Best places to visit in Melbourne and its surrounds

Explore the must-see destinations in and around one of the world’s trendiest cities.

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Melbourne is a very cool city peppered with fabulous street art, chic neighbourhoods, sleek architecture and rooftop bars. In addition to modern city living, you can lose yourself in nature just outside the metropolitan area. With so much on offer, a trip to Melbourne is sure to keep you busy.

Whether your preference is food, nature, wineries, entertainment or all of the above, read on to find the best spots to track down.

Where to go in Melbourne

Image: Visit Victoria

1. Federation Square

Best for: Entertainment, events, art and culture

This popular and dynamic public square in Melbourne's CBD was designed as a focal point for the city's cultural and civic activities. As well as year-round attractions and events, it is home to an array of restaurants, bars and specialty stores.

Whatever time of year you're visiting Victoria's capital city, you'll find something of interest going down at "Fed Square".

  • Where is it? Walk from Flinders Street station (1 minute), catch a train from Southern Cross station (7 minutes), or take a tram on the City Circle loop.
  • Top things to see and do: Visit the Ian Potter Centre to view Australian art, grab a bite to eat and get involved in an event.
  • How long do I need? Half a day.
  • Recommended tour: Stroll through the city with a Rediscover Melbourne Tour of Federation Square and other CBD must-sees.

2. Flinders Street Station

Best for: History

Standing tall in the heart of the CBD, Flinders Street Station is one of Melbourne's most iconic structures. It's a popular rendezvous spot for locals and travellers alike, who arrange to meet under its famous row of clocks.

The station is one of the busiest in the Southern Hemisphere. The upper floors were built to house a gym, library and lecture hall, and a ballroom.

  • Where is it? Walking is possible from anywhere in the CBD (maximum 40 minutes), take a train from Southern Cross station (7 minutes), or catch a tram on the City Circle loop.
  • Top things to see and do: Grab a bite to eat on the main concourse or hop on a train to enjoy some of the sights outside the city.
  • How long do I need? 30 minutes is enough to view all of Flinders Street Station.
  • Recommended tour: Spend an afternoon on a Melbourne Walking Tour discovering the city's culture and visiting its most famous sights.

3. CBD Laneways

Best for: Cafe lovers and street art

A famous and much-loved part of Melbourne culture is its colourful, bustling city laneways that connect the major streets throughout the CBD. Covered in street art and filled with cafes that lure you in with the smell of fresh coffee, the laneways offer a special Melbourne experience that is tucked away from obvious view.

Delicious food, trendy locations, hidden corridors and cool bars add to the unique and artsy atmosphere.

  • Where is it? The laneways are woven throughout Melbourne CBD and can be reached on foot from Flinders Street station (20 minutes maximum).
  • Top things to see and do: Snap a picture at AC/DC Lane, grab some coffee at Centre Place, watch street artists on Hosier Lane, try a drink at one of the unique bars at Meyers Place and taste the best chocolate in Melbourne. If you're a Harry Potter fan, you may also wish to catch Harry Potter and the Cursed Child which is all of a 15 minute walk from the famous laneways. See here for a suggested itinerary.
  • How long do I need? Half a day.
  • Recommended tour: Join a Laneways Walking Tour of Melbourne for the best spots for coffee and chocolate, as well as must-see street art.

Image: Visit Victoria

4. Fitzroy

Best for: Food and drink, street art and trendy shopping

"Fitzy", as it’s called locally, is a trendy and artistic neighbourhood known for its bohemian vibes. The area attracts young professionals and students thanks to its unique bars and restaurants. You can also find street art dotted around the suburb, as well as galleries in many of its terraced houses.

Brunswick Street is popular for shopping and nightlife, while Gertrude Street offers more eateries, art and design.

  • Where is it? You can take a train to Fitzroy from Flinders Street station (20 minutes), walk from Flinders Street station (35 minutes), or catch a tram from Southern Cross station (22 minutes).
  • Top things to see and do: Spend a night on the town on Brunswick Street, find the trendiest bars to grab a cool cocktail, discover local street art, spend an afternoon in a cafe people-watching, and relax in Fitzroy Gardens.
  • How long do I need? Half a day.
  • Recommended tour: Join a street artist on a Fitzroy Street Art Tour and get to see the best examples in the area, learn about the underground art, and visit the Rose St. Artists' Market.

Image: Visit Melbourne

5. Docklands

Best for: Entertainment, dining and water activities

Once part of the shipping industry, Melbourne Docklands is now a harbour development that sits on the water surrounded by high-rise buildings. It is dominated by the colourful Melbourne Star observation wheel and offers a wide range of activities and experiences.

Many people visit Docklands to catch a sports game at Etihad Stadium, go shopping or dine at one of the waterside restaurants.

