If you’re planning a trip to Australia, then Melbourne should definitely be on your list of places to visit. This vibrant city is a popular tourist destination for its world-class dining, thriving arts scene, and diverse culture. Whether you’re traveling solo, with your partner, or with your family, there’s plenty to see and do in Melbourne.
Interesting Facts About Melbourne:
- Melbourne is known as the cultural capital of Australia, with a thriving arts and music scene.
- The city was founded in 1835 and named after the British Prime Minister at the time, William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne.
- Melbourne is home to the largest tram network in the world, with over 250 km of track and 450 trams.
- The city is known for its coffee culture, with a range of unique and quirky cafes and coffee shops.
- Melbourne is also home to several iconic sporting events, including the Australian Open tennis tournament and the Melbourne Cup horse race.
- The city has a reputation for being one of the most livable cities in the world, with high levels of safety, healthcare, and quality of life.
- Melbourne is home to several beautiful parks and gardens, including the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Fitzroy Gardens, and the Carlton Gardens.
- The city has a rich multicultural history, with significant populations of Greek, Italian, and Chinese immigrants.
- Melbourne is also known for its street art scene, with several laneways and alleys decorated with colorful murals and graffiti.
- The city has a range of unique and quirky attractions, including the Old Melbourne Gaol, the Shrine of Remembrance, and the Eureka Skydeck.
In this article, we will be discussing the 34 best things to do in Melbourne to make your trip an unforgettable one.
Explore Federation Square
Federation Square is an iconic public space located in the heart of Melbourne, known for its unique design and architecture. It is a bustling hub for locals and tourists alike, offering an array of cultural and entertainment activities. You can spend hours exploring the different areas of Federation Square, such as the Atrium, the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia, and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. The square is also home to several cafes and restaurants, making it an ideal spot to relax and people watch. Don’t forget to snap a photo with the iconic Flinders Street Station in the background.
Visit the National Gallery of Victoria
The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) is a world-renowned art museum that showcases a diverse range of artworks from different eras and cultures. It boasts an impressive collection of over 75,000 works, including pieces by renowned artists such as Van Gogh, Picasso, and Rembrandt. The museum is divided into two locations, NGV International and NGV Australia, both of which offer unique and immersive experiences. NGV International features exhibitions from around the world, while NGV Australia showcases Australian art and design. With free admission, the NGV is a must-visit for any art lover visiting Melbourne.
Wander around the Royal Botanic Gardens
The Royal Botanic Gardens is a picturesque oasis located just a stone’s throw away from Melbourne’s city center. Spanning over 38 hectares, the gardens are home to a diverse collection of over 8,500 plant species from around the world. Whether you’re looking for a quiet place to relax, a scenic spot for a picnic, or an educational experience, the Royal Botanic Gardens has it all. The gardens are also a popular spot for wedding photos and other special occasions. Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the iconic Ornamental Lake or take a guided tour to learn more about the flora and fauna.
Take a trip to Phillip Island
Phillip Island is a popular day trip destination located just 90 minutes from Melbourne. The island is home to a variety of wildlife, including the famous Penguin Parade, where you can witness hundreds of Little Penguins waddle ashore after sunset. You can also see Australian fur seals and koalas in their natural habitat at the Phillip Island Nature Parks. Other attractions on the island include the Koala Conservation Centre, Churchill Island Heritage Farm, and the Phillip Island Grand Prix Circuit. With stunning coastal scenery and abundant wildlife, Phillip Island is a must-visit for nature lovers.
Experience the Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is a scenic coastal drive that stretches for 243 kilometers, taking you through some of the most breathtaking landscapes in Australia. Along the way, you can stop at iconic landmarks such as the Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, and the Great Otway National Park. The road is also home to several charming seaside towns, including Lorne, Apollo Bay, and Port Campbell. Whether you’re driving yourself or taking a guided tour, the Great Ocean Road is an unforgettable experience that you won’t want to miss.
Climb the Eureka Skydeck
The Eureka Skydeck is Melbourne’s highest viewing platform, offering panoramic views of the city from a height of 297 meters. Located on the 88th floor of the Eureka Tower, the Skydeck features floor-to-ceiling windows and a glass cube that extends out from the building, giving visitors a thrilling view of the city below. The experience also includes an interactive multimedia display and a chance to test your bravery with The Edge, a glass platform that extends 3 meters out from the building.
Check out the street art in Hosier Lane
Hosier Lane is a narrow laneway located in Melbourne’s central business district, known for its vibrant street art. The walls of the lane are covered in colorful graffiti and murals, with new pieces popping up all the time. The ever-changing art scene in Hosier Lane makes it a must-visit for art lovers and Instagrammers alike. Don’t forget to bring your camera and snap some photos of the amazing street art.
