Melbourne, Australia

Without a doubt, the hottest months of Melbourne’s year (‘scorching’ average of around 27°C), January and February are best based around the city’s coastal areas. Minus the foul humidity and too-hot-to-be-outdoors temperatures of our northern compatriots, a Melbourne summer is really a very pleasant experience.

Williamstown is only about 10 minutes west of the city by car or train, but I’d say take the ferry (either from Southgate in the city or St Kilda pier on weekends). You could also ride a bike, if you so desire – good path, though the whole West Gate Bridge thing is a bit of a doozie.

Port Melbourne doesn’t offer much more than a good beach and some nicely located pubs, but isn’t that what summer is all about anyway? There’s plenty to do along the beach front, or head for air-conditioned comfort of the Bay St boulevard.

The Beaconsfield Parade strip (encompassing Albert Park and Middle Park) offers us the ever-entertaining Kerferd Rd Pier – great place to step down from the saddle for a while and watch the rest of the world carry on. Or if the sand and surf just ain’t your thing, head for Albert Park Lake where you can enjoy a peaceful paddle over it or a subliminal stroll around it.

To be honest, St Kilda’s beach is really rather crap, but the superbness of the rest of the suburb more than makes up for it. January’s St Kilda Festival, Luna Park, Acland St, Fitzroy St, lawn bowls, the bike path promenade, live music, endless selections of lattés and/or lagers…that’s gotta get the message through – just go.

Often considered St Kilda’s poor second cousin, Elwood is actually very funky and much better suited to water lovers than the sunbake-to-be-seen crowd all too common in it’s neighboring town. The Ormond Rd/Glenhuntly Rd district will meet most of your wining and dining needs any time of the day, and will do it without the hustle and bustle (or that elusive and generally much sort out ‘vibe’) found about 2km to the northeast.

Now, all that said, this is Melbourne we’re talking about and if you don’t already know you’ll quickly figure out where the old ‘four seasons in one-day’ adage came from. Luckily, the local folk is on to this and there are plenty of indoor attractions to keep you off the streets in the cold and, dare I say wet, whether you are almost guaranteed.

Finally, Melbourne is (or at least should be) renowned for it’s everlasting array of festivals, exhibitions and markets. For an exhaustive, and really rather exhausting, the outline of what’s on when, whitehat’s calendar of events is not too shabby.