15 THINGS TO DO IN MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA
by Mac Candee
things to do in melbourne

Posted: Thursday, July 9, 2020

Melbourne is one of the biggest (area wise) cities in the world with an area of about 3000 sq. miles. It also has a population of roughly 5 million people. So just from that alone you can tell that it’s definitely a very interesting and lively place. It is a very exciting corner of the world with lots of attractions, food and beautiful things to see. In this blog post, I’m going to take you through my experience and some of the wonderful things I saw in this amazing city. Now, before we jump in, it’s important to note that this list is in no particular order of best to worst or vice versa! Each recommendation has its own qualities that make it worth visiting in our opinion – and hopefully there’s something in here for everyone! Keep reading to see and learn about our recommended things to do in Melbourne, Australia, as well as where you can try tasty food and amazing coffee, and last but not least - some tips on how to travel smarter and save money and much more!

Not a fan of reading, but want to know more about Melbourne?

We’ve also put together a YouTube video that encompasses all of our below recommendations in an easy-to-view visual format

To begin with, I want to share a couple of cool facts about Melbourne. It is the fox capital of the world, with between 6 and 23 foxes per square kilometer. I also read a statistic that stated that one third of the population here is either from another country or their parents are foreigners. Having spent some time there, I can definitely say it’s very refreshing to see how multicultural and diverse this giant city is. It also has the most cafes and restaurants per capita in comparison to any other city in the world. As you could imagine after reading this, Melbourne is said to have some of if not the best coffee in the entire world! This brings us to our first thing to do, which is:

1) Try Melbourne’s Coffee

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Even though there are many places you can have this lovely beverage, we trusted our research and went to the one we found to be the top spot. This was Industry Beans. It has a very nice atmosphere, and not only an area where they make the coffee but also a training zone for the baristas. You can also count on getting a lovely breakfast from their food selection. I personally got some eggs and bacon (and Aussie classic).

After trying the hot beverage and cuisine, I can definitely tell it’s worth it and I understand why the public opinion of Melbourne’s coffee is so high. It’s definitely something you shouldn’t miss if you come down here! The coffee actually came with water as well as milk, which was a very nice surprise since I’ve never received my order like this before. It was truly a very enjoyable start of the day. After this nice breakfast you’ll be ready to explore the city with newfound energy.

2) Visit the Melbourne museums + Art Scene

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Melbourne is a place of culture, and for anyone interested in the art scene, you definitely won’t be bored. There is a myriad of museums, galleries and much more you can spend some time in, and get inspired. They are very interesting and beautiful, so I definitely recommend that everyone who has a passion for history and art to stop and see what is being displayed. According to the Wikipedia list of museums in Melbourne, there are 46 of them, including the Islamic Museum of Australia as well as many more, covering a myriad diverse topics. Adding onto this, the number of galleries in this huge city that are listed on the official website for visiting Melbourne is 43. If you want to explore and find the ones that are most interesting to you, click the links to find out more.

3) Flinders’ Street Station

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This place has a lot of historical significance, since it is the first station in all of Australia. It’s a unique vintage place, from just before the 1900s – to be more precise, it has been open since 1854, and the main building was completed in 1909. It’s already on a lot of postcards, so you might recognize it from one. It is also the busiest station in this huge city, so don’t expect to see it empty any time soon. I definitely recommend to come walk by this place, since it’s really interesting to see and take pictures of.

4) Federation Square

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Our next interesting thing to see is the Federation Square. This is a huge area with some lovely architecture and a lot of free space, where concerts and other public events are hosted. It’s also surrounded by restaurants and bars, where you can just sit outside and enjoy the weather. When we went there, they even had the US Open (tennis tournament) playing on big screens above us and people were just sitting and watching the game. So it’s a really nice place to see and hang out in, especially if you are looking for a drink or a bite to eat. You can also keep an eye on any events or things going on here while you are in town, so that you can take part in whatever is happening in the city.

5) Take a stroll by the Yarra River

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Our next beautiful site is the Yarra River. It’s a lovely place whether you’re looking for a meal or just a stroll. There are walking as well as biking paths you can take. You can see some picturesque views of the city so definitely something you want to come and do. Also if you do a boat tour this is where a lot of them pick you up. You can see the different bays on both sides of the river. This is a lovely spot you shouldn’t miss out, no matter if it’s just for a stroll or a nice meal. We even got to see street performers, so you’ll definitely keep yourself entertained if you come here.

6) Drinks and Food at the Yarra River

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As previously said, alongside the Yarra River you can find many restaurants, cafes and bars to spend some relaxing time in. They offer amazing food as well as a lovely view. After you’re done with your stroll, be sure to grab some lunch here.

7) Visit the Royal Botanic Gardens

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If you’re a fan of botany and flowers, this is definitely the place for you. It has an incredible atmosphere, and for any nature lovers it is the perfect place to truly witness the beauties that our planet is capable of. It has more than 8,500 plant species from all around the world, as well as lovely lawns, lakes and majestic trees that play host to a wide range of wildlife. It is open from 7:30 AM until sunset every single day, so you can visit anytime. You can also look at their website for a virtual tour – even if you’re at home, the beauty that this place has to offer is still breathtaking!