  • Where is it? Walk from Southern Cross station (13 minutes), catch a train from Flinders Street station (15 minutes) or take a tram from Flinders Street station (20 minutes).
  • Top things to see and do: Take in the views of the city from the Melbourne Star, shop your heart out or take a sunset cruise.
  • How long do I need? Half a day.
  • Recommended tour: Hop on a Port of Melbourne and Docklands Sightseeing Cruise for panoramic views of Melbourne's skyline and sights.

6. Dandenong Ranges

Best for: Nature and active travellers

Less than an hour outside Melbourne you can escape the bustling city and surround yourself with nature. The beautiful Dandenong Ranges is a low range of mountains that reaches a height of 633 metres at Mount Dandenong.

Enjoy breathtaking scenery along the many walking and hiking trails, and drop into the hilltop villages and local arts and crafts centres.

  • Where is it? Drive from Melbourne (1 hour and 10 minutes from the CBD) or catch the train from Belgrave station.
  • Top things to see and do: Hop on the Puffing Billy steam train, hike or cycle through the mountains, visit some of the gardens and take in the views at SkyHigh, said to be the highest natural viewing point in Victoria.
  • How long do I need? Half to whole day.
  • Recommended tour: Experience the area's beauty on a Puffing Billy, Moonlight Sanctuary & Penguin Day Tour where you'll ride through the mountains and see local wildlife up close.

Image: St Kilda Melbourne

7. St Kilda

Best for: Foodies, relaxation and families

St Kilda is a buzzing beachside suburb that attracts backpackers, families and fitness lovers. You'll find joggers running down the boardwalk and travellers filling the trendy restaurants and bars on Acland and Carlisle streets.

The once glitzy resort area is now a popular spot for music and festivals, and provides a relaxed vibe on the edge of the city.

  • Where is it? Trains and trams are available from Flinders Street station (30 to 40 minutes) or Southern Cross station (25 to 35 minutes).
  • Top things to see and do: Stay for sunset and spot fairy penguins, chill out on St Kilda Beach, jump on some rides at Luna Park, visit the St Kilda Sea Baths and take a walk along the pier.
  • How long do I need? Half to whole day.
  • Recommended tour: A cycle tour enables you to learn the history of the area, see art deco buildings and cover more ground than you would on foot, plus it includes a complimentary drink at the end of the tour.

8. Great Ocean Road

Best for: Scenic sights

The Great Ocean Road is one of Australia’s most scenic drives and runs along the Victorian coastline between Torquay and Allansford. The road stretches for 243km and is included in the Australian National Heritage List.

Today the route is famous for its natural rock formations, predominantly the Twelve Apostles, as well as prime surf spots, charming towns, and a chance to see wildlife up close.


Southbank Melbourne

9. South Bank

Best for: Cruising and cultural aficionados

Featuring both city and water views, Southbank is one of the places to be when visiting Melbourne. It's home to a plethora of cultural institutions including the Malthouse Theatre and the Melbourne Recital Centre. Foodies can rejoice while enjoying dinner and a drink on the riverside promenade.

  • Where is it? Southbank is located across the river, south of the CBD. Travelling via vehicle gets you there in less than 10 minutes.
  • Top things to see and do: Get amongst the clouds with a Eureka Skydeck and the Edge Experience, pay a visit to the National Gallery of Victoria and immerse yourself at the Crown Casino.
  • How long do I need? Half to a day
  • Recommended tour: See some of the city's very best with a Highlights Melbourne Cruise. Enjoy panoramic views of the skyline, expert commentary and opportunities to snap a few photos while you're there.

Mornington Peninsula Melbourne

10. Mornington Peninsula

Best for: Beach lovers

It's the place to be if you want to make the most of the sun while in Melbourne. It offers an extensive stretch of coastline, allowing holidaymakers some beachside bliss while still staying within the metropolitan area. Make the most of your visit with dolphin cruises, hot spring tours and nature retreats.


Best places to visit within 2 hours of Melbourne

  • Dandenong Ranges: 1.5-hour drive from Melbourne
  • Yarra Valley: 1.5-hour drive from Melbourne
  • Great Ocean Road: 1.5-hour drive from Melbourne
  • Phillip Island: 2-hour drive from Melbourne

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2 Responses

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    MuhammadApril 26, 2019

    Spelling mistake on your website. Under Latest Travel Offers, spelling of “Compare fight prices” are wrong. It should be “flight” instead. Just letting you know, not giving a good experience.

      Avatarfinder Customer Care
      JohnApril 26, 2019Staff

      Hi Muhammad,

      Thank you for letting us know. We will have the page updated as soon as possible.

      Cheers,
      Reggie

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