About Melbourne, Canberra and region
Melbourne, the state capital of Victoria, has a population of 3 million, and is an unusual blend of the conservative and the colourful, without doubt one of the country’s best places to visit. This was the Victorian city which became Australia’s first capital, and it offers many interesting sights. The National Gallery of Victoria, at the Victorian Arts Centre, has the finest collection of Australian art in the land, as well as works by Picasso and Dürer. By contrast, Old Melbourne Gaol is a grim spot. This was where the famous outlaw Ned Kelly was hanged in 1880, and they have a ghoulish collection of death masks.
Head north-east from Melbourne along the Hume Highway in the direction of Canberra and you pass, to the south, the Alpine National Park. In winter this is a popular skiing region, and in summer it’s known for bush-walking, canoeing and horse riding.
You’ll need at least three or four days to do justice to Melbourne. The stretch between Canberra and Melbourne can be covered in two days, but if you want to explore the Alpine National Park, allow at least a couple more. See also The Shipwreck Coast for the area west of Melbourne towards Adelaide.
The best way to get around Melbourne is by one of their famous trams. There are bus and rail links between Melbourne and Canberra. If you don’t have your own transport, the best way to visit the mountains for skiing is on a package tour from Melbourne.