Whether you are a cultural connoisseur, a shopaholic, a foodie, a wine lover, a cinephile, or a music fan, the world’s most livable city has a practically infinite number of things on offer. Here’s a list of things you should make time for during your five days in Melbourne.
Browse Melbourne’s Many Markets
Melbourne is home to dozens of popular markets; it can be said that Melbourne is the shopping hub of Australia.
Queen Victoria Market is one of the hottest markets in Melbourne: a favourite place for both locals and tourists, providing fresh local produce and souvenirs, among many other things. This busy market also holds a night market every Wednesday, called Suzuki Night Market, featuring live music, food, and entertainment.
Another market famous for fresh, quality food is the Preston Market, located 30 minutes outside the CBD. Melbourne’s north’s new food and multi-cultural hub produce some of the best fresh seafood and local produce.
The Esplanade market located in St Kilda is a hot spot for creative talent. With endless stalls arranged in line with St Kilda’s palm trees, the market features handicrafts, photography, illustration, jewellery, body products, and stationery.
Visit Famous Art Galleries and Museums
Melbourne’s art scene has flourished and provides a look into the city’s culture and history. If you want to get lost in a world of Melbourne culture, then spending a day at the many galleries and museums is the right choice.
The National Gallery Victoria is home to thousands of pieces, including Indigenous artworks, Australian artworks that offer insight into the past, and many other cultural artworks from other countries.
Melbourne is home to several museums; Melbourne Museum, which has just about everything in it from dinosaurs to history exhibitions, is one of the most popular attractions in Melbourne.
Science Works is also another fascinating exhibition, which includes an array of activities for children. The Immigration Museum displays the history of immigration in Australia, while sports lovers and fanatics will love the National Sports Museum.
The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), located at Federation Square, started life as the State Film Centre in 1946. ACMI has evolved from being a collection-based institution to an internationally recognised hub for screening, screen education, industry engagement, and audience involvement. Its video art and new media present the most innovative pieces in Australia, delivering a memorising experience to viewers.
Explore Melbourne Via Transportation or On Foot
One of the easiest ways to travel and view the city is on the City Circle tram. Melbourne provides a free service tram e runs right around the town, all day, which is helpful for those who love sightseeing at their speed.
The tram was introduced in April 1994 and covered Melbourne’s central business district, offering an accessible and affordable overview of Melbourne’s city and history.
Located near the Docklands is the famous Melbourne Star. This popular tourist attraction allows people to view Melbourne in a beautiful new light. Its night bookings are very popular with the public.
Federation Square, located across from Flinders St Station, is famous for its events. Each year it holds over 2000 events, and the area includes numerous cafés and restaurants.
Other sights to explore are Melbourne’s famous gardens, located around the city, which include the Royal Botanical Gardens, Alexandra Gardens, and Fitzroy Gardens. All present Melbourne’s finest landscapes, allowing for a great day out for the family or some space for relaxation among nature.
Take a Day Off from the City and Explore the Outskirts
Melbourne is great, but the suburbs are just as exhilarating and alluring. Wineries, walks, gardens, and beaches, among other attractions, prove that there is a place for everyone.
The Yarra Valley is full of wineries, which offer tours, tastings, and even lunch. The beautiful landscapes and scenery allow for a lovely day out for the whole family, or even a romantic escape.
Sightseeing and historical sites can be had at places such as Daylesford or Macedon Ranges. Daylesford is spa central. However, it is still worth visiting for its historic buildings, antique shops, and stunning surroundings. It is also known chiefly for ‘The Convent’, a building which looks out over Daylesford and includes a café and gallery.
A scenic drive through Macedon Ranges leads to Victoria’s historical Hanging Rock. Hanging Rock is a sight to see in itself, with many paths that lead to the top giving you a breathtaking view of the ranges.
Another town offering glimpses of Victoria’s history is Ballarat. It is home to several preserved buildings and galleries. Ballarat has its historical theme park, Sovereign Hill, which allows tourists and locals to travel back in time to feel what Victoria was like during the gold rush in the 1850s and ’60s.
Taste Melbourne’s Unique Dining
Melbourne is home to some of the best cafés and restaurants in Australia, all of which are unique in their way. From cheap to expensive, Melbourne has something for everyone.
One of the more expensive treats in Melbourne is the Colonial Tramcar restaurant, which brings a new meaning to dining with its luxurious four-course meal to be eaten while touring the city. You can make reservations for lunch, early dinner, and late dinner.
Did you love theme restaurants? The Croft Institute is for you. It’s science-themed, and the dim lighting, black and white tiles, and shelves crammed with beakers and test tubes create a surprisingly intimate setting. The Grain Store is another classic among Melbournians; its fresh and organic food provides a healthier option.
10 Must-Visit Art Spaces In Melbourne, Australia
The art scene in Melbourne, Australia, is renowned for its vibrancy and size, facilitated by the abundance of cultural and artistic institutions in the city. Often referred to as the Cultural Capital of Australia, Melbourne’s myriad of contemporary art galleries offer some of the most exciting displays of aesthetic desiderata in all of Australia. Join us as we explore the top ten galleries and art spaces in this enchanting city.
