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:
Get a bird’s eye view from the balcony of Hamer Hall
What is it?
Hamer Hall is known for its theatre performances and concerts, but its balcony offers one of Melbourne’s best views.
It’s one of the only times where you don’t need to ride an elevator for a beautiful city vista. Venture up the stairs on the outside of Hamer Hall (accessed from the bank of grass next to Arts Centre Melbourne) and step outside its warm, red walls to absorb the riverside.
A show while you’re there! It’s one of the city’s best concert halls.
Fifty thousand admirers turned up to the reopening of Arts Centre Melbourne’s Hamer Hall, such as the esteemed place it holds in Melburnians’ hearts.
The two-year redevelopment saw $135.8 million be poured into the curvaceous structure that sits on the Yarra, diagonally across from Federation Square. The refurbishment includes a revitalised auditorium with improved acoustics, air con, lighting, technology and seating. The building is now a true gem in Melbourne’s theatrical crown.
National Gallery of Victoria
The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) is Australia’s oldest and pre-eminent public art museum
The collection encompasses treasures from ancient Egypt, Greece, Rome and the pre-Columbian period, in addition to an Oceanic gallery dedicated to the indigenous cultures of the Pacific area.
The collection also includes nearly 16,000 international prints and drawings, a distinguished array of European and Asian decorative arts, and a gallery space dedicated to 4000 works representing the art of Asia. You will also find an outstanding collection of European and British paintings dating from 1200 to today, fashion and textile exhibits, photography, furniture and sculpture.
Dining options include Persimmon, the Gallery Kitchen, and the Tea Room. The National Gallery of Victoria, popularly known as the NGV, is an art museum in Melbourne, Australia. Founded in 1861, it is Australia’s oldest, largest and most visited art museum.
Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
Before the Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne was established by Lieutenant General Charles La Trobe in 1846, the area in which the garden now exists was a mundane stretch of swampland. The area on the South Bank of the Yarra River was filled with craggy rocks, outcrops, marshland and weeds and it is one of the best places to visit in Melbourne.
The first director of the garden- Ferdinand von Mueller- was appointed in 1857. He was also one of the most renowned botanists of the 19th century and was responsible for bringing exotic plants to the Botanical Gardens from all parts of the world.
Mueller was succeeded by the second, and most remarkable director of the Botanical Gardens- Willian Guilfoyle- who was responsible for changing the look and structure of the whole area, to turn it into the natural spectacle that it is today.
He took the National Herbarium, established by Mueller, and the several plants that he brought, and turned the garden into a sprawling mass of winding paths, lakes, pleasant gardens and walkways. Guilfoyle’s efforts to renovate the garden into a modern tourist attraction and natural retreat were aided by the pleasant and mild weather conditions prevalent in Melbourne.
The weather allowed both tropical and temperate plants to flourish, which has led to more than 12,000 plant species thriving in this facility. It has also created a stable, natural ecosystem for local birds and animals to build their homes in, while the people who visit can take advantage of the natural beauty of the trees, as well as interact with indigenous animals, first hand.
An expansion effort was undertaken in 1960 when a piece of land adjacent to the Melbourne Botanical Gardens was purchased. This led to the establishment of the Cranbourne Gardens in 1970, which opened to the public in 1985.
The “Royal” prefix was added to the name of the garden in 1958 by Queen Elizabeth II. Today, both the Melbourne Garden and the Cranbourne Garden constitute the Royal Botanical Gardens of Melbourne.
How to Reach Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
There are several fast and convenient ways via which you can travel to the Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne from the Melbourne Airport.
- By Car:
The distance between the airport and the Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne is approximately 25km, and the easiest way to ferry between the two without hassle is by car. You can hire a private car or a taxi, which will take you to the Botanical Gardens via M2, or the Calder Freeway/M27 or via Mascoma Street. The journey should take approximately 25-30 mins.
- By Bus:
You can also avail buses that depart from Terminal 1 of the airport to take you to Royal Botanical Gardens. The SkyBus takes the same route as your car would, and it takes approximately an hour to reach your destination.
- By Trains:
You can also reach the Royal Botanical Gardens by train. There is an extensive network of tramways operating in Melbourne, and you can take tram numbers 3 and 3A, No. 5, No. 6, No. 16, No. 64, No. 67 and No. 72 to reach the gardens.
