Things to do in Melbourne

Things to do in  Melbourne

Not your average street art

Some call Melbourne Australia’s cultural capital, with its melting pot of inhabitants and European ambience—not to mention its art galleries, nightlife, and delightful brunch scene. Global audiences fill coveted seats at the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Etihad Stadium, but the essence of the city lies in its neighborhoods. Each enclave showcases the best things to do in Melbourne: cool bars and eateries in the CBD, flashy shops in South Yarra, and sandy beaches in St. Kilda. And, some of Victoria’s most stunning natural attractions are just a day trip away.

Top 15 attractions in Melbourne

Great Ocean Road

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Victoria's Great Ocean Road offers scenic surprises at every turn. In signature Australian style, dense pockets of rainforest, charming coastal towns, and canopies populated by koalas flank endless stretches of white, sandy beaches.More

Twelve Apostles

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Situated right at the end of Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, the Twelve Apostles are a set of eight rock formations—there used to be twelve—jutting out of the Southern Ocean. These limestone pillars were once connected to the nearby cliffs but have been eroded away into caves, pillars, and arches from the harsh conditions of the ocean.More

Yarra River

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The Yarra River winds its way through Melbourne’s Central Business District (CBD) plus a number of suburbs. In the city, bars, restaurants, and parks thrive along its banks, bringing locals and tourists together. Numerous festivals and sporting events take place on the Yarra, including the famous Moomba Festival and rowing regattas.More

Loch Ard Gorge

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A highlight of Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, Loch Ard Gorge is a golden sand beach, almost entirely encased by crumbling ochre cliffs that form a tear-shaped oceanic chasm. It was the site of the Shipwreck Coast’s most famous shipwreck—the 1878 wreck of the Loch Ard—and is a popular stop on Great Ocean Road tours.More

Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)

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The largest stadium in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the most famous sporting venues in Australia, Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is more than a Melbourne landmark. The legendary stadium has hosted the Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games, the annual Boxing Day Test Match, and Australian Football League (AFL) Grand Final.More

Federation Square

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Federation Square, just across from Flinders Street Station, is Melbourne's beating heart and favorite meeting spot. Numerous city events take place here throughout the year, making it a must-visit attraction for all travelers. The square is surrounded by many bars and restaurants, and is home to the Ian Potter Centre, an Australian art museum.More

Moonlit Sanctuary

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Located in the bushlands of Mornington Peninsula, Moonlit Sanctuary is a wildlife conservation park that is home to native Australian wildlife, including koalas, wallabies, kookaburras, and dingos. The sanctuary is most famous for its night tours, which allow visitors to see nocturnal pythons, feathertail gliders, quolls, and more.More

Eureka Skydeck 88

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A signature Melbourne experience, Eureka Skydeck 88 is a 360-degree viewing platform set atop the 974-foot (274-meter) Eureka Tower. For the daring there’s the Edge, a cantilevered glass cube that slides out from the building, leaving you suspended above the city streets. Vertigo, a green-screen set-up, simulates falling from the building.More

Point Nepean National Park

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One of Victoria’s most significant landscapes, Point Nepean National Park spans more than 1,000 acres (560 hectares) on the pristine Mornington Peninsula. Visitors can immerse themselves in the coastal views and native grasslands while exploring the rich history of the park. What began as indigenous land became one of the earliest European settlements in Victoria during 1845, then a quarantine station before the site turned into a military center. In addition to its rich culture, the park is host to a world of marine life, including emerald-colored sea shrubs and invertebrates.Discover Victorian landmarks, such as the park’s highest point, Cheviot Hill, overlooking the jetty where Prime Minister Harold Holt disappeared in 1967. History buffs can visit Fort Nepean for panoramic views and explore military fortifications used in both World Wars. Numerous hiking trails and beach walks of varied length start in the park. To get the most out of your trip, visit the park’s information center for a self-guided walk brochure or audio tour equipment.More

Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria

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Get away from Melbourne’s bustling city center without actually leaving town at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. This 89-acre (36-hectare) park is home to more than 8,500 plant species, tranquil lakes, and lush lawns. Join guided walking tours, workshops, or presentations, or feel free to walk around the flourishing oasis on your own.More

St Paul's Cathedral

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Located in the heart of Melbourne, St. Paul’s Cathedral is the only neo-Gothic building among a sea of modern structures in Federation Square. Built between 1880 and 1931 to commemorate the location of Melbourne’s first Christian service back in 1836, St. Paul’s features the 2nd-tallest Anglican spire in the world.More

