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EVENT COUNTDOWN

ALBERT PARK

12-15 MARCH 2015

Get revved up as Formula One action returns to Melbourne in 2014 for the 2014 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix. You'll need to be firing on all cylinders to back up full days by the track with all the fun of Melbourne at its finest.

Long evenings are perfect for convivial drinks in outdoor bars, debating the fortunes of Daniel Ricciardo and commemorating Sebastian Vettel's attempt at the magic 10. Explore the neighbourhoods surrounding the Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit and find new favourite cafes, bars and pubs.

Melbourne's laneway life can be found close to the Formula 1® Paddock, allowing you to sample the dining scene and uncover hidden bars when a day of Grand Prix action comes to an end. Keep your racing earplugs handy and head to the city's lauded live music venues for a rocking racing soundtrack.

Visiting some of Melbourne and Victoria's most iconic sights takes in some seriously impressive driving. Tackle the twists and hairpin turns of the renowned Great Ocean Road, or take a few laps of your own on Phillip Island's Grand Prix circuit.

Make sure you set yourself up for an exhilarating Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix experience, pairing powerful racing with the following lists of Melbourne's best. And, go to visitvictoria.com for more information about Melbourne and Victoria.

Outdoor bars

Continue the Grand Prix party at the end of the day at some of Melbourne's hottest outdoor bars, all just a short distance from the track. Soak up the city's Indian summer atmosphere while enjoying a refreshing beverage on the banks of the Yarra River, or even out on the river itself. Savour an ale amid heritage bluestone buildings and up amongst the skyscrapers, or sip a fancy cocktail in the night air as you survey the cityscape. Here are five suggestions to keep the motor running until the big race ends.

Rooftop Bar

Take in jaw-dropping views of the CBD skyline at Rooftop Bar, set seven storeys atop the popular Curtain House. - View More

Village Melbourne

Relax with a late-afternoon beer in the sun and a meal with mates in a sprawling outdoor area surrounding heritage-listed bluestone buildings. - View More

Ponyfish Island

Clinging to a pylon beneath the pedestrian bridge over the Yarra River to Southbank, you'll find a pop-up oasis of beer, coffee and tasty toasties. - View More

Riverland

Walk down from Princes Bridge and join the merry throng along the banks of the Yarra River. Enjoy a beer, hit the BBQ and watch the boats go by. - View More

Transit

Located above Transport bar at Fed Square, Transit is all plush reds, wood panelling and leather lounges, with views of the city lights from the terrace. - View More

The Den

Located in the basement of The Atlantic Restaurant, The Den offers a charming and sultry vibe reminiscent of the Golden Era and New York bar culture. Alongside a sexy range of expertly crafted cocktails, it offers an expansive selection of hand-picked rare whiskies, vodkas and other spirits from the finest distillers around the world.

The Immersery

Anchored to the banks of the Yarra River in Queensbridge Square, you’ll experience a series of culinary delights created by top local chefs, inspired by the three states of water – liquid, solid and gas. - View More

Queen Victoria Markets

Satisfy your senses with music and street food from around the globe at the Queen Victoria Night Markets, set amidst the hustle and bustle of Melbourne’s CBD. - View More

Cafes

Plan your pitstop and get set for a day's trackside action at your pick of Melbourne's acclaimed cafes. The city's coffee really is as good as they say, and the best cafes take their food as seriously as the brews. Follow the aroma of espresso down South Melbourne laneways to indulge in lazy brunches or post-race snacks, or sample the bean scene in St Kilda. Head into the city where there's an array of options, all guaranteeing to turbo charge you for the rest of your F1 experience. Get some fuel in your tank at these five favourites.

