Melbourne is the capital of the State of Victoria. It is situated on the Yarra River and around Port Phillip Bay with its beautiful beaches and water sports facilities. It is a beautiful spacious city with all the parks, gardens, sporting venues and scenic places that Australian space and natural resources allow. Melbourne is a world-renowned cultural, artistic, financial and communications centre served by an international airport, a cargo and passenger seaport, and rail links to neighbouring States. Melbourne, once voted the world's 'most liveable city', enjoys clean fresh air and beautiful parks and gardens. Melbourne is considered to be the shopping capital of Australia and offers some of Australia's biggest shopping complexes as well as sophisticated, exclusive boutiques and a host of lively and popular markets. One quarter of Melbourne's population was born overseas making it one of the world's most multicultural cities. There are now people from 140 nations living harmoniously together. This broad ethnic mix has brought many benefits to the city including a wide range of cuisines and over 2,300 elegant restaurants, bistros and cafes. Melbourne has an excellent public transport system with trams, trains and buses providing an extensive network throughout the city and suburbs. The population is approximately 4 million. Melbourne is a sprawling city with suburbs extending up to 50km from the centre of the city. The city centre is on the banks of the Yarra River, 5km from Port Phillip Bay. The city centre features world class department stores historical architecture theatres, galleries and arts centres Melbourne is only a short distance from many beautiful beaches as well as the Victorian mountain regions, where skiing is popular during winter. The city and surrounding suburbs are well serviced by a public transport network of buses, trains and trams. A multicultural city enriched by 170 ethnic groups. Sometimes called the culinary capital of Australia, Melbourne has a vast array of restaurants, offering a variety of international cuisine. Bustling Chinatown in the heart of the city, serves up the finest of Asian cuisine and culture. Several other Melbourne streets are dedicated to Vietnamese, Japanese, Italian and Greek food - cuisine to suit every palate and many to suit a student's budget.
About 36 per cent of Victoria is forest. The Murray is the State's longest river and there are a number of large inland lakes. Victoria's vast coastline extends over 1600 kilometres, bordering the Southern Ocean and Bass Strait and separating the Australian mainland from Tasmania. Victoria is the most densely populated of Australia's 8 States and Territories. Some 26 per cent of all Australians live in Victoria and, of those, most reside in Melbourne, the nation's second largest city and capital of this state.
Australia is a land of contrasts: sweeping golden beaches, coral reefs rich with marine life, tropical rainforests, mountain ranges, vast grazing lands and sparse deserts. One of the oldest continents, Australia is the only country to occupy an entire continent. Surrounded by the Indian and Pacific Oceans, Australia has many animals and plants, which are unique on the planet. The surface geology is typically old and flat with a major mountain range stretching down the eastern coast and another mountain range in the north west of the continent.