Melbourne is a hip, dynamic metropolis, with an exciting city center, inner-city neighborhoods that are full of unique character, and lush green parks and mountain ranges where you can enjoy Australian nature at its finest. The city is known for its many laneways, its cultural diversity, excellent dining options for all budgets, and amazing street art.
It’s also known for being the coffee capital of the world, and for being regularly voted as the world’s most livable city! Let’s explore the best things to do in Melbourne:
See the bizarre pink lake that pops up in Melbourne
What is it?
Westgate Park, located on the edge of the city in Port Melbourne, turns a delicious shade of pink every summer.
It’s pink! And before you ask, yes, it’s completely natural. It’s been turning pink every year since the summer of 2012/13, when a collection of hot temperatures, algae combinations, lack of rainfall and excessive sunlight came together like a perfect pink witch’s brew.
The pink color. It happens in late sumcolord the color can intensify as the water evaporates in the summer heat. Luckily, the pink colour has no impact on birdlife on the lake, who you’ll regularly see frolicking around the shoreline.
This vibrant wetland and nature sanctuary sits under the Westgate Bridge. The pink hue is a natural phenomenon and happens in response to high salt levels, lots of sunlight and a lack of rainfall.
It turns pink due to the natural interaction of a harmless single-cell green alga called Dunaliella salina, and another harmless halobacterium called halobacteria cutirubrum. The color can intensify as the water evaporates in the summer heat and it produces a strong red pigment called beta carotene.
It’s not the first time this lake has turned pink. It usually happens in late summer. Luckily the pink color has no impact on birdlife on the lake. If you’re going to visit the lake, Parks Victoria advises that you stick to the designated paths and avoid walking on the edge of the water, as it may be unstable.
There’s no indication that the bacteria is dangerous, but it’s probably best not to come into contact with the water, just in case.
Find out more at https://www.timeout.com/
Day trip to the fairytale-like Alfred Nicholas Gardens
What is it?
As close as you’ll come to a true secret garden, the Alfred Nicholas Memorial Gardens is located deep within the Dandenong Ranges.
Take a walk through the park and see the awesome canopy of mountain ash trees or take a picnic by the picturesque lake and quaint boathouse.
The park is home to a heap of Australian native flora, which changes all year round. In spring, the park is full of colour with flowering azaleas and cherry trees, while in autumn the park turns golden with the changing colours of the maples and beeches.
Take a walk through the park and see the awesome canopy of Mountain Ash trees or take a picnic by the picturesque lake and quaint boathouse.
The park is home to Australia’s native flora which is changing all year round. In spring the park is full of colour with flowering azaleas and cherry trees while in Autumn the park turns golden with the changing colours of the maples and beeches.
A visit to Melbourne Museum is a rich insight into life in Victoria. It shows you Victoria’s intriguing permanent collections and brings you brilliant temporary exhibitions from near and far. You’ll see Victoria’s natural environment, cultures and history through different perspectives.
The Melbourne Museum left its old home in the State Library Building in 1997, and into a building located in Carlton Gardens that was designed by Denton Corker Marshall. The new Melbourne Museum reopened on 21 October 2000.
Inside, you’ll find the Forest Gallery, the living heart of the museum and home to tall trees and wondrous wildlife. The Science and Life Gallery at the west end, where you’ll find bugs, dinosaurs, fossils and more.
Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, a place imbued with the living traditions and knowledge of Koorie people and other cultures from around Australia. Te Pasifika Gallery, a bright soaring space filled with treasures from the Pacific Islands.
The Children’s Gallery packed with things for little kids to see and do and the Touring Hall, where major exhibitions from around the world are displayed.
Disabled access available, contact operator for details
- Car park
- Coach parking
- Picnic area
- Public telephone
Find out more at https://www.visitvictoria.com/
Eat a dim sim from the South Melbourne Market
What is it?
A tennis ball-sized parcel of meat, cabbage and just the right amount of spice and served two ways: fried or steamed.
The South Melbourne Market dim sims are probably the best dim sims in the state. These massive morsels are a huge level up from the average tuck shop dimmie and they’ve become an icon of the southside indoor market, as the stall has been serving them for six decades.
These dimmies were destined to swim in soy and chilli sauce, so make sure to ask for some with your order and douse them to your heart’s content. No one’s judging you here.
Multiple butchers, bakers, grocers and fishmongers, fortune tellers and snack stands making good use of the produce at hand (hit Evening Star for some fresh grilled scampi if you’re down for a snack) make this one of the best fresh markets in the city.