St Ali

Anoint St Ali of South Melbourne your patron saint and savour in his name the carefully crafted espressos and the excellent breakfast and lunch. - View More

Dead Man Espresso

Hum your own wild west soundtrack, as things get no more dangerous in this lively South Melbourne cafe than chasing a pour-over with a flat white. - View More

Manchester Press

Get in line to praise Manchester Press, the huge lucent space softened with old timbers and quirky junkyard installations where coffee reigns supreme. - View More

Chez Dre

You're spoilt for choice at this South Melbourne patisserie-bakery-cafe. Nab a sunny courtyard table for lunch or brunch, but save room for dessert. - View More

Miss Jackson

Soak up the St Kilda sun with a caffeine hit in Miss Jackson's courtyard and indulge in the bayside suburb's tradition of a languorous all-day brunch. - View More

Mossgreen Tearooms

Step into ‘High Society’ at the Mossgreen Tearooms in Armadale, indulging in the signature High Tea, served upon the finest Wedgewood china. - View More

Optic Kitchen and Bar

Situated in Melbourne’s premier meeting spot, Optic Kitchen and Bar is the place to greet, meet and eat in Federation Square, offering delectable tasting boards to share. - View More

Restaurants

Scrutinise an intensive day's racing action with friends and fellow F1 fans over drinks and the kind of food that encourages lively chats. Weigh up the merits of returning champions Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton, Fernando Alonso and Kimi Räikkönen and assess the prospects of the latest Aussie contender as you choose between going Greek, being tempted by Thai, or a late-night Vietnamese feast. Alternatively, let the pizzas roll or tuck into an almighty burger, the very definition of high performance food. These five recommendations will set you in the right direction.

Gazi

Bunker down beneath the hanging clay pots and feast on George Calombaris' latest epicurean innovation – Hellenic "dirty food" from the Greek grill. - View More

Cookie

Sing loud your praise for Cookie, the Curtin House bar that mixes beer hall with hidden cocktail lounge and palazzo balconies plus terrific Thai food. - View More

Acland St Cantina

Swing by after the daily grind for gluten-free pizza and house red, followed by a shot of one of 20 varieties of tequila and some global beats. - View More

Saigon Sally

Come as late as you like to savour scrumptious Vietnamese faves sourced from the best local market produce, plus a pick from the inspired range of cocktails. - View More

Merrywell

Wrap your laughing gear around the contender for Melbourne's best burger at Crown's expansive gastro-pub, which also boasts an epic cocktail list. - View More

The Atlantic

The Atlantic Restaurant, boasts stunning views of the city skyline, unique architecture and the finest produce available from the land and sea. Executive Chef Donovan Cooke crafts new menus daily, based on the best available in the markets each morning, making the experience a must on any foodies Melbourne-bucket- list.

Champagne and Oyster Bar

The unique space draws its influence from New York’s Grand Central Station oyster bar and offers an unparalleled selection of oysters flown in daily from Australia’s premium growing regions as well as sashimi grade fish appetisers and an array of hot and cold seafood delicacies, soups and chowders.

Va Bene

Sitting on absolute waterfront in a stunning 100 year old heritage listed docking shed, va bene showcases a chic European aesthetic in a historically significant setting. Step inside and the bustling open kitchen and communal style seating creates a warm and welcoming ambience that is as rich and authentic as the fare.

Woolshed Pub

Like a great mate, you can turn to Woolshed Pub for any occasion. Big sports games? We have the biggest plasma screens in Melbourne. Planning a dinner? Our seasonal menus serve the best local produce with a gastronomic twist. From cheeky Wednesday night beers to extravagant wedding receptions – you will always enjoy top service, uninterrupted views of Victoria Harbour and a great crowd at Woolshed.

Persimmon

Nestled amongst the gardens of the National Gallery of Victoria, in the heart of Melbourne’s arts precinct, Persimmon Restaurant brings Modern Australian cuisine to life. - View More

Shopping

Even the most reluctant shoppers can get caught up in a spree in Melbourne's retail hotspots, with accessible options for lovers of sport, fashion, literature, music, art and design. Make sure you look the part at Albert Park by perusing the wares of the independent local designers and fashion's best-known names – these happily coexist for your convenience in Melbourne's retail hubs and department stores. Venture into the city centre's laneways and arcades and unearth rare books and records, and a good dose of racing memorabilia to boot. These five recommendations will make shopping a breeze.

