There’s a reason Melbourne held onto the mantle of the “World’s Most Liveable City” for so many years in a row! It’s got everything. You can be transported from the city to the coast in a short amount of time, from the mountains to the countryside, and this Melbourne itinerary will go over everything you need to experience the best this incredible destination has to offer!
The capital of the south-eastern state of Victoria, the appeal of Melbourne doesn’t seem to be losing any steam. Each year, the city welcomes 12 million domestic and international visitors and rapidly overtakes Sydney as the must-see Australian city.
Where To Stay In Melbourne?
Melbourne is a cultural melting pot with distinctly different neighbourhood aesthetics, reminiscent of eternal favourites London and Paris! A widespread metropolis that is ever-expanding as more and more people lay roots here, Melbourne accommodation has a little something for everyone! Here are my top picks and recommendations for where to stay for this Melbourne itinerary:
Airbnb Melbourne – This is my favourite way of booking travel accommodation, and Melbourne is such a fantastic city to have your own apartment to get a sense of local life! There are countless incredible apartments and condos available all over the city’s various suburbs, and it can often be cheaper than booking an expensive hotel room! Here are a few of my top picks:
- Sunny Warehouse Studio with NYC Vibe near Swan Street (Richmond)
- Adorable Chalet Tucked Away in Bohemian (St Kilda)
- Penthouse Apartment with Panoramic Views (Melbourne CBD)
Day 1: Laneway Eateries And All The Coffee
The long flight to Melbourne might leave you feeling a little jet-lagged and sluggish if you’ve travelled from abroad. Take this opportunity to decompress and fuel up your energy levels with the coffee that Melbourne is famous across the world for.
It isn’t an exaggeration to say it really is some of the best in the world, and Melbourne’s large Italian community goes a long way towards ensuring it keeps its reputation.
Melbourne is famous for its laneways, and these charming walkways are packed with some of the best cafes and eateries the city has to offer. Centre Place in the city centre is a standout.
Start your trip to Melbourne in its pulsating city centre. A free City Circle tram runs throughout town, starting at Flinders Street Station, and takes in must-see attractions such as St Paul's Cathedral, Parliament House and the Royal Exhibition Building.
Hop off the tram at Flagstaff Station and take a five-minute stroll to Queen Victoria Market. The market has been a Melbourne landmark for more than a century and offers an incredible range of local and imported gourmet foods.
Grab a coffee from Market Lane Coffee in the Deli Hall and a spinach and cheese borek from the Borek Shop. Hop back on the tram to Federation Square. This is Melbourne's cultural heart, home to cutting-edge art at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) and an extensive range of Aboriginal works at the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia.
Don't miss the Aboriginal-owned Koorie Heritage Trust, also located in Federation Square, which houses captivating ranges of artefacts, paintings, photographs and oral history recordings with the aim to preserve and promote local Koorie culture. Explore the galleries before sitting down to lunch at one of the many restaurants on nearby Flinders Lane – Chin Chin and Coda are both standouts.
Melbourne's city centre is threaded with cobbled laneways, where you could quickly lose yourself over a few hours. In these 19th century arcades and alleyways reinvigorated with world-famous street art, you'll find hidden gems at every turn.
Enter at Degraves Street, which is lined with cafés and coffee shops, then cross Collins Street to visit the exquisite, 1892-built Block Arcade. The arcade is full of old-world charm, from antique jewellery stores to traditional tailors and the treasured Hopetoun Tea Rooms.
In the afternoon, take a stroll around the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Melbourne Gardens, or join a tour to see the inner sanctum of the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).
If you're visiting between March and September, make sure you know a game of AFL (Australian rules football). For dinner, head to Little Bourke Street, taste Melbourne’s Chinatown’s flavours or check out the vast dining hall at Cookie in Curtin House.
Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar – “Pellegrini’s is all about character, honest Italian fare and coffee. In fact, it is said (by Pellegrini’s themselves) that the first espresso machine to arrive in Melbourne was delivered here in 1954 – opening the gates to a city-wide obsession.”
Proud Mary – “We take great pride in supporting and representing coffee producers and communities. We visit our producers each year, venture to their farms, homes and families. This is a relationship. We discover who they are, what motivates them and how we can support one another. Through this tangible form, we generate a mutual understanding and appreciation. These are the true rock stars of coffee, the story starts with the producer.”
Axil Coffee Roasters – “Our aim has always been simple; to source, roast and produce the best cup of coffee. We have a passionate and enthusiastic team who travel the globe to find the best specialty coffee available. We are continuously building relationships with coffee producers to ensure we are getting the highest quality.”