It’s a little more David Jones than Delhi (less yelling, more truffle oil), but come summer, rowdiness galore is to be had at the night markets when bands and booze are on the agenda.
The markets have been running for more than 150 years and, like the Queen Vic, are as much a tourist destination as they are a source of fresh food. One of the market’s highlights is SO:ME, a small space for local designers to showcase their finest creations. It works on a rotating designer basis so there’s always something new and interesting in stock.
Check out more about this topic at https://www.timeout.com/
Go for a drinking tour of the Bellarine Peninsula
What is it?
The Bellarine, Melbourne’s “other” peninsula, has quietly transformed into a wine lover’s paradise.
The Bellarine has been producing wines since the 1980s, and frankly, we think it’s about time the rest of the world knew about it.
A stop at the cellar doors of Scotchmans Hill, Curlewis Winery or Basils Farm. There’s also the Whiskery for the spirits fans or Queenscliff Brewhouse for the beer fans.
Melbourne, we know you have a love affair with the Mornington Peninsula, and it’s warranted. But this story isn’t about the wineries out east. We think it’s about time the city tasted the great drops being created on the Bellarine.
The Bellarine Peninsula has been producing wine since the 1980s, and frankly, we think it’s about time the rest of the world knew about it. Whether you’re new to wine, pushed for time or know your pinots from your cab savs, there’s something on the Peninsula’ for you.
Skip the bottleneck of cars leaving Melbourne and travel to the Bellarine Peninsula via Port Phillip Ferries. The private ferry service travels between Docklands and Portarlington seven days a week, with return fares starting at $29 for adults.
For die-hard wine lovers: Scotchmans Hill
It’s hard to imagine the Bellarine wine industry without Scotchmans Hill, as the vineyard is one of the biggest and oldest on the peninsula (it was established in 1982). Its new cellar door is a relatively recent addition to the vineyard, and one worth waiting for.
Come prepared with questions, because the team here aren’t wet-behind-the-ears scallywags – they know their wine. And if you let them know what you like they might even bring out something special for you to try.
For the time poor: Queenscliff Brewhouse
Queenscliff Brewhouse is a bit of a Swiss army knife of a venue. Yes, it’s a brewery, but it’s also a pub, bistro, tasting room, whisky bar and soon-to-be hotel.
Even if you don’t have time to check out the best producers on the Bellarine, you can still support them by checking out Queenscliff Brewhouse’s tasting room. It features walls and walls of local products: jams, olive oils, spice mixes, honey, chutney, sauces and plenty of wine. Grab a glass to enjoy in the all-weather courtyard beer garden or by the fireplace on cold days.
For a boutique experience: Curlewis Winery
If you’re expecting a large-scale operation where tour companies drop off buses of tourists, then prepare to be pleasantly surprised. The Curlewis Winery team is small, and their cellar door is only open on weekends.
From the outside, the cellar door looks like a barn; inside it looks like a hunter’s cabin got the Queer Eye treatment. They’re not scared of doing things a little differently at Curlewis: their wine tastings are served in test tubes, which makes it simple to compare and contrast each wine.
For those with kids: Basils Farm
On a sunny day, regardless of season, families can be found spilling out of the café and onto the sprawling, green hillside while enjoying lunch, coffee or just a glass of wine at Basils. With a sandpit and outdoor games, kids are warmly welcomed here, as are well-behaved dogs. Here for a tipple?
The cellar door is open seven days a week, with some wines so popular staff often have to put a limit on the number of bottles per guest.
If you prefer spirits: the Whiskery
Having a drink at the Whiskery is an unpretentious affair: it feels a little like having a drink in a lush, fairytale beer garden. Even those who turn their noses up at G&Ts will be converted by the Whiskery’s version, which is smooth, fragrant and just a little bit citrusy.
It’s best enjoyed sitting by the venue’s fireplace, or under the trees on a sunny day where you can watch staff pottering around for cocktail ingredients.
Find out more at https://www.visitvictoria.com/
See Victoria’s two Californian redwoods plantations
What is it?
As the name suggests, Californian redwoods are indigenous to coastal California and the southwestern corner of Oregon in the US. Redwoods were planted down the coast in the Great Ocean National Park in the 1930s as well as a collection in the Warburton Valley.
These trees are distinguished by their extreme height (they can reach up to 115 meters tall) and their somewhat horizontal branches. They’re some of the oldest living organisms on Earth!
Walking through these plantations makes you feel tiny. The grid-like plantation in Warburton includes over 1,400 trees, all up to 55 meters tall.
