Watching a newly moustachioed Ian Bell destroying Australia’s top order with his lively medium pace at the MCG (it could happen!) is not the only way to celebrate the festive season in one of Australia’s most popular cities…
If you want to avoid the locals complaining that Pietersen was plumb LBW on 5 before he made his spectacular triple-hundred, head out into the Yarra Valley to visit the vineyards making some of Australia’s finest wines. Tours run to many different wineries and all are accompanied by some ‘optional’ tasting.
While you’re out in the wilderness, enjoy the natural beauty of the Dandenong ranges, where the towering trees and lush glades are as beautiful as a flowing Ian Bell cover drive (and considerably more beautiful than his bowling!).
Back in the city centre, the best way to get your bearings in Melbourne is by taking a trip up Eureka Skydeck, which gives you stunning 360° views of the city. The brave can also choose The Edge experience: a three-metre glass cube, which extends out from the building! Once you’ve taken in the city from the air, there are spectacular views to be had on a cruise down the Yarra River, or around Port Phillip Bay.
If you’ve not had your fill of sport at the cricket, there are plenty of other options in Melbourne. The National Sports Museum – next to the MCG – chronicles Australia’s sporting history, and the Olympic exhibition is a particular highlight.
The AAMI stadium houses both of the city’s major football teams, with former Liverpool star Harry Kewell the current skipper of Melbourne Heart. Flemington Racecourse has a special New Year’s event if you want to blow away your hangover by having a flutter.
If you’d rather fight away a hangover by relaxing on the beach, then Melbourne has plenty to offer. St Kilda beach is close to the centre of town and has a lively, bohemian vibe and an excellent nightlife to take in after a chilled out day. Mornington Peninsula is an hour’s drive from the city and has some striking beaches as well as some great golf courses. Any number of stops along the Great Ocean Road are worth a visit for their sheer natural beauty.
Melbourne has a reputation as the cultural city in Australia and the State Library is one of the city’s gems. The stunning architecture is home to over two million books along with the original armour of Aussie outlaw hero Ned Kelly. The National Gallery of Victoria houses work by some of the greatest painters in the world including Rembrandt, Picasso, and Constable. The Princess Theatre showcases some of the finest Australian acting talent since David Warner’s attempt to look remorseful after that infamous Walkabout incident.
As well as a great beach, St Kilda is home to some of the best restaurants in the city with a wide range of cuisines. If you’re looking for fine dining, then the Central Business District is home to some of the best eateries in city. Lygon Street in the north of the city is a hotspot for Italian cuisine for every budget.
Melbourne has so much to offer, you’ll almost be hoping that this match only last three days… don’t bet against it!