Gay Vacations in Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne, Australia
Melbourne, Australia (courtesy, Tourism Australia)

Melbourne Gay and Lesbian Highlights

  • Take in the view, if you dare. The new Eureka Skydeck 88 is the highest public vantage point in the Southern Hemisphere, located on the 88th floor of the Eureka Tower in Riverside Quay. The deck gives a 360-degree panorama nearly 1,000 feet above the city, and a huge glass elevator cube (with glass floor, no less) juts the brave out over the side of the tower to sounds of creaking chains and breaking glass!
  • Hop on a tram. Melbourne is said to have the oldest tram network in the world. The trams are a major icon of the city with hundreds running on over 200 miles of tracks. Grab a burgundy-and-cream colored City Circle Tram: They are free and narrated, and speed you around a circular route between all the major central attractions as well as past shopping malls and arcades.
  • Plan for Midsumma. Melbourne's gay community really cranks up for its warm weather city festival, called Midsumma, in January and February, with thousands joining in the over-the-top street parties, overflowing clubs, a pride march, and a carnival. Hotels get booked up in advance so it's best to make reservations weeks before.

Green, walkable, and architecturally astounding, Melbourne is one of the most multiethnic cities in the Southern Hemisphere. Nestled on the banks of the Yarra River, Melbourne is more cultured, refined, and low-key than brash and beachy Sydney. The city is made up of a healthy blend of formal and feral. The queer quotient is tangible; especially in the beachside suburb of St. Kilda, once the bohemian and red-light district that has retained its counter-culture charm. You can also find it in the trendy gay/straight mixed inner suburbs of Collingwood, Northcote, Fitzroy, and Brunswick. Although it may seem a little more snooty than Sydney, Melbourne let's its hair down in a stunning and artsy array of pumping nightlife options.

The theater and arts scenes are mature and developed—be sure to take in a world-class ballet, concert, or play at the Victorian Arts Centre. The old Abbotsford Convent, now an arts precinct, offers live music, art classes, and cafés. The monthly Abbotsford craft market attracts gays, straights, and everyone in between.

Called Australia's fashion capitol, Melbourne offers no end of consumer delights. The city's European vibe fills the laneways downtown, including the swank Block Arcade, the Strand Arcade, and Hardware Lane. While downtown, you can't afford not to have afternoon tea at one of the artisan chocolatiers—or at least a hot chocolate at Max Brenner's. Said to be the largest indoor/outdoor market in the Southern Hemisphere, the Victoria Market provides hundreds of stalls of fresh food, organic wines, local cheeses, and everything imaginable made of sheepskin.

Published: 3 Feb 2009 | Last Updated: 29 Mar 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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