Whisper it when you're near Sydneysiders, but multicultural Melbourne is often seen as the coolest metropolis in Australia.
Defining a term as nebulous as 'cool', isn't easy of course, but used in reference to a city it usually means it's well regarded in the spheres of art, music, fashion, culture and nightlife, and this is certainly the case with Australia's second biggest city. Melbourne is widely perceived to have the edge over Sydney in these areas, making it a bigger draw for a younger demographic.
Dubbed ‘the world’s most liveable city’, Melbourne has topped the Economist's liveability index for the fifth year in a row scoring an impressive 97.5 out of 100.
The index assesses cities according to stability, healthcare, culture, environment, education and infrastructure.
The city is also the fastest growing city in Australia according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). Between 2012 and 2013 the population saw a growth of 95,500 people (over 1,800 per week) and its current 4.4 million population is set to increase to 8 million by the year 2053.
It's easy to see the influence of substantial immigration from both Europe and Asia in Melbourne's cuisine, entertainment and in the arts.
The influence of different cultures on the city has contributed significantly to the cities unique and diverse identity with its different precincts like ‘Little Italy’ and ‘China town’.
Melbourne has a multicultural history and represents approximately 140 different cultures from the arrival of the Chinese in the 1850s to the Italians in the 1920-50s according to City of Melbourne.
Melbourne is also said to have ‘the largest Greek speaking population outside of Europe’ and today the ‘Vietnamese surname, Nguyen, is the second-most listed after Smith in the Melbourne phonebook’.
Entertainment and culture
Melbourne hosts an abundance of cultural events, notably the Melbourne International Arts Festival, Melbourne International Film Festival, Melbourne International Comedy Festival and the Melbourne Fringe Festival.
The city is also well catered for in terms of art, theatre, opera and ballet. Melbourne boasts Australia's oldest and largest gallery, the National Gallery of Victoria and more than 100 galleries in total.
The city also has a number of notable theatres, such as the Victorian Arts Centre (which hosts Opera Australia for four months of the year), the Melbourne Recital Centre and the Sidney Myer Music Bowl. And it is home to the Australian Ballet, the foremost ballet company in the country, and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.
The richness of Melbourne's cultural life extends well beyond the sphere of high culture. The distinctive work of its street artists, for example, bears comparison with their vaunted counterparts in New York and Berlin.
The home of the Australian Open (tennis), Melbourne Cup (horse racing) and Australian Grand Prix more than holds its own in the sporting sphere. Last year the city was awarded the accolade ‘Ultimate Sport's City' for the second time by SportsBusiness, confirming what many Melburnians already knew.
Melbourne is cricket-mad and the standard bearer for Australian Rules football. The Melbourne cricket ground is the world's largest cricket ground in the southern hemisphere while the Docklands Stadium is the national stadium of 'Aussie rules'.
Melburnian architecture, a blend of modern and classic styles, is widely admired. Representing modernity, for example, you have the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, which has been likened to a Sandcrawler vehicle from Star Wars, or the lattice-like Webb Bridge in the Docklands area, which is particularly striking at night. Both structures have scooped architectural awards.
Meanwhile, the beautiful Royal Exhibition Building, Melbourne Town Hall and Parliament House have been standing in the one-time nation's capital since the 19th century. And Melbourne is known for its network of historic lanes and arcades, hiding a diverse range of eateries, bars and boutiques.
Dubbed Australia's 'garden city' and Victoria its 'garden state', Melbourne also boasts an abundance of well-manicured parks and gardens. However, it also boasts the world's largest tram network and four airports.
The property market remained strong even when the 2007-2010 financial crisis curtailed house-price inflation elsewhere in the Western World.
It may be the world’s most liveable city but it is also the sixth most expensive city in the world, one below the NSW capital Sydney in fifth place.
As of September 2015 the residential property prices in Melbourne have ‘smashed yet another record’ according to the real estate Institute of Victoria (REIV) increasing to a median price of $729,500 in the three months to September and standing as the highest ever figure.
Up from $698, 00, it shows a 4.5 per cent quarterly increase and an annual change of 8.2 per cent indicating an upward trajectory and an increasingly high level of buyer confidence.
With house prices and rents rising rapidly, it's no wonder then that Melburnians are increasingly moving further out from the city centre.
Melbourne is also home to Australia's largest and busiest seaport, annually the Port of Melbourne has over 3,050 commercial ship visits a year and handles almost 7,000 containers a day in turn making up generating massive $72.8 million in profit.
Heavy investment in conference facilities has also helped the city become a major destination for exhibitions and events.
The Southbank precinct is home to a large number of office buildings, while several multi-billion dollar developments have made the waterfront Docklands area a much coveted location for Melbourne's major industries.
Can you see why its one of the best places to do business in Australia?