Melbourne is has been described as San Francisco without the fog. Anthony Bourdain has been to Australia many times, and now he's back in Melbourne to show us what makes it so special.
For at least 40,000 years before European settlement in the late 18th century, Australia was inhabited by indigenous Australians, who belonged to one or more of roughly 250 language groups. After discovery by Dutch explorers in 1606, Australia's eastern half was claimed by Britain in 1770 and initially settled through penal transportation to the colony of New South Wales.
The population grew steadily in subsequent decades; the continent was explored and an additional five self-governing Crown Colonies were established. On 1 January 1901, the six colonies became a federation and the Commonwealth of Australia was formed. Since Federation, Australia has maintained a stable liberal democratic political system and is a Commonwealth realm.
The population is approximately 22.6 million, with 60% concentrated in and around the mainland state capitals of Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide. The nation's capital city is Canberra, in the Australian Capital Territory. Approximately 57% of Australia's population live in either Victoria or New South Wales, and 79% live in the eastern states of Australia.
A developed country, Australia is the world's thirteenth largest economy and it holds a position 16 in Global Competitiveness Index 2010–2011 rankings made by World Economic Forum. Australia ranks highly in many international comparisons of national performance such as human development, quality of life, health care, life expectancy, public education, economic freedom and the protection of civil liberties and political rights.
Melbourne was founded in 1835. During the Victorian gold rush of the 1850s, it was transformed into one of the world's largest and wealthiest cities. Today, it is a centre for the arts, commerce, education, entertainment, sport and tourism. The metropolis is also home to the world's largest tram network.
The metropolis is located on the large natural bay known as Port Phillip, with the city centre positioned at the estuary of the Yarra River (at the northern-most point of the bay). Melbourne has been ranked as one of the top three World's Most Livable Cities by the Economist Group's Intelligence Unit (since 2002) top 10 Global University Cities by RMIT's Global University Cities Index (since 2006) and top 20 Global Innovation Cities by the 2thinknow Global Innovation Agency (since 2007).
Melbourne, known as Australia's cultural capital, is the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia after Sydney. As of June 2009, the greater metropolitan area of Melbourne had an approximate population of four million.
Melbourne is a diverse and multicultural city. In 2006, 35.8% of Melbourne's population was born overseas, exceeding the national average of 23.1%. In concordance with national data, Britain is the most commonly reported overseas place of birth, with 4.7%, followed by Italy (2.1%), Vietnam (1.6%), China (1.5%), and New Zealand (1.5%).
Melbourne has the world's third largest Greek-speaking population after Athens and Thessaloniki. The city also features substantial Indian, Sri Lankan, Vietanamese, and Malaysian-born communities, in addition to recent South African and Sudanese influxes. The cultural diversity is reflected in the city's restaurants serving various international cuisines.
The centre of Melbourne's central business district is formed by the Hoddle Grid (dimensions of 1 by 0.5 miles (1.6 by 0.80 km)). The grid's southern edge fronts onto the Yarra River. The city centre is well known for its historic and attractive lanes and arcades (the most notable of which are Block Place and Royal Arcade) which contain a variety of shops and cafés and are a byproduct of the city's layout.
The Melbourne CBD, compared with other Australian cities, has comparatively unrestricted height limits and as a result of waves of post-war development contains five of the six tallest buildings in Australia, the tallest of which is the Eureka Tower, situated in Southbank. It has an observation deck near the top from where you can see above all of Melbourne's structures.
Melbourne is often referred to as Australia's garden city, and the state of Victoria was once known as the garden state. There is an abundance of parks and gardens in Melbourne, many close to the CBD with a variety of common and rare plant species amid landscaped vistas, pedestrian pathways and tree-lined avenues. There are also many parks in the surrounding suburbs of Melbourne.
Melbourne is a chameleon city where the world's continents come together in a blend of understated charm. Melbourne is magnificent yet welcoming, and the most jaded traveller will fall in love with her as they realize that a foreign city can feel like home.
Anthony Bourdain begins his adventure to the Down Under in Melbourne.
Queen Victoria Market: Anthony meets up with his old friend and guide Paul Wilson at Queen Victoria Market (aka Queen Vic Market), the largest open air market in the Southern Hemisphere. and marvel at the great meat and produce selection the market has to offer. Anthony tries some of their street food.
Half Moon Restaurant: Anthony is joined by three of Melbourne's top chefs for dinner at Paul's new restaurant, the Half Moon.
Trugo: Matt Preston, a local food writer, guides Anthony through a game of Trugo, a sport invented by railway workers in the 1920s.
Sydney Road: Anthony and Matt visit Melbourne's longest continuous shopping strip, Sydney Road, which features an abundance of small businesses and a variety of restaurants, coffee shops, and clothing stores.
A1 Middle Eastern Food Store and Bakery: Anthony and Matt sample some Lebanese fare, including a dish on flat bread similar to pizza, at A1 Middle Eastern Food Store and Bakery.
Alderman Restaurant: Anthony and Matt try more Middle Eastern food and some drinks at Alderman restaurant.
Rumi Restaurant: Anthony and Matt dine on lamb brains, fried prawns, lamb ribs, and barbecued quail at Rumi restaurant. Anthony just can't get enough of the quail and the ribs.
Danity Sichuan Restaurant: Melbourne boosts to have the planet's oldest continuous Chinatown. Anthony guide through Chinatown is chef and cooking school owner Tony Tam. They eat at Danity Sichuan restaurant where they serve authentic Szechuan cuisine and sample the incredibly hot food typical of Szechuan cooking.
Royal Mail hotel and restaurant: Anthony and Paul hop a plane to the small sleepy sheep town of Dunkeld to dine at the Royal Mail hotel and restaurant. They sample Chef Dan Hunter's extraordinary gourmet cooking with food that is grown, for the most part, on his own farm and garden. Anthony is equally impressed with the food and wine.
Back in Melbourne, Anthony joins a group of chefs for a barbecue and to Anthony's chagrin, and pleasure, the meal includes the stereotypical "shrimp on the barbie".