Melbourne is, after Sydney, the most important city in Australia. In fact, it is one of the most popular destinations for visitors to the continent and it is easy to see why. In addition to the beauty of its landscapes, Melbourne also offers tourists numerous attractions to fill their day with wonder and joy.
For this reason, not everyone is aware of the places to visit and things to do absolutely once you arrive in the city. The following guide will, therefore, list the best things to do in Melbourne, and trust me: it’s going to have you immediately booking flights and start planning your Australian dream holiday – because, well… Melbourne is just that good!
The city has a considerable European imprint; It also has the advantage of changing its style and its colors with extreme ease, following the trends and the influences of the moment. Rich in neo-Gothic buildings, majestic cathedrals, imposing banks, large shops, sophisticated boutiques, art galleries, and theaters present around every corner, Melbourne is, without a doubt, a magical city. Hidden among these buildings, there is a dense network of streets full of life that promote the culture of cafes and sophisticated shopping boutiques.
And that’s without even mentioning the swish hotels with sugary delights.
Yet Melbourne would not be the same without sport; events such as the Melbourne cup or the Melbourne Cricket Ground stadium are part of the city’s social fabric. Second in importance after Sydney, Melbourne occupies the south-eastern coast of the country and is the second most populated city on the continent. Founded in 1835 by colonist John Batman, Melbourne immediately assumed the profile of a large city.
Thanks to the resources accumulated following the search for gold in the state of Victoria, it was possible to improve the city; elegant public buildings have been built, the road network and public transport have been implemented and the city has been embellished with avenues and monuments in Victorian style. Melbourne has grown out of all proportion, not only in terms of wealth, but also in size, becoming a varied city full of interests – and something to appeal to every type of traveller…
First, when you go to Melbourne it is advisable to rent bicycles to move comfortably and visit the particular area of Fitzroy, which is full of clubs, vintage shops and restaurants of all kinds where you can taste the delicacies of the place. In addition to this you can also move to the sea where from time to time you can admire the penguins come out of the water.
This is certainly the most important meeting place in the whole city, in fact every day about two to three thousand people meet. It is located in the residential district of Victoria. Every year there are many events taking place in this place including many music and dance festivals.
Then, visit all the characteristic streets full of graffiti, urban art and typical bars. A portion of your holiday, however, also reserved for culture: the most important museums are undoubtedly the permanent exhibition hosted at Federation Square and the famous National Gallery of Victoria hosting great artists (such as Picasso, Claude Monet and Andy Warhol). If you love cinema and art image, go to the Australian Center of the Moving Image (ACMI).
The last two things to do are visit the Flagstaff Gardens (gardens in which a protected Australian species lives, the Possum) and spend a wine tasting evening in the Brunswick St. area, which is also very interesting for theatrical performances or live music that offers.
The Melbourne Town Hall is a historic building, now the town hall, located in the city center. You can appreciate the beauty of this structure by booking in advance a guided tour, thanks to which the experienced staff will explain the history and the changes that have characterized it over the years.
This tower in the center of the city has 88 floors and 280 meters in height. Once you reach the top you can admire the entire city at 360 degrees thanks to the panoramic plan that is inside. Moreover, to get on and off the elevator built inside it is one of the fastest indeed you will be on the top floor or on the ground floor in just 40 seconds.
Queen Victoria Market is one of the most famous markets where you can taste specialties from all over the world as well as the typical Australian foods. To reach the market it is very simple, in fact you can get there either by tram or by car. Also here are many events that take place daily, among the most beautiful to follow are definitely cooking classes, from those paid to free ones.
One of the major attractions of the city of Melbourne is the Royal Exhibition Building, a building built in the nineteenth century in order to host the most significant events scheduled. Located in the northeastern part of the business district, surrounded by the green spaces of the Carlton Gardens, it has been included since 2004 in the UNESCO heritage list. Today the pavilion hosts various events and visits can be made.
An unmissable stop is, without any doubt, the Cathedral dedicated to Saint Paul which rises in the heart of the city and also houses the headquarters of the Anglican Church of Australia. The construction of the building dates back to the late nineteenth century and was designed by the famous architect William Butterfield who was inspired by the Gothic style.
