"The Victorian Metropolitan"
Second, only to Sydney in terms of population, Melbourne is a vibrant city in southern Australia, considered to be the cultural capital of the country. Considered to be one the best cities in the world to live in, it has long vied with Sydney to be Australia's picture postcard destination. Melbourne, like Sydney, is a melting pot of cultures and is famous for hosting major art and music festivals, and sporting events and is home to some of the country's best fine dining institutions. The city also offers a unique insight into the history and culture of the Aboriginal community, the original inhabitants of the vast island nation.
Touring Melbourne on foot is a great way to feel the dynamic city streets beneath one's feet and soak in the vibe of this great city. With alleyways filled with street art, crowded streets of trendy cafes and street musicians and local markets with the freshest produce, there is always something to discover on the next corner. Melbourne City Centre is a bustling and historic neighbourhood of the city, known for its shopping and chic eateries. Queen Victoria Market which is one of the largest open-air markets is highly recommended as well.
Melbourne also houses an array of museums, wildlife parks and an aquarium, not to mention the absolutely breathtaking and serene Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges. Besides this, the nightlife in the city is fantastic with trendy rooftop bars and lavish nightclubs hosting large crowds of tourists and locals alike.
Must Know Before You Visit Melbourne
1. Melbourne is a very touristy city and it is recommended to book accomodations well in advance before your visit as the best options can be booked out quick.
2. For most tourists, using the public transport system is a great way to save money. Getting the myki or myli explorer saves a lot of money on using the public transport options.
3. While Melbourne has distinct seasons, it can experience chilly windy days and bright sun on the same day. Be sure to pack appropriately with this in mind.
4. When visiting the local attractions, travellers in larger groups can apply for the Melbourne City Card of Iventure Card to save money for the ticket prices.
Things To Do In Melbourne
1. Queen Victoria Market
Queen Victoria Market, carrying its 140+ years of legacy, is situated in Melbourne. It serves as a one-stop destination for fresh veggies, clothes, snacks, beverages, souvenirs, hand-made products, imported finds, and awakening coffee to taste! Stretching across two city blocks, the market is home to 600 small businesses and is a significant landmark of the central business district of Melbourne, serving as a retail and wholesale hub since the late 1860s.
2. National Gallery of Victoria
The National Gallery of Victoria, or NGV, is located in Melbourne, Australia. Founded in 1861, it is the oldest museum in the country and archives an abundance of heritage showcased through its magnificent collection of over 70,000 exemplary art compositions! The collection bears witness to the various ideas, styles, and disciplines of art across centuries and cultures in the country.
3. Shrine of Remembrance
The Shrine of Remembrance is the national War memorial of Victoria and a landmark of Melbourne. Originally dedicated to the brave contributions of the servicemen of Victoria in World War I, it is currently a tribute to all the brave Australians who served in war for the country, and is among Australia’s largest war memorials.
4. Melbourne Cricket Ground
Built in the mid 19th century, the Melbourne Cricket Ground, or simply the MCG, is the Australian Cricket Team's primary and largest home stadium.
5. Eureka Tower
The Eureka Tower stands at a staggering height of almost 300 metres tall. It is extremely popular among the people for it's viewpoint, the Skydeck 88.
6. Royal Botanic Gardens
Royal Botanic Garden in Melbourne is home to over 50,000 plants like camellias, rainforest flora, succulents, cacti, Californian species, herbs, plants from Southern China, and many more species. Catch sight of the Guilfoyle’s Volcano and Melbourne Observatory. Visit the Terrace or Jardin Tan cafe to relish delicacies and the Gardens shop to pick botanical souvenirs. Lakes and natural wildlife complete the natural aesthetic of the garden.
7. Melbourne Zoo
Within the Royal National Park in Parkville is situated the Melbourne Zoo or the Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens. Home to over 320 species of wildlife, visitors can spot Tigers wandering, Monkeys swinging, Orangutans, the Trail of Elephants, Wombats, Asian pachyderms, African Zebras, and Savanna Giraffes. One can also witness marine life creatures like Penguins and fur seals and also closely interact with Australian Koalas and Kangaroos in their natural habitat.
8. Yarra Valley
A 1.5-hour drive from Melbourne, the Yarra Valley offers more than a scenic view. Immerse yourself in the indigenous restaurants and wine tasting from over 70 wineries, waterfalls, and gardens. Watch the sunrise on the Hot air balloon, stop at local markets and gourmet stalls, taste their Yarra Valley Dairy Cheese and chocolate, visit the Four Pillars distillery, Ice Creamery Factory, and Healesville Sanctuary, home to over 200 species of wildlife, interact with Koalas and kangaroos.
