Melbourne is located in the south-eastern part of mainland Australia, and is the capital of the state of Victoria. It is situated on the large natural bay known as Port Phillip, with the city centre located at the estuary of the Yarra River at the northern-most point of the bay. Today, it is a centre for the arts, commerce, education, entertainment, sport and tourism, and is the birthplace of cultural institutions such as Australian film and television, Australian rules football, the Australian impressionist art movement, known as the Heidelberg School, and Australian dance styles, such as New Vogue and the Melbourne Shuffle. It is often referred to as the "cultural capital of Australia".
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. Melbourne’s city centre also contains many significant historic buildings, such as the Royal Exhibition Building, the Melbourne Town Hall and Parliament House. The city is often referred to as Australia's garden city, as there is an abundance of parks and gardens, many close to the city centre, with a variety of common and rare plant species amid landscaped vistas, pedestrian pathways and tree-lined avenues.
The city celebrates a wide variety of annual cultural events and festivals of all types, including the Melbourne International Film Festival, Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the Melbourne Fringe Festival. Melbourne's largest film and television studio, Docklands Studios Melbourne, has hosted many international features, such as Ghost Rider, Knowing and Charlotte's Web, among others. Each summer, there is a Summer School in Film Making taught by Australia's leading filmmakers.
Getting around Melbourne
Melbourne has a very high dependency on cars, particularly in the outer suburban areas. Among the main highways feeding into the city are the Monash Freeway and the Hume Freeway, which links Melbourne and Sydney. The city has an excellent public transport system based mostly around trams and buses. The city has rail connections with regional Victorian cities, as well as direct interstate rail services to Sydney, Adelaide and other cities, which depart from Southern Cross Station in Spencer Street.
Melbourne has the largest tram network in the world and the trams are recognised as iconic cultural assets and a tourist attraction. Heritage trams operate on the free City Circle route and heritage restaurant trams can be found in the evening. Station Pier on Port Phillip Bay is the terminal for Spirit of Tasmania ferries, which cross the Bass Strait to Tasmania. The city has four airports, with Melbourne Airport at Tullamarine being the main international hub. Buses and taxis are the only forms of public transport to and from the airports.