Nobody can deny the allure of a thick, green forest. Here in Victoria, we’re surrounded by them, whether it’s the drier inland bush like at the Grampians or the beachside health of Wilsons Promontory. But did you know you can find Californian redwood forests right here in Victoria?
Californian redwoods are distinguished by their extreme height (they can reach up to 115 meters tall) and their somewhat horizontal branches. The bark is a bright red-brown color, and as the name suggests, they are indigenous to coastal California and the southwestern corner of Oregon in the US.
These trees are among the oldest living organisms on Earth – so how on Earth did they end up way over in Australia? The story goes that redwoods were planted down the coast in the Great Otway National Park in the 1930s as a softwood logging experiment, but since there’s great fertile foil and great water supply in the Otways, these trees have grown rapidly over the last 90 or so years.
een to see them for yourself? Take a drive down the Great Ocean Road toward Apollo Bay and venture inland towards the Beech Forest. It’s nearby the Aire River and Hopetoun Falls, so you can easily spend a whole day exploring in the wild.
For those on the other side of the city, there’s also a collection of redwoods in the Warburton Valley. Located just a few kilometers outside Warburton on Cement Creek Road, the redwood forest here was planted around the same time as the Beech Forest redwoods, with further plantings were done in 1960. Hop out of the car and take a walk through the grid-like plantation – it includes over 1,400 trees, up to 55 meters tall.
Dandenong Ranges National Park
Dandenong Ranges National Park is situated in the Greater Melbourne region of the state of Victoria. This national park is the perfect place for witnessing different types of trees and forests. The Doongalla forest, which houses Mount Dandenong, is said to offer a beautiful view of Melbourne city.
For all fitness enthusiasts, the Ferntree gully is the perfect spot as it has steps that become the perfect walking trail. The steps were built to commemorate the battle of the Kokoda track. Apart from these, there are other forests like Sherbrooke forest, Olinda forest, and Mount Evelyn forest.
- Address: Sassafras VIC 3787, Australia
- Highlights: the walking trail of Ferntree Gully, Mount Dandenong
Mount Buffalo National Park
Mount Buffalo National Park is located in the alpine region. Mount Buffalo, which is a tall mountain plateau, is also situated in this park. The mountain is said to have some stunning rock formations and granite boulders at its top. The highest point that you can access goes by the name, the horn. There is a walking track that leads you up to the horn. Upon reaching there, you can get a beautiful view of the city. If you are visiting the place in winter, then you are in for some luck as Mount Buffalo is the destination for cross-country skiing.
- Address: Mount Buffalo VIC 3740, Australia
- Highlights: The horn
Wilsons Promontory National Park
The Wilsons Promontory National Park is fondly known as The Prom. The Prom is said to be the largest coastal wilderness area in Victoria. The park dates back to the time of World War II when it was closed briefly. There is a river which goes by the name Tidal, and you get a beautiful view of the river from Mount Oberon. The place is great for camping.
- Address: Wilsons Promontory VIC 3960, Australia
- Highlights: tidal river, camping
Alpine National Park
The Alpine National Park is a national park situated in the Alpine region of Victoria. It is the largest national park in the entire Victoria. The Alpine National Park is home to some of the endangered species like the broad-toothed mouse, she-oak skink, spotted tree frog, and mountain pygmy possum. The place is great for activities like walking and trekking.
- Address: Cobungra VIC 3898, Australia
- Highlights: the flora and fauna
Churchill National Park
The Churchill National Park has located nearby Stud Road and Monash freeway. The national park is famous for the large variety of birds that are present here. The species of birds that are present in the region is almost one seventy-three. For those who love picnics with families, you are going to love the location. The place has many tracks for walking, running, and cycling. What is even great is that there are picnic spots that have been made that have gas barbecues. So don’t forget to pack some delicious food for your picnic here!
- Address: Lysterfield South VIC 3156, Australia
- Highlights: Channel track, different species of birds
Yarra Ranges National Park
Yarra Ranges national park is situated in central Victoria. We all want to have a picnic at a picturesque location, and want to enjoy some serenity that nature has to offer us. If you are on a hunt for such a location, your search comes to an end with The Yarra Ranges National Park. The park has an area that has natural falls and rich flora. The flora includes kangaroos, possum, and wallaby. The Yarra Ranges National park also has a great variety of birds.
- Address: Kinglake West VIC 3757, Australia
- Highlights: falls, flora, and fauna
The best part about these national parks is that they have many tracks, so all the fitness enthusiasts will have a great time here. Another fun aspect about these parks is that they have the provision of camping. So when you are packing for your trip to Melbourne, make sure you pack some camping supplies as wel