Melbourne fine tunes tourism for Games

There is a buzz in the air and locals are becoming excited as the city of Melbourne transforms itself and gets ready for a massive party, the Melbourne 2006 Commonwealth Games.
Food and wine is the focal point of any celebration and there’ll be no exception during the Games.

Melbourne Food & Wine is running three events to showcase Victoria’s food and wine strengths.

The plaza of the Melbourne Museum, a Commonwealth Games Livesite, will come alive with food and wine events throughout the Games.

Enjoy fresh produce and meet local producers at the Victorian Producers’ Market (Saturday 18 March) as producers from around the state bring their trucks laden with Victoria’s best produce to try and buy.

Check out the heat in the kitchen as top chefs including Raymond Capaldi (Scotland), George Calombaris (Cyprus) and Teage Ezard (Australia) lead their Commonwealth themed teams comprising a celebrity and an apprentice in a battle of the pans; the Culinary Pro Am of the Commonwealth (nightly from 20 - 25 March).

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Make sure you don’t miss out on all the Games action - Games organisers have released 125,855 additional tickets; new tickets can be purchased online at www.melbourne2006.com.au

LINGER AFTER THE GAMES FOR FUN ON THE TRACK

Melbourne continues to buzz after the Games with the 2006 FORMULA 1 Foster’s Australian Grand Prix. With hundreds of thousands of fans trackside over four days, the excitement and thrills that come with F1 action in Melbourne are endless! www.visitmelbourne.com/nz

BOP TO THE EUROBEAT

Eurobeat is a tongue-in-cheek tribute to the Eurovision Song Contest. Reviewer David Crofts from The Age says: “A riotous send up of the Eurovision Song Contest…The irony of Eurobeat is that many of its songs are far better than anything you would hear in the real Eurovision Song Contest”. 17 May - 25 June. www.showbiz.com.au

HIP NEW BARS

Since its restoration in late 2004, the historic and heritage-listed Melbourne General Post Office (GPO) in the Bourke Street Mall has become a fashion, food and shopping mecca. Its sophisticated image has been further enhanced with the opening of two major entertainment venues this month - the Lexington and The Music Room.

Grand in scale and rich in style, the Lexington is set to become the city’s new ‘hotspot’. Taking full advantage of the stunning heritage architecture of the GPO, Lexington’s grand archways, seven-metre high ceilings and huge period windows are beautifully highlighted by enormous custom-made Swarovski crystal chandeliers, draped private enclaves, art-deco furniture and a gigantic custom-designed fibreglass bar.

The Music Room is an inspired loft-style club located in a huge attic within the GPO. Complete with five lit pod bars, vast ceilings, intelligent lighting and sound and rich styling, the Music Room features a mix of the hottest international and local DJs as well as live acts. Another unique feature is the giant air balloon in the middle of the room.

SCULPTURE BY THE VINES

The Mornington Peninsula is a scenic resort region, rich in wineries, golf courses, restaurants and art galleries located an hour or so from Melbourne.

Lovers of art must visit Montalto where you can explore diverse sculptures from 31 different artists forming the 2006 Montalto Sculpture Prize & Exhibition. Montalto is a unique combination of wine, olives, gardens, natural wetlands and sculpture allowing you to build up your appetite exploring the sculptures and gardens and satisfy your taste buds at the award-winning restaurant.

HAVE THE LAST LAUGH

Melbourne is the funniest place on earth when the Melbourne International Comedy Festival hits town. Along with Montreal and Edinburgh, the Melbourne International Comedy Festival is one of the world’s three largest comedy festivals.

Featuring over 200 different shows and over 2,200 performances, the Comedy Festival offers laugh after laugh to an audience of 300,000 each year. The festival features a high profile line up of stand-up, cabaret theatre, visual art exhibitions, a comedy film festival and free performances along with many other events that will tickle your funny bone! 12 April- 7 May www.comedyfestival.com.au

SURF’S UP

Learn how to catch a wave in Point Lonsdale, by one of one of Victoria’s most recognised surfers, Mark Phipps. Mark recently started up his own Surf School only 1.5 hours from Melbourne.

A basic lesson runs for over two hours and takes place in the beautiful Marine National Park, where dolphins are regularly spotted during classes. Visit www.markphipps.com

FOOD & WINE AFICIONADOS

Whet your appetite and see top chefs in action at The Good Food and Wine Show, Australia’s largest consumer food and wine exhibition. Held at the Melbourne Exhibition Centre, the event showcases every aspect of cooking and entertaining, from food and wine to homewares and white goods and features some of the biggest name celebrity chefs from home and abroad.

Visitors can participate in cooking demonstrations and tasting sessions. 17 - 19 June www.goodfoodshow.com.au
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