Best Time to Visit Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
The best time to visit the Royal Botanical Gardens in the months of spring (September to November) and summer (December to February). Although Melbourne experiences mild weather conditions throughout the year, if you want to experience the true splendor of the Botanical Gardens, you should visit during the spring and summer months to experience the best of Melbourne.
Summer (December – February):
The summer months in Melbourne are most pleasant, with maximum temperatures staying around 26 degrees Celsius. You can walk around the gardens in the warm sunlight and take in all the views the garden has to offer.
Spring (December to February):
Spring is the time when the flowers in the garden are in full bloom. The weather also remains pleasant, as the city starts to transition into summer from the cold winter months. It is the ideal time to visit the Royal Botanical Garden Melbourne.
The maximum temperature averages around 20 degrees Celsius during autumn. While you may not spot too many flowering plants at this time of the year, you can enjoy the gorgeous fall colours that take over the Botanical Gardens at this time of the year.
Winter (June – August):
The weather in winter is stormy, grey and gloomy with chances of rainfall. Therefore, it is best to avoid visiting the gardens during this time, as you may miss the full natural display that the Botanical Gardens are famous for.
What Not to Miss at Royal Botanical Gardens Melbourne
Apart from the Botanical Garden itself, there are several nearby attractions in Melbourne that can be exciting for you when you are in the area.
Shrine of Remembrance:
The Shrine of Remembrance is an iconic landmark in Melbourne because of its significance and structure. It is a memorial that has been created to honour the memory of the Australian martyrs of the war. Exhibitions are organized in this building, and despite its sombre nature, it is also an insightful tourist destination.
La Trobe’s Cottage:
Lieutenant General Charles La Trobe’s Cottage is one of the primary attractions around the Royal Botanical Garden Melbourne. It is especially interesting after you have paid a visit to the garden. He was the founder of the garden, and his cottage also houses many mementoes from his personal life, which can amount to an interesting tour.
The National Gallery of Victoria:
Paying a visit to the oldest and the most visited gallery in all of Australia is an absolute must when you are in Melbourne. Installations related to everything, starting from art to fashion, have found a place in this gallery. Over 40 exhibitions, on various subjects, are organized here every single year.
If you are into sightseeing and you want a panoramic view of Melbourne to take home with you as a fond memory, then you must check out the Eureka Skydeck. It is open on all sides, with a gorgeous view of the entire city, including an incredible aerial view of the Royal Botanical Garden Melbourne.
Find out more at https://www.thrillophilia.com/
Discover the best of St Kilda
What is it?
Most famous for the smiling face of the Luna Park gates, immortalised in programs like The Secret Life of Us, St Kilda is a one-of-a-kind bohemian suburb in Melbourne’s south.
It’s one of Melbourne’s most eclectic suburbs. Head to Luna Park (Australia’s oldest amusement park) and hit the original rides still in operation, including the Scenic Railway, which opened in 1912, and the merry-go-round, built-in 1913.
Next, take in the sunset while you stroll down Jacka Boulevard to St Kilda’s breakwater for a peek at a healthy-sized colony of little penguins. The black-and-white cuties are there all year round, but the best viewing is in summer after sunset.
If the ocean seems intimidating, go for a dip at the St Kilda Sea Baths. You’ll still get beautiful views of the bay, but with the added benefit of an aromatherapy steam room and café.
A local’s guide to St Kilda
St Kilda’s past is as colourful as its present. Long considered Melbourne’s seaside playground, it was first known for its elite holiday culture in the mid-19th century, before moving into its chapter as a red light entertainment district in the 1950s and ’60s.
The suburb soon became a haven for artists, musicians and a diverse LGBTQIA community thanks to its carefree bohemianism that lingers to this day, attracting hordes of backpackers each summer and all walks of life year-round.
What’s St Kilda known for?
Today, St Kilda maintains its vibrant sense of culture and pride (the Victorian Pride Centre will soon be unveiled on Fitzroy Street) and is increasingly known for its cosmopolitan inner-city lifestyle.
Thanks in part to two seasons of The Block, which transformed the infamous Gatwick Hotel and Oslo Hostel, the grit and grunge continue to gentrify at a rapid pace – but if you ask many of the locals, it’s exactly this contrast of character that defines St Kilda, making it different from anywhere else in Melbourne – and perhaps the world.
A stone’s throw from the CBD, the 3182 postcode is inexhaustible in its list of all that it has to offer. Home to many famous tourist attractions, a trip to Melbourne is not complete without a visit to St Kilda and its strip of palm tree-lined beaches, heritage buildings and eclectic dining scene, reminiscent of a curious cross between Venice Beach and San Francisco.
