30 Awesome Things to do in Melbourne

things to do in MelbourneAs the cultural capital of Australia, there’s plenty of things to do in Melbourne!

Let me explain:

Living in Melbourne for 5 months during my Australian working holiday, I ended up falling in love with the place. If you are travelling to Victoria, then Melbourne is an absolute must visit!

There are lots of places to see in Melbourne.

If you are backpacking Australia, then you simply have to visit Melbourne! Not only is the city itself great, but you have places such as Wilson’s Promontory and the Great Ocean Road nearby. They are some great places to visit near to Melbourne!

There are many reasons to visit Australia, and Melbourne is definitely high on that list! With many exciting things to do in Melbourne, it is a place that should be on everyone’s Australian backpacking itinerary!

These are a just sample of the points of interest in Melbourne that I found interesting!

30 Things to do in Melbourne

1. Federation Square

Federation Square was only opened in 2002, which is surprising considering how central it is to Melbourne. Federation Square is a great place to meet-up given its location in the heart of the city.

The square is home to the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) and the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), both of which are worth checking out.

The big stage and screen are usually utilised when there are big events. To top it all off, for anyone who needs to go online, there is free wifi!

It’s a great place to relax in the summer if you don’t fancy the beach. Especially, as there a few bars and cafes close by!

 

Fed Square

2. Royal Botanic Gardens

Although not as good as the Botanic Gardens in Adelaide, Melbourne’s version is still worth checking out! There’s a wide variety of flora and fauna here spread across 363 hectares (897 acres)!

The Botanic Gardens are a great place to go and explore if you want a day outside. It’s a great place to relax, as there’s lots of space, so it never feels too crowded. It’s definitely one of the best places to see in Melbourne!

It’s definitely one of the best places to see in Melbourne!

 

View of Eureka Skydeck from Botanical Gardens

3. Old Melbourne Gaol

One of the more intriguing points of interest in Melbourne, the Old Melbourne Gaol is worth a visit if you’re a history lover. As the name suggests, it was once a jail that has now been converted into a museum. It reveals a lot about the early history of Victoria and Melbourne.

A good reason to visit the gaol is that it was the infamous bushranger Ned Kelly was hung for murder in 1880. Kelly has become somewhat of a cult figure in recent years, and this is probably the best place to learn about his past!

4. Victoria Market

The Victoria Market is a great place to visit if you want to get some cheap food. It’s open five days a week during the day except for Monday and Wednesday. However, where the market really comes into its own is the night market! Every Wednesday from November to March in summer and June to August during the winter, the market opens at night!

However, where the market really comes into its own is the night market! Every Wednesday from November to March in summer and June to August during the winter, the market opens at night!

You can sample an array of different delicacies while enjoying live music and entertainment. If you love food, then you have to check the night market out, as most of the stalls do some fantastic grub!

5. Shrine of Remembrance

The Shrine of Remembrance is one of the more introspective places to visit in Melbourne. Built as a dedication to soldiers that lost their lives fighting in the First and Second World Wars, it’s an impressive and interesting place to visit.

As a history graduate, this was somewhere I was keen to visit, as I learnt a lot about Australia’s role in the two global conflicts. A must visit in Melbourne if you’re a history buff like me!

 

Shrine of Remembrance

6. Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)

The MCG, or the G, as the locals refer to it, is a Mecca for sports fans! It is the biggest stadium in Australia and home to the National Sporting Museum. Even if you’re not much of a sports fan, I recommend checking the MCG out.

It is an impressive stadium that can hold over a 100,000 people and is even more impressive when it’s full. Be sure to check out an Aussie Rules or cricket match to experience this first-hand!

If you love sport as much as me, then this is one of the best things to do in Melbourne!

 

Inside the MCG

7. Penguin Parade

The Penguin parade is one of the best, and unique activities in Melbourne! It is probably not as widely known as it should be and is somewhat overshadowed by the highly advertised parade on Philip Island.

However, there is a colony of penguins living in St Kilda, and the best part is that you can see them 365 days a year!

Every day after sunset, the little penguins leave their home in the St Kilda breakwater and head out to the beach! This is definitely one of the best free activities you can do in Melbourne!

8. Albert Park

Albert Park is one of the underrated places to go in Melbourne. It’s very close to the centre of the city, which makes it an ideal place to go if you want to get away from the crowded centre!

As well as being a beautiful park, it also plays host to the Australian Grand Prix every March. Watching the F1 in Melbourne was one of the highlights of my year in Australia!

