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 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.
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.
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.
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.