Melbourne Southgate

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Boasting a prime location on the banks of the Yarra River, Melbourne Southgate is a shopping, eating, and entertainment complex. As well as offering one of the most diverse shopping experiences in the city, Melbourne Southgate is just a few minutes walk from Flinders Street Station and Arts Centre Melbourne.More

Hosier Lane

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Once forgotten but now an integral part of Melbourne’s cultural scene, Hosier Lane is home to some of the city’s best street art. The laneway, which cuts between Flinders Street and Flinders Lane, exhibits regularly changing graffiti alongside a series of light boxes that exhibit the work of up and coming contemporary artists.More

Flinders Street Station

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Flinders Street Station is Melbourne’s most historic train station and a major transportation hub. Built in 1854, the station still features remnants of the past like the large clock on the facade, stained glass windows, and old-school flip displays for train departures. The station allows travelers to shuttle between the outer suburbs and the heart of Melbourne with ease.More

Werribee Open Range Zoo

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Australia might be famous for its kangaroos and koalas, but the Werribee Open Range Zoo offers all the excitement of an African safari on Aussie shores. Lions, rhinoceros, giraffes, and gorillas all roam freely in the park’s 494-acre (200-hectare) grasslands, affording visitors some incredible wildlife-watching opportunities.More

Trip ideas

Top activities in Melbourne

Spirit of Melbourne Dinner Cruise
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Spirit of Melbourne Dinner Cruise

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Phillip Island Penguin, Brighton Beach, Moonlit Sanctuary from Melbourne
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Small-Group Phillip Island Penguin Parade Day Tour from Melbourne
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Highlights of Melbourne Cruise

Highlights of Melbourne Cruise

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Small-Group Phillip Island Afternoon Day Trip from Melbourne
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Great Ocean Road 12 Apostles Tour
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Great Ocean Road 12 Apostles Tour

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All about Melbourne

When to visit

Melbourne may be famous for its unpredictable day-to-day weather, but summers (December to early March) in the capital of Victoria get swelteringly hot at one point or another. Still, this time of year is when many of the city’s biggest events are held, from the Australian Open to Moomba. A more balanced alternative is to visit the city in fall, as Melbourne is cooler then and does look awfully good decorated with autumn leaves.

Getting around

There are very few parts of the city that you can’t reach with Melbourne’s extensive public transport network. Melbourne’s trams remain an uncomplicated way of traveling its inner city streets, especially thanks to the free tram zone covering the Central Business District (CBD). Getting around by train is also easy thanks to the City Loop and suburban lines, with buses—including the special Skybus to the airport—filling gaps in the system.

Traveler tips

The historic Chinatown area, located along Little Bourke Street, is a safe choice when looking for somewhere to eat in the CBD, as it has a central location and caters to all budget types. Empress of China is a no-nonsense pick for dumplings, and you’re welcome to bring your own drinks, which you can pick up at any of the nearby liquor stores. The surrounding laneways are also littered with bars, from the eclectic Berlin Bar to the relaxed Ferdydurke.

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People Also Ask

What is Melbourne most known for?

Cosmopolitan Melbourne rivals Sydney for the title of Australia’s cultural capital. Consistently topping the list of the world’s most livable cities, Melbourne may have a distinctly European ambience, but it has its own unique vibe, thanks, largely, to its 230-plus laneways where street art and cafe culture flourish.

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How many days do I need in Melbourne?

You should aim for a minimum of three days in Melbourne to soak up the city’s atmosphere and see all the most important attractions. If you plan on exploring the surrounding area, and take a day trip to Phillip Island, for example, give yourself five days or more.

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What should I not miss Melbourne?

Luna Park, the National Gallery of Victoria, and Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria are all top Melbourne attractions. One of the best things to do is to stroll around the city’s diverse neighborhoods and through the laneways running off the main streets—they are filled with bars, cafes, and street art.

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What activities are there in Melbourne?

Melbourne is filled with cultural activities, from seeing Australian, European, and Asian art at the National Gallery of Victoria to checking out street art on a guided tour of the laneways. Outdoor lovers will enjoy strolling around the Royal Botanic Gardens and Fitzroy Gardens and hitting St. Kilda Beach.

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What can you do in Melbourne for free?

Some of Melbourne’s top attractions are free to visit, including the National Gallery of Victoria, Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, and State Library of Victoria. You can also take a ride on the City Circle Tram, a free hop-on, hop-off service that runs between Melbourne’s major attractions.

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What food is famous in Melbourne?

Rather than a specific dish, Melbourne is known for its diverse culinary offerings. Melbourne’s multicultural population has left its mark on the city’s food scene, and so its food options are endless, from Italian and Greek to Vietnamese and Chinese. The coffee is famously good here, too.

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