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:
Snap some street art at Centre Place
What is it?
This Diagon Alley-looking laneway boasts great food, shopping and some of Melbourne’s best street art.
Laneways throughout the CBD regularly get a repaint, so it’s worth checking in on some of our favorite street art spots (including AC/DC Lane, Croft Alley and the super popular Hosier Lane) numerous times throughout the year.
Getting the best shot. If you want to take photos without people walking through your shot, we suggest waking up early.
See the world-famous penguins at Phillip Island
What is it?
About a two-hour drive from Melbourne is wildlife wonderland Phillip Island. Some 3.5 million people visit the island every year.
There are plenty of activities for families, couples and solo visitors, including a chocolate factory, wildlife parks full of native animals and of course, the nightly penguin parade. Motorheads flock to the island in their thousands for the Motorcycle Grand Prix in the spring.
The fairy penguin parade, when hundreds of the little guys come in from a hard day’s fishing and waddle up the beach to their homes in the rocks.
Phillip Island has a lot to offer visitors. Each year at New Years’ it is swamped by the festival crowds who trek south for the Pyramid Rock Festival.
Just before that, it will have been inundated with rev-heads and brolly-dollys for the Phillip Island GP motorcycle race, and at any other point in the calendar it is a go-to spot for nature lovers and Happy Feet fans who come to visit the penguin communities that call the island home. It is also conveniently located just outside of Melbourne so it’s an easy spot for a weekend away.
Read more at https://www.timeout.com/
A visit to Melbourne Museum is a rich insight into life in Victoria. It shows you Victoria’s intriguing permanent collections and bringscenters 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
- Public toilet
It is increasingly hard to imagine Melbourne without Federation Square. As a home to major cultural attractions, world-class events, tourism experiences and an exceptional array of restaurants, bars and specialty stores, this modern piazza has become the city’s meeting place.
Since opening in 2002, Fed Square has become one of the most visited attractions in Melbourne with more than 10 million visits a year. It is host to more than 2,000 events a year and home to the National Gallery of Victoria’s Australian collection, The Ian Potter Centre as well as the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI).
- Disabled access available, contact operator for details
- Car park
- Picnic area
- Public telephone
Admire Aboriginal art
There are several Aboriginal art galleries within Melbourne’s city centres and surrounds, as well as an extensive collection of Aboriginal art within the City Gallery (inside Town Hall), the Flinders Lane Gallery, the Ian Potter Museum of Art and NGV International.
Aboriginal art is lauded internationally for its beauty and symbolism, and Melbourne is an excellent spot to learn about the importance of art in indigenous culture, and the beauty of the artworks.
Explore every corner of the Fitzroy Gardens
What is it?
A huge inner-city garden located amidst Melbourne’s busy cityscape
You can take a stroll around the park and take in the natural landscape and historic sites, which are located throughout the gardens. There’s a model Tudor Village, Captain Cook’s 1755 family home uprooted from Yorkshire and reassembled here in the 1930s, a collection of similarly strange fountains, memorials and follies accumulated over the park’s 150 years.
A trip into the Conservatory. This Spanish Mission-style conservatory was opened way back in March 1930. It currently exhibits five floral displays annually, meaning it’s in full bloom all year round with a mix of hydrangeas, fuchsias, begonias, cyclamens and calceolaria all making an appearance at some point.
Note: The Conservatory is currently closed for repairs and should be reopening in mid-2021.
Head to the scenic Fitzroy Gardens located amidst Melbourne’s busy cityscape. Take a stroll around the park and take in the natural landscape and historic sights, which are located throughout the gardens.
Heritage highlights include Captain Cook’s 1755 family home uprooted from Yorkshire and re-assembled here in the 1930s, a conservatory, and a collection of similarly strange fountains, statues, memorials and follies accumulated over the park’s 150 years.
A model Tudor Village is located in the middle of the gardens, created by London pensioner Edgar Wilson back in the 1940s. This miniature village is a replica of a typical Kentish village built during England’s Tudor period. It was unveiled in Fitzroy Gardens by the lord mayor in 1948.
The park is blissfully underused, especially on the weekends. You can always find a secluded spot from which to admire the avenues of mature elms and rare specimen trees from the 19th century.
Fitzroy Garden’s star attraction? That’s gotta be the conservatory. This Spanish Mission-style conservatory was opened way back in March 1930. It currently exhibits five floral displays annually, meaning it’s in full bloom all year round with a mix of hydrangeas, fuchsias, begonias, cyclamens and calceolaria all making an appearance at some point.
Find a spot to see the Aurora Australis
What is it?
Australia’s own version of the Northern Lights – the Southern Lights, or the Aurora Australis.
Um, have you seen the photos!? The best time of year to see this dramatic light display is during winter and the equinox in September, and you need to go somewhere where 1) there’s an uninterrupted horizon view, and 2) a place that’s away from city lights. So try Point Lonsdale, Cape Schanck, Flinders, the south side of Phillip Island, Tidal River at Wilsons Promontory, Aireys Inlet or Anglesea.
The Aurora Australis, like its northern sister, is very difficult to predict. Patience is key here. Bring your camera (human eyes often can’t see the faint color changes that happen during an aurora show, but DSLRs can) and wait.
People bang on about the Northern Lights a lot, and who could blame them? The Aurora Borealis, a natural light display that happens in the Earth’s sky, is pretty spectacular. But you don’t have to head to Scandinavia to see this dramatic light display IRL. Australia has its own version, called the Aurora Australis or Southern Lights.
