Known for being one of the world’s most liveable urban areas, Australia’s second city has a rich and varied street life with distinct and charming neighbourhoods.M

Marvellous Melbourne has topped the Economist Intelligence Unit’s most liveable cities list for two years running, a position most residents concur with enthusiastically. Situated on southern Australia’s Port Phillip Bay at the mouth of the Yarra River, the Victoria state capital has buzzy waterfront districts, green parks, numerous art galleries and narrow alleys, all of which give the city a rich and varied street life with distinct and charming neighbourhoods.

What is it known for?
Melbourne may be Australia’s second city (after Sydney) — and there is a fair bit of rivalry between the two — but residents deem their fair town first for culture, arts, festivals, food and fashion, and for having a more genteel quality of life than their brash sister 870km to the north. The city’s leafy streets and Victorian suburbs are filled with cafes that serve up perfect flat whites (similar to a latte) and short blacks (espressos), while impressive developments are filling the waterfront neighbourhoods with fresh residential and commercial spaces.

Melbourne has something for any culture hound, from near weekly festivals to graffiti-filled laneways containing some of the best street art in the world. Ethnic groups from Asia and the rest of the world who have settled in areas like Footscray in the west of the city make Melbourne a great multicultural and multi-cuisine magnet. “We have hip little bars and grungy, funky pubs, fabulous restaurants, plenty of green space and it doesn’t get as stinking hot as the rest of Australia,” said Jenny Webby, an IT manager and lifelong resident. “There are great beaches and always something cultural going on.”

Near the historic Flinders Street Station in Melbourne’s Central Business District (CBD), the decade-old Federation Square has become a gathering place for performances and cultural events, despite initial criticism of its seemingly jumbled-up architecture and design. The square is now considered one of the world’s best public spaces and it hosts more than 2,000 events a year, drawing people from all over Australia. Melbourne’s tram system connects the CBD with the city’s suburbs and there are many dedicated bike paths and bike lanes on the roads. “It is easy to cycle everywhere, particularly north of the river,” Webby said.