9. Great Ocean Road
Along the southwest coast of Victoria lies the Great Ocean Road Drive. Stretching 243 kilometres along Australia's southeastern coast, it is widely believed to be one of the most scenic and beautiful drives in the country. On this drive, one can witness the 12 Apostles, Apollo Bay, waterfalls, ancient lighthouses, tree-top adventures, wildlife wonders, and beaches. Wildlife sightings such as Koalas, Kangaroos, and even whales over the shores are quite common as well.
10. Dandenong Ranges
East of Melbourne City, the Dandenong Ranges are low mountain ranges covered by an enchanting spread of lush green forests, lovely little villages and awe-inspiring beauty.
11. Melbourne Museum
Learn all about life in Victoria at the Melbourne Museum, one of the most popular and loved museum across Australia. It gives a rich and authentic insight into the country's culture, history, and environment. The museum also hosts incredible temporary exhibitions that brings intriguing collections from all over the world.
12. Melbourne City Centre
The Melbourne City Centre is where the foundation of the city was laid back in 1835. Today it is one of the busiest areas of the city, filled with shops, boutiques, restaurants, theatres and even sports stadiums.
13. Sea Life Aquarium
Home to over 500 species of aquatic animals, the Sea life Melbourne aquarium is located in central Melbourne. The majestic king, gentoo penguins, and the world's largest crocodile are some of the aquarium's main attractions. Experience dining under the massive oceanarium among stingrays, sharks, and many multi-coloured fishes. 4D aquatic cinema shows, hands-on wave touch pools, feeding shows, and other programs help visitors virtually interact with marine life as well.
14. River Cruise
Tours along the Yarra river are popular among tourists, offering a unique perspective of the city.
15. Royal Exhibition Building
Built in 1880, the Royal Exhibition Building is a UNESCO World Heritage Sight, and was the first building in Australia to get this status. It's magnificent architecture and imposing size make it a popular tourist attraction.
Another wing of the Museum Victoria, Scienceworks is a world famous science museum, which offers an enjoyable and interative experience.
17. Healesville Sanctuary
Looking for a wildlife adventure? Healesville Sanctuary is the answer. Nestled in the Yarra Valley near Melbourne, Healesville Sanctuary is a bushland haven for different species of Australian native animals and birds. It is a part of Zoos Victoria and is spread over an area of 30 hectares. The sanctuary is one of the two places across the globe that has successfully bred a Platypus. Wander through the tranquil trails and get a glimpse of the wildlife in the exhibits.
18. Flinders Street Station
Melbourne's main hub for intra-city transit, marked by its iconic architecture, Flinders Street Station also happens to be Australia's oldest and busiest railway station.
19. Degraves Street
Situated in the Central Business District in Melbourne, Degraves street is a pedestrian walkway known for its sit-out cafes and eateries. This narrow laneway houses restaurants, cafes, breweries, garments and fashion outlets, sweet treats, victorian-hand-made gifts, jewellery, and much more around every corner. The Flinders Street Station is easily accessible from here. One can expect to find it packed with crowds throughout the week.
20. South Melbourne Market
Popularly known as the ‘local village market’, the South Melbourne Market, located in Melbourne, Victoria, is famous for its coffee, cafes, and restaurants serving food from locally procured ingredients. The highlight of this market is the four-day Moomba festival held annually. Merchandise like local handicrafts, homeware, garments, books, and fashion equipment are also available. In addition, live concerts, exhibitions, and offerings display support for their rich heritage.
21. Organ Pipes National Park
Situated in the central region of Victoria, The Organ Pipes National Park is famous for its geological location and the Organ Pipes hanging off a cliff. The Rosette Rock, Keilor Plains, and Tessellated Pavement, with fossils dating back to 4 million years, are notable attractions of the park. Native plants and rich wildlife with animals like Kangaroos, Echidnas, and Platypus are sited here. Trails are tailored to show around corners of the park. Camping, fishing, hiking, and picnicking are everyday activities one can try their hand at while visiting the park.
