Having been in Melbourne for over 3 months now, I feel I have exhausted much of the city’s attractions, whilst also feeling like there’s more I could do and see. Melbourne has definitely found a small place in my heart, and I look forward to coming back in future. It’s a city with character, charm and diversity. Not too big and not too small, it’s just the right size that anyone can get their bearings fairly quickly whilst still having plenty to do and explore. On that note, I wanted to share some of the things I have enjoyed most while being in Melbourne.
Look no further for the ultimate tried and tested things to do in Melbourne!
1). Explore the CBD
There’s no better way to get an idea of your surroundings than just going for a stroll! Grab a $1 (50p) coffee from 7-eleven and start exploring the streets of this lively city. With talented buskers, an array of shops, cafes and street art to entertain you, you won’t realise how far you’ve walked until it’s time to get home again.
2). Discover Amazing Street Art
This leads us nicely onto our next thing to do – street art! Melbourne is famous for its colourful spray painted laneways which showcase some of the best street art around. You may have already spotted some on your walks around the city, but to get a full tour, download an online walking map (such as the ones on this site: https://walkingmaps.com.au/walk/106) and see some impressively large and detailed artwork. Some popular hot spots include; AC/DC Lane; Hosier Lane; Degraves Street; and Drewery Lane.
3). Have a Coffee
Another thing Melbourne is famous for is its coffee. Whether you need a sit down after all that walking, or a caffeine fix to get you through the day, Melbourne has a café round every corner ready to serve your needs. Here are some cafes to look out for that serve some of the best coffee in the city:
Seven Seeds – 114 Berkeley Street, Carlton
Patricia – Corner Little Bourke and Little William Streets, Melbourne
Dukes Coffee Roasters – 247 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
4). Go up Eureka Skydeck
What better way to get a new perspective of Melbourne than from the 88th floor of the third tallest building in Australia? Standing at 297 m tall, Eureka Skydeck offers fantastic 360-degree views of the city. Located at Riverside Quay, Southbank, you can reach the 88th floor in just 38 seconds! Buy your tickets online or onsite. Online is cheaper at just $23 (£12), a fair price for such quality views.
5). Visit Queen Victoria Market
This historic market is the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere. Not only selling fresh fruit and veg, but also sweet and savoury treats, souvenirs and all sort of other bits and bobs! Head over in the morning or early afternoon to be immersed in a lively local atmosphere whilst picking up some fresh goods for yourself, or a postcard to send home.
6). Have a picnic in the park
Melbourne’s array of gardens make the city feel greener and brighter! If you’re like me and you need some time with nature, then take your fresh food and bakery items and have a mini picnic! Some of the gardens I went too include the Royal Botanic Gardens, Flagstaff Gardens (closest to the market) and Carlton Gardens. All equally beautiful, especially in the sun. Lay back on the grass, listen to a podcast or enjoy your new favourite book.
7). Shrine of Remembrance
If you find yourself in the Royal Botanic Gardens, you might as well visit the Shrine of Remembrance. This war memorial was one of the more unexpected attractions in Melbourne, as we sort of stumbled across it without really knowing what it was. A kind, and clearly very passionate guide, who we met inside was the one to give us a detailed overview of the building and show us toward the extensive WWI museum downstairs. A beautifully touching and interesting visit well worth any visitors time.
8). Australian Open
If you’re looking for some sporty action, Melbourne delivers on this as well. Melbourne has a world-class sporting calendar that could easily make up a whole ‘things to do’ list by itself. As more of a tennis fan myself, I had to start with one of the biggest tennis tournaments in the world – the Australian Open. This is the first of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments held each year. It has more of a fun, family-friendly vibe than Wimbledon with plenty of food, live music and a ballpark for the kids. It’s best to buy your tickets in advance to get the best price possible. I got myself a Ground Pass for the first day of the tournament about a month in advance for $48 (£25). Such a good day out with lots to do, as well as the tennis, I highly recommend! (The tournament is held annually over the last fortnight of January).
9). Visit the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground)
If tennis isn’t your thing, then why not try supporting the Melbourne Stars at the largest cricket ground in the world? I went to see the Stars play a Twenty20 match against the Sydney Sixers and I was surprised by how much fun I had! The atmosphere was lively and enthusiastic with plenty of entertainment, from cheerleaders to a kiss cam. Although, if cricket really isn’t for you, but you’d still like to see the MCG, they also have other events on, from Rugby and AFL to cinema screenings.
10). Day at the Races
Okay last sporting event! Held at the Flemington Racecourse in Melbourne, the Melbourne Cup Carnival is Australia’s most famous horse race. This prestigious event is also known for its frivolity. Despite its fine dining, impressive marquees and famous music acts, the Melbourne Cup is more like one big party, except people are very well-dressed. To join the fun, don your best outfit, grab a group of friends, put down some bets and see how you go, all whilst drinking your troubles (and dignity) away…
11). Explore Fitzroy
To get away from the CBD, take a 30-minute walk or 15-minute tram, to Fitzroy, a quirky suburb with a bohemian reputation. Here you’ll find quaint shops and cafes, more street art and electric bars. It couldn’t be an easier area to explore, as most of what you’ll want is on Brunswick Street, the main road running through the suburb. Let the chill vibes of Fitzroy take over as you stroll from one shop to another browsing each nook and cranny of this cool suburb.
