The garden city
In many ways, Melbourne is the most European of all the Australian cities, its highlights making it one of the most unique stops on an MSC Grand Voyages cruise: magnificent landscaped gardens and parks provide green spaces near the centre, while beneath the skyscrapers of the Central Business District (CBD), an understorey of solid, Victorian-era facades ranged along tree-lined boulevards presents the city on a more human scale.
The CBD lies at the heart of the city, a grid bounded by La Trobe, Spring, Flinders and Spencer streets, dotted with fine public buildings and plenty of shops. To the north of the CBD, a wander through lively, century-old Queen Victoria Market will repay both serious shoppers and people-watchers.
In the east, the CBD rubs up against Eastern Hill, home to Parliament House as well as the landscaped Fitzroy Gardens, from where it’s a short walk to the venerable Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), a must for sports fans. A shore excursion on your MSC Grand Voyages cruise can be the opportunity to visit the riverside’s most innovative development: the new 92-storey Eureka Tower located on the Southgate site and named after a landmark rebellion in Victoria’s gold-rush era (the top levels are clad in gold). Finished in 2006 and towering 300m, it is the tallest building in Melbourne.
Visitors can enjoy amazing views of the city and beyond from the 88th-floor Skydeck, which features the stomach-churning “skywalk”, The Edge, a 3m glass cube that juts out over the city below. Another MSC excursion is the Serendip Sanctuary: a square kilometre of bush, marsh and wetlands where you can observe kangaroos, wallabies and emus, as well as numerous other water birds, in their natural habitat.