Famous for its coffee culture, bustling brunch scene and creative charm, the cool coastal city of Melbourne is a must-visit on any trip to the Land Down Under. Whether you’re planning your first visit to Victoria’s capital and don’t know where to begin, or you’ve been here so many times you’re basically a local, read on for a handy roundup of our favourite things to do in Melbourne...
Join a Foodie Tour
With its mix of cultures and myriad restaurants, cafes, bistros and bars, Melbourne’s dining scene is wonderfully eclectic. Treat your tastebuds to a foodie tour of some of the city’s specialist eating destinations, head to Richmond for Vietnamese, Carlton's 'Little Italy', Fitzroy for Spanish, and Brunswick for Lebanese. While you are eating your way around the city be sure not to miss a visit to Chinatown, where we can arrange for you to join a ‘Dumpling Discovery’ tour with a local (and yes, this tour is every bit as delicious as it sounds!).
Go Café Hopping in Fitzroy
While we’re on the topic of food, Melbourne is renowned for its top-notch brunches and brews and in the lively suburb of Fitzroy, you’re truly spoilt for choice. Spend an afternoon exploring the cool and quirky streets of this neighbourhood, seeking out the best hipster coffeehouses. Once you’ve had your caffeine fix, take your time moseying around the many vintage shops which are packed full of colourful clothes and wacky nick knacks.
Visit The Royal Botanic Gardens
Attracting over 1,900,000 visitors annually, the Royal Botanic Gardens is at the top of many travellers’ lists of things to do in Melbourne. Explore the gardens at your own pace, taking in the diverse plant collections and tranquil lakes, or join one of the free guided tours to learn more about the plant collections and native wildlife that call these gardens home. If you've got little ones in tow, the Children’s Garden is guaranteed to be a hit, complete with bamboo forests to hide in and plant tunnels to crawl through. If you visit in the summer culture lovers will be in their element, with theatre performances, exhibitions and an outdoor cinema livening up the lawns.
Take a Graffiti Tour
Melbourne is world-renowned for its diverse street art scene and the best way to take in the artistic sights is on a walking tour with a local guide. Wander through the city’s colourful backstreets to see everything from building-sized murals to hidden-away sculptures. One of the top spots in town to see graffiti art has to be Hosier Lane, in the city’s central business district, where you’ll gain a fascinating insight into the artworks, as you explore the street accompanied by a knowledgeable guide.
Explore The National Gallery of Victoria
Continue your arty tour with a visit to the National Gallery of Victoria - Australia’s oldest, largest and most visited art museum. Home to over 70,000 pieces of art, this vast treasury is filled to the rafters with everything from historic paintings to modern masterpieces. Whether you choose to explore at your own pace or join a tour to learn more about the artworks displayed here, the gallery is guaranteed to knock your socks off.
Meander Around Queen Victoria Market
Affectionately known as ‘Vic Market’ or ‘Queen Vic’, the Queen Victoria Market has been the beating heart and soul of Melbourne for more than a century. Wandering around this bustling inner-city market is one of the top things to do in Melbourne and with over 600 stalls inside, selling everything from gourmet food to clothing and souvenirs, it is easy to see why. Another market well worth a visit is the South Melbourne Market. First opened in 1867, it is the city’s longest continually running market and while it may be a little smaller than Queen Victoria, with just 150 stalls, it is every bit as diverse.
Visit St Kilda’s Beach
If you’ve ticked off all the items on your list of things to do in Melbourne, we recommend hopping on a tram to the seaside suburb of St Kilda, which is the perfect place for a laid-back beach day. Spend your time here topping up your tan on one of the palm tree-lined beaches, or relaxing in one of the many cosmopolitan bars and restaurants. If you fancy something a little more active venture to Luna Park to rediscover your inner child, complete with roller-coasters, fairground games and views of the Southern Ocean, this fairground is sure to delight both adults and children in equal measure.
Cover Picture : Mark Chew/Tourism Australia