Why do the locals love it?
St Kilda Twilight Market event director, known to locals only as Oakies, says that “one of the things about St Kilda is its really strong creative community, not just artistically creative but also in terms of being entrepreneurial”.
“St Kilda is always changing – it’s gone through several different stages of gentrification and it has still got this edge, this vibrancy to it that the locals just love. I think that’s due to its transient nature.
“St Kilda is a meeting place for people. It’s kind of known as Melbourne’s beachside playground. Then with Luna Park there – there’s a carnivalesque vibe that I don’t think will ever change.
“Everyone leaves something of themselves in St Kilda and they pick up something to carry with them forever.”
How do I get to St Kilda?
Though it doesn’t have a train station, St Kilda is easy to access via public transport, with three trams (12, 16 and 96) running from Melbourne’s CBD to or via Fitzroy Street. Several other St Kilda Road trams will drop you at St Kilda Junction if you feel like a leisurely stroll past Albert Park and the excellent selection of restaurants and cafes opposite.
There are a number of bus lines, too. If you’re heading to or from the airport, the SkyBus has four convenient stops around St Kilda.
St Kilda occupies prime real estate on Port Phillip Bay, between Middle Park to the west and Elwood to the east. Windsor and Prahran are a short walk to the north.
Find out more at https://www.timeout.com/
Federation Square or Fed Square is Melbourne’s leading hub of significant cultural attractions and world-class events. It is located at the intersection of Flinders and Swanston Streets on the edge of the Melbourne central business district and opposite Flinders Street station and it is one of the best tourist places in Melbourne.
It opened in 2002 and since then, it has been a major point of attraction in Melbourne and has seen millions of visitors per year. It is also named the 6th Best Public Square in the World and won several awards for its architecture and design.
Fed Square is an open square with nine elaborately designed and attractive buildings surrounding it and is spread over an area of 3.6 hectares. It has two civic spaces; one is a huge Plaza with an open-air amphitheatre that boasts of being capable of hosting up large gatherings at a time, while the other is an Atrium that is exquisitely glazed and comprises a glass-walled theatre on the south side.
Fed Square offers multiple tourist attractions, like the National Gallery of Victoria’s Australian collection, The Ian Potter Centre, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), and an outstanding array of restaurants, bars, and speciality stores. Here, you get to enjoy free Wi-Fi, free daily health and wellness classes, and free sports events on the giant TV screen.
The Fed Square has become the city’s iconic meeting place as there’s always something going on here, with an exciting schedule of events and activities happening throughout the year. It lets you delve into the city’s acoustic acts through a series of free outdoor concerts and festivals that are held every Thursday during the summer.
It is the perfect place to cherish Melbourne’s matchless cultural scene through eclectic and diverse theatre performances at The Edge, modern art exhibits, and presentations of Australian artworks at the National Gallery of Victoria, and live concerts and yearly events at the Zinc.
How to Reach Federation Square
The road distance from Melbourne Airport (MEL) to Federation Square is 23 kilometers and you can easily reach it by bus, taxi, car, or shuttle.
You can pick a direct bus from Melbourne Airport T1 Skybus/Arrival Dr, which departs every 10 minutes. It drops at Skybus Coach Terminal/Spencer St. Services and from here you can either take a train or walk to Fed Square.
This is the most favored way to reach Fed Square from Melbourne airport. But, if you want to cut short the time of traveling then a hired taxi is most preferred.
Best Time to Visit Federation Square
Fed Square is an all-year-round destination as there is something exciting happening throughout the year. But, as it is an open amphitheater, visiting this place during a pleasant climate is advisable. March to May, and September to November are the most comfortable seasons, and temperatures are much more suitable during this time (highest reaching about 75°F/24°C).
Whereas, December to February are the busiest and packed with tourists from all over the world. The temperatures during this summertime can sometimes be a lot higher. So, plan a visit during morning hours or in the evening to escape the scorching heat. Many cultural events and festivals are also held during the summer and let you explore the diversity of the city.
Also, the winter season (June to August) gets quite cold and gloomy, but if you can brave the cold, then you can get the best travel deals and hotel rates during these months. And what more you get the chance to be part of the most fascinating Christmas Carnival and remarkable light and sound shows.
Find out more at https://www.thrillophilia.com/