Melbourne is one of the mandatory stops on a trip to Australia. The city has charmed both residents and visitors with its countless activities. From museums to great parks, amusement parks to animal centres and discovering the local flora and fauna. Melbourne is unrivalled and these are the reasons why. You asked yourself what to do in Melbourne? Scroll down..
Melbourne is considered the cultural capital of Australia. This is thanks to the many museums, cultural events all year round and its important street art culture. In the heart of the city, you will also find cultural institutions showcasing acclaimed performances and exhibitions. Among those not to be missed is the Melbourne Museum with its postmodern art and interactive spaces. You will also find the Immigration Museum which traces the stories of a cosmopolitan homeland and ACCA which brings together exhibitions of contemporary art. Finally, the NGV with two centers and various exhibitions of modern, traditional and contemporary art.
These museums are ideal places to visit when it’s raining in Melbourne or for a refreshing break in some welcomed air con when the temperatures get too hot.
From a walk in the city, you will also discover the cult of street art that reigns in Melbourne. The paved Hosier Lane near Federation Square is a focal point of the street art scene. It is always crowded with curious people who want to photograph and admire these giant works of art. Other nearby lanes worth visiting are: AC / DC Lane, Caledonian Lane, Croft Alley or Rankins Lane.
In addition to its prominent culture, Melbourne is also well known for AFL – Australian football. The region of Victoria is home to several renowned teams and Melbourne is home to several stadiums to watch a game.
As for gastronomy, discover and walk the aisles of the Queen Victoria Market, north of the city. Here you will find a multitude of vegetables, cheese, fruit, butchers and bakers – there is something for all tastes and budgets. Due to its lengthy halls and multiple sheds, Queen Victoria Market is the largest outdoor market in the Southern Hemisphere.
The Amusement Parks
Located in St Kilda, Melbourne’s most famous theme park, Luna Park attracts many visitors. You will instantly recognise its giant smiling doors where no one can resist a photo or two. Perfect for a day of fun, the park is over one hundred years old and is open all year round. It is home to the largest carousel in the Southern Hemisphere and its roller coasters give a beautiful view of the neighbouring coast and St Kilda beach.
An hour’s drive from Melbourne, Adventure Park in Geelong is considered Victoria’s largest amusement park with 20 attractions and rides. This includes karting, mini golf, climbing, carousel and ferris wheel so there is something for everyone.
If visiting Melbourne in Summer, head to the region’s water park – Funfields an hour’s drive north of the city. Home to over 20 attractions including huge slides and games that have been designed to provide hours of entertainment. It is advisable to allow at least one day in the park to enjoy all the activities.
Finally, although not a park the “Melbourne Star Observation Wheel” is still an entertaining attraction nonetheless. As a Ferris wheel it provides a breathtaking view from the sky, with panoramic vistas stretching from the Dandenongs National Park through to Port Phillip Bay.
For another breathtaking view, Melbourne’s tallest tower, Eureka Skydeck 88, in Southbank, opens up to a grand panorama of the city. This renowned viewing location provides a 360-degree views of the city – best enjoyed in the evening to witness the skyline illuminated.
The beaches of Melbourne
Australians often make fun of Melbourne for its beaches (or lack of) and yet, the beaches are still ideal for swimming or sunbathing. St Kilda is half an hour by tram from the cbd and provides the most popular destination for tourists and backpackers every summer, for its seaside location. It’s not the most beautiful beach in the area but it still ticks the box. Nearby bars and restaurants are the perfect meeting place to enjoy a beer with a view. The St Kilda pier is also home to many penguins who return to the harbour each night. Providing unforgettable memories of these little creatures in the wild.
Brighton beach has become iconic for the people of Melbourne because of the pretty, colorful beach houses that line the bay. There are 82 houses in total and they date back to the Victorian era. The water in Brighton is always calm and the sand soft and golden. From here you also have beautiful views of the city, as well as the colourful backdrop of the bathing houses.
Those who want to avoid the crowds of St Kilda will have to travel to Williamstown, a nice quiet spot near Melbourne. You can reach here via a 20 minute train journey from the CBD. The beach remains popular without being as crowded as its earlier mentioned neighbours. Locals enjoy the view of Gem Pier, close to the train station, which gives an unobstructed view of the city’s rooftops.
If you are looking for white sand, Edithvale Beach is one of the few places on the bay where you will find it. The beach stretches for a good kilometer and a half. Finally, if you have time to drive 90 minutes from the city center to go to a real gem, the beach of Sorrento will prove a worthwhile day trip. The beach is ideal for enjoying a beautiful sunset but it is also the starting point of numerous hiking trails.
The botanical park in Melbourne is known as “The Royal Botanic Gardens”, and is one of the tourist attractions not to be missed. Internationally renowned for its beautiful gardens, the park is located a short walk from the cbd, on the south bank of the Yarra River. It covers more than 38 hectares and its flora includes local and exotic species with more than 8,500 species in total. There are also guided tours to learn more about the gardens unusual flowers and trees as well as a heritage walk on the history of Koolin aborigines. It is the perfect place for a morning stroll, picnic lunch or to enjoy some shade in the afternoon.
To the east of the city, Fitzroy Gardens is renowned as one of the most beautiful places in the city. Captain Cook’s Cottage is one of the most historic buildings in the country and can be found here. Built in England, it was later moved to the city gardens and rebuilt brick by brick, at the beginning of the 20th century.
Carlton Gardens looks like a perfect English garden, with its beautiful fountains. Its clean cut lawn and its large spaces to play ball or lie down to read a book. Very well landscaped, the park gives the impression of being immersed in the Victorian era. The Royal Exhibition Center and the Melbourne Museum are also on this site.
For a more local environment, Edinburgh Gardens, located in Fitzroy North, is home to many sports fields. The AFL, cricket, basketball, tennis and even a skate park.
Where to see animals in Melbourne
The Melbourne Zoo is home to more than 320 animal species from around the world and is located five minutes from the city center. You will find tigers, monkeys and orangutans as well as Australian icons such as koalas, kangaroos, wombats and emus. The zoo has reconstructed tropical forests to imitate their natural habitat. But also has aquatic spaces for marine species such as the tiny penguins of Victoria or the seals found on the Australian coast. The zoo is also committed to the conservation of species by hosting 21 endangered species. Like rock wallabies, allowing their reproduction in captivity before reintroducing them into the wild.
About 40 minutes by car, but also accessible by public transport from Melbourne CBD. Werribee Open Range Zoo offers a unique wildlife experience within its 225 hectare savannah area. The zoo has recreated the beautiful African landscapes and hosts majestic animals such as gorillas, lions, cheetahs, rhinos and antelopes. It is also possible to feed a giraffe or to pet a serval. You can even participate in a mini safari tour in a small open bus across the savannah.
For those curious to see sharks and crocodiles, SEA LIFE is Melbourne’s Aquarium and has more than 10,000 species. Come see Pinjarra, Australia’s largest saltwater crocodile as well as “The Garden of Mermaids”. The home to manta rays and gray sharks which swim above the heads of visitors in a 2.2-million-litre aquarium.
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