There really is no other city on the planet that is quite like Melbourne. From its impressive skyline which looks down onto quirky, arty streets, through to its overflowing cornucopia of things to see and do across its Victorian expanses, Melbourne offers the intrepid traveller something different at every visit.
Car hire in Melbourne is the way of choice to see everything that 'Marvellous Melbourne' has in store. Bursting with culture, endless festivities, shops and great dining opportunities, Melbourne really does have it all, and then some. If you have just 48 hours to play with, though, what should you squeeze into your 'Melbz' itinerary?
Once you have picked up your hire vehicle, you'll want to get a good look at the city around you, and what better way to do that than by taking a trip up the Eureka Tower to the Skydeck? Take the Southern Hemisphere's fastest lifts, rocketing up at nine metres per second, to the soaring tower's 88th floor. The Skydeck is a nerve-jangling 285 metres above ground level, and is made up of toughened glass and aluminium panels that allows brave visitors to walk out across the sky, giving an unnerving, yet wondrous feeling.
With the whole of Melbourne spread out below you like a living, breathing map, you'll be able to pick out the city's iconic landmarks, choose where you'd like to go on the rest of your trip and grab your bearings before heading back down to street level to start your Melbourne adventure in earnest.
The Shrine of Remembrance
The Shrine of Remembrance is a war memorial unlike many others. Aside from its location in central Melbourne, it's also built with such an interesting style of architecture – avant-garde, yet respectful – it goes above and beyond its intended purpose.
Climbing to the top of the Shrine of Remembrance will grant expansive views of Melbourne (though not quite so broad as those of the Eureka Tower), but you'll be closer to the ground, meaning that you can visibly pick a spot you may like to visit later.
Found in beautifully kept gardens on top of a small hill, the Shrine of Remembrance is not only a fine way to pay your respects but also to get a little more intimate with the lay of the Melbourne land.
The Queen Victoria Market
No itinerary of Melbourne would be complete without a mention of the Queen Victoria Market. The hustle and bustle of this heaving market attracts shoppers from all corners, each eager to get their hands on a freshly-grown Australian produce, a handmade souvenir or perhaps a something a little more on the quirky side, befitting Melbourne's nature.
Even if you don't particularly want to buy anything, heading to the Queen Victoria Market just to experience its throng can be an riveting undertaking in itself. The friendly clash of cultures, heady mix of ethnicities, sights, sounds and smells as the 1,000-strong market traders bawl out their latest deals is something not to be missed.
The Great Ocean Road
Much like the Queen Victoria Market, the Great Ocean Road simply belongs on a list of things to experience when visiting Melbourne. The road itself stretches for 243 kilometres, but on your limited timeframe, you perhaps won't have time to see it all (why not save the full length for another trip?) Even so, it would be a shame to miss out on this iconic road, even if you do visit just a small section of it.
You can take as much or little time on the Great Ocean Road as you like, and that's the beauty of it. Stop when you spy a perfect photo moment, such as a stunning, panoramic vista, or a local bird roosting that you may not have seen before. At each visit, the Great Ocean Road is sure to conjure up something new, so spend a couple of hours just driving, and see what you can see.
St. Paul's Cathedral
Even though Melbourne has a reputation as a modern and futuristic city, you may be surprised at the raft of intricate, older architecture on display. One of the greatest examples of such finery is St. Paul's Cathedral, which looks more like a castle straight from the pictures of a fairytale book than a place of worship, upon first glance.
The first stone of the cathedral was laid in 1880, its Gothic spires soaring high above the city. The interior of this grand monument is no less breathtaking, with beautiful wooden carvings complementing the 130-year old pews. No fine place of worship would be complete without marvellous stained glass windows, and St. Paul's Cathedral delivers on this front, with a kaleidoscope of colours cascade down onto the alter no matter how bright the sun.
Such is the tranquillity and peace of the inside of St. Paul's Cathedral that that you'll find it astonishing to think the hustle and bustle of Melbourne's big city life is only just outside.
Of course, 48 hours in Melbourne is enough to barely scratch the surface of its delights, so try and come back later to delve deeper into what is one of the world's truly outstanding cities.