8) Go for a walk or run on Tan Track

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This track is very enjoyable for anyone who wants to invest some time in their fitness, since it goes right around the gardens – about 2.4 miles or 3.8 kilometers to get around. If you want to challenge yourself, you can try to break the record for this distance, which is currently at ten minutes and five seconds. This time hasn’t been beat since 2006, so if you can succeed in finishing faster than that, you will definitely have a huge sense of accomplishment.

9) Visit Hosier Lane Street Art

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This area is specifically designated for street art, and needless to say it has been a place for artistic expression and creative output for many years since. Amongst other things, the city is also called the “Street painting with stencils” capital by the famous artist Banksy. It not only gives them a place to display their art but it is also meant to encourage those who are not yet professional or are just starting out motivation not to vandalize other buildings. It gives them a designated area where they can really harness the art and transform this street into an incredible lane to walk down. I can imagine that you could walk down this street many times and every time it will look different. So don’t miss out and come check this place out. It’s really cool and a free thing to do in Melbourne.

10) Ride the famous network of trams

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The tram system in Melbourne is unique because it’s actually the oldest in the entire world. Trams have operated continuously in Melbourne since 1885.There are approximately 200 miles worth of tracks and several hundred trams can be operating at once. It has almost 2 000 tram stops and 24 routes. It’s pretty crazy to think about and in certain parts of the city closer to the center you can actually ride the tram for free. Definitely give it a go since it’s a huge part of Melbourne’s history, culture and everyday life.

11) Tour The Great Ocean Road (Day Trip)

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This is something that takes a bit more time than everything else. We actually scheduled a full day for this. It has some otherworldly views and it was a lovely experience. I actually have a separate video about this experience if you want to check it out and find out more about what it’s like. We actually did the reverse route, since it allowed us to skip the bigger crowds and have a calmer experience at the highlights. You can click here to see the exact tour we chose to do and to decide for yourself if you want to try it out. It was 65 AUD per person for a 12-Hour day tour and I highly recommend it.

12) Visit the Melbourne Gaol (Jail)

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This is one of the most famous tourist attractions and it kept popping up as something really interesting to do in this city. At first I thought it was kind of creepy, but on the other hand it was unlike anything I had seen before, so I decided to try it out. You can tour the cell areas, have a guided tour for about 30-40 minutes, and go to the courtroom where a lot of Australia’s deadliest criminals were tried. And the cherry on top – you can get the experience of being arrested. It is a very unique experience and you get to learn a lot of interesting information about how justice was dealt in the past and about the different people committing crimes. We learned so much interesting information and had such a great time diving into the history of Australia’s criminal system. It’s definitely something different to experience and I recommend it for anyone with an interest in these topics.

You can learn more about this and hear some of our favorite stories in this YouTube video I made about my trip to Melbourne.

13) Dinner Cruise on the river

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This dinner cruise was the best way to end our experience in this beautiful city. It was about 3 hours long with unlimited drinks and food as well as a lovely skyline to enjoy. If you have some extra money to spend, this is definitely something to do. It is a little bit more expensive but I would say it is worth it, especially if you want to make it a date night.

14) Visit the St. Kilda Beach Brighton Boxes

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The St. Kilda Beach is a lovely opportunity to enjoy your experience by taking the time to take in the summertime, the beautiful waters and opportunities this amazing place offers. You can also see the little penguins burrowing the rocks. There are many things to do here, from grabbing a nice meal, to kite- and windsurfing. Тhe Brighton Boxes, however, are a definite showstopper. They are painted a bunch of different colors, and offer a really lovely sight. You can also rent them out, just keep in mind that they don’t have any electricity, but it’s such an amazing experience to be able to sleep right on the beach. A trip to Melbourne is definitely not complete without seeing these beautiful little houses.

15) Day Trip to Wilson’s prom

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This is the furthest southernmost point on mainland Australia. You can find scenic mountains with the opportunity for hikes there, so if you enjoy spending time in nature, this is definitely a must-visit for you. I went with some friends and we had a blast for the whole day. It’s incredibly beautiful and enjoyable, so if you have the time, definitely don’t skip this. You’ll be able to enjoy some more of Australia’s amazing natural landscapes.

Closing Thoughts

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I just have one note to add for you to be aware of. I think it’s important to mention that if you take Jetstar (the airline), they are going to nickel-and-dime you, and they are going to make sure they do. Every kilo you go over, (2.2 pounds) they are going to charge you for it. And they’re even going to weigh your carry-on at the airport – so what I would do if you’re looking to find the cheapest way to travel around Australia, definitely look at each carrier’s baggage policies. Be sure to google user anecdotes about how strict they actually are with them, because some airlines I’ve been on, they say they are really strict and then you get at the airport and they are lenient. But in this case, with Jetstar, they will make sure you pay every possible way. That basically made our fares cost just as much as a nicer airline. So it’s really important to know that and make sure to look that up when you’re doing your flight research.

Which airport you arrive in also plays a role. We flew into Avalon and we had to take basically a 24AUD one-hour bus ride to get into the city. There are multiple airports you can fly into, so make sure you look at that first and take all of that into consideration before buying your flights. Because you might think you’re getting a great deal and by the end you’re really not.

So this is just 15 things we recommend to do in Melbourne, as well as some useful tips. But this truly is a huge and fascinating city, so if you have more time, don’t worry – you won’t be bored.

If you have the time, there are many amazing things you can do in and around Melbourne. Here are a few options below:

Want to learn more about Melbourne? Check out these YouTube videos: