Melbourne City, Sporting Precinct and Yarra River, Australia

Top 10 Things to Do in Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne, a city about 900 kilometers southwest of Sydney, is a treat for travellers taking an Australian vacation. This metropolis is home to about 4 million people. Its residents love living here for the coastal location, lovely 19th-century architecture, and host of fun activities. If Melbourne is on your itinerary when you travel to Australia, make time for these top 10 attractions during your trip.

1. Visit Eureka Skydeck and the Edge
Want a stunning view of Melbourne and the surrounding area? Take an elevator traveling as fast as an Olympic sprinter to the Skydeck in the Eureka Tower. When you reach the top, you’ll experience breathtaking views from the highest viewing platform in the southern hemisphere. Go on the Edge, a glass-bottomed box that slides out from the main building. You can visit the Skydeck during the day, or, if you want to see the city in its nighttime splendour, go after dark.

Suggested Excursion:
Melbourne After Dark

Melbourne skyline with Eureka Tower in the Background
Melbourne skyline with Eureka Tower in the Background

2. Visit the Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is one of the world’s most picturesque places. Watch the imposing waves and hike the daunting cliffs at Bells Beach. Visit the historic Split Point Lighthouse and see koalas at Kennett River.

To make your Great Ocean Road experience even more spectacular, take a flight over the site. From a small aircraft, you’ll get an aerial view of Australia’s coastline. Marvel at the 12 Apostles, Moonlight Head, and the Cape Otway Lightstation, among other landmarks.

Suggested Excursion:
Great Ocean Road – Scenic Flight

Visit the Twelve Apostles on your drive along the Great Ocean Road
Visit the Twelve Apostles on your drive along the Great Ocean Road

3. Visit the Little Penguin Parade on Phillip Island
Penguins may not be the first creatures to come to mind when you think of Australia, but you can see the marvelous animals when traveling to Phillip Island, about 90 minutes from Melbourne. Observe the birds as they return home at sunset after a long day of fishing. You can sit in the main penguin viewing area or, for an unforgettable viewing treat, upgrade to the Penguin Skybox or the Ultimate Penguin Tour.

The penguin species that lives on the island is known simply as “little penguins” because they are the smallest types of penguins.

Penguin Parade at Phillip Island
Penguin Parade at Phillip Island

4. Have Dinner on the Colonial Tramcar
For a memorable culinary experience, savour a five-star meal while you’re aboard one of the world’s first travelling tramcar restaurants, the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant. Cruise through Melbourne as you delight in an artfully prepared dish and sip fine wine. After dinner, to make the evening extra special, reserve a seat in the theatre and catch a live show.

Dining at Colonial Tramcar Restaurant
Dining at Colonial Tramcar Restaurant

5. Watch Cricket, Football, or Tennis
Three times, Sports Business International named Melbourne the Ultimate Sport City. Although not everyone would agree that Melbourne deserves the title, no one can say that natives of Melbourne don’t have a fiercely competitive spirit. Witness that competitive athleticism in action when you join the city’s sports fans for a cricket, football, or tennis event. Melbourne is also the scene for basketball, volleyball, wrestling, and swimming.

Of course, the available sports will depend on when you visit. Check out a schedule of Melbourne sporting events.

Melbourne is host to the Australian Open | Photo credit: Greg Elms - Melbourne Feb 2012
Melbourne is host to the Australian Open | Photo credit: Greg Elms – Melbourne Feb 2012

6. Discover Melbourne’s Laneways and Arcades
Go beyond the basics of Melbourne when you take a tour of its laneways and arcades. These walkable streets feature boutique shopping and alluring cafés that you can’t find elsewhere on the continent. A walking tour of the lanes and arcades lasts about four hours, but after the tour, you may want to go back to spend more time shopping around.

Suggested Excursion:
Lanes and Arcades

Melbourne cafes
Melbourne cafes

7. Meet ‘Under the Clocks’ at Flinders Street Station
At the corner of Flinders Street and Swanston Street, you’ll find the oldest train station in Australia. The historic structure was built in 1910, but the site itself served as a train station for decades before its construction. The Flinders Street Station is one of the busiest railway stations in the southern hemisphere.

Melbournians often use the station as a convenient place to meet. They may say, “Meet me under the clocks,” referring to the clocks that adorn the station’s main entrance. In fact, 13 clocks are here, displaying train departure times.

8. Jump on the City Circle Tram
Australia travel isn’t always cheap. Fortunately, some transportation is free. Hop on the City Circle Tram, is a free tram service that covers most of the central Melbourne area. Sit back and take in the city activity, or take the tram to a specific location. The tram services some major attractions, such as shopping malls, Melbourne’s arcades, the Old Treasury Building, Princess Theatre, and Parliament House.

Flinders Street Station and City Circle Tram
Flinders Street Station and City Circle Tram

9. Visit One of Melbourne’s Iconic Streets
When you’re exploring the wonders of Melbourne, don’t forget the following streetscapes:

  • Lygon Street – You’ll find the city’s Little Italy here. Sample delicious Italian food after you check out the great fashion options at Eastern Market Capela.
  • Chapel Street – Explore the live music and shopping options in this lively, alternative-lifestyle-friendly neighborhood.
  • Brunswick Street – You’ll seek this street in Fitzroy, Melbourne’s Bohemian neighborhood. Try on unique fashions, visit a personality-filled café, and find gifts at secondhand stores.
  • Fitzroy Street – Fitzroy is next to the beach, so go get some sand between your toes. You might also want to wander a short distance to the historic Esplanade Hotel.

10. Eat Fish and Chips on St. Kilda Beach
From Fitzroy Street, walk to St. Kilda Beach. Before you hit the sand, though, grab some fish and chips from Carlisle Seafood or Mammy’s Boy Chip Shop. After eating, hop on a charter fishing boat or go kiteboarding.

From the Skydeck to sports down under, Melbourne’s attractions can make your Australian getaway an adventure. But these 10 activities are only the beginning of your Melbourne discoveries. What wonders will you see when you travel to Australia?

St. Kilda Beach
St. Kilda Beach


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Meg Boyd
Meg Boyd

Downunder Product and Marketing Manager - Melbourne-born Meg arrived in Canada in January with no winter coat, one suitcase, a one week booking at a youth hostel, and a sight-unseen job offer at Goway Travel. She thought she’d stay for a year – that was 12 years ago! Never one to shy away from adventure, Meg has been in the industry for 23 years and has journeyed extensively through Europe, Asia and North America. Meg’s heart however belongs to the South Pacific, including New Zealand, Fiji, and her native Australia.

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