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Think of Melbourne as Sydney’s shy but sexy little sister, who doesn’t scream out for the spotlight, but once you get to know her, va va voom. I tacked on a couple of days in Melbourne at the tail end of my recent Australian travels, and regretted not having more time to idly explore the subtle charms of this captivating cosmopolitan capital, pulsing with creativity and cultural flair.
While lacking the major blockbuster attractions that typically reel in the international tourists, Melbourne’s real allure is uncovered while exploring its city-within-the-city, on its tucked-away “laneways” that sneak away from the wide, well-ordered, and trafficked streets of Melbourne’s polished facade. Here, a rich-in-character back-door world of bustling back alleyways brimming with quirky bars, trendsetting boutiques, cozy cafes, edgy art galleries, and multicultural restaurants is unveiled, all overseen by a vibrant and unrivaled street art scene. Read more
Train travel, whether for commuting or vacation, can be delightful. It’s slower than air travel, but it offers breathtaking scenery and a trip back in time to a more romantic era of adventure. Of course, traveling by train has its dangers. This video from Metro Trains Melbourne offers a not-so-subtle but incredibly cute reminder that you need to be aware of your surroundings and make good decisions when you’re away from home. They’ve built an equally adorable website to reinforce their message.
Be safe when riding the rails…and good luck getting this song out of your head. Sorry!
Elegant, old-world-style Cunard Line will offer their first-ever circumnavigation of Australia, primed for some unrivaled Down Under discovery, come February. Setting sail on February 14 (an over-the-top Valentine for your sweetie, perhaps?) from Sydney (also its point of return), the 22-night cruise aboard the 2,620-passenger Queen Mary 2 will provide cruisers a rare opportunity to completely navigate the massive country, as part of the vessel’s 2012 World Voyage. Read more
Aspiring art thieves, I’ve got good news for you – you can legally hone your thievery skills in Melbourne, Australia, at least until January 15. Melbourne’s Art Series Hotels (the Cullen, the Olsen, and the Blackman, each of which are designed around the work of iconic Australian artists) are about midway through a contest that encourages you to steal the art right off the walls. Well, some of the art, anyway. The hotels are (rather fittingly) currently offering up “Pulp Fiction” by renowned England-based graffiti artist Banksy, if you can steal it.
The artwork can only be stolen by a pre-paid guest of one of the hotels staying any time through January 15th, and only the Banksy piece is up for theft. The full terms and conditions can be found here, but notable rules include: “Be cool. Art thieves are always cool,” “Look the part- we prefer it if you are wearing black tie or a really stunning frock,” and “Banksy we really don’t want you to steal it. It would just be too twisted so please don’t.”
The Luxury Melbourne is rolling out six Art Series Hotels through next year, each touting a name and design scheme inspired by a famous Australian artist. The group’s flagship property, The Olsen (named after landscape painter John Olsen), debuted in April on boutique-lined Chapel Street. Its 14 stories feature nearly 500 works from Olsen and 229 luminous guest rooms outfitted with sleek designer furnishings, art libraries, and full kitchenettes. An in-house art curator is available for tours. A duo of restaurants, a fitness center, and a day spa round out the offerings; its pool, among the world’s largest glass-bottom ones, cantilevers over bustling Chapel Street.
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