Melbourne is a hip, dynamic metropolis, with an exciting city centre, inner-city neighbourhoods 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!
Overall a Great City
Melbourne is famous for many things, particularly the fact that it was named the ‘Most Liveable City in the World’ for seven consecutive years. It is also famous for its infrastructure, fashion, entertainment, events, tourist attractions, cultural diversity, food, agriculture, public transport system, healthcare and education.
Tourist attractions include the Puffing Billy Railway, Great Ocean Road, Brighton Beach, Sovereign Hill, St. Kilda, Ballarat Wildlife Park, Mt. Buller, Pink Lake, Mornington, Port Melbourne and any street art in the city.
The laidback and feel-good vibe is unbeatable, and the bad weather days make the good ones all the more rewarding.
With every destination, there are sure to be some downfalls that come along with it. With horrendous traffic making your commute feel like an eternity and the expenses that come along with living in a major city, Melbourne is not perfect by any means. However, those who have stayed a while will vouch for how great the city is and how much it has to offer.
It’s official: you’ll find the world’s best coffee in Melbourne, as voted by over a thousand users on website booking.com.
Melbourne is a coffee addicts heaven, with trendy cafes around every corner you turn. It’s hard to walk a few steps without seeing a new café, or without seeing a passerby with a takeaway coffee cup in their hand. Melburnians take their coffee game extremely seriously, and they are known to make the absolute best cup of joe in all of Australia (and arguably, worldwide).
The first espresso machine in Australia was actually installed at Café Florentino on Burke Street. If you’re coming to Melbourne for a visit, or to live, you will have no shortage of coffee options to keep you energized throughout your time in this bustling city.
You’ll find great coffee just wandering through the laneways of the city, and there are actually tailored tours available to coffee aficionados: check out Hidden Secret Tours or Melbourne Coffee Tours for details.
Phillip Island is world-famous for its penguin parade. At dusk each night, a colony of little penguins emerge from the water at Sutherland Beach like waddling commuters heading home from a busy day at sea.
“While the parade is a great event, I’m a bigger fan of Phillip Island’s Koala Conservation Centre,” said our Melbourne expert, “its elevated boardwalks a handy spot to catch a glimpse of Australia’s cutest marsupial.” From October to December, you can even spot fur seals at the aptly named Seal Rocks. Late October is the best month to catch them – don’t forget your binoculars. Phillip Island sits at the entrance to Westernport Bay, 87 miles southeast of Melbourne.
The Botanic Gardens are walking distance from the city centre, and offer an oasis of calm, peace and greenery just outside of the urban bustle.
They’re a popular spot for local walkers and joggers, and the breathtaking landscapes make them ideal for a peaceful meditation session.
With more than 8,500 plant species, the botanic gardens are colourful, gorgeous and fascinating.
The National Gallery of Victoria was established in 1861, making it the oldest as well as the largest art gallery in the country. The gallery was opened during the Gold Rush days of the 19th century when there was a rampant appetite for fine art.
Over time, The National Gallery has amassed an impressive collection and with that, a reputation to follow suit. Its collection spreads across original Australian Aboriginal art to post-colonial works that amount to over 70,000 pieces. It’s advised to spend a full day here, arriving early in the morning to avoid queues. After your visit, be sure to walk along the Southbank’s Yarra River for city sightseeing.
There are also 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.
The Transport System
Melbourne also operates the world's largest tram network and has an extremely efficient public transport system.
The main entrance to Flinders Street Station is a picturesque cultural symbol of Melbourne you’ll find on many postcards or tourist brochures: this gorgeous building was opened in 1910, and it is listed on the Victorian heritage register.
Inside you’ll find Australia’s busiest railway station, a small shopping area with tasty food options, and easy walking access to Southbank.
Across the road, Federation Square is another Melbourne icon, with a unique and fascinating architectural design, making the Square quite unlike anything you’ve seen before.
Once you’re at the Square, make sure that you visit the Australian Centre of the Moving Image, which has hosted fascinating displays on subjects such as Claymation, and the Ian Potter Centre art gallery.
The City Circle Tram is a great free service that is an outstanding way to see and move around the city. It's one of the great attractions of the CBD. For a start, these trams are historical themselves and exude a charm. They travel around the CBD and take in some great views of Melbourne. You can get on and travel a couple of stops then get back on again later.
Melbourne is generally a safe city and there are no areas into which visitors would be advised not to venture. However, by international standards, Melbourne is a spread-out city - with parkland and open areas. Therefore, it is wise to be aware of what may be going on around you, without being too concerned.
Public transport can be an excellent way of seeing Melbourne without having to worry about the often horrendous road traffic congestion.
Visitors should note that in common with other transport systems, maintenance and improvement of public transport (and road) infrastructure often takes place in the Summer holiday period. This may result in the curtailment of services, delays and the replacement of Train or Tram services by Buses - as a temporary measure. In Melbourne, this period occurs after Christmas and, often, throughout most of January.
The Queen Victoria Markets have been an important food hub of Melbourne since they were opened in 1878. Home to some of Melbourne’s tastiest produce stalls and delicatessens, you’ll find excellent cheeses, olives and smoked meats here.
The building itself is a gorgeous example of Victorian architecture, and you’ll also find many artisanal crafts made by local creatives, as well as souvenirs for your friends back home.
