Your ultimate guide to

Melbourne

Stylish, dynamic and filled to the brim with culture, Melbourne, regarded as one of the world’s most livable cities, has twists at every turn and is sure to delight every kind of traveller.

 

With arguably some of the best shopping and dining in Australia, you’re never short of options when it comes to experiencing the perfect getaway in one of the chicest areas in the country.

Top Things to do in Melbourne

From the hidden laneways to the sports grounds, galleries, culinary hotspots and exceptional shopping, there is so much to do in Melbourne you’ll struggle to find time to relax.

Queen Victoria Market

Queen Victoria Market has actually been around for more than 140 years, albeit not necessarily as we know it now. In the past, it has been a cemetery, livestock market and a wholesale fruit and vegetable market, each with their own controversies.
Now, the Queen Victoria Market is the most famous in Melbourne, a city known for its market culture with many municipal markets scattered around. Stalls include everything from fresh produce to specialty shopping, with clothing, kids’ toys, hardware and sporting goods thrown in the mix. Go to the markets with an empty stomach if you can because the fresh breads, cakes, cheese and produce is absolutely sensational.

Werribee Zoo

An African Adventure. In Australia? Werribee Zoo is your answer. It’s just 30 minutes from Melbourne’s city centre and with 225 hectares of wide, open savannah, it’s truly an animal sanctuary. Walk the Pula Reserve Walking Trail and come face to face with gorillas, lions, monkeys and cheetahs, or head to the Hippo Beach to see the majestic animals frolicking in the water. A visit isn’t complete without a ride on the zoo’s unique safari buses, which includes commentary from a guide as you move through Asia, North America and Africa, seeing some of the most iconic animals, including the endangered Przewalski’s Horse to giraffes, zebras and ostrich. For a bit more of an adventure, there are behind the scenes Wild Encounters where you can feed the giraffes or even get up close and personal with a gorilla.

ACMI Melbourne

It’s Australia’s only national museum of film, TV, videogames, digital art and culture, and it should be a definite must-see on your list. Situated in the heart of Melbourne in Federation Square, the museum includes a free, interactive Screen Worlds exhibition, plus an ever-changing program of other digital exhibitions, many of which are Australian exclusives. There are also talks, performances, workshops and programs to enjoy.

Best Foods and Finds in Melbourne

Eat and drink your way through Melbourne. There are so many first-class restaurants it will be hard to choose your favourite. And for those looking for a more casual feel, there are an abundance of cafes to choose from too. Remember, Melbourne is known for its food, wine and of course, coffee.

Restaurants

When it comes to the top restaurants, you can’t go past Attica. Book well in advance because it’s a popular one, with Ben Shewry at the helm. Shewry’s approach of storytelling through native ingredients may be unusual but it sure is scrumptious. Plus, it’s world-recognised so he’s doing something right.

 

Chin Chin has a host of imitation outlets throughout Australia, which serves as proof of its cult status. The fact that it’s had a queue outside since 2011 doesn’t do the restaurant any harm either. It’s raucous inside so be prepared for vivaciousness and fun. And the restaurant’s vibrant take on Thai food is exceptional too.

 

If you’re keen for a bit of celebrity spotting, head to George Colombaris’ ventures, The Press Club for a fancy feel or for a more casual dining experience, Jimmy Grants. The eateries are all about modern Green food and are absolutely delectable.

Cafes

Melbourne is known for its café and coffee culture. Wander down any of the laneways and you’ll find numerous cafes to choose from.
Situated in a heritage listed former power station, Higher Ground is a multi-level hotspot that mimics a New York hotel lobby.

 

A solid stayer on the café scene, Wide Open Road in Brunswick is a café and coffee roastery, with the beans being used at numerous other cafes around town. The menu is an eclectic mix of traditional breakfast foods and unique spins.

 

For something a bit more middle-eastern, head to Babajan in Carlton North. Head to Turkey through your stomach as you devour the incredible simits, pastrima and tursu on the menu. The coffee is excellent as well.

 

Matcha Mylkbar in St Kilda has lines out the door and has even been frequented by Chris Hemsworth. The vegan café has ‘eggs’ on the menu, but it’s the matcha pancakes that take the cake.

Hidden Bars

Some of the best bars in Melbourne aren’t the most obviously found. In fact, Melbourne does hidden bars like no other city in Australia. Whether they’re hidden down tiny laneways, behind fridge doors or a bar that barely fits ten people, there are plenty to choose from. Go on, scavenger hunt your way around Melbourne’s bar scene.

 

Hidden behind a fake fridge at the back of a sandwich shop, Jungle Boy is a secret tiki bar that truly takes you into a little pocket of the tropics. The menu is a delightful, refreshing taste on all things tropical and there’s even a snack menu to keep the tummy full.

 

Evoking Chicago in the heart of Melbourne, Beneath Driver Lane is everything you’re looking for. Cocktails, whiskey and blues all go hand in hand at this bar situated in an old bank vault in the CBD. The bar also has a Harry Potter feel to it which adds to its charm.

 

Most people will know about Black Pearl, but did you know there’s an attic bar upstairs? You have to buzz for entry and it’s only open from Thursday to Sunday but the cocktail bar is most definitely well worth it.

 

With its speakeasy vibe and undiscovered cocktail adventures, The Understudy is just downstairs from its big sister, 1806. If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t mix sweet and savoury though, you may find you’re out of your depth here. The bar is known for its unique cocktails including Smoke and Mirrors – Woodford Reserve Bourbon infused with chorizo sausages.

Amazing Attractions in Melbourne

With a distinctly European feel, Australia’s second largest metropolis has bucket loads of interesting attractions. From Federation Square to the Melbourne Cricket Ground and riding a tram through the city, there’s plenty to fill your days.

The Royal Botanic Gardens

The Royal Botanic Gardens is a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of the city, despite being on the edge of the CBD. More than 8500 plant species call the gardens home and the lush lawns beckon to be sat on. Whether it’s a quick stroll, a weekend picnic or a leisurely walk around the grounds, experience the garden yourself or through the tours, workshops and talks that are on offer.

Federation Square

Federation Square has become an integral part of Melbourne culture. Located directly opposite the major public transport hub of Flinders Street Station, Fed Square is a contrasting architectural sculpture against the Victorian buildings surrounding it. The Square hosts more than 2000 events annually.

Chinatown

For some insight into Melbourne’s Chinese population, head to Chinatown, established in the 1850s during the gold rush era, meaning it’s the oldest Chinatown in the southern hemisphere. Lined with karaoke bars, duty-free stores and excellent restaurants, it’s truly magical to walk through.

Melbourne Gaol

Ever wanted to be a prisoner for a day? Head to Old Melbourne Gaol and see the armour and death mask of Ned Kelly himself. The gaol is as creepy as it is fascinating and is one of the oldest buildings in Melbourne, will dozens of ghost stories. If only the walls could talk.

Melbourne Cricket Ground

The city holds the crown for the sporting capital of Australia, so it’s no surprise that the Melbourne Cricket Ground is one of Melbourne’s most popular attractions. The ‘G’ includes the National Sports Museum and there are daily tours around the ground.

Take a tram to see the iconic sights

Uniquely Melbourne, trams are a major part of the city’s public transport system. There’s even a hop-on hop-off heritage tram for tourists so you can see all the sights from the iconic mode of transport, including Parliament House, the Old Treasury Building, Princess Theatre and the Windsor Hotel.

Eureka Skydeck

For the thrill seekers among us, Eureka Skydeck is a must-do. The Edge, a glass box that stretches three metres out from the 88th floor of the Eureka Tower is sure to test even the most daring. To add to the experience, the glass shattering sound effects, while fake, definitely get the heart racing.

Head to the beach

For those wanting a bit of surf and sand, head to St Kilda or Brighton Beach. At Brighton, you’ll get to see the array of colourful beach boxes. The privately-owned boxes are the perfect place to snap a pic.

Check out the laneways

Finally, you can’t go to Melbourne with meandering through the laneways. The city is known for intricate alleyways with elegant, interesting and quirky features. The laneways are situated around Flinders, Collins and Bourke streets and include the beautiful Block Arcade. Degraves Lane has to be the most famous of the lanes, decked out with an abundance of intimate cafe nooks serving ready-made sandwiches, soups and pastries. The shops scattered around are packed with the ultimate in kitsch souvenirs to remember your trip, and you’re likely to see a busker playing a giant chello at the end of the lane, just to add to the atmosphere.

Packages and Tours

There are many ways to get to Melbourne and many tours to do around the city too. Some packages and tours incorporate trips along the Great Ocean Road, to Phillip Island or to enjoy a glass of red and a good meal in the Yarra Valley.

 

Most city-sightseeing tours will take in the major attractions, and most will try and fit in as many as possible in the one day. There are also some that will include a cruise along the Yarra River, providing spectacular views of the city skyline as the boat glides through the water.

 

However you choose to see this incredible city, you’re sure to be impressed with every step you take.