Watch a game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground
The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is one of the most iconic sports stadiums in Australia, known for its rich history and atmosphere. It has a seating capacity of over 100,000 and is home to the Australian Football League Grand Final and the Boxing Day Test cricket match. Even if you’re not a sports fan, the MCG is worth a visit to witness the electric atmosphere and experience one of Australia’s most iconic sporting venues.
Visit the Melbourne Museum
The Melbourne Museum is a world-class museum that showcases the natural and cultural history of Australia. The museum features a range of exhibitions, including dinosaurs, indigenous cultures, and the human body. The museum also hosts special events and workshops, making it a great place to learn and have fun with the family.
Get up close and personal with animals at Melbourne Zoo
Melbourne Zoo is a must-visit for animal lovers, with over 320 species of animals from around the world. The zoo is home to several iconic Australian animals, including kangaroos, koalas, and wombats, as well as exotic animals such as lions, tigers, and gorillas. The zoo also offers a range of behind-the-scenes experiences, such as animal encounters and keeper talks, allowing visitors to get up close and personal with the animals.
Take a stroll along St. Kilda Beach
St. Kilda Beach is a popular spot for locals and tourists alike, known for its palm-lined boardwalk and stunning sunsets. The beach is perfect for a leisurely stroll, a dip in the ocean, or a picnic on the sand. You can also explore the nearby St. Kilda Pier, which offers panoramic views of the city skyline and is home to a colony of little penguins.
Enjoy a picnic in the Treasury Gardens
The Treasury Gardens is a picturesque park located in Melbourne’s CBD, offering a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city. The gardens are home to several historic monuments, including the Treasury Building and the Old Treasury Museum. It’s a great spot to enjoy a picnic with friends and family or to simply relax and soak up the beauty of the gardens.
Discover the city’s hidden laneways
Melbourne is known for its hidden laneways, which are filled with hidden gems such as cafes, bars, and street art. Some of the most popular laneways to explore include Degraves Street, Centre Place, and Flinders Lane. Take a leisurely stroll through these laneways to discover some of Melbourne’s best kept secrets.
Go shopping in the Queen Victoria Market
The Queen Victoria Market is a bustling open-air market that has been operating since 1878. It offers a range of fresh produce, gourmet food, souvenirs, and clothing, making it a great spot for shopping and dining. The market also hosts several events throughout the year, including night markets and food festivals.
Take a ride on the City Circle Tram
The City Circle Tram is a free tram service that takes you on a loop around Melbourne’s CBD, passing by some of the city’s most iconic landmarks. The trams are vintage and feature a historical audio commentary, giving visitors a chance to learn about the city’s history and architecture.
Visit the Shrine of Remembrance
The Shrine of Remembrance is a war memorial located in Melbourne’s CBD, dedicated to the soldiers who served and died in World War I. It is a magnificent structure that features classical architecture and is surrounded by beautiful gardens. The shrine offers a range of exhibitions and educational programs, including guided tours and interactive displays. It’s a great place to pay your respects and learn about Australia’s military history.
Go wine tasting in the Yarra Valley
The Yarra Valley is a renowned wine region located just an hour’s drive from Melbourne. It is home to over 80 wineries, many of which offer wine tastings and cellar door experiences. The region is known for its cool-climate wines, such as Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and sparkling wine. It’s a great place to spend a day or weekend exploring the vineyards and tasting some of Australia’s best wines.
Catch a show at the Princess Theatre
The Princess Theatre is one of Melbourne’s most iconic theaters, known for its grandeur and history. The theater first opened in 1854 and has since hosted some of the world’s most famous performers, including Dame Nellie Melba and Harry Houdini. It’s a great place to catch a show or musical and experience the magic of live theater.
Explore the State Library of Victoria
The State Library of Victoria is a magnificent building located in Melbourne’s CBD, known for its stunning architecture and impressive collection of books and manuscripts. The library features several reading rooms, including the famous domed La Trobe Reading Room, which is a must-visit for any book lover. The library also offers a range of exhibitions and events, making it a great place to learn and explore.
Take a tour of Parliament House
Parliament House is the home of the Victorian Parliament, located in Melbourne’s CBD. The building features stunning architecture and is surrounded by beautiful gardens. Visitors can take a guided tour of the building to learn about the history and workings of the parliament. The tour includes a visit to the Legislative Council Chamber, the Legislative Assembly Chamber, and the Queen’s Hall.
Watch the penguins on St. Kilda Pier
St. Kilda Pier is home to a colony of little penguins, which can be seen waddling along the pier at dusk. The penguins are a protected species, and visitors are asked to respect their natural habitat and keep a safe distance. You can also take a guided tour to learn more about the penguins and their behavior.
Have a drink at the rooftop bar Madame Brussels
Madame Brussels is a quirky rooftop bar located in Melbourne’s CBD, known for its colorful decor and garden setting. The bar serves a range of cocktails and drinks, and is a great spot to enjoy a drink with friends or a romantic evening with your partner. The bar also hosts several events throughout the year, including themed parties and live music.
