Melbourne, often referred to as Australia’s cultural capital, boasts an eclectic blend of art, music, and world-class dining. Its vibrant laneways are filled with street art, bustling cafes, and hidden bars that beckon both locals and tourists alike.
Nestled on the southeastern coast, Melbourne is renowned for its iconic sporting events like the Australian Open and the Melbourne Cup. The city’s rich history is evident in its stunning architecture, from the grandeur of Flinders Street Station to the modern marvel of the Eureka Skydeck.
The charm of Melbourne lies not just in its urban attractions but also in its proximity to natural wonders. A short drive from the city center takes you to the picturesque Great Ocean Road, offering breathtaking coastal views and the famous Twelve Apostles rock formations.
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Attractions & Things to do in Melbourne
1. Royal Botanic Gardens
Spanning over 38 hectares, the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne is a verdant oasis showcasing more than 8,500 plant species, both native and exotic. Visitors can enjoy themed gardens, tranquil lakes, and guided walking tours. The gardens also play host to seasonal events and workshops throughout the year.
Travel Tip: Wear comfortable walking shoes and consider bringing a picnic to enjoy in one of the designated picnic areas.
2. Federation Square
A modern piazza, Federation Square is Melbourne’s premier events space. With its unique architectural design, it houses major cultural attractions like the Ian Potter Centre and ACMI. The square is always buzzing with activity, from live performances to festivals and exhibitions.
Travel Tip: Check the Federation Square website for a list of current events and exhibitions before your visit.
3. Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)
One of the world’s most iconic sports stadiums, the MCG is a must-visit for sports enthusiasts. It hosts cricket in the summer and Australian Rules Football in the winter. Even if there isn’t a game on, you can take a behind-the-scenes tour of the stadium.
Travel Tip: If you’re planning to watch a game, book your tickets in advance as they can sell out quickly, especially during major matches.
4. National Gallery of Victoria (NGV)
Australia’s oldest and most visited gallery, the NGV boasts an impressive collection of international and Australian art. From ancient civilizations to contemporary works, there’s something for every art lover here.
Travel Tip: Admission to the permanent collection is free, but special exhibitions may have an entry fee.
5. Melbourne Zoo
Home to over 320 animal species from around the world, Melbourne Zoo offers a unique wildlife experience in the heart of the city. The zoo’s themed areas, such as the Asian Rainforest and African Savannah, provide immersive habitats for the animals.
Travel Tip: Visit during feeding times to see the animals at their most active and to hear informative talks from the keepers.
6. Eureka Skydeck
Offering panoramic views of the city, the Eureka Skydeck is located on the 88th floor of the Eureka Tower. It’s the highest public vantage point in the Southern Hemisphere, making it a thrilling experience for visitors.
Travel Tip: For an extra adrenaline rush, try “The Edge” – a glass cube that extends out from the building with you inside!
7. Melbourne Laneways
These iconic narrow alleys are known for their vibrant street art, boutique shops, and cozy cafes. Exploring the laneways is like diving into the city’s cultural heartbeat, with each alley offering a unique vibe and experience.
Travel Tip: Start your exploration at Hosier Lane, one of the most famous laneways for street art.
8. Queen Victoria Market
A bustling hub of fresh produce, gourmet foods, and unique souvenirs, the Queen Victoria Market has been at the heart of Melbourne’s community for over a century. It’s a great place to sample local delicacies and shop for artisanal goods.
Travel Tip: Visit on a Wednesday evening during the summer for the Night Market, featuring live music, food stalls, and a festive atmosphere.
9. St Kilda Beach
Located just a short tram ride from the city center, St Kilda Beach is a popular spot for sunbathing, swimming, and beach volleyball. The nearby Esplanade offers a range of dining and entertainment options, and the iconic Luna Park is just a stone’s throw away.
Travel Tip: Stay until sunset to watch the local penguin colony waddle ashore at the St Kilda Breakwater.
10. Shrine of Remembrance
Dedicated to the men and women of Australia who served in wars and conflicts, the Shrine of Remembrance is a poignant monument and museum. It offers panoramic views of Melbourne from its balcony and hosts daily ceremonies to honor the fallen.
Travel Tip: Join one of the free guided tours to gain deeper insights into the shrine’s history and significance.
Unique Activities in Melbourne
1. Spirit of Melbourne 4-Course Cruise with Drinks
Savor a delightful 4-course meal while cruising along the Yarra River. The Spirit of Melbourne offers an exquisite dining experience, complemented by a selection of fine wines and the shimmering city lights as your backdrop.
Day Trips from Melbourne
1. Great Ocean Road
Experience the breathtaking beauty of the Australian coastline by driving along the Great Ocean Road. Marvel at the iconic Twelve Apostles, surf towns, and rainforests that make this one of the world’s most scenic drives.
Travel Tip: Start your journey early in the morning to avoid the crowds and ensure you have ample time to explore the numerous lookout points and attractions.
2. Yarra Valley
Indulge in a day of wine tasting and gourmet food in the Yarra Valley, a renowned wine region just an hour’s drive from Melbourne. Visit local vineyards, enjoy picturesque landscapes, and savor the flavors of this fertile valley.
