How Big is Melbourne?

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Melbourne, the coastal capital of Victoria in southeastern Australia, is known for its unique mix of modern architecture and Victorian-era edifices, expansive parks and gardens, vibrant art scene, and multicultural communities.

As Australia’s second-largest city, you may be wondering, “How big is Melbourne?”.

As we venture into this comprehensive guide, we’ll unravel the city’s dimensions not just in terms of square kilometres, but through the rich tapestry of its culture, diversity, population, and attractions.

How Big is Melbourne?

When contemplating the query “How Big is Melbourne?”, it’s vital to assess not only the city’s physical size but also the diversity and range of its cultural and demographic constituents.

The map of Melbourne showing how big it is.

Melbourne covers an approximate area of 9,992 square kilometres, a colossal size indeed.

But beyond these figures, the city’s magnitude is truly defined by its vibrant culture, diverse population, and the breadth of experiences it offers.

Geographic Size of Melbourne

Melbourne is the second-largest city in Australia, spreading into the Mornington Peninsula, West Gippsland, and the hinterlands towards the Yarra Valley.

The metropolis occupies much of Port Phillip Bay’s northern and eastern coastlines.

It’s also part of the Dandenong and Macedon Ranges.

The Hoddle Grid is a plan for its urban layout created in 1837. Its central business district is spread across a wide area with freeways connecting it all.

Population of Melbourne

The population of Melbourne is estimated at 5,235,407 as of 2023 and it has a population density of 503.9 per square km.

It’s the second-largest city in Australia and a leading financial centre in the Asia-Pacific region.

It’s also home to many multinational corporations and has been ranked 31st globally in the Global Financial Centres Index (2022).

With an extensive freeway system and public transportation system, Melbourne has a well-developed infrastructure.

Melbourne Climate

Melbourne often labelled the “city of four seasons in a day,” has a climate as unique as its character.

From surprising shifts in temperature to variable rainfall and clear blue skies, Melbourne’s weather is an integral part of the city’s appeal.

This characteristic unpredictability is charming to some, puzzling to others, but undeniably a signature of Melbourne’s unique identity.

Summer: Sun-Soaked Days and Warm Nights

Melbourne’s summer spans December to February, with temperatures often rising above 30°C.

During peak hours, temperatures can soar past 40°C, so stay hydrated and seek shade.

Despite these heatwaves, Melbourne’s summers are generally quite comfortable, thanks to the coastal breezes that help to cool the city down.

Autumn: A Symphony of Colors

From March to May, Melbourne transitions into autumn.

This period is characterized by milder temperatures, ranging between 10-20°C.

Autumn in Melbourne paints a picture-perfect scene as the city’s parks and gardens burst into a riot of reds, oranges, and yellows.

It’s the ideal time for leisurely walks and picnics under the vibrant foliage.

Winter: Cold Snap and Rainfall

Winter settles in Melbourne from June to August.

The city experiences colder temperatures, typically between 6-14°C. Rainfall is more common in these months, interspersed with periods of clear, blue skies.

Winter days can sometimes be quite crisp and chilly, especially at night.

Spring: A Season of Rebirth

September ushers in the spring, lasting until November.

Spring in Melbourne is a time of rejuvenation, with temperatures rising gradually from 10°C to 20°C.

This season is marked by the blossoming of flowers across the city’s parks, giving Melbourne a fresh, vibrant look.

Historic Growth of Melbourne

Aboriginal Victorians have lived in the area for over 40,000 years, and it was established as a British settlement by Colonel David Collins in 1803.

Since then, Melbourne has experienced periods of tremendous growth and development.

During the Victorian gold rush of the 1850s, thousands flocked to the city to seek their fortunes.

Later, when Australia federated in 1901, Melbourne became the interim seat of government.

Today, it is one of Australia’s most important financial centres in the Asia-Pacific region.

Each year, it hosts major events like the Australian Grand Prix and Australian Open tennis tournament as well as live music and theatre performances.

Melbourne is a vibrant and diverse city that celebrates its rich cultural heritage while embracing progress at every turn.

Suburbs and Local Government Areas

Melbourne is divided into 31 local government areas covering Melbourne’s metropolitan and 321 suburbs, each with its unique characteristics.

The local government areas spread out from the central city and include suburbs like St Kilda, Richmond, Footscray, Essendon, and Brunswick.

Each area has its own identity and culture that contribute to Melbourne’s diversity.

For those seeking some peace away from the hustle and bustle of the city, there are many smaller towns outside the metropolitan area.

Facts About Melbourne

As we continue our exploration of Melbourne, let’s dive into some intriguing facts that paint a vivid picture of this dynamic city.

Melbourne: A City of Many Titles

Melbourne boasts several impressive titles.

It’s known as the “Cultural Capital of Australia” due to its vibrant arts scene, festivals, and cultural institutions.

Melbourne was also titled the “World’s Most Liveable City” by The Economist for seven consecutive years (2011-2017), attesting to its high quality of life.

World’s Coffee Capital

Coffee is more than just a beverage in Melbourne – it’s a cultural phenomenon.

Melbournians take their coffee seriously, and the city is often referred to as the “Coffee Capital of the World.”

Melbourne’s coffee culture, characterized by countless cafes, coffee festivals, and a preference for locally roasted beans, makes it a paradise for coffee lovers.

Multicultural Melbourne: A Global Melting Pot

Melbourne is one of the world’s most multicultural cities, with residents from over 200 countries, who speak more than 230 languages and dialects.

This cultural diversity is reflected in the city’s food scene, festivals, and neighbourhoods.

Australia’s Sports Capital

Melbourne is often considered Australia’s sports capital.