National Gallery of Victoria
The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) is the oldest public art gallery in Australia. Displayed within this aesthetically striking building is a wide range of artworks from around the globe. The arresting slate exterior is framed by a wall of water, otherwise known as the gallery’s famous ‘waterfall.
Sheets of glass undulate behind a perpetual drizzle of captured and recycled rainwater collected on the roof of the building, which tumbles down via the drainpipes and a water treatment plant. There is a range of feature exhibitions at any one time and the NGV’s extensive collection of Australian Art.
Heide Museum of Modern Art
Housed in a renovated farmhouse in the Melbourne suburb of Bulleen, the Heide Museum of Modern Art has attracted prominent figures in Australian art and culture that led to its status as one of the leading galleries of modern art in Australia.
The eponymous Heide Collection is still expanding today via acts of generosity from contributors. The museum espouses the promotion of living contemporary Australian artists who hold significant international influence.
The gallery comprises three buildings (Heide I, II and III) with architecture that betrays the museum’s history.
The old, beautifully renovated Heide I stands in stark contrast to the modern, black zinc exterior of Heide III. The public is granted access to 15 acres of verdant garden, which house an eclectic selection of herbs and vegetables. The gallery’s colourful history was also the inspiration to a book, The Strays by Melbourne author Emily Bitto.
Australian Centre for Contemporary Art
The striking Australian Centre for Contemporary Art (ACCA) building one of the most revered contemporary art spaces in Melbourne, where budding artists are granted plentiful space to express their innovative and daring concepts.
The exhibitions range from installations of sound and sculpture to Maria Hassabi’s ‘Intermission’, a performance-based piece. The choreographer focuses on stillness in the moving body in her acclaimed live installation. The ACCA as an institution offers the public a new perspective on the world around them, employing contemporary artistic practices in a novel way. Head over and enjoy Wood Marsh’s stunning architecture and some of the most exhilarating recent art exhibitions in the world.
First opened in 1985, the Gertrude Contemporary art gallery’s mission was to exhibit the newest and most exciting works in contemporary art and incubate, nurture, and exhibit burgeoning talents. Located within an expansive converted warehouse in the bohemian suburb of Fitzroy, Gertrude Contemporary focuses on newly commissioned works with an emphasis on homegrown Australian contemporary art and a range of international work displayed in its three gallery spaces.
The gallery plays host to an impressive catalogue of renowned artists and perpetually changes exhibitions and educational programs. A spacious front room enables the flood of natural light to enhance the public’s viewings of the art.
The RMIT Gallery of the RMIT University is situated within Storey Hall, a building that has been fastidiously refurbished with artistic pizzazz. The gallery focuses on public art and design, with various programs and publications running parallel to the exhibitions for further insight.
The RMIT simultaneously holds multiple collections like the Warlayirti: The Art of Balgo. This exhibition explores what is unique about the vibrant artworks that emerge from the Balgo region located in Western Australia, right in the arid heart of the Tanami Desert. The exhibition compiles both early and more recent works of Balgo, providing guests with a genuine Belgian aesthetic journey sui generis.
Founded in 1972, the Ian Potter Museum of Art is part of the University of Melbourne. It houses multiple magnificent exhibitions of contemporary and historical artwork that guests can enjoy free of charge. The gallery presents around 14 curated exhibitions annually and boasts more than 900 square meters of gallery space. The Ian Potter characterises itself as “a laboratory for arts and ideas,” providing an area that is fascinating for guests and instructive for the young creative minds of the university.
Monash University Museum of Art
The Monash University Museum of Art (MUMA) prides itself on exhibiting progressive, “experimental and research-based contemporary art [as] a curatorial practice.” Since the 1960s, MUMA has been hosting a myriad of innovative contemporary artist and exploring new ideas and concepts through exhibitions, collection development, curatorial research, publishing and community engagement.
Anna Schwartz Gallery
Melbourne’s Anna Schwartz Gallery plays host to invigorating contemporary artists who exhibit their work in the expansive whitewashed spaces. The gallery is currently showing the position of Kathy Temin, whose striking results are all grouped under the rubric of “Pet Cemetery.”
Her Monument works have been installed within the gallery. These beguiling sculptures are made from synthetic fur and emulate impenetrable black forests with snow-capped ornamentally shaped shrubbery that visitants must weave their way through.
The eponymous Pet Cemetery is formed of similar sculptures that are much reduced in size and evocative of graves, with names such as Pet Tomb: Tina and Pet Tomb: Ebaneza attest.
The No Vacancy gallery in Melbourne’s mission is to exhibit and help promote the best emerging local and international contemporary artists.
The exhibitions typically change every fortnight, meaning that there is always something exciting and fresh adorning the gallery’s walls or inhabiting its interior.
Since it opened in 2008, the gallery has hosted many solo and group exhibitions, magazine, book and label launches; fashion shows; cinemas; and abundant art markets.
