One of the most frustrating feelings when visiting a new city is the nagging awareness that you can’t possibly see and experience all it has to offer, in one visit. That may be true, especially for a city like Melbourne. There’s so much to do discover around the city, whether it’s going around the city centre or Melbourne CBD, shopping at the Block Arcade, visiting the Fitzroy Gardens, and so on.
There’s generally so much to do in Victoria, but more so in Melbourne. It is that realization, that made us comb through all the experiences this great Australian city has to offer and come up with a list of those that we feel will give you a feel for the city best. For those seeking to explore Melbourne solo, as a couple or as a team, these are the seventeen things you’ve got to do in the city.
Also if you’re visiting from out of town and need somewhere to store your luggage whilst exploring then check out Mind My Bag, they’re a local Melbourne luggage storage business.
1. The Hidden Gems of Melbourne’s Laneways
You won’t discover a city’s essence in your five-star hotel or in the meticulously curated tourist attractions. A city’s soul is found in its less glamorous nooks. Melbourne’s laneways reveal its spirit. Here are some laneways to consider.
I’ve always found graffiti street art, to be the most honest art form. Its sheer rawness reflects the fact that life isn’t always as smooth and seamless as we make it out to be. Each graffiti piece in Croft Alley reveals a unique truth about the city and its inhabitants. To get the best out of this gem though, you may want to visit it at night-when it truly comes alive with live music and DJs!
That being said, daytime is probably the best time to see the art and let it speak to you.
Being one of Melbourne’s first Laneways, one really gets the feeling that this Lane is a representation of the city’s ever-evolving nature. You won’t find Michelin star restaurants here, but the fact that this lane connects Lonsdale Street to China town means that it’s one of the best places to experience Melbourne’s diversity through its cuisine.
Do I need to say more? If you know anything about Melbourne you know that the rock culture here is strong! Named after the famous Australian rock legends from Sydney, it used to be your typical lane with street art and all the trappings of rock culture. It still stays true to its origins but has more. You can now experience great dining and trendy clothing boutiques here. Also, be sure to check out the infamous Cherry Bar for a reminder of this lane’s past!
Other Lanes to consider include the famous Hosier Lane.
2. Witness Nature’s Splendour at Yarra Valley
Australia is generally known for its unique nature. A trip to any Australian city wouldn’t be complete without sampling some amazing landscapes. Melbourne doesn’t disappoint. Escape the concrete jungle that is the CBD, with a short drive to the splendid Yarra Valley!
Just shy of an hour’s drive away from Melbourne’s CBD lies the breathtaking Yarra Valley. Nourished by the Yarra River, the Yarra Valley’s vistas are simply magical. Beyond simply soaking in the valley’s beauty there’s more to do here.
Yarra is the cradle of wine production in Victoria. Expect to find multiple award-winning wineries here and incredible vineyards. Some great options include Boat O’craigo, Balgownie Estate Vineyard and Acacia Ridge.
Canoeing on the Yarra
Granted this activity is time-intensive, nevertheless, if you have the time, it’s well worth it. Experience the Yarra river first-hand at Warrandyte Gorge.
Bike Riding and Leisure Walking
Yarra Valley has some amazing nature trails.
Melbourne City Cruises has great Yarra river tour packages. For more information on Yarra Valley activities, go use the contact information below.
Address: Vault 11, Banana Alley 365 Finders Street Melbourne VIC 3000
Phone Number: (03) 8610 2600
3. Put Your Director’s Hat On At The Melbourne Film Festival
The Melbourne International Film Festival is the most renowned, not just in Victoria but in entire Australia. It is one of the first film festivals in the world. Celebrating Australia’s film industry, this festival is a great way to not only revel in Melbournes talent but also to simply enjoy great food and drink as you socialize with the locals.
Tickets are priced differently depending on the day (generally cheaper during off-peak days). They generally range from 17-21 dollars. This year’s will be taking place from 1st-18th of August and we just confirmed that the masterpiece Once Upon A Time In Hollywood will be screening!
