Melbourne is a hip, dynamic metropolis, with an exciting city center, inner-city neighborhoods that is 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 a gig at the Tote
What is it?
All hail Melbourne’s iconic music pub the Tote, a venue that’s been keeping Melbourne’s rock’n’roll dream alive since 1980.
Did you know the Tote is the only pub in Melbourne to ever spark a full-scale protest, led by Australia’s royalty of rock when draconian licensing laws threatened to shut the place down back in 2010? Luckily the rockers and the pub prevailed, with live music reigning here every single week.
While rock still prevails on most nights, the Tote has diversified and now hosts DJs, pop acts, folk bands and queer nights.
To call the Tote a legend is like calling the sky blue; it doesn’t care what you think and everyone knows it anyway. That being said, it’s important to take a step back and recognize the venues that have built this city and kept its rock heart pumping for a generation.
This is the only pub in Melbourne to ever spark a full-scale protest, lead by Australia’s royalty of rock, when draconian licensing laws threatened to shut the place down back in 2010. The rockers, and the pub, prevailed. If you don’t know the story, find the docco and watch it. We’re not here to tell that story today but suffice to say that if you move in next to a venue that has been hosting live music since the ’80s then complain about the noise, you are a dick.
There’s a feeling of better times past at the Tote – a faint smell of patchouli that recalls early ’90s gutter punks and their plans to save the world with rock and self-inflicted piercings. The New York Dolls play on the speakers and the Jameson shots going across the bar are enjoyed by a happy mix of old and young, hippy and hipster, punk and cowboy.
A big guy at the bar has the sides of his head shaved to reveal the business end of a serpent tattoo that crawls its way up to his neck from beneath the collar of his leather jacket. But the look is more intimidating than the attitude here; like all true rockers, they’re a loving bunch, the anger in the music, not the people.
Out the back, the band room feels like a high school garage gig, all exposed brick, beams, wiring and dodgy soundproofing in the form of a tattered orange doona stapled to a corner of the ceiling. This stage has been graced by the likes of the White Stripes, Fugazi and Mudhoney, but tonight the trash metal thrashes as the vocalist spews forth guttural screams intelligible only to the demons of hell. There’s less color in the crowd’s attire than a moonless night sky and the heads bang in unison, long dark locks swinging through the haze of rock.
There’s more music upstairs too, as well as frequent free gigs in the front bar, and there’s not a single night that the Tote is open that some live music can’t be had. The schedule of bands is painted loud and fresh on the side of the building every week, screaming rock to all who pass through the ever-gentrifying inner north.
You can get three kinds of Coopers on tap, all served with a smile, while the kitchen, opened again for the first time in ages last year, offers cheap burgers, double-decker tacos, poutine and Chiko Rolls. Currywurst is a pile of crinkle cut chips heaped with chunks of smoky grilled Kransky, doused in sauce and curry powder. For $10, it’s a British drunken fantasy and bloody delicious.
Much like the Vic Markets and Flinders Street Station, The Tote is home to a piece of this city’s soul, soaked into the grimy carpet like so much sweat and beer. Here’s hoping she lives forever, and always keeps it well. Come in, see a band, have a pint, and tell your kids. They’ll be well jealous one day.
Find out more at https://www.timeout.com/
By the banks of the river Yarra is this classy decked-up pedestrian called the Southbank Melbourne. A fall in the Australian economy during the early ’90s gave room for development and refurbishing of the town. The initial idea of Southbank refurbishing came into place to enhance tourism and to set up a recreational spot amidst the city and it is one of the famous places to visit in Melbourne.
The great view and fine location by the river made it one of the desired areas in town. Housing some of the important businesses, skyscrapers and touristy spots such as the National Gallery, Eureka and so on it is now one of the prominent places in Melbourne.
The dramatic backdrop of the skyscrapers and posh buildings by the banks of the river fascinate tourists. The busy streets, the flashy lights, rushing pedestrians and the fresh breeze by the riverside in the urban neighborhood resembles the set of a Hollywood movie.
If you are a tourist visiting Melbourne, you might need to book a day in your itinerary for the Southbank tour. Public attractions such as Crown Casino, Melbourne convention & exhibition center, Victorian art center, National Gallery of Victoria, James Bond store, river cruises and so on are housed in the same vicinity. If you aren’t in the mood to go touristy Southbank also offers a variety of other shopping, food and art experiences to enjoy.
