Visit Melbourne: Top 12 must-do activities
Capital of the state of Victoria, Melbourne is the city in southeastern Australia that you absolutely must visit. The cultural diversity of this city is incredible. Did you know that a third of the inhabitants of Melbourne are not from there? Nicknamed Paris of the Antipodes, Melbourne has no less than 140 different nationalities and this is certainly what makes it its main wealth.
Do you want to discover this pretty town and plan your stay? Not sure what to do in Melbourne? Here are the 12 steps not to be missed during your expedition 🤩
On the agenda of this article
- Flinders Street Station and the Southbank area
- Queen Victoria Market
- federation square
- The Royal Botanic Gardens
- The City Circle Tram Tour
- Melbourne Street Art
- Melbourne Museum
- Eureka Tower
- Melbourne Docklands
- What to do in Melbourne? Go to St Kilda of course
- The Melbourne Cricket Ground
- Melbourne Aquarium
- Bonus: favorite visits to Melbourne
- Brighton Beach and its Bath Boxes
- The Fitzroy neighborhood
- Captain cook’s cottage
- Philip Island
- The Yarra Valley
- When to go to Melbourne?
- Prepare your trip to Melbourne
Flinders Street Station and the Southbank area
Let’s start right away with Flinders Street Station and the Southbank area! A Victorian-style monument, Flinders Street Station is recognized as the emblem of the Australian city thanks to its architecture. Melbourne’s most important station, it is also the central station. Flinders Street Station is ideally located near Federation Square, on the banks of the Yarra, the famous river that crosses Melbourne.
Built in 1884, this station is open daily from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. The building sits on the intersection of Swanton and Flinders Streets.
The Southbank district is a stone’s throw from the famous train station. In Southbank, multiple cultural attractions will welcome you. It is one of the must-see places to do during your stay in Melbourne. For example, you will have the chance to discover a market every Sunday, many cafes, restaurants, nightclubs or performance halls such as the Malthouse Theater or the Melbourne Recital Center. You will also find attractive designer stalls in the Crown Casino.
Queen Victoria Market
During your discovery of Melbourne, in the Central Business District, a visit to the Queen Victoria Market is a must. On Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, the largest market in the southern hemisphere offers clothes, food, games or any hard-to-find souvenir. In this unique place in Melbourne, tourists and locals gather in search of fresh produce and well-stocked stalls.
In summer, the Queen Victoria Market is open on Wednesday evenings until 10 p.m. Many musical events or various events are organized in this magnificent place. Here is a superb walk of 2 to 3 hours to do with friends or family on an area of 7 hectares. Let yourself be rocked in a friendly atmosphere with more than 600 different merchants.
Melbourne’s most popular esplanade, Federation Square is certainly the place to visit in Melbourne, bringing together the city’s greatest points of interest. You will find the National Gallery of Victoria, the Melbourne Tourist Office, but also the Australian Center for the Moving Image, restaurants, bars, shops, all in a modern style space.
Located near Saint Paul’s Cathedral and Flinders Street Station, Federation Square is an ideal place for museum lovers. You will find there, among others, the National Design Center (specialist in Australian style) or the Ian Potter Center (the largest Australian art gallery). Of course, as in the whole city, it is recommended to sit in one of the cafes in the city for a relaxing break.
Les Royal Botanic Gardens
Just 2 kilometers from the city center (also called the CBD), the Royal Botanic Gardens, located south of the Yarra River, welcome you to the heart of nature which is divided into 2 parts: Cranbourne and Melbourne. Founded in 1846, the Royal Botanical Gardens are among the most beautiful gardens in the world.
On more than 38 hectares, the Melbourne Gardens are a real marvel! More than 8,500 varieties of plants are represented in this incredible space. Small cultural point: from an early age, children are invited to garden in Australia.
Also discover the richness of Aboriginal heritage through a walk on the Aboriginal Heritage Walk. This is one of the best free tours in Melbourne! On site, The Terrace café is open for a moment of rest. You also benefit from the possibility of picnicking near the lake. If you visit Melbourne in the summer, there is an outdoor theater in the gardens.
