Any Melbournian will tell you that Melbourne is Australia’s coolest city – and we can’t really argue with them there. There are so many things to do in Melbourne, from checking out amazing street art to sampling cocktails in one of the dozens of trendy small bars. Here our ten unmissable things to do in Melbourne, Australia.
Yarra River Cruise
One of the best ways to take in the beauty of Melbourne is by cruising down the mighty Yarra River, taking in the scenic views and hearing about the history of Melbourne and the river. There are many great options for cruises, however some of the best combine cruising with enjoying canapes and/or sparkling wine – what a brilliant way to take in the Melbourne city skyline!
Old Melbourne Jail
Learn a bit about the darker side to Melbourne’s history at the Old Melbourne Jail. It’s the place to find out about Melbourne’s convict past, when minor crimes could see people sent on ships from England to Australia to complete hard labour, and life was hard. This jail is a particular must do in Melbourne as was the location where infamous bushranger and antihero of Australia, Ned Kelly, was hung in 1880.
St Kilda Beach
Australians love their beaches and although Sydney might have more famous ones than Melbourne, there are certainly a few places to enjoy the sun and surf near the Melbourne CBD. A visit to St Kilda Beach is one of the most popular things to do in Melbourne, on account of its laidback atmosphere and variety of different shops, cafés and bars. There’s even a colony of penguins who march to the sea as the sun goes down!
First of all, don’t go expecting there to actually be twelve apostles – most of them have crumbled into the sea at some stage over the last ten thousand years, and there are now only eight standing. Nonetheless, this is a beautiful spot with views over Australia’s ruggedly beautiful coastline. They’re 275km away, but it is possible to reach them on a day trip from Melbourne and you’ll be richly rewarded for doing so!
Check Out the Laneways (especially Hosier Lane)
Melbourne has become Australia’s mecca for young creatives including artists and painters. The city has embraced these up-and-comers and has encouraged them to treat many of the walls in Melbourne as a blank canvas. As a result, the city is brimming with edgy, awesome street art in its laneways. The most famous of all is Hosier Lane near Federation Square which is a hotspot for photos.
Built in 2002 to celebrate one hundred years of the federation of Australia, Federation Square is the heart of Melbourne, hosting gatherings of people for events such as watching large sporting games like the World Cup. Even if there are no events on, there are several interesting museums around the edges of the square, including the art gallery, the Ian Potter Centre, and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, which traces the history of Australian film.
Grampians Day Trip
The Grampians lie 250km away from the Melbourne CBD, so it’s a bit of an effort to reach it in a daytrip – but it’s definitely do-able, or otherwise you can take a two- or three-day tour. The region is spectacularly beautiful, and one of Australia’s most famous camping and hiking hotspots. There are many different trails, so it is suitable for people of all ages and abilities.
This island not far from Melbourne is famous for two things: Australia’s annual MotoGP, and the colony of adorable little penguins who live there. So, if you love penguins or motorbikes (or maybe both), it is well worth visiting Philip Island for the day and taking part in the penguin tour. If you can’t make it to Philip Island, you might also catch a glance of the penguins at St Kila Beach.
Sip a Cocktail or Two
Melbourne is renowned for its small bar scene, with some of the best venues to sample a cocktail anywhere in the country. Whatever your drink of choice, there’s bound to be a bar in Melbourne devoted to it. There’s too many to name, but one of our favourites is the famous Croft Institute, or try up-and-coming Pizza Pizza Pizza* – if you can find it.
Shop at the Queen Victoria Market
If you’re after some souvenirs of your travel to Melbourne, or perhaps some tasty, budget-friendly food, look no further than the 140-year-old Queen Victoria Market. One of the oldest markets in Australia, the Queen Victoria Market is also one of the top things to do in Melbourne, offering a great selection of stalls and eateries. All through the year, there are frequently fun and free events such as concerts and workshops to check out as well!
So, there you have it – our top ten things to do in Melbourne, Australia’s coolest city. This list includes attractions in the city, as well as several fun daytrips from Melbourne that will allow you to see even more of this great city.