12). Visit St. Kilda
Similar to Fitzroy, St. Kilda is another suburb of Melbourne which can easily be reached by tram. It too has plenty of shops and cafes, as well as an amusement park, pier and beach! It’s popularity has soured more in recent years, being home to several theatres and big beach events/festivals. Worth a wander if you want some fresh sea air, a change of scenery or to meet other fellow backpackers.
*Both Fitzroy and St. Kilda are easily accessible by tram, although they do go out of the ‘free tram zone’ so you will have to pay a small price for the journey. More info here: https://www.visitmelbourne.com/regions/melbourne/travel-information/getting-around
13). State Library Victoria
One of the most impressive buildings in Melbourne (in my opinion). Built in 1854, Victoria Library is Australia’s oldest public library, with a vast collection of books, manuscripts, photographs, maps, newspapers and more! It’s a great place to work or study if you need to. I often went there to write blogs, apply for jobs or just chill out. It’s rooms are a mix of old and new, with the most stunning being the La Trobe Reading Room. Although the front of the building was just recently updated with more modern study spaces which only add to the library’s wonder. Free entry, free tours, free exhibitions, a café and giftshop, I can’t recommend it more.
14). Day trip to the Great Ocean Road
Sadly this was something I didn’t get round to doing whilst in Melbourne, which is why I urge you to put it on your bucket list! This 243 km stretch of road has been listed as an Australian National Heritage for its beautiful coastal drive and prominent landmarks along the way. To make sure you get a chance to see the stunning sea cliffs, towns and wildlife of the south-east coast then book a tour in advance or make time to do the drive yourself.
15). Have dinner by the river
Running through Melbourne is the Yarra River, bordered by restaurants and bars either side of it, this is a great place to treat yourself to dinner with a view. Or, if you don’t feel like spending money, just take an evening stroll as Melbourne comes to life and the city’s lights reflect off the water.
16). Cruise the Yarra River
If you’d rather be on the water than next to it, then take a river cruise to experience the city from a new perspective. Spot some of Melbourne’s best loved attractions as you breeze along the water, soaking in the city’s stunning views whilst you sit back and relax, letting the boat do all the work. Fares vary depending on how long the cruise is, where it goes and what’s included.
17). Do some retail therapy
Being the capital of Victoria, Melbourne of course has a huge shopping scene, with more than a few big shopping malls in the CBD. Some of my favourites include Melbourne Central, Bourke Street Mall, QV and Emporium. There are also other popular shops along the high street, all within walking distance, including Zara, H&M, Cotton On, Sephora etc. I’m positive it’ll meet and exceed any shoppers dream.
18). Go to a rooftop bar
Rooftop bars aren’t hard to come by in Melbourne and are a cool way to finish off a day of exploring. Unwind whilst sipping your favourite drink looking out at the city’s twinkling lights and lively streets. If you’re not sure where to start, I recommend Johnny’s Green Room for great skyline views and good service, Naked in the Sky if you’re in Fitzroy, and Imperial Hotel if you’re looking for more of a pub scene.
19). Cinema night
If you’re not feeling a boozy night, then don’t stress, the city has plenty of other things on offer. Why not go bowling? Or play laser tag at Melbourne Central? The shopping centre has both, as well as a roomy cinema showing the latest films (I just saw 1917 at HOYTS – comfy seats, reasonable price – check and check). The city has loads of cinemas! Village Cinemas at the Crown, Cinema Nova, Rooftop Cinema at Curtin House to name a few. The most exciting of all though – Moonlight Cinema! This is an outdoor cinema in the Botanical Gardens, which runs from late November – March in Melbourne. A cute and relaxing night out, whilst still being different from the norm. Grab a blanket and your favourite snacks and enjoy!
20). Melbourne Zoo
Committed to fighting wildlife extinction, Melbourne Zoo is another great day out! Open 9am – 5pm every day of the year, the zoo offer free daily keeper talks where you can learn more about the animals and their habitats. They also run exhibitions, so check out their website to see if any interest you and time your visit accordingly. A standard adult ticket costs $38 (£20), and the zoo is only 4km from the centre of Melbourne. There are a few options in getting there, so I suggest checking out this transport page on their website which tells you all you need to know: https://www.zoo.org.au/melbourne/getting-here/.
And just like that we’ve reached 20 things to do in Melbourne! I couldn’t believe how quickly I managed to jot down this list, which just goes to show how much this city has to offer.
If you’re coming to Australia please don’t miss out Melbourne! It’s creeped up the list to being one of my favourite cities ever. With this list to help you, there’s really no excuse.