Travel Tip: Consider booking a guided wine tour to make the most of your visit and ensure you can enjoy the tastings without worrying about driving.
3. Phillip Island
Witness the natural wonders of Phillip Island, from the famous Penguin Parade at sunset to the rugged coastal scenery. Explore the island’s wildlife parks, and don’t miss the thrilling motorcycle races at the Phillip Island Circuit.
Travel Tip: Dress in layers as the weather can change rapidly, especially during the evening when watching the penguins.
Where to stay in Melbourne
Melbourne, the vibrant capital of Victoria, Australia, boasts a plethora of hotels catering to various preferences and budgets. From luxury accommodations with panoramic city views to budget-friendly options in the heart of the city, Melbourne offers a diverse range of stays. Whether you’re visiting for business, leisure, or a special occasion, you’re sure to find a hotel that suits your needs in this bustling metropolis.
1. Best Reviewed Hotel
The Victoria Hotel (★ ★ ★ )
- Description: Located next to Melbourne Town Hall, The Victoria Hotel offers contemporary accommodation. It’s a mere 6 minutes’ walk from both Flinders Street Station and Federation Square.
- Price: €66 per night
- Rating: 8.1 (Very good)
2. Most Luxurious Hotel
Crown Metropol Melbourne (★ ★ ★ ★ ★)
- Description: Crown Metropol offers luxury accommodation on Melbourne’s Southbank. Guests have access to an exclusive lounge and a bar with panoramic city views.
- Price: €129 per night
- Rating: 8.4 (Very good)
3. Budget Hotel
Great Southern Hotel Melbourne (★ ★ ★ ★)
- Description: Located opposite Southern Cross Station in Melbourne CBD, this hotel features non-smoking rooms with air conditioning and private en suite.
- Price: €48 per night
- Rating: 7.5 (Good)
4. Hotel for Family
Atlantis Hotel Melbourne (★ ★ ★ ★)
- Description: Just 700 metres from Marvel Stadium, Atlantis Hotel features a heated indoor swimming pool and a well-equipped fitness centre. All rooms offer a 32-inch flat-screen TV.
- Price: €75 per night
- Rating: 8.0 (Very good)
5. Hotel for Couples
Crown Promenade Melbourne (★ ★ ★ ★ )
- Description: Located in the centre of Melbourne, Crown Promenade Melbourne offers an infinity pool, an outdoor terrace, and a fully equipped fitness center. WiFi is available.
- Price: €119 per night
- Rating: 8.7 (Fabulous)
6. Hotel for Solo Travellers
Hotel Grand Chancellor Melbourne (★ ★ ★ ★)
- Description: Enjoy some of the best views in Melbourne CBD, from the heated rooftop swimming pool at Hotel Grand Chancellor Melbourne.
- Price: €75 per night
- Rating: 7.6 (Good)
Did you know? Facts about Melbourne
- Melbourne is the capital of the Australian state of Victoria and is the second-most populous city in Australia.
- The metropolis of Melbourne occupies much of the northern and eastern coastlines of Port Phillip Bay and extends into the Mornington Peninsula.
- Melbourne has been home to Aboriginal Victorians for over 40,000 years and serves as an important meeting place for local Kulin nation clans.
- The city was founded in 1835 and was named after the then British Prime Minister, William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne.
- Melbourne is home to many of Australia’s best-known landmarks, including the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the National Gallery of Victoria, and the World Heritage-listed Royal Exhibition Building.
- The city gave rise to Australian rules football, Australian impressionism, and Australian cinema.
- Melbourne consistently ranked as the world’s most liveable city for much of the 2010s.
- Melbourne Airport, also known as the Tullamarine Airport, is the second-busiest airport in Australia.
- The city has Australia’s most extensive freeway network and the largest urban tram network in the world.
- Melbourne was the seat of government of the federated Commonwealth of Australia until Canberra became the permanent capital in 1927.
FAQ about Melbourne
What is Melbourne known for?
Melbourne is known for its cultural heritage, landmarks like the Melbourne Cricket Ground, and its contribution to sports, arts, and cinema.
When was Melbourne founded?
Melbourne was founded in 1835.
How did Melbourne get its name?
Melbourne was named after the then British Prime Minister, William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne.
What is the significance of the Kulin nation clans in Melbourne’s history?
The area of Melbourne has been home to Aboriginal Victorians for over 40,000 years and serves as an important meeting place for local Kulin nation clans.
Which major events does Melbourne host?
Melbourne hosts major annual international events such as the Australian Grand Prix and the Australian Open. It also hosted the 1956 Summer Olympics.
How did Melbourne contribute to Australian sports?
Melbourne is the birthplace of Australian rules football, with the Melbourne Football Club codifying the sport in 1859.
Is Melbourne a major financial center?
Yes, Melbourne is a leading financial center in the Asia-Pacific region.
How has Melbourne’s population changed over the years?
Melbourne has experienced significant population and employment growth since the mid-1990s, with substantial international investment in the city’s industries and property market.