A great way to experience these paradise-like gardens is to board a Yarra River cruise that will take you past the gardens and also not far from the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Price of this cruise? Around €20 per person 🙂
The City Circle Tram Tour
Did you know that in Melbourne the tram is free in the city centre? Indeed, among Melbourne’s public transport, the tram is the best way to get around. The city of Melbourne is one of the cities in the world with the largest number of tram lines.
The City Circle Tram Tour is the perfect opportunity to visit the CBD for free and simply! For tourists, the City Circle Tram is ideal. Once aboard the brown or green Heritage Tram, you’ll pass Melbourne’s most famous landmarks: the Princess Theatre, the Old Treasury Building, the Houses of Parliament and more with an audio-guided tour. Enough to take your breath away for about 50 minutes!
Melbourne Street Art
Who has never heard of this urban art? In Melbourne, the Street Art culture is very popular and the generations mix.
For the record, in the 1960s, political messages in the form of tags appeared on the doors of the toilets. In 1980, when the world of hip hop and punk was born, graffiti became aesthetic and developed on the walls of the city, giving it a very special character.
The charming alleys of the city of Melbourne have thus become famous throughout the world, thanks to the culture of Street Art which is present in multiple districts. Street Art makes it possible to offer each district of the city its own identity. A surprising experience!
Do not miss a visit to the Melbourne Museum. Located in Carlton Gardens, this monument is full of information about Melbourne’s history, its role, its location that will allow you to learn more about the magnificent city of Melbourne. The Melbourne Museum comes in the form of different spaces to help you discover the treasures of the Victorian period, so you will discover:
11 Nicholson St, Carlton VIC 3053
10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The Forest Gallery which exhibits splendid fauna.
The Melbourne Gallery, the history of the city.
The Science and Life Gallery with its animals, fossils or dinosaur skeletons.
The Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Center, a place that takes you back to the traditions of the Koorie people and other Australian cultures.
With its 91 floors, the Eureka Tower is a pure architectural and technical marvel. Its contemporary glass styling is absolutely amazing. The famous Eureka Tower was built in homage to the Eureka Stockade, a revolution of gold diggers in the heart of Victoria’s mines in 1854.
In the Southbank district, the tower is distinguished by the gold color of its top which glistens when the sun beats down on it. Climbing to the 88th floor of the skyscraper, the panoramic view of Melbourne and the Yarra River is breathtaking. If you’re the daring type, opt for the stunning views from The Edge, the incredible glass cube. You will thus benefit from a unique access to discover an exceptional panorama of the city of Melbourne with the only void just under your feet! This unique experience is a must in Melbourne and not to be missed under any circumstances! Besides, there is another The Edge in New York 😉
To touch the sky from Melbourne, you will have to pay around €20 per person and I advise you to buy your tickets in advance to avoid any unpleasant surprises on the day of your visit.
Another great place to visit is Melbourne’s Docklands. Take the City Circle Tram and go to the tourist office, from there continue on foot via Bourke, Collins or LaTrobe streets.
Once there, enjoy the spectacular view from the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel. On Sundays, an antique market is also held on the waterfront. Both industrial and contemporary, the Docklands district is a place not to be missed during a visit to Melbourne. The district is located along the marina, an absolutely fabulous port area!
In this rather young district, still in the process of development, you will find the following unusual activities:
The Icehouse, the country’s first ice rink
Junior Wonderland Park
The Etihad Stadium
What to do in Melbourne? Go to St Kilda of course
Southeast of Melbourne, St Kilda is a beach to discover with family or friends. The view of the bay is sublime. The resort town is known for its adorable penguins that roam free. Between restaurants, pubs and concerts, we like to come to Saint Kilda for its lively evenings. Believe me, you can see one of the most beautiful sunsets in the country 😉
The Melbourne Cricket Ground
Melbourne is the reference in terms of cricket in Australia. The stadium is considered one of the favorite attractions for tourists. The Melbourne Cricket Ground is also one of the largest stadiums in the world and can accommodate up to 100,000 spectators. In 1956, it was the first stadium to host the Olympic Games and in 2006, it was the most important stadium for the Commonwealth Games. As you will have understood, this stadium is used for both cricket matches and Australian football matches.