Dukes Coffee Roasters – “We are an Australian specialty coffee roasting company whose focus is the craft of carefully roasting the best coffees in the world using innovative and methodic roasting practices. We are committed to bringing the best selection of exceptionally grown, amazing tasting and in-season specialty coffees to cafes and consumers in Australia.”
Auction Rooms – “We believe in quality, detail, great food and good vibes. Combine that with a backdrop that will take your breath away, and we are well on the way to hosting the most memorable of events for you.”
After inflight “food” from hell, I’m sure you’ve got a raging appetite too, and you’ve touched down in the proper city to satisfy any palate. Melbourne has been a cultural melting pot of international influences since its early days, and that has spilled over into not only coffee but also food. And us visitors are ever so thankful for it!
Culinary delights can be found on each corner of this beautiful city, but tonight I recommend heading straight for the centre of epic Asian food in Melbourne, Chinatown, located in the heart of the central business district.
Once you’ve found your way there, make a beeline for locally-loved Shanghai Dumpling House. This rickety old building is always heaving with visitors and locals filling up on their share of pork dumplings, Shanghai fried noodles, and Chinese broccoli. You won’t regret it.
Day 2 : Seaside Relaxation In St Kilda And South Yarra
If you’ve come to Melbourne during spring or summer, you’re in luck, as heading to the beach here is not only a super popular pastime for locals but for visitors too.
Head down to iconic St Kilda, a beachside suburb of Melbourne a short distance from the city. You can get there from the CBD on one of the city’s iconic trams and tick that off your list as well!
As day two in Melbourne comes around, you will have plenty of things to do on your Melbourne travel itinerary at St Kilda, a popular seaside suburb only a 20-minute tram ride from the Melbourne CBD.
This area offers you the chance to choose between multiple restaurants and bars and has a beautiful beach and pier to explore.
Grab breakfast at one of the many cafes, most of which can be found on Fitzroy Street. Try Fitzrovia or Staple Providore & Café.
Suppose you fancy, head over to Luna Park for a few hours of rides and attractions. This historical amusement park opened in 1912 and has rides, games, and shows to see while in the park. Tickets are best bought on the spot at the park.
After you've ridden all the rides you want, head to the most famous beach in Melbourne and layout in the sun to soak up some rays, if weather permits.
The St Kilda Esplanade stretches along the coast, from Fitzroy Street, a hub for eating and partying, to Acland Street, where achingly trendy bars and pubs exist alongside the landmark amusement park, Luna Park.
If you are lucky enough to visit St Kilda on a Sunday, the Esplanade Market stretches the length of the road and overlooks the sea, selling everything you could imagine. Take a dip in the water, soak up some Aussie sun, walk along St Kilda Pier and visit the penguins. Just remember some serious-strength SPF – the sun Down Under is notoriously intense.
St Kilda is filled to the brim with great bars and clubs, and a night out here is like no other. If it’s a summer night, there’s an additional breezy, hippy vibe to it that’s indescribable.
St Kilda Beach also has a fantastic pier that you can walk along. Take a stroll on it, and you might get to see some Fairy Penguins waddling along the rocks nearby.
If you happen to be in St Kilda on a Sunday, walk over to check out the Esplanade Market, which offers local artisan’s goods, crafts, jewellery and more. On the first Sunday of every month, they even have a full vegan market for you to try out some new plant-based options.
On your Melbourne itinerary, two days should offer you the chance to get your adrenaline pumping. With the Eureka Skytower already done on day 2, how about testing your courage by skydiving over St Kilda Beach? You will get to fly over the beach and get a high view of the sand, sea, and beachgoers on your way down.
Or, if you'd rather have a leisurely day of rest and relaxation, you can visit Brighton Beach instead and enter the 96 famous bathing boxes.
These were initially made for beachgoers, who were not allowed to be naked or walk the beach in a swimsuit alone so that they could bathe in the water in a private hut and watch the ocean.
Each one is colourfully painted and unique, so choose whatever is your favourite and lay in the water to relax.
If your day/night out in St Kilda gets particularly messy, head back to your hotel via Chapel Street in Windsor and experience the grungiest, dirtiest and potentially, funniest time of your life at Revolver. With tons of dark rooms pumping everything from hip hop to electronic and techno, it’s a night you won’t forget.
Melbourne's most stylish sites have found a home in affluent South Yarra. Start your day at Two Birds One Stone, a popular breakfast spot serving dishes such as ricotta pancakes with fresh figs, marmalade syrup, pistachio cream and toasted sunflower seeds.