Markets

Grab a snack and some local designs at South Melbourne's daytime market, then sample street food and good tunes at the Queen Vic Market's weekly night market. - View More

Record Stores

Visit an independent record store in Melbourne – find second hand bargains, obscure new releases and live in-store performances. - View More

Bookshops

Melbourne boasts more bookshops per head than anywhere else in Australia. Browse independent retailers stocked to the rafters with lovely literature. - View More

Retail hubs

Explore Melbourne's major department stores and shopping centres for the best choice of fashion, homewares, toys and electrical – all in one spot. - View More

Crown Entertainment Complex

Embark on the ultimate shopping spree, with a huge collection of the world's leading designers and local faves all found under one roof at Crown. - View More

Road trips

Watching the world's best drivers do their thing on the dazzling Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit is almost certain to give you an itchy driving foot. Luckily, Victoria has some seriously impressive drives for when the action ends. Jump at the chance of a few laps on the Phillip Island Grand Prix circuit or along the hair-raising turns of the unforgettable Great Ocean Road. If you're really raring to go, take a five-day round trip to some great Victorian spots, or set off on the stunning coastline to Sydney. Get your driving boots on for these five trips.

Yarra Valley wineries

Wind your way along the charming country roads between the Yarra Valley's best wineries to sip, sniff and savour fine wines and historic cellar doors. - View More

Great Ocean Road

Travel the Great Ocean Road and beyond for one of the world's most scenic coastal drives, and see the 12 Apostles, iconic surf breaks and waterfalls. - View More

Phillip Island

Travel just 90 minutes from Melbourne to see the famous Phillip Island Penguin Parade at dusk and take a few laps of the island's Grand Prix Circuit. - View More

Great Southern Touring Route

See the star attractions of the south on a five-day round-trip taking in the Great Ocean Road, the Grampians, the Goldfields and spa country. - View More

Melbourne to Sydney Coastal Tour

Get behind the wheel and absorb the striking coastline between Melbourne and Sydney. Detour to national parks, white sandy beaches and vast lakes. - View More

Arts and events

With all the action crammed into the stunning surrounds of Albert Park, it's hard to believe there can be much more happening in Melbourne. Beyond the Formula 1® Paddock, though, you'll find enough theatre, exhibitions, concerts and festivals to fill your post-race evenings. Pack your appetite to take advantage of scrumptious food and wine festival events, or catch a theatre performance or stage show. Wander through free galleries for a whirlwind glimpse at the local art scene, or get your dose of culture by taking a tour of Melbourne's striking public artworks. See our five picks to get you started.

Melbourne Food & Wine Festival

Raise a toast to regional producers and savour a meal and a glass of wine at delicious food festival events, including the World's Longest Lunch. - View More

Melbourne Now

Celebrate the diversity of Melbourne's vast creative community as the NGV presents its most ambitious program yet, featuring a host of interactive events. - View More

Public Art

Take in art from the City Circle tram, or walk through city streets, laneways and squares and along the Yarra River to see the city's public artworks. - View More

ACMI Screenworlds

Seize a console and revert to childhood with some classic videogames at ACMI's Screen Worlds, an exhibition that tells the story of film, TV and digital culture. - View More

Shadow Electric

See your cult favourite films and new releases in the historic surrounds of the Abbotsford Convent. Arrive early for a pre-movie drink or game of ping pong. - View More

Melbourne Museum

Explore the Victorian natural environment, culture and history at the Melbourne Museum, situated opposite the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens. - View More

NGV Gardens

Savour some locally crafted wine and beer, as well as produce from Melbourne’s infamous food trucks amongst the impressive sculptures in the Gallery’s Grollo Equiset Garden. - View More

Outdoor spaces

It's well known that Albert Park is one of the most picturesque Formula One circuits, and there are even more beautiful open spaces just a stone's throw from the track. Get some pre-race peace in the tranquil Royal Botanic Gardens, or sit on the banks of the Yarra River as swans and rowing crews glide by. Feel sand between your toes and get refreshed at South Melbourne and St Kilda beaches, or spend a while soaking up the atmosphere from Federation Square, also site of the 2014 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix ticket booth. Here's where to go for some wide open spaces.