How to Reach Southbank
Southbank Melbourne is 20 – 25 km away and there are multiple ways to reach Southbank Melbourne from Melbourne airport (MEL). Here is how:
Via a Bus Service:
Opting for a bus would take around 45-50 mins due to multiple bus transfers. Board the T1 Skybus to reach the Skybus coach terminal, take a 140 m walk to Bourke St and board the bus 96 to reach City road, a 5min walk from Cityroad is Southbank Melbourne.
Via a Car or Taxi:
Opting to drive yourself to Southbank is the cheapest option to get to your destination. The distance of 25kms could be driven in about 23mins using the M2 route to get there. However, if you chose the M2 route and head to continue using the state route 37 you would take around 38-40mins to reach your destination.
You can also commute via taxi. Taxis are easily available from the airport for about 55$ – 65$. However, any transport used to reach the destination from the airport will take around 20 -25 mins to arrive at the pedestrian.
(Commute tip – Purchase a myki pass for intercity navigation, it is the cheapest option of commuting within the city. It might cost you up to 28$ for a week.)
Best Time to Visit Southbank
The best time to visit Southbank Australia is during the autumn and spring season. i.e., March to May and September to November. Australia’s seasons are opposite to that of the Northern Hemisphere, Australia experiences the summer season from December to February and winters from June to August.
Hence, autumn and spring seasons are highly recommended to enjoy the Skyline, the riverside and also to explore the town of Melbourne under pleasant weather conditions. The favorable weather permits you to take hikes, explore the western Australia windflower trail, Mingle with the wild, enjoy the city rides and take a dip in the hot spring near Melbourne.
What Not to Miss at Southbank
Southbank is an excellent recreational destination, it holds something interesting for all. You will be on your toes to try and get to everything around. These are things you just wouldn’t want to miss.
Starting from shopping, video gaming, sightseeing or even competing with your nerdy needs to provide you with a historical monument or a library to head to Southbank has it all covered. Read on to explore your options:
Shopping, Cruises and art
If you are looking out to stroll around Southbank one thing you can do is a shop, board a river or even enjoy the art exhibits and timely music that is played on the street. You could also opt for brunch or savor dinner on the river cruise to enhance your experience.
Vault is an abstract minimalist sculpture by the sculptor Ron Robertson Swann at the Australian Centre for contemporary art at Southbank. The bright yellow colored innovative structure is worth a sight. Made of large thick flat polygonal sheets of steel is assembled in a manner of dynamic movement. You can expect to get a cool goofy picture at this venue.
Explore The Eureka Tower and the Edge
Eureka is one of Southbank’s experiences you can’t ignore. Situated in Southbank it is Australia’s second-tallest building measuring 297.3 meters (975 ft), you can look at the 360 degrees of Melbourne at the observation deck on the 88th floor of the building.
The experience of Eureka gets dramatic at the ‘Edge’, the Edge is a block extension at Eureka with a backdrop of Melbourne at a great height making you feel a drop from the building. Edge is an architectural marvel you should have a picture at.
Visit Crown tower
An entertainment-stocked plaza. Well known for its casino, the Crown engages its visitors with gamble or indulges them in choices of their own, housing some of the posh brands, enthralling theatre performances, gaming rooms, spa, concerts, nightclubs, bars and as many as 29 restaurants to choose from Crown establishes a very engaging time for the people. Visiting Crown at Southbank is a wholesome day of thrill and enthusiasm.
Relive your fav James Bond Memories at The Bond store
James Bond lovers wouldn’t want to miss out on this one. Relish some coffee while you picture bond sniffing the culprit at this cafe by the Southbank. The setting is perfect for a retro catch-up. This out-of-a-movie store at Southbank is a great place to relax, read a book or even write one.
Shop at Sunday markets
Hopping in on a Sunday to the Southbank is a joyride. The busy streets filled with life and laughter with live performances, artists selling their best pieces, the locals and tourists retreating by the river on a holiday.
Find out more at https://www.thrillophilia.com/
Places to Visit near Southbank
By the busy Southbank is the pleasantly flowing Yarra river. You can enjoy some time by the serene riverside and also take a ride on the river cruise. Dining by the river after a shopping spree is always a good idea.
