Art, culture, sports, dining, coffee capital, fashion, hustling and bustling city center, beautiful suburbs, gardens, galleries, museums – sums up what Melbourne is all about!!! It’s historical buildings and modern architecture all in one frame will make you fall in love with this city ❤ . From gardens to old markets, branded stores to thrift shops, sports arena to art galleries – this city has something for everyone 🙂 .
This Victorian capital offers unique dining experiences and has some of the best cafes in Australia. Hidden alleys and lanes right in the heart of the business district leaves you enchanted and wanting more. Graffiti on old structures and bridges is blended in well with the modern futuristic architecture.
If you have a high creative arty quotient – you have loads of options to choose from: art shows, galleries or exhibitions. Or simply sit on the steps of one of of the old churches or libraries or sit on a bench beside Yarra river and admire a street artist amusing you with some tricks. Visiting Melbourne for work or a holiday, you will always find this city so alive and in highest spirits!
Getting there and going around:
There are a lot of international and domestic flights flying into Melbourne Airport. The airport is well connected to the city via shuttle buses (with free WiFi on board) which take you to the city center. You can find more information on them here. Buses are definitely way cheaper than taxis, though taxis are also easily available.
The whole city along with the suburbs is well connected via trains. There is a free hop on-hop off tram that stops at all the popular tourists spots :). We covered most of our favorite places in Melbourne on foot, train or via this tram. One of the stops for the tram is right outside the Flinders Street Railway Station.
Here are out picks on the top things to do in the city area:
1. Explore Flinders Street Railway Station and Federation Square:
If you plan to go around Melbourne via trains and the tourist tram, you will not miss this iconic, domed, crowded and busy Flinders Street Railway Station. Start your day Victorian style with a cup of coffee and donuts at one of the cafes at the metro hub. Walk across the street to Federation Square. There is always some arts, cultural or public event ongoing. Wander around the area and admire the Princes Bridge across the Yarra River. Diagonally across the station is the St. Paul’s Cathedral, which is worth checking out as well.
2. Immerse into the colors at Hosier Lane:
Imagine streets and lanes full of art and graffiti all over! Melbourne is one of the most prominent graffiti city of Australia and this painted city street is one of the popular tourist spots and wedding photographer’s favorite. Vandalism is now banned in Australia and special “anti-graffiti squads” are now cleaning up the paints, so check out this insta-worthy spot before it’s wiped off completely!
3. Sip coffee at a cafe in CBD area:
Melbourne holds the second place in world’s best coffee cities. If you are a coffee lover, you’ll feel like you have entered heaven when you walk in one of the local cafes with exotic coffee smell! Literally! You can find little Melbourne Baristas in each nook & corner of the main city. If you are a coffee fanatic, there are tailored tasting tours available as well! Yes, Melbournians take their coffee seriously. Once you take a sip, you’ll know why it is worth the hype.
4. Shop at the rustic Queen Victoria Market:
Built and opened in 1878, this Victorian architecture building still survived the test of time. Restored in its original glory, this hustling and bustling market is famous for local produce,fresh fruits, meat and veggies, local art and craft and souvenirs. There are several events held at the market as well. This is one of the stops for the hop on-hop off tourist tram. It is the largest open air market in the Southern Hemisphere 🙂
If you want to shop for branded stuff, there are many stores in the Flinders Street and Collins Street area or Block Arcade. There are a lot of clothes and accessories boutiques as well in this area. For arty tourists, Flinders Quarter is the place to shop!
5. Tickle the history geek or the reader within you:
Melbourne city gets the status of being arty because it offers a plethora of options for museums and exhibitions. You may choose to visit Immigration Museum, Melbourne Museum, National Gallery of Victory, Old Treasury Building and many more. Essentially, you can choose one specific to your interest. Take a break from wandering around to visit the State Library of Victoria. Go gallery hopping!
Art lover? You can find a list of Melbourne’s ongoing exhibitions here.
6. Visit the MCG & Sports Arenas:
MCG or Melbourne Cricket Ground, was built in 1800s and is considered the birthplace of Test Cricket. It has witnessed some of the most historical cricket matches. It has a gallery and guided tours organized for the crazy cricket fans. Check out MCG’s official website here for upcoming events and matches. Right beside the cricket ground are the other Olympic level sports arenas for different sports.
7. Explore the gardens & river side:
Victoria is known as the Garden state of the country and Melbourne has some of the most popular gardens to flaunt. Royal Botanic Gardens is one of the top places to visit among the locals and tourists. You may also visit Carlton Garden (which is a UNESCO world heritage site) or Fitzroy Garden (which has beautifully carved Fairy trees). Take a walk along the Yarra River which flows right beside the city center with restaurants, hotels and tourist spots on both side.
8. Ride on the hop on-hop off tourist tram:
Going around Melbourne city could not be easier. The City Circle tram or the route number 35 is a free hop on-hop off tram service that stops at the popular tourist spots. The frequency is almost 10+ minutes and the whole loop is completed in approximately 45+ minutes. There are brochures and maps available for your reference on the tram and friendly driver guides are on-board. Do check the timings while you take the trams – it starts at 9AM but ends at 6PM for some days of the week and at 9 PM for some other days.
9. Indulge in unique dining experiences:
Melbourne being the multicultural city that it is, you can find any and every cuisine here. There are celebrity chef restaurants as well as theme restaurants across the length and breadth of this vibrant tourist destination. You can dine in style on one of the sunset cruises or yachts. Treat your tummies to some chinese food in Chinatown area or Greek, Italian or Indian cuisine right in the CBD area.
10. Take a day tour or weekend getaway trip:
This is a must if you have time on your hands! Australia has a breathtakingly beautiful landscape! You have to experience the pristine natural beauty around Melbourne first hand to appreciate it. The mystical blue oceans, the flora and fauna at few hours drive from the city, the peaceful national parks are simply mesmerizing.
Some of them are:
- Great Ocean Road & Twelve Apostles (we literally saw Milky Way galaxy from our stay at one of the Discovery parks near twelve Apostles on a clear winter night ❤ )
- Hit some of the sunny beaches like Brighton Beach, Sorrento Beach, Port Melbourne Beach
- Catch the Penguin Parade at Phillip Island Nature Park (we spotted Kangaroos in the wild on our way there 🙂 )
- Visit Yarra Valley and Dandenong Ranges to get up close with the Australian wildlife and have fantastic food and drinks
This section deserves a blog post of its own where we will put in more details on the spots mentioned above. There are day tours organized to all these tourist spots if you are not keen on driving yourself.
Happy Exploring! 🙂