The Best Things To Do In Melbourne
As the capital city of Victoria, Melbourne has a little bit of everything which means you and the entire family will have no shortage of options when it comes to creating a travel itinerary. Whether you love sports, shopping, going to a concert or even soaking up some of that famous Australian sunshine on the beach, Melbourne has a thriving atmosphere that will suck you in from the moment you arrive.
Due to the sheer size and population of Melbourne, there’s something for all budgets. Want to dine in quaint little restaurants or do you prefer to enjoy world-class meals from renowned chefs? No matter what your budget or preference, Melbourne can accommodate it. The city also has reputation for being one of the prime shopping destinations in Australia — from local markets to art galleries and vintage shoppes, if you can think of it, chances are Melbourne has it. Head over to the Queen Victoria Markets, which is considered one of the largest open air marketplaces in the entire Southern Hemisphere! Also, be sure to check out Rose St. Artist’s Market and the South Melbourne Market for even more shopping possibilities.
One of the fun things about visiting Melbourne is that you don’t need to create an itinerary in order to have a great time. Just wandering around the various streets — such as Flinders Street or Degraves Street, will give you gorgeous views, shopping destinations and plenty cafes. If you’re lucky, keep an eye out for the street art — you never know when you’ll stumble upon a piece from the famous street artists, Banksy!
One way to see gorgeous Melbourne is by a rooftop bar. Sip an artisan cocktail while catching a sunset — there are many rooftop bars to enjoy during a stay in the city. Some of the best views from establishments like Madame Brussels, Rooftop Bar and Naked in the Sky. Sport fans will also have plenty to cheer for — Melbourne is one of the top cities in the world for sports! Check out the Australian Grand Prix or stop for a game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground between March and September.
HERE ARE OUR PICKS FOR THE BEST THINGS TO DO IN MELBOURNE…
Tour Melbourne in elegance and enjoy a great meal while you’re at it – there’s just no better way to see the city! Take yourself back to a quieter time in one of Melbourne’s authentic vintage trams, as you rumble quietly through the city streets and suburbs, enjoying the luxuries of fine dining. The Colonial Tramcar is a great way to spend the evening and this truly fun experience will not disappoint!
Eight of the original twelve Apostles still stand proud off the coast of western Victoria. They symbolise the age, and the endurance of Australia. Whilst four have fallen, the remaining eight stand in defiance of the might of the sea. In an area well known for shipwrecks, enjoy this region to its fullest by taking a cliff top walk, or dive to a wreck off the coast.
Puffing Billy Railway
“Toot -Toot” and “All Aboard” – Puffing Billy is the original and best railway trip in Melbourne. Just an hour east of Melbourne, it takes you back in time as you meander 24 kilometres through beautiful Victorian countryside, over historic bridges and through vast mountainous ranges. From Belgrave to Gembrook, this is a two-hour, one-way journey through the picturesque Dandenong Ranges, which shouldn’t be missed!
The Royal Arcade brings the wealth of Melbourne’s rich history back to life, through its magnificent architecture of metal work and glass ceilings, while showcasing the modern Melbourne that people have come to enjoy. The architecture is beautiful, and the shops indulgent. If you want a break from the hustle and bustle of Burke Street, retreat to The Royal Arcade. But be warned, the cake shops are tempting, and the coffee is divine!
The Yarra River has always played a key role in the development of Melbourne. Historically, it provided an essential water supply and transport route from Port Phillip Bay, upstream. As the city grew, the role of this river changed. Its focus is now on leisure, so take a bike ride, watch the rowers, or stroll along the paths that border it, enjoying the natural scenery of its surrounds.
Parliament House of Victoria
The Parliament House of Victoria is an imposing building, with the indulgent architecture that highlights the legacy of Victoria’s rich gold rush era. You can take a 90-minute tour when parliament is not sitting, or if the house is sitting, you can watch the debates rage from the public galleries. If you’re passing through, it’s an interesting option for a meal break, with coffee and lights meals available.
Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm
When you visit the Mornington Peninsula, experience what it’s like to work on a farm, picking strawberries on the Sunny Ridge Strawberry Farm! A 75-minute drive from Melbourne, between November an April (the picking season), for a small fee you can pick your own strawberries and indulge in a wide range of desserts. Combine this visit with a trip to a local winery – strawberries and sparkling wine – what more could you want!
Ashcombe Maze & Lavender Garden
When you visit Mornington Peninsula, the Ashcombe Maze & Lavender Garden is a unique opportunity to have fun, admire the design of Australia’s oldest hedge maze, and let the kids loose to join in the “Great Ashcombe Gnome Hunt”! Located in Shoreham, the maze is only a 75-minute drive from Melbourne; give it a go – see who can find their way through the fastest, winning bragging rights over a meal at the mud brick café.
Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)
Melbourne loves its sport and the MCG is the heart and soul of that love! The spiritual home of “Aussie Rules Football” and Cricket (don’t miss the “Boxing day Test” at Christmas time if you’re in Melbourne), you can tour the Ground to see the changing rooms, the museums, the history and the turf. For anyone who loves history or sport, this is a must!
In central Melbourne, this aquarium is “Nemo meets the Penguins”. Combining an array of sea creatures with a focus on the species of the Southern Ocean, you can see behind the scenes in a glass bottom boat, dive with the sharks, or get up close with the penguins. You can also combine the aquarium with a visit to LEGOLAND!
A trip to Australia must include visiting the animals, and Healesville Sanctuary is a great way to spend the day meeting a wide range of them. Koalas, kangaroos, wombats and birdlife, as well as dingos, are just part of the menagerie of life you can meet in its natural bushland. There are regular shows all day, so you can learn more about these unique animals.
Eureka Skydeck 88
Reach for the sky! The thrills start with the fastest trip in the southern hemisphere up 88 floors to the look-out, 285 metres above the ground. Of course, the views are spectacular – from the sea, to the magnificent Mt Dandenong. Try the “The Edge” – you’re suspended in a glass cube, with see-through ceiling, walls and floor! Having seen the sights from so high, grab a snack while you plan your next visit.
Loch Ard Gorge
As you travel along the famous Great Ocean Road, don’t miss Loch Ard Gorge, the site of a terrible maritime tragedy in 1878 when 52 people lost their lives. On a fine day, you will wonder how it happened, as you take the stairs down to this quiet and picturesque Gorge for a picnic. On a stormy day, you wonder how two teenagers survived that wreck and climbed the cliffs to safety!
Farming was tough for the early European settlers, but it formed the foundation of today’s great agricultural sector. Churchill Island showcases pioneer farming, with a working heritage farm for you to experience up close. A great way to spend the day, learning about and enjoying Australian farming history on a charming island just off Phillip Island. Cow milking and sheep shearing are on display, and you can also enjoy a walk through the farm and gardens.
Australia’s oldest zoo is easily accessed by public transport and provides a day of awe and adventure. Famous for its Butterfly House, the zoo houses animals from around the world in a picturesque parkland, and of course has a wide variety of Australia’s native animals too. There are also free talks scheduled throughout the day so that you can gain an in depth knowledge of many of the animals that live at the zoo.
Melbourne is renowned for its culture and theatre productions, and arguably the most elegant venue is the Regent Theatre. Try to see a show, you’re sure to be impressed by the golden ornate furnishings and the use of rich velvet drapes. The Regent was built just before the Great Depression, and has experienced both fires and floods, always being redeveloped to an even greater splendour.
For most visitors to Victoria, Phillip Island means one thing – penguins! People have been coming here for decades to watch the little penguins return from their day at sea as dusk falls over Summerland Beach during what is known as the Penguin Parade.
The Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road begins 100 kilometres from Melbourne and continues along the beautiful coastline of Victoria; views of the coast are superb and the surfing is heaven! The towns and villages offer picturesque stops along the way, with terrific dining, or head to the national parks to enjoy the rainforests and wildlife.
Just an hour drive from Melbourne, the Mornington Peninsula is full of nature’s bounty. With vineyards, national parks and many quaint villages, you can choose from luxury spas and clifftop walks, through to quirky markets filled with arts and crafts – and that’s just the start! There is just so much to do here!
The Dandenong Ranges are a group of mountains located around 35 kilometres east of Melbourne. Filled with beautiful national parks, you can walk or cycle the trails and visit the many small villages scattered along the way. If you’re not much hiker, take in the scenery on the historic “Puffing Billy” train instead!
Grampians National Park
Grampians National Park is one of Australia’s most spectacular natural tourist attractions. Admire the natural beauty of the mountain ranges and forests, while being fascinated by ancient indigenous rock art at the same time. There are more than 160 kilometres of trails on offer, so get started today!
9 kilometres from Melbourne sits the small village of Williamstown; a must see for history lovers and anyone wanting to experience the natural beauty of the region. Based at the mouth of the Yarra River, you can visit the convict constructions and crafts stores, or explore the boardwalks, wetlands, and surrounding beaches.
Rolling hills, manicured vineyards, tranquil towns and a renowned gourmet trail – welcome to the Yarra Valley! This scenic slice of rural Victoria is an easy drive from central Melbourne, and a popular spot for hot-air balloon rides, winery lunches and scenic Sunday drives.
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