Its location and beautiful surrounding make Albert Park a must-see in Melbourne!

 

Albert Park

9. Carlton Gardens

Visiting the Carlton Gardens is one of the best things to do in Melbourne if you want to have a relaxing day!

Located within close proximity to the centre of the city, the Carlton Gardens is a world heritage site that also houses the Royal Exhibition Building near the Melbourne Museum.

The Gardens are really beautiful and definitely one of the best things to see in Melbourne. Don’t miss out if you visit Melbourne, you won’t regret it!

10. Great Ocean Road

The Great Ocean Road is one of the main tourist attractions in Melbourne despite being outside of the city! There’s very good reason for this, as the sights are incredible.

The Twelve Apostles and The Grotto are great places to explore on a day trip from Melbourne!

If you’re looking to get away from Melbourne for the day or weekend, then you can do worse than driving the Great Ocean Road!

If you’re feeling really adventurous, then you could do a Melbourne to Adelaide road trip, as an extension of a visit to the Great Ocean Road!

 

Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road

11. Wilson’s Promontory

Although Wilson’s Promontory is three hours drive away from Melbourne, I had to include it on the list. Going to Wilson’s Prom was one of the best experiences of my time backpacking Australia.

The natural beauty of the park is amazing and there are a number of great hikes that allow you to soak all this beauty in.

Even if you are only in Melbourne for a short time, I recommend going out of your way to visit the Prom, it is definitely one of the best things to do in Melbourne, even if it’s not in the city!

The views are spectacular and there are some of the best beaches in Australia here too!

 

Backpacking in Wilson's Promontory

12. Laneways

One of the best and quirky things about Melbourne is its numerous laneways. These are old service lanes for horses and carts in Victorian days and have evolved into a place for street art and cafes.

The street art in some of the laneways is fantastic and exhibits Melbourne’s bohemian culture.

Hosier Lane is perhaps the most famous of them all and is highlighted in the picture below. There are lots of great little cafes and bars to be found in the laneways and exploring these places is a great way to spend a day!

 

Graffiti in a laneway in Melbourne

13. Eat

Melbourne is a foodie’s paradise, so of all the things to do in Melbourne, this is an absolute must! As a result of immigration throughout the years, Melbourne has a rich and diverse choice of culinary options.

There is everything from Vietnamese to Lebanese in the city, in fact, you could probably find food from most cultures, such is the wealth of options.

Lygon Street in Melbourne is renowned for Italian food, while Sydney Road in Brunswick offers a number of cuisines including Afghan and Nepalese!

14. Brunswick Street

Brunswick Street is an interesting street, that is a melting pot of all things weird and wonderful.

I lived near here and I loved walking down the street to eat in one of the numerous restaurants and peer in the windows of the different shops along the street.

Even though I felt Brunswick Street was very much a hipster place, it was still a great place to visit, especially if you are bohemian in nature!

15. St Kilda

If you want to head to the beach while you are in Melbourne, then St Kilda is the place to go. If you are backpacking in Australia, then the area is a haven for like-minded folk such as yourself and it’s a different option to staying in the centre of the city.

There are lots of things to do in St Kilda, such as the penguin parade. Checking out Luna Park, an old-school amusement park is another must as well! However, if you simply want to relax on the beach, then this is the place for you!

However, if you simply want to relax on the beach, then this is the place for you!

 

St Kilda beach

16. Cook’s Cottage

This choice is a bit quirky, but as a history geek, I had to include it as one of my things to do in Melbourne!

Cook’s cottage is the one that his parents lived in and it is argued, Cook lived in as well, in Yorkshire. You’re probably wondering what it is doing in Melbourne.

Well in 1933, the owner of the cottage sold it for £800 and it was dismantled and shipped brick-by-brick to Melbourne! It was reconstructed in the Fitzroy Gardens, where it stands today.

It’s an interesting place to visit and you’ll even learn a bit about the early settlement of Australia!

17. Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI)

The Australian Centre for the Moving Image is the only museum dedicated to film in the country.

Housed at Federation Square, it details the history of film in Australian society. The ACMI has numerous exhibits that are constantly changing and offer insights into how film has affected life in Australia.

This is one Melbourne’s tourist attractions that are highly interesting, especially if you’re a film buff! The ACMI also has two cinemas, which play different films every so often!

18. National Gallery of Victoria (NGV)

The National Gallery of Victoria is the oldest, largest and most visited art museum in Australia!

