If you are planning a mini-break, as so many of us are, there are things to do in Melbourne that you have never even thought of.
If you haven’t visited for a while, Melbourne has morphed into a unique dynamic city and the first thing to do is to take a walk around and look at the amazing street art.
Melbourne has specialized in street art for years and is recognized as a world leader in elevating art while reducing graffiti levels. No longer considered an underground art form, you can now take a tour to better understand it.
TRAVEL TIP: Avoid the stress and drop your bags at one of the convenient luggage storage locations provided by mindmybag.
While you are walking through the laneways, try the coffee, as Melbourne is fast taking on the role of Australia’s leading coffee city! Since the city hosted a coffee expo in 2014 they have forged ahead with the cafe culture, and are extremely proud of their growing reputation, and the Baristas all try to outdo one another! If you love your coffee you are certainly in the right city!
The flavours here reflect the fact that Melbourne prefers coffee made from 100% arabica beans. Filter-style brews and single-origin espresso are commonplace in Melbourne’s cafes, and the city is known for its expertise in sourcing, roasting, and brewing specialty coffee.
Flinders Street Station & nearby Federation Square
Opening in 1920, Flinders Street station is a lovely Victorian Heritage building, listed on the National Trust Register. It is Australia’s busiest railway station & contains a small shopping centre and a small number of food vendors.
Federation Square contains world-class galleries and exhibitions. Since it opened in 2002, more than 100 million visitors have gone there. Now known as a centre for culture and creativity, and all types of food. The area is an unusual architectural shape and is Australia’s largest-ever infrastructure project.
It was the first station in Australia to use steam locomotives. When the first steam train was opened to the public, thousands of people gathered around the track to watch it.
If you want to enjoy waterfront dining as well as world-class shopping, then Southbank is the place for you.
Take a stroll down the Yarra and enjoy some coffee, beer, or a steak while you take in the ambiance, or pop into the Malthouse Theater (a restored brewery) and catch one of the hosted plays or recitals.
Experience the London Dungeon after hours. Stay Late at the Tate, a Silent Disco at Sea Life London, a Knot and Lyaness at Sea Containers tour, a Night City river boat, a tour of London just for adults, and more!
If the kids are with you (or you are up for a bit of fun), a visit to Scienceworks is a must. It has a large collection of hands-on exhibits and events. The exhibition includes a tiny city called Nitty Gritty Super City that demonstrates just how a city works. There is a planetarium, and live science shows including a big Tesla Coil that produces 3-meter lightning bolts, all very exciting and even adults enjoy the exhibits. Because most of the exhibits are interactive, it holds the kid’s interest for longer, and some people spend half a day there.
Melbourne Botanical Gardens
For those interested in plants, the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne attracts 1,900.000 visitors every year. It has beautiful views and tranquil lakes and, of course, a large collection of diverse plants. Entry is free, and you can request a guided walk or a 30-minute private boat tour. One section of the gardens has an Aboriginal Heritage Walk, featuring Indigenous plants often used as food sources by First Nation People in the bush. If you find walking difficult, you can take a buggy tour of the gardens in a vehicle called The Explorer. The garden contains many different picnic areas, and you can visit more than once and still not see everything. Autumn is a lovely time to visit, as in Melbourne the change in seasons is noticeable, and you will see the leaves on the trees turn beautiful Autumnal colours.
Melbourne Botanic Gardens’ 38 hectares are home to more than 8,500 plant types. The gardens feature camellias, rainforest vegetation, cacti and succulents, roses, Californian species, herbs, perennials, cycads, and more.
The Melbourne Cricket Ground
Things to do in Melbourne should include a visit to the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Melbourne is a city hooked on its sport, and all Summer cricket takes priority. The stadium in the Cricket Ground is old, originally built in 1853, it has been rebuilt quite often over the years. The crowd record at the stadium is 130,000 people. The Melbourne Cricket Ground also houses the Australian Gallery of Sport and Olympic Museum. If you want to attend a match, bookings are made on the website.
The MCG allows outside food. Homemade sandwiches, bread, pies, and sausage rolls count. The packaging can be anything. Wrap homemade food in foil, cling film, or airtight containers.
Yarra Valley Wine Tour
If you have a day to spare, take the bus for the Yarra Valley Wine Tour. It departs early from the CBD for a full day amongst the vines. This is a relaxing trip where a careful selection of wineries will ensure that you see the best vineyards and taste the best wines. The Yarra Valley is only one hour’s drive from Melbourne, enabling you to see quite a few wineries in one visit. The tour includes a gourmet lunch at a winery and a visit to a specialized Chocolaterie as well as the Cellar Doors. Some routes even take you to a Gin Distillery, and the route changes a bit each season.
The Winebus is also a good idea for special events like corporate or adult family gatherings. While you are having lunch you will be treated to some live Jazz amongst the vines.
Yarra Valley is known for its Pinot noir, sparkling wine, and Chardonnay. Each winery or cellar door will offer six samples. Sparkling or dessert wines are often served to close off the evening.
Old Melbourne Gaol
From 1842 to 1929 the old gaol operated in the heart of Melbourne, and it is now a macabre museum. Over the years it housed many prisoners including Ned Kelly, and while in operation 133 people were executed there.
