24th November 2006 at 00:00
Regan Ruddell teaches grade 6 at Eltham Primary in the north eastern suburbs of Melbourne. Here she gives the inside track on the city Favourite place when you have a day off?

Shopping and catching up with friends in Chapel Street or Brunswick Street, two of the high streets in Melbourne's inner-city. Each is about a 10-minute tram ride from the city centre, and both are good for fashion, cafes, restaurants, bars and nightclubs.

A week off?

In the term holidays (two weeks off) I head down the Great Ocean Road. It stretches out for hours along the south-east coast of Victoria. You can hire a car and drive along, stopping and staying as the mood takes you.

Apollo Bay is my favourite stop. The whole coast is great for surfing and swimming. I don't surf but I'm a keen swimmer.

When is a good time to come?

Any time is good. Obviously the weather is better from September to March but it can get HOT. Melbourne is renowned for its "four seasons in one day"

- the weather can sometimes be unpredictable.

Primary schools close for around five weeks over the summer period (Christmas time), so that is a great opportunity to travel and get to know Australia.

Lunchtime treats?

Melbourne is all about the food. There are all kinds of different cafes and restaurants where you can grab a quick bite to eat or spend hours sitting around with your friends enjoying the fantastic food, wine and company.

The restaurants in Lygon Street in Carlton are great for Italian fare.

Victoria Street in Richmond, also an easy tram ride from the city centre, is where you'll find Vietnamese food. My favourite restaurant there is Saigon Rose - it's really well-priced but beautiful food.

Evening delights?

If you are looking to party any night of the week, Melbourne is the place to be. The city of Melbourne and the surrounding suburbs are filled with trendy bars, pubs and clubs. There is something there to cater to every taste.

Visitors beware

Public transport in the suburbs is not that great for getting around and nowhere near as efficient or handy as the tube in London

Find out more

www.visitmelbourne.comuk How to get there

Austravel (0870 166 2070, has return flights from London Heathrow to Melbourne with China Eastern from pound;879pp for departures between December 7 and January 2. It can also offer Melbourne accommodation at the Alto on Bourke from pound;27pp per night, based on two sharing and subject to availability. You can save money long-haul by flying on Christmas Day. Austravel has return flights from London Heathrow to Melbourne with Cathay Pacific from pound;845pp (departures between December 24 and 31).

Climate cost

Offset the climate cost of a return flight to Melbourne for pound;41.76 per adult (

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