Opened in 1861, it’s located on St Kilda Road on the Arts Precinct of Melbourne’s Southbank. If you’re a fan of art, then a visit here is a must, as the NGV houses some great collections!

There’s an Australian collection, which details the history of Australian art from the Aboriginals to modern offerings. There is also an international collection which has numerous paintings and sculptures from Europe, Asia and many other places!

If you’re a culture vulture, a trip to the NGV will be right up your street!

19. State Library of Victoria

You may wonder why I’m including a library on a list of things to do in Melbourne. Well, there’s a very good reason for this! The interior of the State Library of Victoria is absolutely beautiful. The architecture is just incredible, especially the reading room!

The library also has a number of expositions throughout the year, which is always worth a look. Another bonus about the library is that you can use the wifi and computers free of charge.

If you’re looking for work in Melbourne, then the library is a great place to head to make a CV or search for jobs!

20. Melbourne Museum

When I was looking at what to do in Melbourne, visiting the Melbourne Museum was high on my list. It’s no secret that I’m a lover of museums, so I was eager to explore this one and see what they had.

I have to say that I was a little disappointed. It cost $20 to enter and I didn’t feel like there was anything different to the museums that I had visited in Adelaide and Brisbane beforehand!

The museum is worth a visit, but it’s definitely not essential while travelling in Melbourne!

 

Exhibit in the Melbourne Musuem

21. Crown Melbourne

If you fancy a flutter while you’re visiting Melbourne, then going to the Crown Casino is a definite must!

As well as a Casino, the complex is a hotel and has numerous restaurants, bars and a cinema as well. It’s situated on the Southbank next to the river.

I’m not advising that you go and spend all your money at the casino, but it’s a great place to go if you fancy a change of pace in Melbourne!

22. Eureka Tower

If you want a great view of Melbourne and the surrounding area, then a trip to the Eureka Tower will be right up your street!

The Eureka tower has Skydeck on the 88th floor, which is the highest public vantage point in a public building in the Southern hemisphere.

The views from the top are great and it’s a lot of fun trying to spot all the different landmarks in Melbourne!

 

View from Eureka Skydeck

23. Melbourne Star

Another way to get great views of Melbourne and its surrounds is to go on the Melbourne Star!

It’s a 120m (394ft) Ferris wheel located in the Docklands area of the city. A ride takes 30 minutes and you can see as far as the Dandenong Ranges, Mount Macedon and Arthur’s Seat!

It is a little pricey at $36 for an adult ticket, so I would only recommend doing this if you really like the Ferris wheel or you want to see Melbourne from above!

24. Dandenong Ranges

The Dandenong Ranges are a great place to visit if you’re looking at doing a day trip from Melbourne.

The Ranges are about a 45 minute/1 hour drive away from the centre of Melbourne. The area is great if you love scenic drives, hiking and cycling. It’s a real paradise for outdoors people!

There’s also the Puffing Billy Railway should you need a break from all the exercise!

25. Flinders Street Railway Station

If you wanted to know what local people consider to be of one of the iconic buildings in Melbourne, then I imagine quite a few would say the Flinders Street Railway Station!

The station opposite Federation Square is a beautiful Victorian building! The facade is beautiful and it’s one place you have to visit in Melbourne! The inside is also beautiful and contains a few secrets as well!

The top floor houses a ballroom which has been closed for a number of years. However, you can visit as part of Open House Melbourne, if you’re lucky enough to receive a rare golden ticket!

Flinders Street Station is one of Melbourne’s attractions you can’t miss out on!

26. Melbourne Park

If you love sports as much as I do, then visiting Melbourne Park is an absolute must!

It was built in 1988 to host the Australian Open, which is a Tennis Grand Slam tournament. It includes the Rod Laver Arena, Margaret Court Arena and Hisense Arena.

Outside of the Australian Open, which is held in January, the area is used for music concerts as well. You can walk around here most of the year and take in the surroundings.

The best time to visit is definitely during the Australian Open when Melbourne Park really comes alive! If that’s not an option, you can experience Melbourne Park courtesy of a Full-Day Sports Tour. You even get to play on the courts!

 

Melbourne Park

27. See Melbourne from a hot air balloon

One of the unique ways to see Melbourne is from a hot air balloon!

These rides are very popular and one of my friends did one while living in Melbourne and said that it was excellent!

However, they are quite expensive! You could end up paying over $400 per person to see Melbourne from a hot air balloon!