Moreover, the conditions in the prison were extremely harsh, and are quite shocking by today’s standards. All prisoners executed in the old days had death masks done, and you can see the death masks as part of the exhibition. Like most old prisons the museum is thought by some to be haunted, and you can hear some of the stories by taking the ghost tour at twilight. This is very creepy, but a lot of fun for everyone.
Old Melbourne Gaol, built in the 1800s, became a metropolitan icon and emblem of power. The Gaol held the worst criminals, lesser offenders, impoverished, and mentally ill.
Ned Kelly was slain in 1880 at age 25. Kelly was convicted of murder after a two-day trial. As required by law, executed offenders were buried unmarked at the correctional cemetery.
One of the many things to do in Melbourne is to visit Crown Casino. It’s the only Casino in Melbourne and one of the most popular in the country. With that in mind, it’s a very large complex, just near the Yarra River. The Casino is open 24 hours a day for those who enjoy gambling. If you are going for dinner, take your time to walk around and check out all the options. The area is also known as a luxury shopping destination, with great restaurants and massive nightlife. If you are staying at Crown then be sure to take your time exploring the area. The Atrium area is lovely with fountains and sound shows, particularly during Chinese New year and other large celebrations.
In addition, just outside there are pyrotechnic towers that shoot fireballs into the night sky. You can sit for hours and watch quite a lot of things happening without spending too much money. Just go there for a drink and a look around and head to one of Melbourn’s amazing restaurants, as Melbourne is noted for its dining scene and there are lots of places to go.
Crown Casino accepts chips and casino credit. You can convert cash to chips at the table or cashier’s cage. Bring cash to stay on budget and avoid ATM costs.
One of the best things to do in Melbourne is to go on a shopping spree, as you will find world-class shopping. Visit the former Melbourne GPO now a shopping mall. Next, take a trip over to Chapel Street where you will find high-end Boutiques, and then to Richmond for food and Homewares.
Discover Victoria’s Queen Victoria Market, is open most days and has been operational since 1878. Located on Queen Street it offers Vintage Clothing and jewelry, gift, homewares, and fresh produce. You may decide to go to Fitzroy or Chadstone, as both places have large shopping malls.
It is not unusual for people to fly in from other states or even countries, as most things can be purchased in Melbourne. Going on a trip like this enables you to see good live Theatre like ‘Hamilton’ which has recently reopened.
Arguably, Melbourne has always been a shopping Mecca and it makes sense to fly in for a few days! If you are short of time, book a shopping tour of Melbourne. The tour can even pick you up from the airport and take you to the shops. Check when booking a tour, as some will only take you to Factory outlets. This type of tour is very popular with people from Asia, who often fly in one day and out the next to do their shopping quickly.
Chadstone Shopping Centre is the largest in the Southern Hemisphere (likely only second to Centro Comercial Aricanduva in South America). Melbourne’s 3 October 1960 mall was unlike any other.
Live Music Scene
Melbourne has always had a strong live music scene and is a city that attracts international artists of all types. One of the venues where you can see live acts is the famous Sidney Myer Music Bowl. Sidney Myer of Department Store fame left this amazing legacy to Melbourne many years ago. No visit to Melbourne is complete without seeing a live act at the Myer Music Bowl. Hotels are also popular spots to see live acts including the Ding-Dong Lounge, the Esplanade Hotel, and the Palais Theatre.
It’s a good idea to check and see who is performing at Crown Casino as they always have quality acts. In Melbourne, the music scene started in coffee lounges in the 60s with trios singing Folk Ballads. Melbourne was then famous for The Seekers, Judith Durham, singing live in late-night cafes back in 1968. Then everyone smoked, and the air was thick with smoke and Bob Dylan songs. A lot has changed in the last 50 years, but live music is alive and one of the best things to do in Melbourne.
Melbourne is considered Australia’s live-music capital. You just need to know where to look to find the city’s jazz basements and rock’n’roll bars.
Penguin-Spotting at St Kilda
St. Kilda is packed with things to do for visitors and locals alike, from the delicious pastries on Acland Street to the beautiful public parks and the exciting nightlife.
There is also a pier, a colony of small penguins, and a surprisingly beautiful beach with iconic Victorian beach homes. This colony has been established on the St. Kilda breakwater since the 1970s. They consistently show up every evening at sunset, peaking in the summer.
During the summertime daylight hours, there are penguin guides available to answer any questions you may have.
If you want peace, visit at 11 PM or two hours before sunrise. Early in the morning, you can see penguins without other people.
Enjoy the Views at Eureka Tower
Want to see the city from a breathtaking vantage point? The Eureka Tower, which is 91 stories high, is located in the heart of Southbank. In remembrance of the 1854 prospectors’ rebellion in the Victorian goldfields, this spectacular skyscraper was given the name Eureka Stockade. The building’s gold crown and gold-plated windows shine brightly in the sunlight, furthering the Gold Rush theme. The Skydeck, located on the 88th floor, provides visitors with the best public view in the Southern Hemisphere. For those who don’t get motion sickness, the highlight of a visit to The Edge is sliding out on a glass cube three meters from the skyscraper.
The 88th-floor Skydeck offers stunning views of the city and surroundings. It’s the Southern Hemisphere’s highest public observation platform at 285 meters.
The 297.3 m (984.3 ft) tower has 91 floors (including a subterranean level) and 84 residential floors. It briefly held the distinction of Australia’s tallest structure, surpassing the Rialto skyscraper by 46.3 m.