Royal Botanic Gardens

Enter a place of continual discovery and delight, with city vistas, tranquil lakes and diverse plant collections, plus outdoor films and performances. - View More

Federation Square

In the tradition of the world's busiest public spaces, "Fed Square" buzzes with a daily program of events, restaurants and cafes and bold galleries. - View More

Birrarung Marr

Listen to the ringing of the eye-catching Federation Bells and browse the open-air collection of artworks to discover Melbourne's indigenous culture. - View More

St Kilda Beach

Enjoy a day by the seaside at St Kilda Beach, a buzzing hive of fitness activity and home to a weekly market, the iconic pier and heated Sea Baths. - View More

Pop Up Patch

Encounter an edible oasis right in the middle of the city at Little Veggie Patch Co's Pop Up Patch. You can even join a workshop for some gardening tips. - View More

Live music

Swap the roar of the turbo engines for the thrum of guitars and pounding bass as you switch from the Grand Prix track to Melbourne's famed live music venues. Melbourne is Australia's city of rock and the scene comes alive every night of the week in pubs, clubs, warehouses and basements. See a big-name band playing a low-key gig, catch an international stadium show, or just head to a club and try your luck with the late-night sounds. Put yourself in pole position at these five venues.

The Esplanade Hotel

AC to the DC with a dose of grit and guitars at the 100-year-old Espy, with its welcome rock, bands, tattoos, steak, beer, and stunning bayside views. - View More

Prince Bandroom

Walk past the famous chalk board sign out front and head upstairs to catch the hottest indie, rock, hip hop and soul acts when they come to town. - View More

Boney

Catch local heroes in the upstairs bandroom, munching on filling, tasty morsels from the Cookie crew to power you through the infamous 2am live slot. - View More

Ding Dong Lounge

From Mark Lanegan to Little Red, you'll find local and international rock, indie and electro acts at this late night Melbourne rock institution. - View More

Cherry Bar

This old soul of the Melbourne scene was founded by the drummer of the Cosmic Psychos in 2000 and was a launch-pad for local heroes Jet and Airbourne. - View More

Nearby neighbourhoods

In addition to the stunning parkland and lakeside track, Albert Park is exceptional due to its proximity to Melbourne's buzzing city centre and intriguing inner-city neighbourhoods. Devote a while to wander and discover the best breakfasts, beaches and bars, plus boutiques and some of the city's top restaurants. Each with a distinctive character, you'll find the neighbourhood to suit without travelling too far from all the 2014 Formula 1® Rolex Australian Grand Prix action. You'll be flying the chequered flag when you discover these five neighbourhoods.

St Kilda

Prepare to play in St Kilda, where you can kick up your heels by the seashore, by the stage at live music venues or on the whirligigs at Luna Park. - View More

South Melbourne

Stand still and watch as the heritage buildings in Melbourne's oldest suburbs are adapted to house chic boutiques and hip cafes and restaurants. - View More

Prahran and Windsor

Capture the independent spirit of Prahran and Windsor. Journey down Chapel Street, a treasure-trove of vintage finds, eclectic eateries and boutiques. - View More

Carlton

Eat 'til you're fit to burst in Carlton, Melbourne's Little Italy where Ferrari red is worn with fervour during the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix. - View More

Southbank

Follow the right signs in Melbourne and you'll find them all pointing south, to Southbank and South Wharf that is, Melbourne's buzzing waterside precincts. - View More

Remote Control Tourist

For five days last October the world got to explore Melbourne by controlling real tourists live online. Now you can put yourself in the Remote Control Tourists' helmets and revisit some of their most entertaining adventures in a selection of Melbourne's favourite locations. Check out these five memorable moments.

Ponyfish Island

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Helicopter ride

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St Kilda Beach

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DOC

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Bourke Street Mall

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