Chapel Street splits the suburb at its centre and is lined with boutiques. Chapel Street continues into the neighbourhood of Prahran. Visit the bustling Prahran Market, renowned for its gourmet delis and specialty produce, and then walk down eclectic Greville Street.
From here, it’s a 15-minute cab ride (or 30-minute tram) to St Kilda beach, where you can stroll along the esplanade and historic St Kilda Pier and enjoy a cake at one of Acland Street's famous patisseries.
From St Kilda, it's a 30-minute tram ride back to the city centre. Visit Australia's oldest gallery, the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), which hosts a wide range of local and international artists, exhibitions and events. Or you may like to see Melbourne from a new perspective aboard a cruise along the Yarra River.
Dine out in one of the city's diverse eating enclaves – try Vietnamese in Richmond, Italian along Carlton's Lygon Street or Spanish on Johnston Street in Fitzroy.
Nearby Brunswick Street is a hive of activity, with ethnic eateries, pubs and rooftop bars. Sample the house-infused vodka at Naked in the Sky – the rooftop terrace of Naked for Satan – and enjoy some of the best city views.
Day 3 : Wander Chapel and Burker Street
Start the day by shopping in the neighbourhood of Prahan on Chapel Street. With many different boutiques housing fashion items from clothes, shoes, and accessories, you can find some great styles to wear for the rest of your trip and beyond.
Bourke Street Mall
In your Melbourne itinerary, three days can allow you to see a lot! And instead of heading to Prahan, you could also choose to head over to the Bourke Street Mall. With Bourke Street being one of the main streets in Melbourne’s CBD, you will genuinely find whatever you are looking for. Plus, stop for lunch at Ca Da Vin and get some pizza with a glass of wine chosen from over 50 options.
If you would like to have lots of high-end shopping options, then add Melbourne Emporium to your Melbourne city tour itinerary. With upscale stores like Coach, Chanel and Hugo Boss, you can find contemporary looks and items to fit your style.
There are also many restaurants to stop off at when you need some refuelling. Try places like Gyoza Gyoza and Unabara Lobster & Oyster Bar, which features Japanese dumplings, lobster and oyster dishes with pay-per-plate dining for a unique flavour and dining experience.
With many shopping centres in the city, you could also choose to check out Melbourne Central that offers cheaper buys and great food options all in one place.
With shops like Ally Fashion, Cotton On, and Just Jeans, you can find inexpensive clothes and accessories before trying Lord of the Fries, which boasts of creating the perfect fry without the use of chemicals or frozen potatoes. Yup, it’s 100% vegan!
DFO South Wharf
None of these options is for you? Then go to the DFO South Wharf outlets to get name brand items for up to 70% off their original price.
With stores like Adidas and Coach offering low prices for their items, you can get some high-end products for less. Then, with all the money you saved, you can treat yourself to an Oktoberfest feast at Munich Brau Haus with German-inspired dishes and, of course, lots of beer.
Vintage Shopping In Melbourne
Or, if you would like to go the vintage route, you can instead choose to shop at the Chadstone Fashion Mall or Brunswick, and Smith streets in Fitzroy for thrift store finds and retro options.
With stores that offer antique books, records, and leather jackets, you’re sure to find unique buys everywhere you go.
Seasonal Activities in Melbourne
- Melbourne Cup in November – This horse racing event is arguably one of Australia’s biggest annual sporting event. The event is held on the first Tuesday in November each year and is known locally as “the race that stops a nation”, as every Australian will stop what they’re doing and crowd around the telly. People will also dress up in race day attire (formal) and attend the race, which (in a true Aussie fashion) often involves day drinking.
- In March, the World’s Longest Lunch is an annual event usually held as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival in March, where diners get to enjoy a meal at the 500m long table. Check out the Melbourne and Wine Festival website for more information!
- Regional World’s Longest Lunch in March – If you can’t score a seat at the Melbourne Longest Lunch, fret not! They hold the most extended lunch at regional areas outside of Melbourne too. I attended one in Yarra Valley last year, and it was a fantastic experience.
- Check out Flinders St Station and Federation Square. ...
- Have a Poke Around the Laneways. ...
- Tour the MCG. ...
- Visit the National Gallery of Victoria. ...
- Check out the Shrine of Remembrance and the Royal Botanic Gardens. ...
- Grab Dinner at Chinatown. ...
- Collingwood. ...
- Take a Street Art Tour.
The best times to visit Melbourne are between March and May and September and November. These shoulder seasons feature moderate temperatures and tourist crowds, plus lower airfare rates.
Victoria is a great place to visit for a weekend—or long weekend—escape in British Columbia. The city is quite small, so most of the main attractions lie within walking distance of each other in the city center.