Address: GPO Box 4982 Melbourne VIC 3001 Australia
Phone Number: (03) 8660 4888
4. Experience Fine Art at the (NGV)
Established in the mid 19th century, the National Gallery of Victoria is not only the first Australian Art Museum but also the biggest and most popular. Located in two sites, St. Kilda Road and Federation Square, the NGV houses two art collection under two roofs.
The first is NGV International on St. Kilda Road which showcases the best artists from around the globe. This August, catch Cai Guo-Qiang, one of the greatest contemporary Asian artists! The Federation Square building houses NGV Australia which showcases local Aussie art including ancient indigenous Aboriginal art.
NGV has just many special events with great artistic experiences and fun things to do.
Address: 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne VIC 3006, Australia
Phone Number: (03) 8620 2222
5. Exotic Wildlife at the Werribee Open Range Zoo
Located thirty minutes away from Melbournes city centre, this African themed zoo will have you experiencing the best of two continents! In addition to Australian indigenous wildlife, Melbourne brings the magic of African Savannah to you, complete with a forty-minute safari.
At this zoo, you will get to see some of the most iconic wildlife, from the majestic lion to the elusive rhino. You will have a chance to feed the giraffe, as well as get to know the local Aussie wildlife.
The Werribee Open Range Zoo is a perfect family affair. The folks there go out of their way to make the experience even more memorable by curating specially themed experiences for you. This year, they present to you Zoorastic, an experience that will have you interactive with full-size dinosaurs at the zoo!
For a similar zoo experience not far from the CBD, consider the Melbourne Zoo, which is only four kilometres away from the city centre. You can easily access this alternative via a train from the Flinders street station.
Address: K Rd, Werribee South VIC 3030, Australia
Phone Number: 1300 966 784
6. Find Nemo at the Melbourne Aquarium
Every great city has an aquarium, and Melbourne is no different. Located on Kingstreet, the Melbourne Aquarium gives you the opportunity to continue your wildlife adventure in the sea. From forbidding sharks to adorable starfish, Melbourne Aquarium has it all. Access this aquarium through the city’s free tram service or via a train from the Flinders street station.
Address: King St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Phone Number: 1800 026 576
7. Experience Aussie Sports at the MCG
Located in East Melbourne, the Melbourne Cricket Ground is the largest stadium in Australia and the tenth-largest in the world. This fact alone should make the stadium a great place to visit. That being said, Australia is known for its athleticism and love for sports. Melburnians are no different. Experience sport culture at the MCG, by catching an AFL or cricket game.
Address: Melbourne Cricket Ground, Brunton Ave, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Phone Number: (03) 9657 8879
8. View Melbourne’s Skyline from Eureka Skydeck
Easily the highest vantage point in Melbourne, Eureka Tower is the second tallest building in all of Australia and was at one point the tallest residential building in the world. Located in the Southbank precinct of the city, you can watch the entirety of Melbourne unfold before you from this tower’s rooftop vantage point. The experience is indescribable!
Address: 7 Riverside Quay, Southbank VIC 3006, Australia
Phone Number: 03) 9693 8855
9. Take In Australia’s Beauty on the Great Ocean Road
Begin an unforgettable journey starting from Melbourne’s city centre, all the way to the South Australian border. Along the way, get to see the beautiful Victorian coastline as never before. Granted this experience may not be fully realized on a day trip and it needs a few days to fully capitalize on every experience.
Be that as it may, because this opportunity presents you with a chance to see pretty much everything this side of Victoria has to offer, from Aboriginal art galleries to unique wildlife, if we had to choose just one activity to consider, then this one would be a very strong contender!
Phone Number: 1800 519 673
10. Discover Melbourne’s Diversity at the Queen Victoria Market
Established in the late nineteenth century, Queen Victoria Market is the largest fresh produce market in the southern hemisphere and an extremely important landmark for Melbourne. Today, the market is not only known for its fresh local produce but also for what it represents-diversity.
Queen Victoria Market really is a melting point of all the different cultures that call Melbourne home. If you’re a foodie, then this market won’t disappoint.
