Melbourne is a city of contrasts. Graceful tree-lined boulevards, breathtaking flower gardens and elaborate Victorian buildings lend an air of established refinement, but an evolving modernity – seen in everything from the gleaming futuristic architecture to the vibrant influences from those who have made this city their home – means it’s considered the Australian hub for culture, education and finance.
‘The city is the cultural hub of Australia – from sampling world-class coffee to gazing in awe at the ever-changing street art.' - Mike Locke, Urban Adventures Partner, Melbourne.
If you’d like to tap more into the local vibe, the enlightening Urban Adventures tours, organized for guests onboard a Cunard cruise, offer a fascinating insight into Melbourne. These unique itineraries, headed up by a local guide, lead small groups on city adventures that are off the standard tourist track. You might, for instance, discover why Melbourne’s street-art scene with its constantly evolving graffiti has become an art form, or dip into a delicious exploration of the food and drink for which this city is renowned. On one tour, you’ll get a farm-to-table lesson with a walk through Queen Victoria Market, piled high with fresh produce; while on another you’ll discover the fascinating stories behind some of the city’s iconic drinking institutions – from the classic Aussie pub to a speakeasy-style cocktail bar. Not least, the fragrant aroma of just-roasted coffee beans drifting from one of the many coffee ‘larders’ in town will undoubtedly tempt you inside…
‘For a once-in-a-lifetime wildlife opportunity, the You Yangs Regional Park is a must. Take a stroll with a naturalist guide through the savannah grasslands and bush, in the company of wild kangaroos and koalas.' - Julia Stoica,
And while we’re on the subject of delicious drinks, Cunard has joined forces with the award-winning Starward Distillery to produce a unique single malt whisky, Starward The Seafarer, which has been matured during a 12-month journey on board Queen Elizabeth. For a closer inspection, take a city drive, followed by a visit to the distillery for a glimpse behind the scenes of this well-traveled tipple – along with a wee dram, of course.
If you can tear yourself away from Melbourne’s charms, there’s plenty to see beyond the city, too, with excursions that bring you up close to kangaroos, koalas and emus – a must-see on any Australia holiday. Alternatively, hop aboard the Puffing Billy narrow gauge steam train for an unforgettable trip to the Dandenong Ranges where you can take in breathtaking views of the surrounding forests from the observatory there.