Travel Guide: Melbourne
The PokerStars.net Australia New Zealand Poker Tour returns to Melbourne for the fourth time next month, giving players from all over the world a reason to visit one of poker's most popular destinations. Melbourne's Crown Casino will play host to a dozen poker tournaments over the two-week festival, including a $5,000 Main Event starting on Aug. 30.
Last year, Lee "Final Table" Nelson bested 309 players to claim the top prize of $156,550 in the ANZPT Melbourne Main Event. Nelson defeated a tough field that included David Steicke, Celina Lin, Jackie Glazier, Jesse McKenzie, Brendon Rubie, Ben Delaney, Harry Demetriou, Billy Jordanou and Leo Boxell. Other former winners at Melbourne were Martin Kozlov (2010) and Chris Levick (2009).
If you're heading to Melbourne for the ANZPT, there are plenty of attractions to see outside of the Crown Casino. You'll definitely regret not taking in the sights and sounds, so read on to find out some of the city's popular attractions.
Melbourne is the capital of the state of Victoria and is Australia's second largest city. Located on the large natural bay known as Port Phillip, the center of the city of positioned directly off the Yarra River. The city has a moderate oceanic climate, but in August poker players can expect temperatures between 45°F and 60°F.
The currency in Australia is similar to the US dollar, but you'll want to check the current conversation rates before arriving. And if you're traveling from outside of Australia, be sure research whether your nation of citizenship needs a visa to enter the country.
Melbourne International Airport is a 20-minute drive -- without any traffic -- from the center of the city. The most cost-effective mode of transportation from the airport is the SkyBus, which will take you to Southern Cross Station just a few blocks away from Crown. If you'd prefer to be taken straight to your hotel, you can find a taxi for about AUD$60.
Getting around the city is easy thanks to most places being within walking distance from Crown's central location. If you're looking for a faster mode of transportation, there are trams and taxis available on almost every street corner.
When it comes to location and luxury, there is simply no better choice than to stay at Crown. The complex is home to three world-class hotels, Crown Towers, Crown Promenade Hotel and Crown Metropole.
Besides poker and other forms of gambling, there are many other attractions at Crown Casino, including shopping, clubs, bars, sports watching, a movie theatre, bowling alley and arcade, laser tag, and live shows.
If you're hungry, Crown Casino offers several great restaurants to dine. Whether you're in the mood for Asian, Mediterranean, seafood, or steak, Crown has more than 35 restaurants to choose from.
Out and About
While many tourists visit Melbourne in January for the Australian Open tennis tournament and Australia Day, plenty of visitors go to take in the spectacular combination of old and new architecture, elegant streetscapes, harmonious ethnic communities and extravagant parks and gardens.
The city boasts some of the best shopping, restaurants and nightlife in Australia, as well as a plethora of crowd-pleasing events, from the high-octane excitement of the Australian Grand Prix to the beautiful floral displays of the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show. If you like to discover hidden gems, then take a walk into city center and explore Melbourne's "laneway culture," where you will find tucked-away bars that open up into brilliant rooftop gardens.
When you venture outside of Melbourne, you'll want to explore surrounding regions such as Grampians National Park, The Great Ocean Road, and Phillip Island. All attractions are easily accessible, so be sure to take in as much as you can during your trip Down Under.
Good luck if you are playing the ANZPT Melbourne Main Event. Follow the PokerStars Blog for all the action!