By Natalia Standfield
Melbourne, an exciting lifestyle city where everything happens from international sporting events to all the good things in life including food, shopping and wonderful entertainment, is a great place for a honeymoon.
This is a city where people love to socialise all year round, whether it's at restaurants, shows, clubs, bars, live music or comedy. And Melburnians and their friends love to watch films, live performances, visual arts and sport.
Melbourne is known for its trams, gardens, the Yarra River and the cosmopolitan diversity of its inner-suburban precincts. It is a vibrant, multicultural city characterised by fun-loving people.
Feeling thirsty? Head for the small laneways and discover Melbourne's hybrid assortment of colourful bars and clubs. And before you know it, you've found your favourite watering hole.
Roam the top end of Bourke Street for great bars and cafes including Spleen, The Melbourne Supper Club, Langton's International Lounge Bar and Meyer's Place. A few streets away in Flinders Lane, slink under the blue lights of Velour or at the Purple Emerald. Jazz buffs will be in their element at Bennetts Lane Jazz Club located in Bennetts Lane. Other must see bars are The Kitten Club, Misty Bar, the luxurious Gin Palace and Hairy Canary.
If that's not enough, try Southgate's riverfront bars from the Blue Train to Savi or P.J. O'Brien's Irish pub.
In the early hours, the scene ranges from the exclusive to the elusive. For eclectic beats try The Lounge in Swanston Street or for some cool disco action head to Metro Nightclub. At the Crown Entertainment Complex, The Mercury Lounge, Heat and the Odeon nightclubs offer a great mix of entertainment.
Visit small groovy cafes, boutiques and shops in Melbourne's inner city arcades. Walk down Melbourne's oldest arcade, the Royal, circa 1870, or the Block Arcade and breathe in the aromas of coffee, sweets, pizza and designer perfume wafting out of boutiques and cafes. Nearby is Geisha in Little Collins Street, where you can indulge in a massage or have your hair done, followed by a cup of green tea in stylish Japanese surroundings.
A great way to explore the city and get your bearings is to start from the top. Take the lift to the Rialto Towers Observation Deck in Collins Street, this is Melbourne's tallest building and it provides a sensational 360-degree view.
Back on the ground, hop aboard the burgundy coloured City Circle trams, a free service, which provides a running commentary on points of interest. Hop on and off and explore the Treasury Gardens, Captain Cook's Cottage, China Town, the Greek precinct and Queen Victoria Market.
Taking a romantic cruise along the picturesque Yarra River is another popular way to explore Melbourne. River cruises depart from Princes Walk and pass Southbank, a vibrant riverside precinct of shops and cafes, the docklands precinct and the Royal Botanical Gardens.
Melbourne's suburbs stretch around the shores of Port Phillip Bay, with the city centre located on the banks of the Yarra River. To get a true feel of the city you must venture out to the city-edge precincts. One of the easiest and most enjoyable ways of getting around is to take a tram ride - a quintessential Melbourne experience.
Melbourne has entire streets devoted to restaurants, cafes and bars. Lygon Street in Carlton is a slice of Italy offering pizza, pasta and gelato; Chinatown, in Little Bourke Street, offers noodles, yum cha and Peking duck. Head to Swan Street Richmond for affordable Greek restaurants and enjoy souvlaki, Greek dips and lamb on the spit. Victoria Street, in Abbotsford, is known as Little Saigon, with a vast array of cheap Vietnamese restaurants serving hot and spicy Asian food.
St Kilda is one of Melbourne's liveliest and most cosmopolitan areas and Fitzroy Street has an ever growing number of new cafes, bars and born-again pubs making it one of Melbourne's hippest places. Enjoy exciting eating and drinking at all hours of the day and night. Nearby Acland Street has its fair share of cakes, cafeshops and restaurants.
Check out the Esplanade Art and CraftMarket, held every Sunday along St Kilda's Upper Esplanade. It features a huge range of open-air stalls selling locally made arts, crafts and gifts.
Richmond has Bridge Road, a boon for bargain hunters, where Australian designers sell their trend setting clothes at much reduced prices.
Chapel Street in South Yarra is one of Melbourne's most diverse retail centres with wall-to-wall clothing boutiques and a sprinkling of hip bars and cafes. If you want to see fashion, from slinky dresses to designer singlets, take a walk along Chapel Street.
Running off Chapel Street, Greville Street has a funky collection of retro clothing shops, streetwear shops, hip music stores and some great bars and cafes.
Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, is a hive of activity. All along the road you will find works by local artists in the form of pavement mosaics, ceramic seats, and sculptural displays. Cafes feature Spanish food, Italian, Indian, Japanese and Thai. Close by in Smith Street, Collingwood, feast on African, Turkish, Indonesian, Vietnamese and Italian cuisines.
Express yourself in Melbourne - take time out in this exciting, cosmopolitan city.
For more information check out Melbourne's website +click here.