The first beach we will cover in this guide is the famous beach that goes from Port Melbourne to St Kilda Beach. This long stretch of sand is one of the most evocative of the entire city, in fact, it is a city beach. You can follow it by bike or on foot, depending on how you prefer.
Along the beach, there are certainly plenty of bars and restaurants where you can sample some of the local specialties such as cocktails or a delicious fish and chips. The prices are obviously not low but once you find them it is really worth stopping for a few hours. The four of the most famous beaches of the bay are Dendy Street Beach, Menton, Black Rock and finally Mordialloc.
The latter is the safest beach in terms of holidays in families, in fact, the surveillance rate on this beach is very high during the whole day. All four beaches described give the opportunity to those who want to rent canoes and take long walks on foot or on board a rented bike as there are many avant-garde cycle paths. Of these, of course, there are also less known beaches that are worth going to visit once you are in the city of Melbourne.
Also known as the vacationers’ neighborhood, St Kilda is surely one of the most cosmopolitan and lively places in all of Melbourne. It is, in fact, one of the most beautiful beaches on the coast, enriched by attractions and clubs to have fun and meet new friends.
Sure, it’s not quite as cute as the romantic seaside suburbs in Sydney, but it has a more quaint, hipster feel to it – and in many ways, I love it even more!
One of the most popular attractions in Melbourne is certainly the famous bars with stunning views of the city skyline because they are located on the roofs of important and tall buildings. One of the most famous and fascinating is certainly the one located at 252 Swanston Street. Seeing is believing, and it’s a nice low-key alternative to the all-out glam of rooftop bars in Hong Kong.
This building houses the Victorian State Parliament and is an important testimony of civil architecture concerning the period of the English Empire. You can admire in particular the interior decorations and know all the details that relate to the history of the building thanks to the explanation by the guides in English.
The Cricket Ground is a true institution for all sports lovers. Here, in fact, you can watch are not at matches held by the greatest professionals of cricket, but also many other sports played by professionals of international standing as in American football.
One of the attractions of Australia are certainly the native animals, some of which are present in these areas as koalas and kangaroos. In addition to the classic Australian animals, you can see another fascinating example of the fauna of Melbourne, the penguins living in Phillip Island.
Almost as cute as the Zao Fox Park in Japan, and far wilder and natural!
The Shrine of Remembrance certainly deserves a place of honor among the places that you must necessarily know in Melbourne, above all for its historical and strongly symbolic value. It was initially dedicated to those who had lost their lives during the First World War, but soon became the monument of all war dead.
If you are a lover of sport and do not give up on staying on holiday, then you must know that Australia boasts the most athletic and energetic citizens. There are many places where you can join in a group to do sport or simply run on the beaches or in the parks of Melbourne. Much like Miami, when the sun is out – so is everyone else showing off their fabulous muscles and staying fit as hell.
I just watch with an amazing Doughboys Doughnut in hand. Don’t judge me!
For all theater lovers, the Majesty’s Theater is truly a must visit. Here in fact you can watch performances among the most disparate, with an always new and dynamic poster. From Shakespearean drama to avant-garde work, this is the right place.
Among the best things not to be missed in Melbourne, the various parks stand out without a doubt. If you are vacationing with your family it might be a good idea to go to Yarra Bend Park. This park is of the size of 260 hectares. Inside you will be able to observe a significant amount of animals: reptiles, insects and fish of all kinds. If you also want to play golf, you have come to the right place: you will have 18 holes available to indulge in this delicate and patient sport.
If you enjoyed the trip particularly and have really loved this wonderful land, you just have to take away a piece of Australia and Melbourne. To do so, you can visit the market in the South Melbourne Market or the Sunday Camberwell Market, to buy something really typical to take home.
We conclude our list with a trip out to Albert Park and Lake can be considered a suburb of Melbourne, where there are several parks, a lake and open-air bars. As many know, it is the home of the Australian Formula 1 Grand Prix. The circuit winds around the beautiful lake but few are aware of the fact that during the year it is a normal city street. When approaching the Grand Prix, the organizers insert the curbs and mount mobile stands and Australians flock here from across the country.
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Just add an adventurous attitude and plenty of smiles - they go a long way - and that about covers it all! Now go out, find your own path and don't forget to share your best inspiration stories with me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram...I'd love to hear from you!