22. Abbotsford Convent
The Abbotsford Convent is located in Abbotsford, Victoria. It is a preserve of Culture, Learning, and Creativity, a space, home to over 100 art studios, galleries, eateries and cafes, radio stations, a school, open-air cinema, all surrounded by greenery. St. Heliers Street Gallery, an artistically rich space, is a ‘must-visit’. The Convent has educational and social history tours, mysteries podcasts, exhibitions, markets, festivals, private and corporate events, workshops, and performances to celebrate community enrichment.
23. Astor Theatre
The Astor Theatre in St Kilda, Australia, provides a grand cinematic experience, running old classics, cult favourites, and select new releases via a single-screen in a not-so ‘old-fashioned’ auditorium. The space is equipped with the Barco 4K Digital Projector and a hi-fi audio system elevating the quality of audio and visuals. Their seats lack comfort due to heritage protection, exhibiting ancient Victorian vibes. The nearby train station and restaurants attract customers due to the easy access. Stalls are available, serving snacks and beverages.
24. Flinders Lane
Located in Melbourne, Flinders Lane is a hotspot for world-renowned fine dining, galleries, and fashion labels. Grill Americano, Supernormal, Coda, Tippy Tay, and Kenzan are popular eateries around the area. Visit the nearby Degraves street for cafes, bars, coffee, and garment boutiques. Anna Schwartz Gallery and Flinders Lane Gallery hold exhibitions. Umpteen handicrafts, jewellery, and homeware authentic to the Victorian era are available here. Do not miss visiting historic buildings like Murray and Chapter House.
25. Heide Museum of Modern Art
The Heide Museum of Modern Art is situated in Bulleen, a suburb of Melbourne. It houses modern and contemporary art. The pleasant garden at Heide serves as a great picnic spot for visitors, and the sculpture park is also one other major attraction within the museum. Exhibitions are held with the Heide Market showcasing works of artistry expertise and handcrafted goods. Learning opportunities are offered too. The cafe Heide serves coffee, breakfast, and lunch made from seasonal produce grown in-house in the kitchen garden.
26. Fitzroy Gardens
Situated in East Melbourne, Fitzroy Gardens is home to a wide array of Flora, historical buildings, and sculptures. Sites of Heritage and Tourist Attractions include the Captain Cook’s Cottage, Carved Fairies Tree, the Scarred Tree, Myriad Fountains, Statues, Model Tudor Village, Band Pavillion, Sinclair’s Cottage, and the Rotunda. In addition, scenic water elements are distributed throughout the garden that visitors can spot while on a leisurely stroll.
27. Hamer Hall
Hamer Hall, formerly the Melbourne Concert Hall, is Melbourne's top location for orchestra and chamber music. Concerts including jazz, rock, pop, multicultural, chamber, classical, cabaret, and contemporary music with an Assistive Hearing System are held in Hamer Hall's space of 2500 seats throughout the year. In addition, companies like the Australian Ballet, Opera Australia, and Melbourne Theatre organize regular events and performances at the Hall.
28. State Theatre
The State Theatre, located in Melbourne, is part of the Arts Centre Melbourne. The underground space is ideally used for artists showcasing their talents in the form of theatre performances, dancing, and musical talents, specifically Ballet and Opera. The Theatre is equipped with Assistive Hearing System enriching every execution ever! Opera Australia and Australian Ballet host varied events and acts regularly. Do not forget to notice the 75,000 tiny brass cups adorning the ceiling of this gigantic setting.
29. St Kilda Victoria
Known as the beachside playground, St Kilda is an inner suburb in Melbourne. Visitor attractions like Luna Park, Catani Gardens, and Acland street. Visitors can cycle along the shores of the Phillip port, walk through the sandy beach, and enjoy the outdoor pubs, cafes, multi-cuisine restaurants, and breweries on Fitzroy street. It houses Melbourne’s famous St Kilda beach, the Astor, and St Kilda Breakwater, where penguins can be spotted. Catch a show, go shopping or just relax at St Kilda, one destination for all leisure.
30. Lune Croissanterie
Located in Melbourne, and Fitzroy, Lune Croissanterie is famous for its artisanal confectionery and natural ingredients used in its composition. Their Croissants were declared as ‘finest’ in the world by The New York Times. Other specialities on the menu include sweet treats like Kouign-amann, pain au chocolat, doughnuts, cakes, and a good brew. The pâtisserie introduces monthly specials as well. Be sure to experience their Lune Lab, a fine dining experience authentic to the taste of the Lunes.
