$3 MILLION The purse for the Melbourne Cup, Australia's richest horse race, held each November.
Next Great Neighborhood: NewQuay
Located in the Docklands precinct west of the city center, NewQuay is a just-built boardwalk of shops, restaurants, and bars on the previously neglected waterfront. It's also home to a community of high-life apartment blocks, whose well-dressed residents slink out at all hours of the day to take the air. Melbournians may claim their river isn't much to look at, but anyone sitting and grazing in the Moroccan-inspired Mecca Bah (authentic tagines, meze plates, and Turkish pizzas; 61-3/9642-1300) or Live Bait (sublimely fresh seafood; 61-3/9642-1500) while looking out on the charmingly crumbling jetties might beg to differ. NewQuay is a subtly different take on Melbourne. Unlike the oh-so-urbane Elwood and St. Kilda neighborhoods to the east, which tend to favor a low-key vibe, here it's expected that you'll promenade, preferably in your newest designer purchases. And if you're really keen to be seen, arrive by water taxi.
Robert Buckingham FESTIVAL DIRECTOR, L'ORE´AL MELBOURNE FASHION FESTIVAL
Chic street: Flinders Lane. "This historic rag-trade strip now has a mix of contemporary galleries and fashion outlets."
Favorite local designer: Gwendolynne (Burkin). "Gwendolynne is one of a unique breed of Melbourne designers who share a love of quality, historical references, and modern interpretation."
Best way to spend a Sunday: Heide Museum of Modern Art (7 Templestowe Rd., Bulleen). "The gallery, which has extensive grounds, is set in the former home of 1940's and 50's avant-garde art collectors John and Sunday Reed: a superb 1960's house, kitchen garden, and gardens adjacent to the Yarra River floodplains."
Landmark: National Gallery of Victoria (180 St. Kilda Rd.; 61-3/8662-1555). "With its severe, fortress-like façade, the original National Gallery of Victoria on historic St. Kilda Road is one of the most important Australian buildings of the 20th century."
Weekend trip: "Mornington Peninsula, which includes the vineyards of Red Hill, the beaches of Cape Schank, and the seaside resorts of Flinders, Sorrento, and Portsea."
1906 The first-ever feature film, The Story of the Kelly Gang, was made in Melbourne.
Five Things You'll Need for a Trip to Melbourne
1. A full-day tram pass: As in San Francisco, trams in Melbourne are a much-loved part of their city (and a great way to get around). 2. An all-black wardrobe: Melbourne is a fashion-conscious city, and nothing pinpoints a tourist more than colorful clothes. 3. Working knowledge of Australian Rules football: This sport, bewildering to most Americans, is passionately embraced by every Melbournian. 4. Walking shoes and a driver's license: The inner-city area is built on such a perfect grid (99-foot-wide main streets and 33-foot-wide laneways, or side streets) that motorists and pedestrians alike can get where they're going without fear of road rage. Cruise majestic St. Kilda Road, the city's tree-and-money-lined main boulevard, or wander the side streets to compile your personal secret-address list. 5. An umbrella: Melbourne has the dubious distinction of being able to dish up four seasons in one day. But it's not Australia's rainiest city; Darwin holds that honor, closely followed by Sydney.
EMMA SLOLEY is the features editor at Harper's Bazaar Australia.