Address: Queen St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
11. Barefoot Bowling in Fitzroy Victoria Bowling and Sports Club
Some things are so uniquely Aussie that you wouldn’t want to leave Australia without trying them. At the top of this list is barefoot bowling. This Australian twist on traditional bowling is an outdoors game that is played on the lawn, unlike its quintessential cousin.
The Fitzroy Victoria Bowling and Sports Club is located around three kilometres from the city centre in North Fitzroy. Remember that for all your transportation needs around the city, the city circle tram service is a convenient mode of transport.
Address: 578 Brunswick St, Fitzroy North VIC 3068, Australia
Phone Number: (03) 9481 3137
12. Relax In Mornington Peninsula’s Amazing Beaches
What’s a trip to Melbourne without a visit to the beach? About an hours drive from the CBD, Mornington peninsula’s world-class beaches won’t disappoint!
13. Take A Boat Out On The Yarra River
In the Docklands area, you can hire a boat and enjoy a picnic on the Yarra River! Some boats come fully equipped with picnic necessities!
Address: Sandridge Wharf (Adjacent Southbank Promenade), Southbank, Victoria 3006
Phone Number: (03) 8372 0664
14. Experience Film at the Australian Centre of the Moving Image
Currently under remodeling, the Australian Center of the Moving Image (ACMI), takes the title for the most toured moving image museum in the world. Be sure to keep an eye out for their opening date.
Address: Federation Square, Flinders St, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Phone Number: (03) 8663 2200
15. Visit the Royal Botanic Gardens in South Yarra
Located in Birdwood Avenue, these unique gardens are home to more than eight thousand species of flora, from around the world. Have a calming experience in these 36-hectare gardens of pure bliss!
Address: Birdwood Ave, South Yarra VIC 3141, Australia
Phone Number: (03) 9252 2300
16. Ride the Puffing Billy Railway in the Dandenong Ranges
Located in the Dandenong Ranges on the far side of Melbourne is the Puffing Billy Railway- one of the world’s most impressive steam railway still in operation. The twenty-four-kilometre railway meanders through the beautiful forests of the ranges, making this activity rewarding for two reasons!
Look out for themed train rides throughout the year, including Jazz on Puffing Billy Railway, Great Train Race and Murder on the Puffing Billy Express.
Address: 1 Old Monbulk Rd, Belgrave VIC 3160, Australia
Phone Number: (03) 9757 0700
17. Good Old Fashioned Fun at the Luna Park
Granted, you wouldn’t be going here for an adrenaline rush, but the history in this park is worth a trip. Luna Park in Melbourne was the city’s first such amusement park, first opening its gates to the public in 1912.
Address: 18 Lower Esplanade, St Kilda VIC 3182, Australia
Phone Number: (03) 9525 5033
If you accomplish all the curated activities above and are still looking for more to do, then these activities won’t leave you disappointed.
Collingwood Children’s Farm
Located five kilometres from the CBD, this activity will spark your kids’ love for animals and sustainable agriculture!
Go here for more details.
Quiet Reading at the State Library Victoria
With no admission or reservation fees, this library is a great attraction for book-loving tourists. Established in the early nineteenth century, It is also one of the worlds first free public libraries.
Celebrate Diversity at the Immigration Museum
Established in 1998 the Immigration Museum on Flinders Street is a homage to Australia’s rich diversity. The entrance is free!
If time allows, the Melbourne Museum is another must-see!
Watch A Penguin Parade At Phillip Island
The ninety-minute drive from the city is well worth it, to see these cuddly birds in their natural habitat!
Photography at St. Kilda Pier
Providing a great view of Melbourne’s skyline from the sea, the St. Kilda Pier is a photographers heaven!
Coffee on Bourke Street Melbourne
Rumour has it that this street has some of the best coffee shops in all of Melbourne!
Amazing Spa sessions
Check out our full list here.
- Visit the South Melbourne Market
- Check out the Old Melbourne Gaol
- Take a stroll around St Kilda Pier or St Kilda Beach
- Take a trip to Healesville Sanctuary
As with many great cities, you probably won’t exhaust all Melbourne has to offer in one visit. Maybe you should actually consider moving here! Nevertheless, the list above will give you a great sampling of the city’s best things to do. Have fun exploring Melbourne!