OK then, what gives? Why aren’t the Southern Lights as popular as the Northern Lights? Well, it’s got a lot to do with the land. In the north around the Arctic Circle, you’ll be able to see the Aurora Borealis from Greenland, Iceland, northern Canada, Norway and Russia.
But due to the location of land down south, there are fewer places that reach down low enough to Antarctica to offer good Southern Lights viewing spots – it’s mostly just water.
But if you’re not keen on stealing a ship and setting sail for the ocean past Tasmania, there are some less tricky viewing spots.
Your best chance at witnessing the Aurora Australis is to be as far south as possible. Tasmania is the obvious choice, and you’ll want to aim for places away from city lights. Mount Wellington, Bruny Island, Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park, the Huon Valley, the Central Highlands and Tasmania’s South Arm all offer great horizon views down south.
But it’s not all bad news for mainland dwellers: Victoria, southern New South Wales and the southernmost parts of South Australia and Western Australia are occasionally treated to an eyeful of lights. In Victoria, we’d suggest Point Lonsdale, Cape Schanck, Flinders, the south side of Phillip Island, Tidal River at Wilsons Promontory, Aireys Inlet, Anglesea or wherever there’s an uninterrupted horizon view. Closer to the city you can try the coast near Werribee South, Point Cook and up a hill in Meredith.
The Aurora Australis, like its northern sister, is very difficult to predict. Patience is key here. The best time of year to see the lights is around winter and the equinox in September, but you can theoretically see the Southern Lights from Tasmania all year round.
First, set your sights south: the Southern Lights always come from the south. Victorian viewers are usually going to be seeing the “top” of the aurora that’s seen in Tassie, but because it’s faint it might only be visible on camera.
Human eyes often can’t see the faint color changes that happen during an aurora show, but DSLRs are better at picking these up so don’t forget your camera. You might be able to see it without a camera, but only if the aurora is exceptionally bright. It also depends on your eyesight – for faint aurorae, some people can see tints of color while others only see monochrome.
To keep track of it, this website has a few real-time maps of the atmosphere and gives an aurora prediction a Kp number, a measuring system that goes from zero to nine (zero being very weak and nine meaning strong auroras are visible). There’s also a Facebook group that discusses the Aurora over Tasmania, and another group that gives you current updates on when you can see the Southern Lights in Australia.
Read more at https://www.visitvictoria.com/
Peruse the shelves at the State Library
What is it?
A magnificent old cultural landmark that houses an incredible amount of books, as well as several exhibitions and galleries with a lot of history. The library was established in 1856 and is a grand presence on Swanston Street with interior spaces to match.
You don’t have to be a student or bookworm to enjoy the State Library. The beautiful building is a wonder just to explore and there’s even a two-story children’s space where they can learn and play.
If you want to take that Hogwarts-like photograph of the library head to the La Trobe Reading Room. The six-story-high domed space is a beautiful sight to behold – head up to the second or third floor to take the best shot.
Take a free tour of the 1850s-built State Library, from the famous dome to the permanent exhibitions, to the Chess Room…
The State Library of Victoria is a cultural landmark that houses an incredible amount of books, as well as several exhibitions and galleries with a lot of history.
The library was established in 1856 and is a grand presence on Swanston Street with interior spaces to match. The La Trobe Reading Room is a six-story-high domed room that is magnificent to look at. Beautiful artworks depicting Victoria’s history are exhibited in the Cowen Gallery for visitors to peruse.
North and south rotundas and the Keith Murdoch gallery also hold exhibitions and artworks.
The library offers everything needed for a productive workday – free wifi, printing services and plenty of seating options (our pick is the aforementioned La Trobe Reading Room). Along with books and artworks, the State Library houses thousands of heritage items, maps, manuscripts and newspapers. Digital material is also available for readers to access. And all of this is free.
You can also find people lounging on the lawns in front of the library on a pleasant day. Mr. Tulk café and Guild café are close by too to fuel the visitors with delicious treats while the Readings bookshop located inside the library gives them plenty to spend their money on.
Read more at https://www.thecrazytourist.com/
Enjoy a taste of Italy on Lygon Street
The Lygon Street Italian Precinct, also known as Little Italy, is a gorgeous leafy street running through several Melbournian suburbs, with a rich café culture that introduced Melbourne to the love of high-quality coffee for which the city is now famous.
You’ll find world-class Italian dining here, as well as Italian produce and culture stores, the beautiful Lygon Buildings (built-in 1888), and shopping boutiques.
If you’re in Melbourne to celebrate your special occasions, then this place has its arms open for all. Collins Street is the most loved place to visit in Melbourne. It has ancient monuments, designer showrooms, fine dining experiences, tall skyscrapers, fun-filled clubs, jewelers, business offices, etc.
In short, this place is the hub of Melbourne. Collins Street is also compared to “ParisEnd” due to its tall buildings, also referred to as the top ends of town. Collins Street is also popular for local ghost tours as it lets you know more about the city life in Melbourne.
Location: Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Highlights: It has all the branded showrooms where you can shop for everything you want or collect souvenirs
This place has the best pubs and clubs where you can dance to your favorite beats.
The streets display the lifestyle of Melbourne, its rich heritage, art, culture, etc.
The street is known to host the best live shows.
The timings of Collins street vary a little – Monday – Wednesday 10 am – 6 pm.
- Thursday – Friday 10 am – 7 pm.
- Saturday 10 am – 6 pm.
- Sunday 10 am – 5 pm. (This is the timing during public holidays as well as Christmas and New Year’s eve.)
Find out more at https://www.thrillophilia.com/