Founded in 1835, Melbourne is the second most populated city in Australia and home to just over 4 million people. Personally when I think of Melbourne what immediately comes to my mind is coffee, shopping and the suddenly changing weather (no matter what season it is). It is a vibrant city and is often considered the cultural capital of Australia since it’s the birthplace of things like Australian film and television, the Heidelberg school of Australian impressionism, and is a major centre of contemporary and traditional Australian music. If you are looking for something to do in Melbourne you will not be left wanting, I think you could find something for everyone and here are just ten ideas to get you started. Also find our overview with the best non-stop flights to Melbourne.
Whether you’re looking for independent local designers or international brands, there are a number of exciting places to shop in Melbourne. No shopping trip would be complete without visiting the famous Chapel Street, which many repute as the fashion and style capital of the city. You can find all types of fashion and goods from high end clothing all the way down to items for the more budget savvy shopper. Or if you like to shop amidst award-winning beauty, try Melbourne General Post Office (GPO to locals), a Victorian Heritage building that’s been converted into a gorgeous shopping mall finished with a stone façade, large Classical columns, and a clock tower.
2. Visit an event
There’s always something going on in Melbourne. This city wants visitors to have a good time, which is why it plays host to so many festivals, exhibitions, culinary, and cultural events. Some of the city’s most popular are the Melbourne International Film Festival, International Jazz Festival, International Comedy Festival, and Melbourne Spring Fashion Week. A definite must do for a good laugh, laugh Out Loud comedy shows will have you in stitches. Check out their Facebook page for show times and locations.
3. City Circle Tram
The City Circle Tram is a free tram service for tourists and offers an excellent introduction to the city. The tram runs every 12 minutes and provides audio commentary about notable places in the city, such as the City Museum, Parliament House, Docklands, Melbourne Aquarium, and others. To catch the tram, just wait at a stop along its route: Flinders Street > Harbour Esplanade > Docklands Drive > La Trobe Street > Victoria Street > Nicholson Street > Spring Street > Flinders Street.
4. Visit a market
There is a wide variety of markets to explore in the city. At the top of the list is Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market, a must-see open air market that has been selling food, clothing, housewares, jewellery, and an array of other items for over 130 years.
A number of smaller markets also populate the city. Prahran Market is Australia’s longest running food market, and Luna 1878 Night Market is a unique market which happens every Wednesday evening in August and is home to independent artists, designers, winemakers, and chefs and is hosted on the grounds of the Queen Victoria Market.
5. Take a bike ride
Following the beautiful coastline of Port Phillip Bay in south-eastern Melbourne, Bay Trail is a 120 km scenic route for cyclists and pedestrians. No Bike? No problem. There are many ways to rent a bike in the city. The Melbourne Bike Share is a bike rental initiative designed for short bike trips around the city. There are 50 bike hubs scattered throughout the city, so you can pick up and drop off your bike wherever is convenient for you. Daily rates start at a about $3,00.
6. Luna Park
Providing over 100 years of family fun, this carnival will keep you and your family entertained for the whole day. Located in St. Kilda, a short walk away from St. Kilda beach, this amusement park boasts roller coasters, pirate ships, space simulators, midway games, a ‘50s diner, and of course a classic carousel.
7. High Tea
For something you don’t do every day … make yourself feel a little bit special and explore Melbourne’s British roots by indulging in a traditional British high tea service. Originally established for the Victorian Ladies Work Association, Hopetoun Tea Rooms is located in the historical and fully restored Block Arcade. It is essential to book due to popular demand!
8. Yarra River Cruise
A number of boats are just waiting to take you on a picturesque tour of the Yarra River. Choose from longer cruises that offer dinner or lunch, or short ones that offer coffee, tea, and refreshments as you take in the sights and sounds of the city from a truly unique perspective.
9. Experience an AFL Game
Being the home of Australia’s great game, where better to witness a game of ‘Aussie Rules’ live than in Melbourne. AFL is probably the most popular spectator sporting league in Australia and draws a huge crowd. Experience the fierce rivalry between both teams and fans alike. The atmosphere at most games is electric and you won’t help but be swept up in the action.
10. Cocktail Bars
Melbourne has a vibrant night life and many unique bars. Alumbra, located at the end of Central Pier is a redesigned cargo shed dating from 1914 and offers a 360-degree panoramic view of the Docklands. Or for something more vintage-inspired, try 1806. Named after the year the word “cocktail” was coined, this wooden-paneled, multi-level bar is decked out with all the trappings of cocktail lounges of a bygone era. If you are looking for somewhere you can relax with a drink over a game or two of billiards, Hotel Lindrum is a stylish choice with its historical past as the Lindrum Billiards Centre.
So as you can see no matter what your interests are there is a range of things to see and do in Melbourne for individual, couples or families. Melbourne is an easy city to navigate with trams running to almost every part and with a full range of accommodation on offer to suit all budgets; Melbourne is definitely worthy of a visit.