The Blindside Gallery in Melbourne has played host to multitudinous exhibitions and special events and displayed the art of almost 600 artists in over 200 shows. For the anniversary, it is producing a publication that explores and discusses the work of all of those it has exhibited over the past decade. As well as the multiple exhibitions that are on in the physical gallery, Blindside Play shows a new experimental video on the gallery’s website.
The Must-See Museums in Melbourne
Living up to its title of Australia’s cultural capital, Melbourne has an abundance of museums that seek to educate and entertain.
From the largest museum in the Southern Hemisphere to a purpose-built facility that strives to understand the mysteries of the universe, the museums in Melbourne are dedicated to preserving a musical legacy, medical achievements, sporting triumphs, digital culture and our multi-cultural identity.
Adjacent to the Royal Exhibition Building in the Carlton Gardens is the largest museum in the Southern Hemisphere. At Melbourne Museum, you can discover the origin of life in Victoria over 600 million years, roam amongst prehistoric creatures, check out the bugs, explore the seas in the Science and Life Gallery, and enter the nest of ancestral spirit Bunjil in the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre. The museum also features a living Forest Gallery and many other exhibits, as well as IMAX Melbourne.
Through dynamic exhibitions, Melbourne’s Immigration Museum investigates Victoria’s multicultural identity. Located within Victoria’s Old Customs House, the museum explores the eventful and, at time, harrowing immigrant stories through exhibits such as Leaving Home, Journeys of a Lifetime and Getting In. The museum also features a Discovery Centre where you can trace your genealogical history and a Tribute Garden.
Linking ‘Melbourne’s industry, heritage and applied technology, Scienceworks is where inquisitive minds can ask why and discover how.
See an electrifying presentation in the Lighting Room, voyage into deep space at the Planetarium, learn the dynamics of human movement and race against Olympic champion Cathy Freeman in Sportwoods, and tour the century-old Pumping Station.
National Sports Museum
Situated within the hallowed Melbourne Cricket Ground walls, the National Sports Museum celebrates Australian sport and the history of the MCG.
The museum features the Sport Australia Hall of Fame, the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame, the Australian Football Hall of Fame, sporting memorabilia, holograms, and interactive experiences.
Endeavouring to preserve and promote ‘the artistic and cultural heritage of ancient and modern Greece’, the Hellenic Museum holds a vast collection of artifacts. See Cypriot pottery, cast ancient Greek statues, and check out Bill Henson’s photographic installation ONEIROI.
Starting in 2014, for ten years, the Hellenic Museum will also house a priceless collection of antiquities from the Benaki Museum, Athens, showcasing 8,000 years of Greek civilisation to Melbourne.
Australia’s only autobiographical museum opened in 1938 under the strict instruction of the eccentric Australian composer and pianist Percy Grainger. They longed for immortality through the musical legacy and a dedicated museum.
Throughout its history, the museum has acquired over 100,000 items, including published scores and manuscripts, mementos, diaries, letters, photographs and 250 fascinating musical instruments.
Medical History Museum
Established to understand Western medicine better, the Medical History Museum traces more than 400 years of Western medicine through a collection of over 7,000 pieces.
The collection includes artifacts, doctor’s records, scientific instruments and equipment, and research material Donated by Melbourne Medical School alumni and the public. The museum also reconstructs the Savory and Moore Pharmacy, which was relocated from London in 1968.
Located in Chinatown, the Chinese Museum is dedicated to preserving the heritage and culture of the Australian Chinese community. Also acting as Chinatown’s visitors centre, the museum features three permanent exhibitions: Finding Gold, Dragon Gallery and Chinese Australian History.
Over five floors, you’ll see textiles, photographs and artefacts, including The Millennium Dai Loong Dragon – the most prominent Chinese dragon in the world.
Shrine of Remembrance
Melbourne’s iconic monument was built as a memorial to honour all those who served during World War I and all Australians who have since served in military conflict and peacekeeping operations.
Open daily; visitors can wander through reflective exhibition spaces including Galleries of Remembrance, The Victoria Cross and Gallery of Medals and see over 800 objects, including photos, uniforms and historical artefacts.
The Australian Centre for the Moving Image is ‘Australia’s only national museum of film, video games, digital culture and art,’ and features two cinemas, exhibition spaces and the permanent and ever-evolving exhibit Screen Worlds. See Cate Blanchett’s Oscar, props from Baz Lurhmann’s Moulin Rouge and costumes from Kylie Minogue, Dame Edna and Heath Ledger. Visit the Time Slice room, gawk at the Zoetrope and discover the magic behind the moving image and digital culture.
Old Melbourne Gaol
For 87 years, Victoria’s Old Melbourne Gaol housed minor offenders and notorious criminals, including gangster Squizzy Taylor. Among those executed were bushranger Ned Kelly and Jack the Ripper suspect Frederick Bailey Deeming. Today, the prison operates as a museum where visitors can see death masks, Kelly gang weapons and memorabilia from prisoners and staff. Visitors can also explore the complex, including the gallows by candlelight on one of the frightful night tours.