Melbourne city profile
Melbourne is Australia’s second biggest city, with a population of approximately 4.5 million.
Melbourne was officially founded in 1835 when settlers led by John Batman landed on the north bank of the Yarra River from the schooner Enterprize. For at least 40,000 years before the arrival of the British, the area was the home of the Wurundjeri, Boonwurrung and Wathaurong clans, known as the Kulin people.
Melbourne stands at the apex of Port Phillip Bay, one of the world’s largest bays. The Bay plays a significant role in Melbourne’s climate (more about our unpredictable weather just below).
Waves of immigration from all corners of the globe has turned Melbourne into a richly multicultural place with a diverse range of food, arts and sporting attractions.
Late September is springtime for us. Temperatures at this time of year average from 6.5-14.2°C (43.7-57.6°F), but it’s not unusual for it to be much warmer.
Melbourne is well known for its unpredictable weather, and residents joke about always being prepared for the possibility of experiencing four seasons in one day! We recommend you check the weather forecast before heading outdoors, and consider bringing or buying a small umbrella just in case. To cope with the possibility or temperature fluctuations, you could consider the stylish Melbourne habit of dressing in layers, so you can add or remove layers of clothing as needed.
Read more about Melbourne’s weather and climate.
Melbourne has an extensive tram network that will get you almost anywhere you need to go – and the best thing is that within the city area it’s free! For more information on the area covered by the Free Tram Zone and a downloadable map, visit the Public Transport Victoria website.
If you need to travel outside the free tram network or you’d like to travel on a train or bus, you’ll need a myki card. A myki is a plastic smartcard ticket which can be topped up and used again. Standard mykis can be purchased from stations and shops displaying the myki logo, and need money uploaded before use. Visitor myki packs are available from the Melbourne Visitor Centre in Federation Square, the PTV Hub at Southern Cross Station, SkyBus terminals and some hotels. Visitor packs include a pre-loaded myki card with enough value for one day of travel, instructions on how to use myki, a Melbourne tram map and discount entry to Melbourne attractions.
Australia is a safe country, and Melbourne – as a 24 hour cosmopolitan metropolis – is a safe city. However, we do recommend taking the usual simple precautions to ensure your personal safety:
- avoid walking down dark laneways alone at night
- don’t carry large amounts of cash or your passport with you – use your hotel safe for these items
- trust your instincts – if you think something, someone or somewhere isn’t safe, avoid it.
Things to do in Melbourne
Eureka Skydeck – The highest public observation deck in the Southern Hemisphere, Eureka Skydeck offers stunning views over the city of Melbourne and beyond.
Royal Botanic Gardens – The Melbourne Gardens are internationally renowned, free, and conveniently located on the southern bank of the Yarra River.
National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) – Houses an extensive collection of art and artefacts from Europe, Asia, America and Oceania.
The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Federation Square – Victoria’s home of Australian art, with Indigenous and non-Indigenous art from the colonial period to the present day.
Australian Centre for Contemporary Art – The Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) is Australia’s leading contemporary art gallery. ACCA provides an exciting, free and very Melbourne cultural experience.
Melbourne Museum – Showcases Australian social history, Indigenous cultures, science and the environment.
National Sports Museum at the MCG – The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is an iconic Melbourne sporting venue that holds up to 100,000 people. The National Sports Museum features memorabilia from some of the country’s biggest heroes, and highlights moments that have shaped the traditions of Australian sport.
Melbourne is a well known destination for serious shoppers! Take some time to wander through our famous laneways and arcades as well as visiting these larger shopping attractions:
Interesting facts about the city
- Before Melbourne was called Melbourne, it was named “Batmania” after John Batman, a colonist farmer from Tasmania who landed in Port Philip Bay in May 1835.
- Melbourne has the largest Greek-speaking population outside of Europe, a population comparable to some larger Greek cities like Larissa and Volos.
- Sometimes described as the most sports obsessed city on Earth, Melbourne is the only city in the world with five international standard sporting facilities on the fringe of its central business district: Melbourne Cricket Ground, Docklands Stadium, Rod Laver Arena, Hisense Arena and Olympic Park in Melbourne Park.
- The MCG holds the world record for highest attendance at a cricket match, with a total of 91,092 spectators watching the first day of The Ashes test against England in 2013.