The dynamic and trendy metropolis, the hustle and bustle at the city center, inner-city neighborhoods overflowing with personality, state-of-the-art architecture, art scenes of vivid colors, cafes and restaurants serving meals that will be etched in your memory, and an abundance of greenery alongside huge mountain ranges; Melbourne truly is a city teeming with life and character.
Whether you’re going there for the first time, or you’re already a resident, the culture and diversity of the city will never cease to amaze you.
15 Ultimate Things to Do in Melbourne: You Absolutely Must Do These
There are hundreds (literally) of things to do in Melbourne – often lovingly called the cultural capital of beautiful Australia. Boredom? In Melbourne? Probably not happening.
Let’s explore all the amazing treats and attractions the cosmopolitan city has to offer for the ones who really want the true flavor of Melbourne.
1. Check Out the Unique Street Art
If you didn’t already know, Melbourne is considered to be one of the street capitals of the world. The city council has some specific areas for these street artists where they’re able to express their talent through the form of graffiti.
It adds a refreshing urban vibe to the city that both locals and tourists can acknowledge. There’s Melbourne City Art Tour – guides-cum-street artists who arrange tours around the streets. They will be able to give excellent insight into everything you will see.
The proceeds from the tour support local artists, so that’s an added bonus. If you’re on a tight budget, you could explore these on your own, but make sure to have a map at hand.
2. Be One with Nature in Royal Botanic Garden
An oasis of serenity and vibrant greenery, the Botanic Garden is an undoubted favorite on the list. It’s walking distance from the city center. With an impressive 8,500 species of plants to its name, this destination remains very popular among joggers, local walkers, and anyone who wants a peaceful day away from the noise on the city streets. The Garden is right in the middle of the city; making accessible at any time of the day.
Thinking about having a picnic where you can just relax, chat, read a book as you listen to the chirping of birds? Ornamental Lake is the first thing people will recommend. However, if you’re willing to explore further, you’re guaranteed to find even better alfresco zones scattered across the garden.
3. Drop by Queen Victoria Market
If you have a word with the locals, they will definitely recommend Queen Victoria Market for the spread of fresh produce. This open-air market houses some experienced stallholders who have been at this game for a while now. They’ll be more than happy to tell you what the best ingredient of the day are, and what you should be trying.
Originally a go-to place for the locals, it’s quickly turned into a tourist must-go due to the large range of available products – ranging from fresh fruits and veggies, to clothes, accessories, almost anything you’d find in a super-shop. Get the authentic feeling of what it’s like to live in Melbourne!
4. Get Lost in Melbourne’s Iconic Laneway, Degraves Street
Melbourne is known and loved for the laneways that hide amazing food and interesting stories. If you’re taking a walk down these lanes, you’re surely going to miss out on some amazing things to do in Melbourne. The lane connecting Flinders Street and Flinders Lane gives off a strong Parisian vibe, and it’s going to introduce you to some of the best cafes and restaurants.
Artisan stationary store Il Papiro has some exceptionally beautiful trinkets that you could pick up as a gift for yourself or your loved ones, and Sine Qua Non’s handmade jewelry will make you gain newfound respect for the crafters. While you’re there, take a bite of some amazing, melt-in-your-mouth gelato from Pidapipo.
5. Walk around Federation Square and Flinders Street Station
The interesting design of Federation Square isn’t like anything you’ve seen before. The architectural design is top-notch and very worth a snap from your camera. Definitely go by the Australian Center of Moving Image, which holds the history of hosting unique designs on fascinating topics like Claymation.
Just across the road, the aesthetic building that acts as the primary entrance of Flinders Street Station bears a symbol of the Australian culture. You’ll most likely find it on a lot of postcards, or even tourist brochures.
The building was opened in 1910 and has gained a place on the Victorian heritage register. Walk inside to find the busiest railway station of Melbourne, spread out to find some tasty food options and easy access to other parts of the city.
6. Everything of the Great Ocean Road
One of Melbourne’s most popular tourist destinations, Great Ocean Road has earned that spot with its splendid visuals and overall peaceful vibe. The road starts in Torquay and extends to Warrnambool, twisting along the state’s southwest coast.
Feel the wind in your hair as you go on a rejuvenating journey that is going to reconnect you with the sounds of the ocean and peace of emerald greenery. Whether you’re walking, driving, horse-riding, sailing, surfing, or cycling, the essence of this picturesque location will surely reach your heart.
Without stops, the journey is almost 4 hours from CBD, but you’re definitely going to want to make stops to take in everything that’s going on.
7. Spend Pleasant Moments at Melbourne Zoo
An opportunity to see the wildlife of any new place you visit is such a satisfying experience – reminds you about the magnificent wonders of Mother Nature. No matter how many times you visit the Melbourne Zoo, there’s always something new to look forward to. New exhibits, programs, and how can we forget all the amazing creatures that make it special.
The majestic Wild Sea is the biggest exhibits, housing some cute penguins and seals. The Orangutan sanctuary cheers you up instantly with the intelligent orangutan family swings from one branch to the other, playing and eating. The Melbourne Zoo is a beautiful example of what it means to act behind the scenes of animal conservation, raising awareness about their preservation, and saving these creatures.
