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Three Perfect Days: Melbourne

With its hidden street art, clandestine restaurant entrances and concealed rooftop bars, there’s more to Australia’s second city than meets the eye

Author Jacqueline Detwiler Photography Mark Roper

Birrarung Marr park is tucked between the Central Business District and the Yarra River

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MELBOURNE BY THE NUMBERS

Population
4.35 million

Year founded
1835

Age of the oldest-known local aborigninal community, in years
41,000 (est.)

Number of records sold by rockers AC/DC, who started out in Melbourne
200 million+

Year the world’s first full-length feature film, The Story of the Kelly Gang, which was made in Melbourne, was released
1906

Jars of the  local sandwich spread Vegemite sold in the 90 years since its 1923 introduction
1.1 billion

aussierules 

Sixes and Sevens

It’s easy to love Aussie rules football; it’s somewhat harder to understand it

On weekends, when it seems the entire city is marching back from the multisport Melbourne Cricket Ground either singing or scowling, you get an inkling of how the mood of this city swings according to the fortunes of its footy teams.  

Ten of the Australian Football League’s 18 teams are from the area, and affiliations are fierce. As for figuring out what’s going on in that enormous oval, it’s worth enlisting the help of an expert like Anthony Grace, devoted Hawthorn fan and GM of Melbourne Sports Tours. Over the course of a two-hour game, Grace will explain such essentials as who’s playing well and who isn’t, why the players are punching the ball instead of throwing it, and how to eat the sport’s customary meat pies.

The alternative to such instruction is confusion. Among the many complications of the game is the fact that there are four goalposts, which combine to create a muddle of permutations: one point is scored if a player sends the ball through the outside posts or punches it through the center; six points if he kicks it through the center. The score is calculated by multiplying the center kicks by six and adding in the rest. “The kids all learn their six times tables before any of the other ones,” says Grace. “The fours, fives, sevens—they’re no good.”

(Image by Getty Images)

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LOCAL KNOWLEDGE

The inside scoop from those in the know

3pd_face_1Anthony Grace

GM, Melbourne Sports Tours

“You can’t go wrong with any of the beaches around Melbourne. I like Brighton Beach, but also the Mornington Peninsula to the south. That’s a great area—there are lots of golf courses, nature walks, art galleries, spas and other amenities.”

3pd_face_2Briony Hay

Retail Manager, Yarra Valley Dairy

“People here love live music. I always go to the Corner Hotel in Richmond, or the Northcote Social Club in Northcote to listen to up-and-coming bands. If you come in the summer, you might want to try Big Day Out and Laneway Festival.”

3pd_face_3Rocio Reyes

Student, Monash University

“If you like to shop, visit the Camberwell Market in the suburb of Camberwell. If you get there early, there will be a lot of girls in their 20s who are selling things from out of their closets. It’s really cheap and you can find so much cool stuff.”


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