The city of Melbourne Australia is home to over 4 million people making it the second most populated city in Australia, coming in second only to Sydney. Located on the bay of Port Philip, Melbourne has so much to offer it’s no wonder why it’s currently rated as the Most Livable City in the World. While Sydney tends to get the majority of international attention, many travelers find that it’s Melbourne that holds a special place in their hearts after they’ve returned home.
10. Take Public Transit
You’ll probably be able to cross this off your list without even trying while you explore this dynamic city. Melbourne has one of the best public transit systems of any major city in Australia and quite possibly the world. The city’s trains, buses and world famous trams are an easy and affordable way to get around and the timetables and routes are easy to figure out. You can ride with ease by purchasing a myki card (available at many news agencies or the Melbourne Visitor Center in Federation Square) which allows you to pre-load your card with cash and swipe on and off of any tram, bus or train. There’s also a free tourist tram that does a loop around the city center.
9. Catch an AFL Game
AFL (The Australian Football League) is huge in Melbourne, mostly because the league was founded in the state of Victoria and a majority of the 18 teams are based in the state. The Footy season runs from March until end of September when it concludes with the Championship game known as the ‘Grand Final’. The best place to catch a game in the city is at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds (MCG) or as the locals call it, just “The G”. This mega stadium is the largest in Australia and the 10th largest in the world and seats 95,000 with an additional 5,000 standing room. The MCG is located in Yarra Park in East Melbourne and can be easily reached by train, tram or bus.
8. Eureka Skydeck 88
If you’re interested in seeing Melbourne from a different angle take a trip up to the Eureka Skydeck where you’ll get the best views of the city from the Southern Hemisphere’s highest viewing platform. It’s a breathtaking view during the day or at night with 360° floor to ceiling views of the city and beyond. You can even step outside onto The Terrace to feel the high winds and use the free high powered binoculars. If you’re feeling brave you can also purchase admission to walk on ‘The Edge’, a glass cube extending 3 meters out from the building almost 300 meters above the ground. To get to Eureka Tower follow the bridge over the Yarra River from Flinders Street Station and it’s only a 5 minute walk before you’re there.
7. National Gallery of Victoria
After checking out the Eureka Tower visit another one of the great attractions on the Southbank, the National Gallery of Victoria. On the South side of the river you’ll find the NGV International where you’ll find an extensive collection of art from all over the world including Asia, Europe and America. North of the river in Federation Square is the NGV Australia, also known as The Ian Potter Centre where you find both aboriginal and non-aboriginal art from all over Australia from the colonial period to present day. The National Gallery of Victoria is Australia’s oldest public art gallery so it’s definitely worth spending some time at.
From the food to the fashion to the architecture it’s clear that Melbourne is an all-around trendy city and may even be the fashion capital of Australia. Because of this, there’s no shortage of amazing places to shop with choices ranging from mega shopping centers to hidden laneway boutiques and everything in between. If you’re looking for a real American style mall check out Melbourne Central in the CBD with over 300 stores, or for a smaller scene try Chapel Street in South Yarra where you’ll find eclectic second hand shops and exclusive Australian designers. Luckily there are also tons of trendy cafes and restaurants where you can refuel after all that shopping.
5. The State Library of Victoria
So much more than just a place for reading, the State Library of Victoria is ‘a great emporium of learning and philosophy, of literature, science and art’ according to its founder Sir Redmond Barry. One of the best things to do at the library is to check out one (or all) of their 3 galleries which include permanent and temporary exhibitions featuring amazing works of art. One of the most notable galleries to see is the Dome Gallery which is a beautiful sight in its self with high domed ceilings and detailed balconies but the Dome is also home to the permanent exhibition ‘The Changing Face of Victoria’. This collection features artifacts, photos, maps and stories of the people and places that have shaped life in Victoria over the past 200 years.
4. Dinner in Chinatown
A visit to the infamous Chinatown Melbourne which runs along Little Bourke Street is a must when you’re visiting the city. Dating back to the gold rush days of the 1850’s, this is the longest continuous Chinese settlement in the western world. A vibrant rainbow of colors and smells await you here as does a wide selection of restaurants. If you’ve never tried soupy dumplings before head to Hutong Dumpling Bar on Market Lane and prepare for your next food obsession, or for something spicy visit Dainty Sichuan on Bourke Street.
3. Visit the Royal Botanic Gardens
The Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne is truly an oasis in the heart of the city. It’s a longstanding cultural treasure that’s been in operation for over 165 years and is one of the world’s leading botanic gardens. Escape the hustle and bustle of the busy city streets while enjoying the diverse flora and fauna in the 38 hectares of the Melbourne gardens. The Royal Botanic Gardens also offers several tours if you’re looking to get a more in-depth experience while visiting the gardens including the very interesting Aboriginal Heritage Walk. On this tour you’ll explore the culture of the Kulin nation, experience a traditional smoking ceremony and learn about traditional uses of native plants throughout the gardens. This tour is well worth the $25 adult admission. Getting to the Botanic Gardens is easy with the Melbourne Visitor Shuttle or take a tram to Shrine of Remembrance/ St. Kilda Rd where it’s a short walk into the gardens.
2. Queen Victoria Market
‘Vic Market’, the ‘Queen Vic’, or even just ‘The Market’ whatever you call it the Queen Victoria Market has been a Melbourne institution since 1878. Open 5 days a week, this bustling market is spread over 2 city blocks and offers fresh Australian produce, meats, seafood, sweets, gourmet foods, even clothing and souvenirs…there isn’t much you won’t find here. Come hungry because the market has a food court with a wide range of ethnic take-away cuisine as well as the Deli Hall where you can pick up meats, cheeses, sausages and pastries. We recommend you bring a reusable bag with you here because you’re almost guaranteed to leave with something.
1. Night Out on the Town
You may be tired from all that sightseeing during the day but while in Melbourne it’s essential to spend a night on the town at least once. This city is all about hidden gems and you’ll find the trendiest bars tucked down little laneways or hidden behind unassuming doors. Berlin Bar on Corrs Lane in Chinatown has 2 distinct themes…on the one side, the opulence of West Berlin and on the East Berlin side; army bunker chic. For wine, delicious snacks and great views visit Siglo cigar bar on Spring Street which is upstairs above its sister bar Supper Club. It’s a pretty busy spot so it may take some time to get your drinks but it’s worth the wait!