As a Californian traveling to Austra- lia for the first time last December, the inevitable question of what city I would like best between Mel- bourne and Sydney came up often
from my Aussie tourism friends.
Would it be Sydney, the old school metro,
or Melbourne, a city on a rapid rise with an
exploding culinary scene, multicultural make-up and population of young up-and-comers
burning with entrepreneurial fire?
“It’s almost like Silicon Valley was planted
in our city, because it has all of those young
techie start-ups, but also the arts research
institutions as well,” said Karen Bolinger,
CEO of the Melbourne Convention Bureau.
“There’s a lot of creative industry or sectors
that meld that creativity with innovation.”
Melbourne is the place to be for Young
Australia, as its happening bistros and seafood
restaurants along the Yarra River waterfront
attest. Visitors will enjoy a feast of the eyes with
its many tasteful displays of public art and the
colorful cacophony of world-class graffiti on
Hosier Lane. And a taste sensation awaits in
the ethnic eateries that serve up some of the
finest Chinese and Greek food in the world.
“Our chefs are always experimenting and
challenging the norm,” Bolinger said. “We
have 4,000 restaurants with cuisine from 70
different countries. They’re exploring that
fusion in it.”
The big news on the Melbourne meetings
and convention scene is the opening of the
new expansion of the Melbourne Conven-
tion and Exhibition Centre, making it the
largest convention and exhibition space in
Australia. The expansion increased the size
of the facility to 750,000 square feet, includ-
ing the 97,000-square-foot, multipurpose
Goldfields Theatre, with a retractable 1,000-
seat theater and new exhibition halls.
There are more about 5,000 guest rooms
within a 10-minute walk of the Melbourne
Convention and Exhibition Centre.
In short, Melbourne offers more than
enough for every taste.
“I’ve been here eight years, and I’m fascinated that there’s still things I haven’t got to
because other things distract me along the
way,” Bolinger summed up.
CLOSE-UP Melbourne, AUS
The Abbotsford Convent // https://abbotsfordconvent.com.au
Located about two-and-a-half miles outside of town, Abbbotsford Convent
boasts historic buildings and lush gardens above the beautiful Yarra River.
Its Rosina space offers an open-air courtyard, catering is provided by Bur-saria Fine Foods and events from small to large can be accommodated.
Marnong Estate // www.marnongestate.com.au
About 35 minutes from downtown and 15 minutes from Melbourne Airport,
the historic Marnong Estate offers a variety of function settings, a dedicated
events team, accommodations and even transportation services, along with an
expansive surrounding area that lets guests experience rural Victoria.
Melbourne Cricket Ground // www.mcg.org.au
Groups here get a turf’s-eye view of this hallowed Melbourne ground, which
can include use of the scoreboard and digital screens, tours of the dressing
rooms, free Wi-Fi and a visit to the National Sports Museum. Award-winning catering is provided by Epicure.
Mural Hall // https://muralhall.net.au
This elegant venue is located above the popular Bourke Street Mall and offers
a level of European-style sophistication that harkens back to the Old Country
rather than the new continent. This heritage-listed Art Deco-style venue features what is perhaps the finest food, style and AV experience in town.
Old Melbourne Gaol //
Dating to the mid-1800s, this historic
central Melbourne former prison has
housed some of the most notorious
Australian criminals, including the
infamous “bush ranger” Ned Kelly. It
can seat up to 120 for a banquet or
250 for a reception, with numerous
entertainment options, including
“Ned Kelly” himself!
By Tyler Davidson
The rising tide of Young Australia
212.206.7632 (New York)
Located in the state of Victoria, Melbourne is
in the extreme south of eastern Australia, about
550 miles southwest of Sydney. Melbourne
International Airport is located about 25 miles
from downtown with airlift from 34 international
airlines flying direct to the city from more than
OLD MELBOURNE GAOL, EXCLUSIVELY CATERED BY
SHOWTIME EVENT GROUP