31. Sidney Myer Music Bowl
Amidst the Kings Domain Gardens in Melbourne, Sidney Myer Music Bowl is a famous summertime location, famous for Carols by Candlelight and Melbourne Symphony Orchestra., their annual event. In addition, it hosts yearlong live concerts, symphony performances, theatre, and more. The music hub has seen some world-renowned artists like Paul McCartney, Neil Diamond, Metallica, Florence, and The Seekers. It was nominated for the Best Venue Award at the Music Victoria Awards in 2021.
32. Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens
Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens is located in the Sherbrooke settlement, Victoria, Australia. It is known for its water elements and extensive and seasonally changing flora like orchids, azaleas, ferns, maple leaves, rhododendrons, and camellias, all adorning the trails of the garden. Lakes, picnic spots, curated trails, and boathouses at the venue magnify the individual experience. Cafes and food joints serve delicious food whilst you admire nature.
33. Starward Distillery
Located in Melbourne, Starward Distillery is dignified as the microbrewing capital of Australia. Made from high-quality secret ingredients and aged in red wine barrels, the authentic Australian whiskey made here has a unique, lighter, and fruitier taste. The venue exhibits sophisticated visitor facilities that include a bar and food joints. Touring and wine tasting add to the wholesome experience.
34. Bellarine Peninsula
Located southwest of Melbourne, Victoria, Bellarine Peninsula offers tourists beaches, vineries, authentic village markets, breweries, museums, water sports, and exposure to fine dining! You can opt for curated tours, like the Seal and Dolphin swim, Balloon Flights in Geelong, Fort Queenscliff, and Local Wildlife sightseeing. Hit the beach at Barwon Head, look out for Point Lonsdale Lighthouse, and consume the traditions at Narana Cultural Centre.
35. The Toff in Town
The Toff is situated in Curtin House, Melbourne offering fine dining with a musical ambience every evening. Their private train-carriage theme is famous to book for a relaxed evening with friends while they serve you exceptional Thai food. The venue has an extensive food and drinks menu, brought to your booth! Also hosted are late-night parties with gigs, DJ nights, comical performances, and cabaret acts.
36. Block Arcade
Situated in the centre of Melbourne’s CBD, Block arcade is a luxury shopping arcade with branded fashion outlets, cafes, bakeries, vintage jewellery, gift stores, and art. It is home to the original Hopetoun Tea Rooms and renowned traders like Basement Discs, Sol Alpaca, and Haigh’s Chocolates, Australia’s premium chocolatiers! Private functions are held at the venue, and a guided tour twice every week showing around the luxury food outlets and artisan cafes, explaining the rich history behind the 100-year-old building.
37. Street Art at Centre Place
Centre Place is located between Collins Street and Flinders Lane in Melbourne. The laneway is lined with shopping outlets, food corners, boutiques, and coffee shops. Notice the varying, colour-splashed Street Art and innovative Graffiti painting on the walls of this street. The stencil work and details are elaborately themed, almost professional looking. Visit Jungle Juice for international coffee, Aix for crepes, dumplings at ShanDong MaMa Mini, and Hell’s Kitchen to chug a cold beer.
38. Lake Mountain Alpine Resort
A two-hour drive from Melbourne, Lake Mountain Alpine Resort offers fun activities like mountain biking, skiing, tobogganing and snow play, and snowshoeing. The kid-friendly toboggans are family-recommended, and the best time for this is between early June and late September. Village Run, Koala Creek, and Leadbeaters are the three major slopes for tobogganing. Other popular nearby places include Healesville sanctuary, phantom falls, and lake mountain Bristo, which serve locally seasoned food.
What are the top sightseeing places in Melbourne?
The top sightseeing places in Melbourne are Queen Victoria Market, National Gallery of Victoria, Shrine of Remembrance, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Eureka Tower, Royal Botanic Gardens.
How can I commute within Melbourne?
Though most of the population depends on self driven cars to commute, Melbourne's public transport system is quite well reputed. It has an extensive rail network comprising of 230 stations in and around the city. Melbourne also has the biggest tram network in the world, meaning you get exceptional connectivity throughout the city at not every expensive prices. Purchase a myki ticket for ease of travel, which covers all of the city's public transport.
What is the best time to visit Melbourne?
The autumn months are the time when Melbourne is host to many food and cultural events and festivals, and the city is still quite lively after a long and busy summer. The many gardens in the city are quite beautiful too, such as the Royal Botanic Garden and the Carlton Gardens, and the temperature especially is very pleasant for a great day out. Moreover, since summer is considered to be the tourist season, prices fall significantly during the autumn season, reducing your budget requirements considerably.