If you’re heading to Melbourne and want to know what you absolutely must include on your itinerary while there, we’ve got you covered. As a city with plenty to do, see and explore, it can be difficult to know where to go to get the full Melbourne experience.
Whether you manage to do it all in a single trip or you slowly tick a few off each time you head to the southern bayside city, make sure you include these seven things on your Melbourne bucket list.
1. Explore the city laneways
If Melbourne is most famous for its good coffee, the second-most thing it is famed for would have to be its eclectic, character-filled laneways which showcase the cool urban vibe both Melbournians and tourists love so much.
With plenty of different laneways to explore throughout the CBD each with its own personality, unique selection of cute and quirky cafes or eateries, boutique shops and vibrant street art, it’s a good idea to join a walking laneway tour or to carefully plan your day to try and take in as many as possible.
Some of the best ones include Hosier Lane, Centre Place, AC/DC Lane, Hardware Lane and Degraves Lane, but whether you visit one or all of them, you can’t leave Melbourne until you’ve sampled at least one of them.
The Visit Melbourne website provides a good overview of the various laneways you can pick from to help you work out which ones you want to visit most.
2. Sample some art
Melbourne is also well known for it’s thriving arts scene, so once you’ve become acquainted with the cool street art on display in the city’s laneways, it’s time to sample some of the more refined arts on offer.
The city hosts a full calendar of arts, live music and theatre performances throughout the year, so make sure you check what shows and exhibitions will be on when you’re in town.
Some places that are well worth a look at include The Arts Centre, The State Theatre, Her Majesty’s Theatre, Princess Theatre, Regent Theatre, The Palais Theatre, The Athenaeum Theatre and The National Gallery of Victoria—but there are plenty of other winners to consider too!
3. Take a tram ride
Roaming around Melbourne continuously since 1906, trams are undeniably a part of the Melbourne streetscape, so it’s only fitting that a tram ride needs to be on everyone’s Melbourne bucket list.
With a network that extends across most of metropolitan Melbourne, it’s relatively easy to catch a tram to most areas around the city and inner suburbs. The Public Transport Victoria website provides a journey planner tool which will help you navigate your way around.
Now here’s the hot tip for tourists—if you’re in the city, catch the free city circle tourist tram which will take you on a ride around Melbourne’s CBD while providing a running commentary with some interesting facts about the history of key landmarks around the CBD.
4. Stroll down Southbank
If there is one ‘leisure centre’ of Melbourne, Southbank would have to be it. With a quintessential riverside location offering sweeping views of the Melbourne cityscape, it lends itself perfectly to the extensive collection of restaurants, bars, public art, street performers and retailers that call it home.
Jump on a river cruise or simply take a stroll along the banks of the Yarra and soak in the atmosphere. Then if you want to check out a few of the local attractions, head to the Eureka Skydeck for some of the best views of the city and surrounds, or pay a visit to the Crown entertainment precinct which offers an endless selection of dining and entertainment opportunities.
5. Wander through its beautiful gardens
Melbourne has also earned the title as “The Garden City” so it’s only fitting that a wander through some of its famous parks and gardens should also make an appearance on your bucket list.
Easily the most impressive of all of Melbourne’s parks and gardens and an absolute must for every visitor is The Royal Botanic Gardens, which is also home to the Shrine of Remembrance and the Sidney Myer Music Bowl.
Then there are some other notable city gardens that are also worth a visit including Carlton Gardens which houses the Royal Exhibition Building and the Melbourne Museum and Fitzroy Gardens located behind Parliament House and the Treasury Building which is also home to Cooks Cottage.
6. Catch a sporting match
Melbourne is also the sporting capital of Australia, so make sure you catch a match of some sort while you’re there.
With a handful of world-class sporting grounds including the very famous Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), as well as Marvel Stadium, Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne Arena, AAMI Park and Flemington Racecourse, there’s sure to be something happening at almost any time of year.
Depending on when you’re there, you can take in key events like the Australian Open tennis tournament (mid to late January), the Formula 1 Grand Prix (March), the Spring Racing Carnival (August-November), an International Test Cricket match (September-April), or the favourite among the locals, an Aussie Rules Football (AFL) match (March-September).
7. Check out the vibe in St Kilda
Finally, you haven’t experienced Melbourne until you’ve been to St Kilda. A prime example of the variety and culture on offer throughout Melbourne, there is plenty to love about this popular beachside suburb.
From its happening foreshore complete with a selection of trendy beach bars and restaurants, the cool and quirky vibe of Acland Street, the historical fun-filled Luna Park and the St Kilda Pier which is home to a small colony of fairy penguins, St Kilda definitely needs to be on everyone’s Melbourne bucket list.