8. Appreciate Beautiful Exhibitions at the NGV
Australia’s oldest and best-loved art museum, NGV International is a splendid architectural landmark on St. Kilda road. The gallery holds some exquisite permanent collection of many types, an impressive visiting collection, and a string of events made to attract the locals and tourists alike. This museum has been around since the 1800s, but it has some pretty remarkable possessions, including a Rembrandt, a Tiepolo, and also a Bonnard.
You could easily spend an entire day here, basking in the glory of these pieces, or you could make a small visit to just see some of the more popular ones; we would recommend the first. If you’re in the mood for some tea and crackers, the Tea Room is exceptionally fancy and will do great.
9. Jump on a Hot Air Balloon to See the Sunrise
Just before the city wakes up and fills up with the usual commotion, Melbourne is somehow much more gorgeous. Hot air balloons aren’t just restricted to the countryside; turns out, you will have a great time if you’re flying over Melbourne as well. This activity doesn’t fall under the radar of many travelers, but it’s very much worth it and one of the top things to do in Melbourne.
As you gaze down at the entire landscape of the artistic city, things might shine in a new perspective. That city that’s been making you feel a different kind of happy could look a hundred times more endearing as you fly between the cottony clouds.
10. Shop from Favorite Brands
Everything – from every big brand you’ve seen donned on celebrities to little local, indie brands that sell clothes with a small appreciation note, you’ll find in Melbourne. Chapel Street has gained a lot of attention between tourists as well as locals for the availability of a wide array of high-quality garments.
Post-closing of former Melbourne Post Office, that place has transformed into a shopping hub. If you’re looking for some vintage pieces to nab, Fitzroy will be your new favorite place. Bridge Road has a good collection of shopping outlets and eating spots. Apart from that, Chadstone and Highpoint are two superb shopping malls that will meet your demands.
11. Try the Best Coffee in the World
Beating out top contenders like Vienna and Rome, Melbourne has won the heart of many tourists with its coffee. So it’s only logical that you put simple “getting some coffee” on your list for things to do in Melbourne.
It’s almost difficult for the locals to serve a bad cup, so you’ll find some delectable options all throughout the laneways. Yelp reviewers think that Patricia, a tiny café on Brooke Street will serve the best cup of joe. There’s no seating although, and almost always a rather long line to order a cup of coffee, but hey! Totally worth it. Proud Mary’s in Collingwood offers a house blend that will have you set new standards for your coffee.
12. Spot Adorable Penguins at St Kilda
Penguins- the word alone should get you excited about this spot in St Kilda that has the most lovable colony of St Little penguins that made their homes on the beach way back in the ‘70s. You wouldn’t expect the busy suburbs of Melbourne to have these little guests, but there’s always a surprise in Australia around every nook.
The colony arrives in all its glory a little after sunset every night. They’re even bigger in numbers during the summer. Many penguin guides are located around the beach who will help you with seeing these penguins, as well as answering any queries on them. However, it’s extremely crucial that you remain respectful of these precious creatures, their nests, and unborn hatchlings.
13. Book a Day’s Trip to Yarra Valley
For a day-long trip, or the perfect weekend getaway, Yarra Valley will be a destination that won’t disappoint. With wineries and cellar doors filled across the region, Yarra Valley is something you’d see in a calendar – lush greens, crystal clear blue skies, and the sun’s warm light covering the fields.
It’s only an hour away from Melbourne. The Valley’s specialties are pinot noir and chardonnay grapes, but they can also make a killer sparkling wine. If you’re curious to explore more, you will find some uncommon varieties hidden between the lanes.
You can try from the 160 wineries in the regions, all of different sizes and fortes. The Maroondah and Melba highways are the longest wine arterial roads where you’ll find countless cellar doors by the path.
14. Satisfy Your Inner Bookworm at the State Library of Victoria
Welcoming over eight million visitors per year, the State Library of Victoria boasts a rich historical background along with a mind-blowing collection of books stacked on the shelves. This 1856 institution has grown to become a matter of pride for the locals, and it’s easy to see why.
Even before the opening time, you will notice an overwhelming queue of people just shuffling to enter the doors and rush to take a seat. Original dark wood built central rotunda will catch your eyes instantly with its unconventional octagonal shape paired up with walls lined by books. Find your way to the La Trobe Reading Room, the six-storied domed space to capture some artistic shots.
15. Discover the Fitzroy Gardens
The Fitzroy Gardens originates way back to the Victorian-era, and encompasses a massive area of 65 acres. If you want your daily dose of history intertwined with the feeling of exploring a magical, mythical land, count visiting this as one of the important things to do in Melbourne.
Made back in 1848, this place was a swamp before it turned into the enchanting and flourishing garden that it is today; we can credit that to cultivation. There are neat pathways, homely cottages, and an abundance of pleasant gardens. This is the quintessential English Garden we read about in British history books – ones that make you smile subconsciously.
Melbourne is incredible – if we had to sum it up. There’s so much going on, so much to experience that even after having not visited it for years, the city and its attractions will call out to you. Besides everything we’ve mentioned, there are tons of other options to choose for when you’re creating your own list of “Things to Do in Melbourne”.
Make a proper plan and schedule your time so you can appreciate everything you come across. Don’t make it too rigid, otherwise you might squeeze the fun out of your delightful visit. Most importantly, relax and have fun – Melbourne is going to treat you well.