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New things to do in Melbourne and Victoria

16th September 2011 Print

Skydive the Beach Melbourne has launched operations over historic St Kilda beach. Situated a short tram ride from the city centre on one of the most picturesque parts of the peninsula, St Kilda’s chic, independent ambience attracts local and international visitors alike. Now, visitors can see the trendy bayside suburb from a new perspective, 14,000ft above the city. After an incredible 200km/hr freefall, the canopy opens high above Melbourne. With stunning views over the beaches of St Kilda and out to Port Phillip Bay, thrill seekers are able to spot local attractions such as the St Kilda Sea Baths and Luna Park amusement park, along with gorgeous views of the city skyline and surrounds.

Melbourne’s Art Deco Architecture Tour

Melbourne’s art deco architecture has long been a talking point for tourists visiting the city and now visitors can learn more from a noted expert in the field, thanks to the new Melbourne Art Deco Architecture tour launched by MELTours. Running monthly on a Sunday, the tour is conducted by Robin Grow, author of the book Melbourne Art Deco and current president of the Melbourne chapter of the Art Deco & Modernism Society. Grow provides a fascinating insight into the history of art deco in the city, its influence on design, construction methods and the history of the occupants of some of Melbourne’s interwar buildings. Melbourne landmarks visited on the tour include the Manchester Unity building on Collins Street and the T&G building on the corner of Collins and Russell Streets.

New Phillip Island Nature Parks volunteering tour

Phillip Island Nature Parks has launched a new unique volunteering package to give visitors the opportunity to assist rangers across a range of environmental initiatives. The package focuses on protecting and conserving the native flora and fauna found on Phillip Island, while enjoying the island’s iconic experiences and attractions. Highlights include two full days of volunteering and a full day sightseeing on Phillip Island, including the world famous Penguin Parade in the evening. Volunteering activities will vary depending on the time of year.  The package includes a two night stay at The Island Accommodation located at the entrance of Phillip Island and within walking distance of the shops, beach and night spots.

Sculp-tourism on the up in Victoria

Eye-catching outdoor sculpture trails are the latest attraction for art-lovers and walking enthusiasts in Victoria. Once a year the Great Ocean Road coastline becomes the backdrop for one of the most scenic sculpture walks in Victoria – the Lorne Sculpture Exhibition (October 15 to November 6, 2011). It is an annual competition featuring major sculptural works and installations by prominent Australian artists. The program of events includes guided tours of the foreshore, nightly projections, workshops and meet-the-artists seminars.

Cycling in Melbourne and Victoria

New Melbourne named Bike City by UCI

Melbourne has been acknowledged as one of the world’s top cycling cities, securing the title of ‘Bike City’ from the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI). The international governing body for sports cycling chose Melbourne as only the second city after Copenhagen to receive the prestigious designation.  Criteria for the label include the international standing of the city and its active commitment to develop cycling events, cycle tracks and other quality facilities. Victoria hosts a variety of major cycling events that attract local, interstate and international participants, including the Audax Alpine Classic; the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, Australia’s oldest stage race and the Great Victorian Bike Ride.  Victoria also hosts the 3 Peaks Challenge, a European-style road cycling event in Victoria’s stunning alpine region – arguably one of the most challenging and rewarding cycling experiences in Australia.

It was also Victoria’s own Cadel Evans who became the first Australian this year to win the Tour de France. A Bellarine Peninsula local and resident of Barwon Heads, situated near Geelong along the Great Southern Touring Route, Evans is a proud ambassador for the region and an active member of the local community. Barwon Heads is the gateway to some of Victoria’s most picturesque and diverse cycling routes, and when Cadel is not racking up the miles on the tracks, he is enjoying the region’s pristine beaches, wonderful cafes, restaurants and wineries including famed riders pit stop Annie’s Provedore & Produce and the Beach House in Barwon Heads.

Dates for your diary

Yarra Valley Open Studios, various locations in the Yarra Valley, 17 – 18 September

Artists across the Yarra Valley open up their secret working spaces to the public, for this once-a-year opportunity to see artists in their private studio workspaces. This is a chance to get an intimate insight into the creative minds and processes of some extraordinary artists.

Melbourne Fringe Festival, various venues throughout Melbourne, 21 September – 9 October

Promoting independent arts in Victoria, the annual Melbourne Fringe Festival showcases groundbreaking and daring performances ranging across all art forms. From comedy to cabaret, Melbourne Fringe presents over 230 free and ticketed events in more than 100 venues.

2011 V8 Supercars Championship, Phillip Island, 16 – 18 September

The 2011 V8 Supercars Championship sees the start of a new era for Australia's premier international motor racing category. With the eyes of the motor world watching, the Championship will again provide a weekend packed with spectacular action on the race track, and entertainment off-track, at Phillip Island. The mix of sport and entertainment will deliver a world-class spectacle to a worldwide audience.

Spring Racing Carnival, throughout Melbourne and Victoria, 28 September – 20 November

The Spring Racing Carnival is Australia’s premier annual sporting and social event, combining elite racing with an amazing cultural experience incorporating fashion, fun and excitement.  The two month extravaganza commences in September and takes in more than 80 race meetings across the state of Victoria.

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