The city hosts several significant sporting events, including the Australian Open (tennis), the Melbourne Cup (horse racing), and Australian Grand Prix (Formula 1).

It’s also the birthplace of Australian rules football, with the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) being one of the world’s largest stadiums.

Pioneer of the World’s Film Industry

Another lesser-known fact is that Melbourne played a crucial role in the birth of the film industry.

The world’s first feature film, “The Story of the Kelly Gang,” was made in Melbourne in 1906, cementing its place in film history.

Home to Australia’s Oldest Public Library

The front view of the state Library of Victoria

Melbourne is home to the State Library of Victoria, Australia’s oldest public library.

Founded in 1854, this grand structure houses an impressive collection of over 2 million books and 16,000 serials.

A City Under the City

Beneath Melbourne’s streets lies a network of hidden laneways, an integral part of the city’s charm.

These narrow streets, filled with cafes, boutiques, street art, and bars, give Melbourne its distinctive character.

Green Melbourne: A City of Parks and Gardens

Melbourne is often referred to as the “Garden City” due to its numerous parks and gardens.

A lake inside the Royal Botanic Gardens

The Royal Botanic Gardens, Fitzroy Gardens, and Carlton Gardens are just a few examples of the city’s green spaces, offering residents and visitors alike a refreshing retreat from the urban hustle.

Melbourne’s Transportation System

You can quickly get around Melbourne with its extensive road and rail networks. The city’s public transportation system is modern, efficient, and reliable.

I have visited Melbourne a couple of times and I can say that it’s really easy to access trains, trams, and buses around town or out into West Gippsland or Yarra Valley regions.

Melbourne’s tram network is the largest in the world, featuring over 500 km of track, and it connects many of the city’s suburbs.

The Flinders Street Station

Flinders Street Station serves as a major hub for trains that link to other parts of Victoria and Australia.

There are also frequent bus services throughout the metropolitan area.

Driving around Melbourne is easy with its well-maintained freeways, which provide access to suburban destinations and beyond.

Melbourne Map

Let’s take a closer look at the Melbourne map, and explore its unique geography, districts, and important landmarks.

The Central Business District (CBD)

The heart of Melbourne is its Central Business District (CBD).

The CBD follows a grid layout, making it relatively easy to navigate.

Among its famous landmarks are Flinders Street Station, Federation Square, and the State Library of Victoria.

The CBD is also where you’ll find the iconic laneways – narrow streets filled with cafes, boutiques, and vibrant street art. Bourke Street Mall, a pedestrian-only shopping street, is a key retail destination in the CBD.

The Suburbs

Surrounding the CBD, you’ll find Melbourne’s diverse suburbs.

To the east, affluent suburbs like Hawthorn and Toorak offer leafy streets and grand residences.

North Melbourne is home to bohemian, multicultural suburbs such as Fitzroy and Brunswick, known for their alternative shopping scenes and dynamic food cultures.

To the west, suburbs like Footscray and Sunshine showcase Melbourne’s multicultural fabric with a vibrant mix of cultures, cuisines, and communities.

In the south, you’ll find St Kilda and Brighton, renowned for their beaches, and South Yarra, known for its fashion, dining, and entertainment scene.

Melbourne’s Green Spaces

Melbourne’s map is generously dotted with green spaces.

The Royal Botanic Gardens, one of the world’s finest examples of Victorian-era landscaping, is just south of the CBD.

Other significant green spaces include Albert Park, Carlton Gardens, and Fitzroy Gardens.

The Yarra River and Port Phillip Bay

The Yarra River is a key geographic feature on any Melbourne map.

A number of landmarks are located along its banks, including the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), and the arts district.

To the south of Melbourne lies Port Phillip Bay, a large enclosed bay where you’ll find several popular beaches and the city of Geelong.

Greater Melbourne

Greater Melbourne extends far beyond the CBD and immediate suburbs, reaching into the Dandenong Ranges in the east, Werribee in the west, and Mornington Peninsula in the south.

This wider view of the Melbourne map showcases a diverse landscape, from vineyards and forests to coastal villages and wildlife reserves.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is Melbourne bigger than London?

Yes, Melbourne is geographically larger than London.

Melbourne, Australia, covers an area of about 9,992 square kilometres, while London, United Kingdom, spans an area of approximately 1,572 square kilometres.

How big is Melbourne compared to other cities?

Melbourne, with an area of around 9,992 square kilometres, is one of the largest cities in the world by land area.

For comparison, it is larger than New York City, which covers an area of about 783 square kilometres, and London, which spans an area of approximately 1,572 square kilometres.

It’s smaller than Beijing, with 16,410.54 square kilometres, and Tokyo, with 13,500 square kilometres, the world’s largest metropolitan area.

What are the 5 largest cities in Australia?

The five largest cities in Australia by geographical area are:

Mount Isa, Queensland
Kalgoorlie-Boulder, Western Australia:
Brisbane, Queensland
Perth, Western Australia
Adelaide, South Australia

Will Melbourne ever be bigger than Sydney?

When it comes to population size, Melbourne has been forecasted to potentially surpass Sydney.

The Australian Bureau of Statistics showed that Melbourne’s population was growing at a faster rate than Sydney’s.

In terms of land area, Melbourne is already larger than Sydney.

As a whole, Melbourne covered approximately 9,992 square kilometres, while Sydney covered approximately 12,367.7 square kilometres.

Conclusion: How Big is Melbourne?

In conclusion, Melbourne’s size is more than just a measure of its physical expanse.

Its vast cultural scene, diverse population, robust economy, historical depth, and potential for future growth all contribute to its size.

So, “How Big is Melbourne?” The answer lies in the richness and diversity of experiences this fantastic city has to offer.

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