiful fountain, a miniature lake, and formal flowerbeds in the late 19th Century style. The grounds also contain the Melbourne Museum and an IMAX Cinema.

The Old Melbourne Gaol Crime and Justice Experience is Victoria's first prison, one of the Port of Melbourne's oldest surviving buildings, and the site where 136 people (including Ned Kelly) were hanged. Night tours of the Gaol are eerie and exciting with a blend of contemporary theater and historical facts that are shared with visitors in candlelight. Private tours are also available. Visitors get to experience what it was like to be imprisoned in the Port of Melbourne as well as learn about the lives and crimes of some of the area's most notorious villains.

The Port of Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens are a breathtaking collection of plants and native wildlife where visitors can spend hours enjoying the gardens. Highlights include the Water Conservation Garden, the Ornamental Lake, the Old Melbourne Observatory, the National Herbarium of Victoria, and the Australian Rainforest Walk. The gardens occupy a traditional camping and meeting site for the indigenous Boonerwrung and Woiwurrung peoples. The Aboriginal Heritage Walk is an adventure through the area's ancient cultural heritage.

The Gardens' Tropical Hothouse is dense with the strange and beautiful flora of the tropical rainforests. Visitors to the Port of Melbourne Observatory treats visitors to breathtaking journeys through the southern night sky and visits to the mysterious surface of Earth's Moon. The Plant Craft Cottage treats visitors to demonstrations of the Gardens' craft groups busy at work. The Gardens Shop offers a huge selection of botanical and eco-themed merchandise ranging from greeting cards to tableware to jams and sauces to clothing. The winter Artists-in-Residence program showcases Port of Melbourne talent with personal visits from local artists.

Travelers who want to visit the Port of Melbourne and Victoria can find a list of scheduled cruises on the Cruise Compete website or by visiting the Port of Melbourne website.

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