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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Experience Melbourne in a Day: Tour It with Your Family

By Nia Lawrence

You'll always have your fill of Melbourne attractions, whether you frequent its hotspots or you prefer to tour the more offbeat paths. It's different if you're visiting with your family, though, because you won't be able to stretch your day long enough to accommodate the various wholesome pursuits the city has to offer. This may sound tiring to you, but to your kids, this means that a boundless world of pleasant opportunities awaits them. It's fortunate that the city is best toured on foot. Otherwise, you'll only have a satisfactory experience when you take the standard commutes. Sidewalks and bike paths offer you the best sampling of the urban landscape, and since you'll likely stumble on a tourist trap around every corner, there's no better way to sightsee than on foot.

You'll be able to sample a small piece of various Melbourne attractions in two hours if you do a quick tour of the city. This interval should provide enough leeway for you to linger on each tourist trap and still be overwhelmed at the end of the day. Jumpstart your family tour with a visit to the Melbourne Aquarium, a tourist trap with a severely understated name. Carrying 2.2 million liters of water that's teeming with marine life, the Aquarium isn't the fishbowl museum you've initially expected. You'll find yourself gaping in awe as you look up to the oceanarium's depths. You'll look up; you read it right the first time, since the submerged walkways will ensure that you'll truly soak in the sublime experience.

Once you've delved the depths of Melbourne attractions, it's only fitting to come back to the surface and follow it up with a sampling of the high seas, onboard the Polly Woodside. This authentic 1885 sailing ship has plenty of history and dock experience to boot, and it's the best place to house the artifacts of Melbourne's Maritime Museum. You'll literally walk through time as you pause on the exhibits that flaunt the ship and the city's detailed maritime history, as you brace yourself against the tempered timbers that sway with the dock current.

Follow up the barrage of educational Melbourne attractions by touring the nostalgic buildings in Williamstown. Since you'll probably have to take a short breather from your wandering, there are plenty of indoor and street-side restaurants here that'll satisfy your cravings as you soak in the local ambiance. Head on out to St. Kilda beach, where the shores are standard fare but the nearby Art and Craft market offers a variety of creative pursuits. The Esplanade is lined with so many specialty shops that your children will linger until you pull them away, especially when you still have to take them for a quick walkthrough of nearby Luna Park.

There are plenty of other Melbourne attractions to visit, and the day is far from over. But since you'll probably be losing daylight by now, you could give your kids a quick treat before you head on to the Melbourne Observation Deck, fifty-five floors up the Rialto Towers. Take them to Federation Square and let them view their frolicking in real time, on the large TV screen. And because the video feed is also streamed as is on the Internet, you're children will get a kick out of their international exposure. Melbourne is truly a city of cities, and you should take your family out on a pleasure tour here one of these days.

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