You're set to visit Melbourne (perhaps for the Australian Open?), so now it's time to decide what you want to do and how you’re going experience all of Melbourne's culture.
From scenic coastal drives to wino and foodie faves to the hidden laneways that Melbourne’s city centre is renowned for, these are the top activities in and around Melbourne that you shouldn't miss.
1. The Great Ocean Road
When in Melbourne, you can't miss doing the popular day or weekend trip along the Great Ocean Road. Discover hotspots such as the famous Twelve Apostles, Otway National Park and the beautiful Apollo Bay.
2. Phillip Island
Phillip Island is where you'll get the chance to see the famous colony of little penguins that return to their beachside burrows at sunset after a long day out at sea. You can literally walk directly beside them.
Outside of this star attraction, other spots worth adding to your itinerary include the Koala Conservation Centre, Seal Rocks and the coast that looks out to Western Port and French Island.
3. Melbourne’s famous laneways
Melbourne is a city best explored with the help of a local, and with so many narrow streets and laneways, it's much easier to leave the car behind and explore on foot.
There are many hidden restaurants, bars and venues tucked away down laneways that many visitors miss out on altogether.
Explore the CBD with a local and get a taste for Melbourne’s culture by trying dumplings, checking out its eclectic shops, sipping coffee and tasting chocolate before topping off the day with a glass of bubbly on a rooftop.
Image: Visit Melbourne
4. The City Circle Tram
The city of Melbourne loves its trams and you can try out the experience with the number 35 City Circle Tram that runs around the CBD and Docklands.
Designed for tourists or those new to the city, you can take a ride in one of the heritage trams with an audio tour pointing out the landmarks as you pass them. Best of all, the ride is absolutely free. In fact, all trams within Melbourne's Free Tram Zone are completely free. It gets you between most of the CBD's major sites like Federation Square, the Docklands and Bourke Street Mall.
5. Eureka Tower Skydeck
There is no better way to see spectacular views of Melbourne than from the top of the Eureka Tower. Head to the Skydeck for unbeatable views of the city from the Southern Hemisphere’s highest viewing platform.
If you dare, try the Edge Experience where you can walk out into a floor-to-ceiling glass cube 300 metres above the ground.
6. Yarra Valley wineries
The Yarra Valley is Australia’s coolest wine region and is only an hour from Melbourne's CBD.
Now, you could drive it yourself but if you or your party don't want to watch your drinks, take heart. There are more than a handful of tours that take you to the best vineyards.
Image: Visit Melbourne
7. Brighton Beach
Known for its colourful beach boxes, Brighton Beach is just a tram ride away from Melbourne's CBD. Spend the day soaking up the sun and posing in front of the painted beach boxes.
Photoshoots from tourists and locals alike are not uncommon, so you won't look out of place.
8. Melbourne street art
Often referred to as Australia’s cultural capital, there’s no shortage of street art to be found around the city.
The CBD is home to many laneways where street artists can show off their creativity. Even if you've been to Melbourne before, the works rotate so often you'll likely never see the same mural twice.
Image: Melbourne Zoo
9. Melbourne Zoo
Situated in Parkville, just north of the city centre, Melbourne Zoo is home to all kinds of Australian wildlife, as well as critters from all around the world.
If you’re hoping to spot local creatures, you’ll be able to see Australian fur seals, little penguins and platypuses. You’ll also find lions, gorillas, tigers, zebras and Asian elephants here.
Image: Luna Park Melbourne
10. Luna Park Melbourne
No visit to Melbourne is complete without a visit to St Kilda's iconic Luna Park.
The beachfront theme park has been open since 1912, and over the years has treated visitors to rides on the Ferris wheel, dodgems, the carousel, and the world’s oldest continually operating roller coaster, The Great Scenic Railway.
- Pocket-friendly option: Take the tram to St Kilda and walk through the gates for a fiver.
- The ultimate experience: Get on those rides. There are single and unlimited ride passes at the door.
Image: Melbourne SEA LIFE Aquarium
11. Melbourne Aquarium
See up to 10,000 different aquatic creatures right in the centre of Victoria’s capital at Melbourne SEA LIFE Aquarium.
There are 12 different habitat zones to explore at the aquarium, ranging from mangroves and coral caves to the penguin playground and shipwreck explorer. There are also interactive experiences available like shark dives.
Image: Melbourne Museum
12. Melbourne Museum
Get a bit of background on the culture, history and lifestyle of Victoria at the Melbourne Museum.
There are eight exhibition galleries (including one for children), and highlights include a full blue whale skeleton, an aboriginal culture centre and a living rainforest. If you’d like to catch a film or documentary, IMAX Melbourne is also located at the museum.
Image: Federation Square
13. Federation Square
A modern urban square in Central Melbourne, Federation Square has become a hub for cultural activities.
It's home to restaurants, galleries and museums, and sits in an ideal spot across the street from Flinders Street Station and next to the Yarra River.
Must-see Melbourne sports events
Image: Australian Open
The first of four Grand Slam tennis events each year, the Australian Open is one of the world's largest tennis events.
Founded in 1905, the open has seen tennis greats like Serena Williams, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal vie for the championship.
- Where to they play? Melbourne Park
- When do they play? Mid-late January
Melbourne-area AFL teams
Victorians live and breathe Australian rules football, or AFL, so much so that of the 18 current teams in the league, the city is home to nine of them with a tenth in Geelong.
- Where do they play? Melbourne Cricket Ground, Docklands Stadium, Melbourne; Kardinia Park, Geelong
- When do they play? March through September
Image: Melbourne Storm
The Storm is Melbourne’s rugby league (NRL) team, founded in 2007 and the first to be based in Victoria.
They’ve won 3 premierships (1999, 2012 and 2017) and were runners-up 4 times (2006, 2008, 2016, 2018).
- Where do they play? AAMI Park, Olympic Boulevard, Melbourne
- When do they play? March through September
Image: Melbourne Victory
Melbourne Victory is the city’s soccer club, playing as part of the A-League, and has been in competition since the league began in 2004. The team was an A-League premier in 2007, 2008 and 2014.
- Where do they play? AAMI Park, Olympic Boulevard, Melbourne and Etihad Stadium, Harbour Esplanade, Melbourne Docklands
- When do they play? April through October
Image: Victoria Racing Club
The race that stops a nation, Melbourne Cup is the most prestigious horse race in Australia.
The race sees a fleet of the country’s fastest thoroughbreds compete for 3,200 metres and a few million dollars.
- Where do they race? Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne
- When do they race? 3pm on the first Tuesday in November
Things to do in Melbourne in summer
- Australian Open
- Australia Day
- Chinese New Year
- Zoo Twilights
Things to do in Melbourne in winter
- Stadium Stomp at the MCG
- Boho Luxe Market and Glamping Festival
Things to do in Melbourne in autumn
- Virgin Australia Melbourne Fashion Festival
- ICC Women's T20
- Melbourne Food and Wine Festival
- Melbourne International Comedy Festival
Things to do in Melbourne in spring
- Melbourne Cup
- Melbourne Fashion Week
- Royal Melbourne Show
- Melbourne Fringe Festival
Melbourne tour and experience deals
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