Not quite in Melbourne, but well worth the short drive, Philip Island is a nature lover’s paradise and the perfect escape for anyone needing a break from the city. Named after Governor Arthur Philip, the first Governor of New South Wales, Philip Island is the cultural home to the BoonWurrung and Wurundjeeir Balluk indigenous people. Around 140km South of Melbourne, Philip Island has a great deal of things to do. It’s a must for anybody interested in wildlife and also a great place for surfing.
Over 3 million tourists visit the Philip Island Nature Park each year. Here you can see large groups of small fairy penguins make their way on shore. As well as penguins, over 15,000 fur seals call the island home, the largest population in Australia. You can also see short-tailed shearwaters, Pacific gulls, wallabies and kangaroos. The sea also has a host of wildlife. Dolphins, Killer Whales and humpback whales can also be seen if you are lucky.
Aside from the wildlife, Philip Island is a great place to surf and has previously hosted the Rip Curl Surf Festival. Boards and all equipment can be rented at a number of locations across the coast. If you’re a wildlife fan visiting Melbourne then Philip Island is something you must do. The island takes just under 2 hours to reach by car. You will not regret the doing this.
St. Pauls Anglican Cathedral
St. Pauls Anglican Cathedral is a great attraction for those with an interest in history. The Cathedral is the perfect place to spend a morning admiring some Gothic Revival architecture, which had become increasing popular during the Victorian era. Completed in 1891, its one of Melbourne’s most important architectural landmarks. It now attracts lovers of architecture from all over the world and for good reason. Try to arrive early to avoid the crowds.
ANZ Banking Museum
This attraction is not quite as boring as it sounds. It’s understandable that banking and financial institutions aren’t the most interesting subjects or key criteria for a holiday, however the main focus is the building itself, a truly grand structure which perfectly represents the architecture of the time. Perhaps not the most exciting thing to do, but it’s free and not too far from St. Pauls Cathedral.
Old Melbourne Gaol
Another great thing to do for those who have been bitten by the history bug is to visit The Old Melbourne Goal; the oldest prison in Melbourne, which has now been converted into a Museum. Some of Australia’s deadliest criminals have faced execution within this prison, including the notorious outlaw, Edward “Ned” Kelly. Kelly has since became an Australian icon and somewhat of a folk legend. The museum does great justice in portraying his life. The museum even holds the famous body of amour, which he wore during a gunfight with the police.
This attraction might not be for everyone. The walls have captured the souls of thousands of prisoners over the years and there is a certain atmosphere that lingers within each room. However, the museum is family friendly and will certainly keep children entertained for a few hours.
Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria is bursting with visual beauty. As you walk through the 38 hector garden you are constantly surrounded by nature at its finest. The garden holds more than 50,000 plants and holds over 8,000 different species from all over the world. The gardens are open from 7:30 every morning until sun set and make for a great afternoon with the family.
Eureka sky deck
After a long day of sightseeing here is no better place to visit than the sky Deck at the Eureka Tower. Completed June 1st 2006 the building stands at 975ft and is the highest public vantage point in Melbourne. Located on the 88th floor, the sky deck offers panoramic views of the city that are second to none. Arrive early, visit the terrace bar, grab a Mojito then wind down as the sun sets and disappears beyond the skyline. Relax, enjoy the ambiance and take in the 360 degree views of Melbourne.
After a beautiful sunset, head to the 89th floor for a spectacular culinary experience with further views of the sprawling Melbourne skyline. A truly unforgettable experience, the views are unbelievable at night and the food is just as good, if not better!