1. Catch a Free Tram
This tip will help to make your visit to Melbourne so much easier - and even some of the locals don’t know about it: Melbourne has a Free Tram Zone. The parameters are conveniently around the outside of the CBD, when looking at a map of Melbourne, the street boundaries are Spring Street, Flinders Street and La Trobe Street and all the way down to the Docklands area. The most iconic trams are the historic city circle ones. They run in a fixed loop in the heart of the city, so if you’re only in Melbourne for a short time, make sure that you hop on one as they pass by a lot of the major attractions in the city centre.
2. Queen Victoria Market
Queen Victoria Market is a one-stop for all your shopping needs. Being the biggest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere, it spreads across seven hectares of land. Serving locals for over 140 years, it has been included in the National Heritage List of Australia. Considering its size, it is no surprise that you can buy almost anything you can imagine: from fresh fish to artisan wines and souvenirs, from flip-flops to leather coats. If you would like the authentic market experience (including hearing the vendors loudly touting their wares to everyone who is walking past), the Queen Vic Market is a great place to spend some time.
3. Melbourne Laneways
Walking around Melbourne CBD, soon enough you will find yourself in one of the city’s famous laneways. Stylish cafés, extravagant street art and heritage-listed buildings are all to be found on these narrow roads.
4. Federation Square
Located in the middle of Melbourne, Federation Square (or Fed Square) is a great place to get a feel for the city. This quirky place is home to events, workshops, word-class galleries, and mouth-watering food – just to mention a few. It’s also a fantastic spot to sit and watch the world go by.
5. Royal Botanic Gardens
When the weather is nice, the Royal Botanic Gardens in the middle of Melbourne is a fantastic place to spend an hour or two. Founded over 150 years ago, it’s now having over 36 hectares of Australian native and non-native plants and, is the most comprehensive botanical library in Australia. Spreading on a big land, you have plenty of places to sit down and soak in the atmosphere.
6. Melbourne Skydeck
If you’d like to capture Melbourne City in one photo, the Melbourne Skydeck is the place to go. Just shy of 300m tall, it features the Southern Hemisphere’s highest observation deck. Apart from the best city views, it also features VR and augmented reality experiences. The Bar 88 and Eureka 89 restaurants are great places to visit to have some ‘elevated’ food and drink experiences in the heart of the city.
7. The National Gallery of Victoria
Featuring over 40 exhibitions a year, The National Gallery of Victoria is the biggest and oldest gallery in Australia. If you are an art-lover, make sure that you allow yourself a decent amount of time when visiting, as an entire day can be easily spent there. Get lost in viewing international blockbusters, attending events and historical- and contemporary galleries.
8. Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)
Whether you’re hoping to catch a game, visit the National Sports Museum or just want a tour, the MCG will have you sorted. Home of the Australian Football league, The Melbourne Cricket Ground has a gift shop for you to browse, and it hosts regular events. Unmissable for all sports enthusiasts.
9. Old Melbourne Gaol
A little farther from the CBD than the rest, The Old Melbourne Gaol is a former jail and now museum. It was built over 170 years ago and is the place where Ned Kelly, Australia’s original bushranger & outlaw, was hanged. The museum is a collection of information and memorabilia about the prisoners who were once held there - including Ned Kelly’s death mask. If you’re a night owl, the Gaol also runs several events at night. Not for the faint-hearted, join the ‘Hangman’s Night Tour’ or the ‘Ghosts? What Ghosts! Tour’ – if you dare!
10. Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium
If you walk along the river from Flinders Street, you’ll come across the Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium, home to over 10,000 aquatic creatures. The Aquarium is part of the grey nurse shark breeding program, a species that would otherwise be extinct in Victoria. Whether you want to walk under the huge domed tanks, get your hands wet in the rockpools, or get stared down by a giant crocodile, the aquarium is a great way to get up and close to sea creatures.
Traffic in capital cities is always a headache, but the excellent public transport in Melbourne means that once you hit Flinders St Station, you’re within walking distance of some of the best attractions Melbourne has to offer. Whether you’re looking to spend half an hour, half a day, or half a week, you’re guaranteed to find something to your interest.
In conclusion, Melbourne is a city with a lot to offer. From its beautiful parks to its world-class art galleries and museums, there is something for everyone. Whether you're a foodie, a sports fan, or a lover of the outdoors, you're sure to find something to love in Melbourne.
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Written by: Maddy Burley