South Melbourne and Albert Park
The clean and friendly suburbs of South Melbourne and Albert Park feature a pleasant village-feel. They are home to many young families and wealthy professionals. Along its residential streets many of the old Victorian facades have been thoughtfully restored and tangled vines graciously decorate verandas and balconies.
Just a stoneâs throw from the city centre, Albert Park Lake is a fantastic recreational hub offering plenty of activities. It is popular with joggers and walkers who make use of the 5 km long walkway outlining the lakeâs perimeter.
The lake is home to a number of graceful black swans that will often make an appearance during a leisurely picnic on the lawn. On a clear day, the swans share the water with dozens of sailing boats, kayaks and paddleboats, which can be hired from the Boatshed Kiosk at the northern tip of the lake. Close-by is the large Melbourne Sports & Aquatic Centre featuring an Olympic-size pool and a wave pool in which you can surf.
Albert Park is also the venue for the annual Formula One Grand Prix of Australia, which has the city trembling with noise and excitement every annually, usually around March time. Apart from the times of the Grand Prix you will find South Melbourneâs shopping streets pleasantly peaceful and very popular with many coffee bars and eateries. Between Montague and Merton Streets, Bridport Street has some sophisticated cafÃ©s and eateries. Further towards the bay Victoria Avenue boasts organic food shops and restaurants.
Wide Clarendon Street is the main shopping district. Turn west on to Coventry Street to find original book, furniture and souvenir shops, all tastefully arranged. The South Melbourne Market at the corner of Coventry and Cecil Streets has been operating since 1864 and offers everything from fresh seafood and vegetables to organic wine and a professional massage.
Hit the sand during a game of beach volleyball at South Melbourne Beach in summer or join the locals on a leisurely stroll along promenade. There's also a cycle path that can take you all the way down to St Kilda and as you'd expect, numerous joggers and dog walkers.
Towards the west, one of the best and most popular drives is along Beaconsfield Parade. Running along the beach, palm tree lined and into the seaside suburb of Port Melbourne where there's Station Pier, the departure point for the Spirit of Tasmania and the arrival point of the growing number of cruise liners bring visitors to the wonderful city of Melbourne.
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