Housing more than 300 different species, Melbourne’s zoo is one place to make a playdate visit.
Luna park Melbourne
Dating back from 1912, this traditional theme park is one of the places you should visit. The sight of lit-up old cartwheels or candy corners of the 1900s is to look out for.
Around 10mins away from Southbank is the St.Kilda beach which is famous for its penguin viewing spot, the best time to find them would be 30mins after sunset. You could take pictures and enjoy the view of the water and wild in the dark.
At an 8 min walking distance is flinders lane, a picturesque street with painted walls, creating a classy backdrop to strike a pose and get some cool groupies. If not for the pictures, it is always a great idea to take a walk around the city to explore the local life.
City basement books
The city basement bookstore that is about a 5 min distance on foot from the Southbank is a must-visit for every reader to engage in historic time travel. The store functions from 9 am to 6 pm. The second-hand books with the smell of olden pages, overwritten words, underlined lines add a very dramatic feel to it.
The National Gallery of Victoria
National Gallery of Victoria is the busiest art gallery in Australia, dating back to 1861 the gallery showcases the art of classics such as Rembrandt, Picasso, René Magritte and so on, this art gallery is a valuable album of history.
Breweries and Wineries
Enjoying authentic Australian wine and beer can be added to your itinerary along with a visit to the Southbank as you have multiple options in the same vicinity.
St. Paul’s Cathedral
One of the best ways to explore the cultural side of any city or country is by paying a visit to the religious places around the vicinity. St. Paul Cathedral is one such beautifully made Cathedral to visit and invest some pious time amidst your visit.
Art Centre Melbourne
This art space is home to many performing artists. The venue includes State Theatre, Hamer Hall, Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Playhouse, and Fairfax Studio. Regular concerts, theatre performances, ballets enthrall the audience at the arena.
History of Southbank Melbourne
During the early ’90s, Australia faced an acute economic downturn, to find a fix an urban renewal was proposed. Southbank Melbourne which was formerly an industrial area was redesigned to an urban pedestrian by Denton Corker Marshall.
The sector of 1.7 km was designed to have well-furnished tall flashy modern buildings, fresh touch to Melbourne and a renovated bridge by the river. Sophisticated Southbank soon dominated the town. Effluent offices moved to Southbank creating a demand for the area.
Housing some of the powerful business headquarters such Treasury Wine Estates, Crown Limited, Alumina, Incitec Pivot, The Herald & Weekly Times and many more. The elite class was drawn towards Southbank. However, Its popularity gained momentum due to tourists.
The river cruise, the bridge, the skyline, the markets and more were a lot to explore. Eventually, the establishment of many museums, art galleries and historical exhibitions at Southbank gathered the attention of art lovers, artists and so on. All the measures put together have made Southbank one of the popular places in Melbourne.
3 Hour Paint Your Pet and Sip Class
Fun three-hour paint and sip class
Turn your furry friend into a work of art
Bring your own drinks and nibbles to enjoy while painting
Unleash your creativity and paint a beautiful artwork dedicated to the most spoilt member of your family. Bring along your favorite tipple for some liquid courage and with a few strokes of your paintbrush, you’ll turn your furry friend into a marvelous work of art.
- Three-hour paint and sip class
All equipment including paints and paintbrushes
A 30×40 stretched canvas to take home
Honor your beloved pet in a unique way during this fun paint and sip class. Simply send through a photo of your pet to the team of artists before your class, who will pre-sketch your pet onto your canvas. During the class, watch your painting come to life as your instructor gives you some expert pointers. All you need to bring with you is your favorite drink, some nibbles and a whole lot of creativity. Who wouldn’t want a picture of their best friend hanging up on their wall?
- This experience is three hours in duration
Please arrive at 5:30 pm for a 5:45 pm start
After your booking is confirmed, please submit your photo of your pet to the provider no later than seven days before the event
This experience is BYO drinks
Participants must be 18 years and older to attend and consume alcohol; a photo ID may be required
Once this experience has been confirmed changes are at the discretion of the experience provider and arranged directly with them according to this policy:
Cancellations and reschedules require a minimum of 72 hours notice
Changes to the booking within 72 hours will incur a $25 rebooking fee
No-shows will result in the forfeiture of the booking
Find out more at https://www.redballoon.com.au/