If you're looking for the ultimate vacation hotspot, Melbourne is the place to be. Situated in the bustling warmth of Australia, this famous city offers plenty to do and see for everybody. Melbourne remains a well-known cultural and recreational hub, but there may be a few fun things you don't yet know about this tourist favorite.
Over four million people reside in the greater Melbourne area. Melbourne also enjoys over a million international visitors a year. In fact, a large portion of Melbournians who currently live there were born elsewhere. As of 2013, thirty-eight percent of the population reportedly came from overseas. Obviously, a great city is hard to leave!
Melbourne almost wasn't called Melbourne. It was nearly named Batmania after one of its founding fathers, John Batman. Ultimately, the city adopted the name of the British prime minister at the time, Lord Melbourne. The city still honored John Batman by naming several locations after him, including Batman Avenue and the Batman railway system.
Melbourne is home to a lot of foxes. In fact, it's considered the fox capital of the world. The Australian city boasts between six and 23 foxes per square kilometer in urban areas. If you visit Melbourne expecting to run into scores of these furry animals, you may be disappointed. They're actually rarely seen by human residents. So, be sure to bring your camera in case you get lucky!
Before the days of indoor plumbing, people tended to bathe in public, and the citizens of Melbourne were no exception. They washed in the Yarra River, the sea and in bath boxes. The Brighten Bath Boxes, built over 100 years ago, still line the coastline today and remain a popular tourist attraction. You can even stand by the Brighten Bath Boxes and catch a beautiful view of the city skyline from only 13 kilometers away.
Why just eat when you can sight-see at the same time? One of the most popular restaurants in Melbourne also happens to be a tram. The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant treats you to five-star dining prepared by onboard chefs as you take in the local scenery. Talk about food on the go!
Australia isn't an exceptionally chilly place. The city of Melbourne has soared to some record-breaking hot temperatures in recent years. On February 7th, 2009, Melbourne reached a scorching 115.5 degrees Fahrenheit. Fortunately, it's average summer high is only around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. That's a whole lot easier on your sweat glands. Still, you may want to pack your sunscreen, just in case.
Nothing quite attracts a crowd like a colorful theme park. Luna Park, built in 1912, remains the oldest privately owned theme park in operation in the world. The iconic theme park, located in St Kilda, Melbourne, features such classic attractions as the Ghost Train, the Twin Dragon pirate ship and the Mirror Maze.
People didn't always enjoy a 9-5 workday. In the 1800s, there were no regulations regarding how long a person could labor. Melbourne masons had enough endless work hours and decided in 1856 to drop their tools and walk off their jobs. The Melbourne stonemason strike compelled employers to agree to an 8-hour workday, a policy that was ultimately adopted by Britain, America and other industrialized nations.
Although the official language is English, you might hear a Melbournian speak from over one hundred languages. Melbourne's cultural diversity stems from a wide range of nationalities immigrating to the city throughout its history. European settlers joined the Kulin Nation, Melbourne's original inhabitants, in the 1830s. The 1850s gold rush influenced the arrival of many Chinese immigrants, and numerous other cultures followed after WWII. Melbourne's rich cultural heritage is part of what makes it such an attractive tourist spot and a popular place for millions to call home.
The Economist Intelligence Unit ranked Melbourne the world's most liveable city for seven years straight, starting in 2011. The unit ranks 140 cities around the globe annually, using such criteria as stability, infrastructure, environment, culture, and healthcare. It's little wonder Melbourne continues to flourish and to attract people from everywhere.