Melbourne is the capital of the state of Victoria and was established by two Tasmanian settlers in 1835. It spans 9,990km² and has around 5 million inhabitants, which makes it is the second largest city in Australia, after Sydney. Divided by the Yarra River, the city has many gardens, parks and historic buildings. Melbourne is an artistic and cosmopolitan city, offering a wide array of cultural events throughout the year. It is also famous for its street art, created by graffiti artists from around the world. We have put together a two-day itinerary to help you make most of your stay in this fantastic city.
Table of Contents
Summary of your 2 days in Melbourne
- Use the city circle tram to take a guided tour of the CBD
- Head to Federation Square to explore the Australian Center for the Moving Image or another of the museums on the square
- Stroll along the Yarra River
- Stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens after taking in the views at the Skydeck
- End the day with a swim and an aperitif in St Kilda
- Awaken your senses at Queen Victoria Market
- Take a stroll along the Victoria Harbour Promenade
- Enjoy the riches of the city centre: Chinatown, Carlton Gardens, Melbourne’s Acardes…
- Explore the city’s street art
- Shop around in Fitzroy
Use the City Circle Tram (Day 1)
Free, convenient and educational the City Circle Tram is a must for every visit to Melbourne. This authentic tram enables you to visit Melbourne central business district while enjoying a guided audio tour on the main attractions. In addition, information brochures are available on board.
Taking this tram is really easy. Just go to one of the scheduled stops on the free tram zone (see the map here). The tram, which is very recognisable do to its retro look, operates in both directions approximately every 30 minutes.
It runs between 10am and 6pm from Sunday to Wednesday and between 10am and 9pm every Thursday, Friday and Saturday. You can get out at any stop you like and hop back on later.
Join Federation Square (Day 1)
Federation Square is one of Melbourne’s main public squares. There are bars, restaurants and shops. It is also a cultural place that hosts, among other things, the Australian Center for the Moving Image.
Many events are organized throughout the year, like concerts, projections of live events on big screens, etc.
Stroll along the Yarra River (Day 1)
Water is always a great plus in a big city. In Melbourne you will have the opportunity to enjoy the Yarra River. You can take great walks along this river on roads suitable for cyclists, pedestrians and joggers. BBQ, picnic and fishing facilities are also available.
Book a cruise to explore beautiful buildings, skyscrapers, bars and parks. Enjoy a round-trip journey that allows you to really enhance your knowledge of what is known as one of the “most livable cities in the world.” Many travellers choose to explore the city via the Yarra River.
Admire the city from the SkyDeck (Day 1)
One of the best attractions in Melbourne with the best view over Melbourne is the Eureka Tower. The sky deck is on the 88th floor of the Eureka Tower, which at 297 meters is one of the tallest skyscrapers in the Southern Hemisphere. It is located in central Melbourne on the Southbank precinct along the Yarra River. Part of the observation deck is a glass floor. This is definitely worth a visit (admission $28).
Discover the Royal Botanical Gardens (Day 1)
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.
You can visit this park for free all year from 7:30 am to 6 pm.
Finish off the day in St Kilda (Day 1)
Not far from the city centre you will find St. Kilda, a very popular spot in Melbourne. Easy beach access, combined with the many activities here (bars, restaurants, Luna Park, etc.) ensures there is something for everybody.
What’s better than a swim in the ocean and a drink to top off a busy day?
🏨 Recommended hotels in Melbourne
There is a wide variety of accommodation in Melbourne, to suit every budget. Take a look at some of our favourite spots below.
Get your brekkie at Queen Victoria Market (Day 2)
The Queen Victoria Market will definitely awaken your senses! It has turned into a one of the most popular tourist destinations of the city. Let yourself get carried away by the friendly atmosphere of this market and its more than pleasant smalls. You will find a wide choice of fresh fruits and vegetables, meats, fish and speciality foods in the Food Hall. A second of the market part is devoted to non-food products, such as clothing, jewellery and handcrafted items.
Enjoy a two-hour guided tour that also includes some generous tastings, a market shopping bag, and a $5 voucher to spend at market stalls. You will try delicious chargrilled kangaroo, cheese, antipasto, artisan chocolate, seasonal fruit, hot jam doughnuts, and lots more.
The market is open every morning of the week except Mondays and Wednesdays. On Wednesday evenings the atmosphere is transformed with festive shows, bars and restaurants.
Open on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday from 6 am – 3 pm. On Wednesday from 5 pm to 10 pm. Saturday from 6 am to 4 pm and Sunday from 9 am till 4 pm.
Go for a walk on the Victoria Harbor Promenade (Day 2)
East of the city centre you will find the port built along the Yarra River. At the edge of the river, the Victoria Harbour Promenade offers a pleasant moment of relaxation. Take a moment to stroll along this small road and take in the sights. You can get to the Promenade with the free tram.
Explore the CBD (Day 2)
Melbourne’s city centre has many places that cater to a great variety of interests. Atypical neighbourhoods, historical monuments, dynamic squares… So many reasons to get lost in these streets!
The best way to discover the city is to walk from place to place, having your curiosity control your direction. An alternative is to have a guide, such as those provided by Free Walking Tours, which are organised daily in the City.
Anyway, we recommend you to visit: Chinatown, Center Place, the Carlton Gardens and the Melbourne Arcades…
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.
Discover the Street Art (Day 2)
Street art and graffiti are integral parts of Melbourne’s identity, which is arguably the most artistic city in Australia. In fact, its street art is recognised around the world. Many walls are covered with tags from professionals and amateurs, you will be mind blown. Some great artists have come to leave a mark in these streets, including Banksi and Space Invader. Union Lane and Hosier Lane are great sports to admire these works! 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.
End your day in the Fitzroy (Day 2)
Fitzroy is a specific district of Melbourne where you can find an artistic and bohemian atmosphere. The neighbourhood is marked by street art and hosts a variety of musical performances. Considered the live music centre of Melbourne – The Old Bar and Evelyn Hotel are some of the main venues for great performances.
If you have more time …
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.
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.
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.
Option 1: Skybus Shuttle, departs every 15 minutes (19 AUD/person);
Option 2: Taxi (approximately 50AUD)
From Melbourne Domestic Airport to Avalon: Skybus shuttle, approximately an one hour ride (19 AUD/Person)