Visit the Immigration Museum
The Immigration Museum is a fascinating museum located in Melbourne’s CBD, dedicated to the stories of immigration in Australia. The museum features a range of exhibitions, including interactive displays and multimedia presentations, that showcase the challenges and triumphs of immigrants throughout history. It’s a great place to learn about Australia’s multicultural society and the contributions of immigrants to the country.
Go to Luna Park and ride the rollercoaster
Luna Park is a historic amusement park located in St. Kilda, known for its iconic entrance featuring a giant smiling face. The park features a range of rides and attractions, including a rollercoaster, Ferris wheel, and dodgem cars. It’s a great place to visit with the family or for a fun day out with friends.
Watch a movie at the Astor Theatre
The Astor Theatre is a historic cinema located in Melbourne’s inner suburb of St. Kilda. It has been operating since 1936 and is known for its Art Deco style and ornate interior. The theatre screens a range of classic, independent, and foreign films, making it a great place for film lovers. It’s also a popular venue for film festivals and special events.
Take a hot air balloon ride over the city
Taking a hot air balloon ride over Melbourne is a unique and memorable experience that offers stunning views of the city skyline and surrounding areas. Several companies offer balloon rides, which usually take place in the early morning when the weather is calm. It’s a great way to see Melbourne from a different perspective and make some unforgettable memories.
Visit the Old Melbourne Gaol
The Old Melbourne Gaol is a historic jail located in Melbourne’s CBD, which operated from 1842 to 1929. It’s known for its connection to infamous Australian bushranger Ned Kelly, who was held and executed at the gaol. Visitors can take a guided tour to learn about the gaol’s history and the lives of the prisoners who were held there. The gaol also offers a range of interactive experiences, including the chance to be locked up in a cell or to participate in a mock trial.
Explore the Dandenong Ranges
The Dandenong Ranges are a beautiful mountain range located just an hour’s drive from Melbourne. The area is known for its stunning natural scenery, including lush forests, rolling hills, and breathtaking waterfalls. Visitors can explore the region on foot, by bike, or by car, and take in the beauty of the surrounding countryside.
Visit the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel
The Melbourne Star Observation Wheel is a giant Ferris wheel located in the Docklands area of Melbourne. It offers panoramic views of the city from a height of 120 meters, making it a great place to take in the sights and snap some photos. The ride includes an audio commentary that provides information about the city’s history and landmarks.
Go on a brewery tour
Melbourne is known for its thriving craft beer scene, with dozens of local breweries producing a range of unique and flavorful beers. Many of these breweries offer tours and tastings, allowing visitors to learn about the brewing process and sample some of the best beers Melbourne has to offer.
Take a day trip to the Mornington Peninsula
The Mornington Peninsula is a beautiful coastal region located just an hour’s drive from Melbourne. The area is known for its stunning beaches, charming seaside towns, and award-winning wineries. Visitors can spend the day exploring the region, taking in the scenery, and indulging in some of the local food and wine.
Go to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival
The Melbourne International Comedy Festival is one of the biggest comedy festivals in the world, attracting top comedians from around the globe. The festival takes place every year in March and April and offers a range of shows, from stand-up comedy to improv and sketch comedy. It’s a great place to have a laugh and discover new comedic talent.
Visit the Abbotsford Convent
The Abbotsford Convent is a historic convent located in Melbourne’s inner suburb of Abbotsford, which has been converted into an arts and cultural precinct. The precinct features a range of galleries, studios, and performance spaces, making it a great place to explore and discover local artists and performers.
Take a food tour of Melbourne’s laneways
Melbourne’s laneways are not just home to street art and hidden cafes, but also some of the city’s best food. A food tour of Melbourne’s laneways offers a chance to explore the city’s culinary scene, sample a range of delicious food, and learn about the history and culture of the city. Some of the popular food tours include the Hidden Laneways and Arcades Tour and the Melbourne Dumpling Walking Tour.
The best time to visit Melbourne is in the spring (September-November) or autumn (March-May), when the weather is mild and there are plenty of outdoor events and activities to enjoy.
What is the best way to get around Melbourne?
Melbourne has an excellent public transportation system, including trains, trams, and buses. Visitors can also explore the city on foot, by bike, or by car.
What is the best place to see wildlife in Melbourne?
The best place to see wildlife in Melbourne is at the Melbourne Zoo or the Healesville Sanctuary, both of which offer a range of Australian and international wildlife.
What is the best day trip from Melbourne?
There are several great day trips from Melbourne, including a trip to the Great Ocean Road, the Yarra Valley wine region, or Phillip Island.
What is the best way to experience Melbourne’s food scene?
The best way to experience Melbourne’s food scene is by taking a food tour, exploring the city’s laneways and arcades, or visiting one of its many great restaurants and cafes.