This is certainly one of the unique things to do in Melbourne, but I would only recommend it if you really want to do it!

28. City Circle Tram

If you want to travel around Melbourne for free and see most of the sights, then the City Circle tram is for you!

The tram does a loop of the centre of the city and you can hop on and hop off as you please! The trams used are the old W class models and are very photogenic!

If you’ve just arrived in Melbourne, taking the City Circle tram is a great way to get acquainted with the sights of the city!

29. Brighton Beach

As well as St Kilda, Melbourne has another beach at Brighton!

Brighton is not as close to the centre of Melbourne as St Kilda, it’s 11 km away. However, it’s certainly worth a visit if you want to go to the beach during your Melbourne stay.

The Dendy Street Beach is where 82 colourful bathing boxes are located. They are one of the most popular tourist attractions in Melbourne, and highly Instsagramable!

If you want to get away from the centre for a bit, then Brighton is one of the best places to visit in Melbourne!

30. Bourke St Mall and Melbourne Central

There’s plenty of places to go shopping in Melbourne, but the best is perhaps Bourke Street Mall and Melbourne Central.

Despite the name, Bourke Street Mall is essentially just a street with a lot of shops on it. However, that doesn’t detract from it in anyway! It’s a great place to shop if that’s your thing!

Melbourne Central is more of a mall, as it occupies multiple levels and has a multitude of shops. There’s a gym, and restaurants as well as the shops, so it’s definitely worth checking out!

Where to stay in Melbourne

If you’re at where to stay in Melbourne, then you will no doubt realise that there is a lot of choices!

Whether you want to stay in a hostel or hotel, there is a lot of backpacker accommodation in Australia and Melbourne is no exception! The good thing is, that there is something for everyone’s budget!

You can stay in really cheap hostels, or you can stay in luxury hotels if you wish! There’s a wealth of hostels in Melbourne, so you shouldn’t have too much difficulty finding something that suits you!

If you want to book a cheap hotel in Melbourne, check out the latest deals here!

If you’re travelling around Victoria on a budget, then staying in a hostel may be a good option. I stayed at a number of hostels in Melbourne.

Urban Central was a nice hostel, although the location was not exactly central. While the Melbourne Central YHA has great facilities and a better location. However, it was lacking a common area, and I found it difficult to meet people there!

If you want more choice, then check out the latest deals for hostels in Melbourne here!

When to visit Melbourne

Undoubtedly, the best time to visit Melbourne is during the summer months. This is from October to April, as the temperature is a lot warmer around 20 to 30 degrees.

However, it should be noted that summer in Melbourne can get extremely warm! It’s not uncommon for temperatures to reach and go above 40 degrees from December to February!

It’s important to bear this in mind when considering the best time to visit Australia, as it’s true for the majority of the country as well!

Temperatures during winter are a lot cooler with 5 to 15 degrees the norm. That said, Melbourne is renowned for changeable weather and is known as a city with four seasons in one day!

Probably the best time to go to Melbourne is from September to October and March to April when the temperatures are not as warm as they are during the summer months!

Need travel insurance? Don’t travel to Melbourne without it! I use World Nomads to keep me protected while I travel, and recommend you do too!

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Tom

Tom is a travel addict who first left England to spend a year Down Under. Not satisfied with this, he then went to New Zealand, about as far away from home as he could get. He is now planning his next adventures in Europe and Canada while maintaining this blog.

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7 Responses

  1. Nice list! I absolutely loved Melbourne in my recent trip. There are so many things happening there..just love it’s vibe!

    • Tom says:

      Thank you, ye Melbourne is great, I loved living there! Mainly, because as you say, there are so many things happening!

  2. Hey , Tom enjoyed your posts which are informative !Might suggest you can increase your topic engagement if you can get some attractive photos, Cheers mate

  3. Kevin Wagar says:

    I’ve been dying to get to Melbourne to do the Great Ocean Road. I’ve got a lot of friends there, so it looks like I have a few things I can do in Melbourne proper as well!

  4. Nice one Tom! I have been in Australia couple of years. Being a cricket fan, got an experience of MCG too specially world cup India vs Pak in 2015. Great Ocean Road is the only thing looks missing . The rest has been covered :-). Thanks for making those memories live. Nice pics too!

    • Tom says:

      Thanks Akshay! The MCG was an incredible experience, I didn’t realise just how big the stadium was! Great Ocean Road and you should definitely do it if you can get back to Melbourne!

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