As a big fan, you might want to learn more about the history of this stadium? Well it is possible, if you wish, you can book a guided tour of the MCG! It’s also the only way for you to see the backstage and changing rooms of such a stadium. For this, you will need to count around 20 € per person.
Built in the year 2000, the Melbourne Aquarium showcases the underwater life of Antarctica and the southern oceans. It also plays an important role in the conservation of marine species such as sea turtles and bull sharks. One space is reserved for jellyfish, another for crabs, one level is dedicated to corals and another space is reserved for cephalopods. On its four levels, the Melbourne Aquarium is impressive. You can now book your ticket at an advantageous price of around €30.
Bonus: favorite visits to Melbourne
I couldn’t stop there in view of all the exceptional places in Melbourne and its surroundings. So here is a bonus list of must-see places around Melbourne 😃
Brighton Beach and its Bath Boxes
At this beach, you will discover 82 colorful beach cabins that are lined up next to each other. You will love to take a beautiful souvenir photo of your stay in Melbourne.
The Fitzroy neighborhood
In the north of Melbourne, the Fitzroy district is one that should not be missed. The artistic presence in this corner of the city gives it its vintage aspect. Also called the Bohemian district, you will discover original shops, restaurants and many cafes. You will be seduced by the exceptional drawings in the streets of Fitzroy!
Captain cook’s cottage
The pretty country house arrived from the county of Yorkshire in England. The Captain cook’s cottage is at the heart of Fitzroy Gardens. The quaint cottage traces the life of Cook and his maritime explorations. If you are traveling with children, the fairy tree and the Tudor village of the sublime Fitzroy Gardens should delight them.
South of Melbourne is a beautiful little island called Phillip Island. 150 kilometers from Melbourne, the 9-meter-wide by 26-kilometer-long island is connected to the mainland via a bridge. With incredible wildlife, the island welcomes around 3.5 million tourists every year who come to discover the Little Penguins and the largest colony of sea lions in Australia.
Enjoy a day trip to Phillip Island to admire the wildlife and meet wild animals such as wallabies, kangaroos, dingoes or koalas that you can even feed. A beautiful getaway in the middle of nature! For this, count about 100 € per person 🙂
How to visit Melbourne without going to the fabulous Yarra Valley? I suggest you treat yourself to a gourmet day in the Yarra Valley. You will discover for around 110 € per person all the specialties of the region, including wine of course!
1 hour from Melbourne is a region rich in vineyards. Wine tastings are common activities here! In Australian vineyards, there are tasting counters called “cellar doors”. So take a trip to Riverstone Estate or Maddens Rise, then continue to Tarrawarra and sample top-notch wines while taking in awe-inspiring views. Many vineyard tours are offered in the region, because it is a must visit, so well maintained are the vineyards.
Besides its wines, The Yarra Valley is known for its Sunday market in Eltham or the zoo in Healesville Sanctuary. Also discover the Big Peninsula Tunnel, a tunnel that was dug in the stone at the edge of the Yarra River. Then, continue your tour of the Yarra Valley with Yering Gorge Cottage, a fabulous place to meet kangaroos.
All you have to do is rent a van in Australia and discover all the pearls of nature around Melbourne 🙂
When to go to Melbourne?
There is no bad time to travel to Melbourne. The climate of Melbourne is rather mild and pleasant. Unlike Europe, in Oceania, winter begins in May and lasts until October, while summer begins to be felt in November, at least until the month of april. In winter, temperatures fluctuate between 10 and 15 degrees minimum. In Melbourne, temperatures vary between 15 and 27 degrees, with much more bearable heat than in Sydney.
Prepare your trip to Melbourne
If you are leaving for Australia soon, you need to start planning your trip! Remember that you will need a tourist visa, whether you are going for a few weeks, several months or a year. The application is free and is done on the Australian immigration website. Before leaving, you will also need to find out about travel insurance in Australia, it is better to be well covered when you go this far. And if you ever live in Lyon, for example, and you leave for several weeks, you can rent your accommodation in France on the Guestready concierge service during your absence.
The city of Melbourne is very nice. Rain or shine, there will always be something to do in Melbourne. Between museums, shopping, beaches and different cultures. Staying in Melbourne for a few days allows you to realize how beautiful life is there 🙂