Today, the market serves as a busy community centre, with entire halls designated to organic produce, meats, cheeses, and artisanal wares. In the winter, it even turns into a cosy night market. Another market making a name for itself is Preston Market, which has a range of cultural offerings such as Greek and Italian delis and bakeries as well as traders selling unique artisanal wares. For maximum hipster vibes, head to The Rose St. Artists’ Market.
The Street Art
Melbourne is most widely known for its array of famous street art that can be found all over the city. Taking a stroll down the famous Hosier Lane, you will find street art that reaches to the top of buildings and all the way down to the cobblestone floors.
Melbourne is full of amazing artists, and people travel from all over the world to see the amazing artwork showcased throughout the city. This isn’t just messy graffiti—there are some crazy talented artists that have taken the time to craft such amazing artwork. Did I mention It’s the perfect spot for a cheeky Instagram photo?
The city council has designated certain areas as approved for street artists, and the street art here is of exceptionally high quality and changes regularly; it’s a great way for budding street artists to get experience in the artistic side of graffiti, and having structured locations for this amazing creative outlet helps to reduce the levels of graffiti elsewhere, as well as adding a great urban vibe that tourists and locals both enjoy. You’ll find a map of street art in Melbourne here.
There’s even a Melbourne street art tour, run by street artists, for people who’d like a deeper understanding of what they’re seeing, how it’s made and who is involved in this fascinating underground art scene.
The city is the unofficial sporting capital of Australia. And unquestionably the most famous venue here is called the Melbourne Cricket Ground, better known as the MCG. When it’s full it fits over 100,000 people and while it’s called the Melbourne Cricket Ground, as well as cricket you can also see Aussie Rules Football here. Other well-known sporting grounds include the Rod Laver Arena where the Australian Open tennis final is played and Flemington Racecourse where the famous Melbourne Cup horse race is held.
Melbourne offers a number of stadiums and events, where a variety of sports are supported. These include the Australian Open (Tennis) in Hisense Arena, AFL (Australian Football League), Melbourne Cup (horse racing), a number of cycling competitions such as the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race and the Grand Prix (Formula 1 car racing) at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit. There are also a number of different resources that can be used for fitness, such as multiple gyms around the city.
Allocate a day to spend in the glorious Yarra Valley! Just a short drive from Melbourne (under an hour) the Yarra is full of amazing lush scenery, world-class wine centres, outdoor activities and great cafes and restaurants.
Head out to Healesville and call into Domain Chandon to see how the Moet and Chandon French connection does it in grand style! Sweeping views, spectacular grounds and facilities and excellent tours.
Then travel a short distance to Oakridge Winery and Restaurant for some of the best winery dinings in Australia. You have to love a winery with spectacular views!
Check out the amazing foodie haven at Innocent Bystander in Healesville, which features amazing wood oven pizzas, wine, cheeses, gourmet bread, and the sourdough fruit bread is a killer! Sit out on the deck or in the restaurant next to the winery. Even the menu for kids is gourmet!
Head to Levantine Hill for luxe dining or Bella Vedere for some Italian fine dining. Check out Punt Road Wines along the way to the Yarra Valley Dairy – another foodie haven. Grab yourself a cheese tasting plate and enjoy the views. Head out to Yering Station, a massive and impressive winery – which also offers foodies fine dining, wine and much more.
Great Ocean Road
Within striking distance of Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road is another fantastic day trip! You can wind your way through some legendary town and stop at some great beaches, such as Bells Beach (famous for pro surfing) and Torquay.
If you know anything about Australia, you have likely seen a picture or two of the Great Ocean Road.
With the world-famous coastline located right outside the city, you can plan your road trip all the way to Adelaide, or perhaps just a day trip to witness the beauty of The Twelve Apostles.
There are a ton of camping sites and house rentals along the way, so you will have the chance to jet off for a weekend getaway. With more than 200km of amazing coastal views, I guarantee you’ll discover something new about this spectacular road with every trip you take.
The Old Melbourne Jail
Home to Melbourne's oldest prison, historic Magistrate's Court and former Police City Watch House, Russell Street has been the heart of crime, law and order in Melbourne since the 1840s.
Most of Australia's infamous characters, including the iconic bushranger Ned Kelly and notorious gangster Squizzy Taylor, have spent time within the walls of this amazing precinct. Today the award-winning tourism attraction is an opportunity to step back in time and walk the road to the gallows in a 19th-century prison; or be arrested in a modern-day Police Station and put yourself on trial in court.
The museum offers a glimpse into life in the 1800s; some mentally ill and homeless people were also interred in the prison, and the harsh conditions they were subject to seem quite shocking by modern standards.
The museum includes an impressive range of artifacts, including the death masks of many executed criminals.
The museum is considered by some to be haunted, and ghost tours are offered by the museum that tells stories recorded by visitors and staff alike.
- National Gallery of Victoria.
- Wander the city's laneways and arcades.
- Federation Square.
- Royal Botanic Gardens.
- Drink a flat white.
- Melbourne's markets.
- Great Ocean Road.
- St. Kilda Beach.
A Melburnian is an inhabitant of Melbourne, the capital city of Victoria, Australia. The word is a demonym.
Melbourne ranked eighth safest city in the world behind Sydney, Copenhagen. Melbourne is one of the world's safest cities but has been beaten by another Australian capital.