10 of the best things to do in Melbourne


NOTE: Due to COVID-19, tours, attractions and public places are closed due to the need for social distancing. That doesn't mean you can't start planning a holiday when things return to normal. Consider including the below activities in your next holiday itinerary to Melbourne.


Let's talk about marvellous Melbourne

I asked my good friend Jennifer De Luca, Founder of Luxury Adventure Travel, to share her thoughts on marvelous Melbourne. Here's what she had to say....
 
Stunning Melbourne by night - along the Yarra River
Melbourne by night. Photo: Wim Kantona from Pixabay 
 

Melbourne is continually ranked one of the world's most liveable cities, and with good reason! Thriving café culture, an excellent public transport network, some of Australia's best museums and art galleries, world class shopping, sumptuous dining spots, beautiful parklands – what else could you want?

1. Take a Self Guided Orientation Walk
One thing I recommend all first time travellers to Melbourne do is take the time to head to one of the visitor centres and arm yourself with printed self guided walks. Choose from a variety of themed walks including street art, music, Aboriginal, arcades and laneways, parks and the waterfront locations of Southbank and Docklands. Do one or do them all. They're an excellent way to discover the city on foot, and you'll uncover some of Melbourne's hidden gems. Two of my favourite visitor centres can be found at Federation Square (across the road from Flinders Street station), and Melbourne Town Hall (on Collins Street). 

2. Ride an Historic Free Tram in Melbourne City Circle
Hop on, hop off, hop back on! Travel on the City Circle tram is not only free, it is the most convenient and best way to see the sights of Melbourne. Mingle with shoppers, office workers, families and other travellers who use this as a means to travel to work, major events, shopping, restaurant and the cities attractions. Trams run Every 30 minutes - between 10am and 6pm from Sunday to Wednesday and between 10am and 9pm every Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
 
Ride-the-Melbourne-trams
Ride the Melbourne trams. Photo: Ralf Genge from Pixabay 
 

3. Visit the State Library of Victoria
Stunning, extravagant, beautiful, magnificent and elegant. Am I describing a fine dining restaurant or a designer hotel? Neither. This is the best way to describe what you will see on your visit to the State Library of Victoria. Established in 1856, this amazing piece of architecture on Swanston Street, has been welcoming visitors to enjoy its marvellous interiors. The library has a rich collection of historical items, offers talks and lectures as well as free tours. This is also the place where you can see famed bushranger Ned Kelly’s armour.
 
4. Have a Drink With A Melbourne Icon
Head over to the Young & Jackson Hotel (opposite Flinders Street station) to meet Chloe, a Melbourne icon who has kept soldiers company through two World Wars, a Korean War and a Vietnam War. Chloe has graced covers of magazine, is a mascot for the HMAS Melbourne, has had wine named after her and poems written about her. Chloe has kept company with prime ministers, celebrities, bushies, soldiers, drunks, poets, artists and art connoisseurs. Who is this mysterious woman? Chloe is a painting by artist Jules Joseph Lefebvre from 1875. Today, you will find her in the upstairs saloon. Call past and have a drink with Chloe.
 
5. Relax and Unwind in a Japanese Bathhouse
Take a break from the hustle and bustle by stepping into Onsen Ma which is located in the heart of Melbourne (and just down the road from Bourke Street). This is your chance to  relax, unwind and destress. Japanese bathing is considered a great way to calm the kokoro, a persons spirit or heart. Be prepared to get publicly naked, but it is totally worth it. Upon arrival you will be provided with a bath robe to use while at the bathhouse and sent off to have a scrub using a soap and loofa. Then it is time to submerge yourself in the blissful healing waters and soak away your worries. I highly recommend a bath, spa and massage package which starts at $130.

6. A Purrrrfect Afternoon at the Cat Café
Travelling and missing your furry friend back at home? For just $10 you can spend one hour with 20 new furry friends and as a bonus it is all for a good cause. These beautiful kitties are from local rescue shelters and have been given a second chance. The cat café  is an Australian first and is never lacking in visitors wanting to give some love. This gorgeous and cuddly cafe is in Melbourne's city centre. 
 
visit-the-cat-cafe-for-a-snuggle-while-you-re-in-Melbourne
Visit the Cat Cafe for a cat-cuddle. Photo:FOX from Pexels

7. Queen Victoria Market Ultimate Foodie Tour
Officially opened on 20 March 1878, Queen Victoria Market has been serving the people of Melbourne for more than 140 years. Take a foodie walking tour and learn about the fascinating history, discover the freshest produce on offer, meet the vendors, sample the delicacies and uncover tasty treats to take away with you. Come hungry and bring your own reusable shopping bags (the market went single use plastic bag and straw free in 2019.)

8. Check Out Street Art in Melbourne
No trip to Melbourne would be complete without a stroll around the world’s biggest outdoor art exhibitions. Many of these jaw-dropping art galleries are found in Melbourne's laneways. You may even have a chance to meet some of the artists as they are creating. My personal favourite is the art in Hosier Lane which is home to the 23 metre tall unnamed Indigenous Boy by the artist Adnate. Another spot that is worthy of a selfie in front of is Union Lane, look out for the big pink and grey Galah! 
 
See-the-many-artworks-adorning-arcades-and-laneways-in-Melbourne
See the many artworks adorning the Melbourne laneways. Photo: Ralf Genge from Pixabay
 

9. See A Different Side to Melbourne
It's always interesting to see the many different personalities of a city, and Melbourne is no different. I highly recommend seeing Melbourne from its famous Yarra River which cuts through the middle of the city. There are two different cruise itineraries to choose from which offer very different things to see and learn about. When you cruise down the river, you'll see the sights of Docklands entertainment complex,  Melbourne CBD and discover one of the discover one of the busiest trading ports in the Southern Hemisphere. Up river, cruise past the cultural precinct, the Royal Botanic Gardens, Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), and AAMI Park (which is Melbourne’s newest soccer stadium). Watch out for the stunning Toorak mansions, tree-lined streets, and ornate bridges. This peaceful part of the Yarra is only minutes away from the heart of the city and catches the true charm of Melbourne.
 
10. Visit the Koori Heritage Trust 
The Koorie Heritage Trust is the only public collection in Australia dedicated solely to Koorie art and culture. Located in Federation Square, visitors can take part in public events, work shops, education tours and walks which help develop Indigenous cross-cultural awareness. There's gorgeous handmade art, jewellery and clothing designed  by Koorie and other Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. All sales support the Koorie Heritage Trust and Koorie artists and designers. This Koorie Heritage Trust is owned and managed by the Aboriginal community and promotes and celebrates the continuing journey of the Aboriginal people.
 
cruise-the_Yarra-River-in-Melbourne
Cruise the Yarra River. Photo: Julian Hacker from Pixabay
 

Top 5 kid friendly activities

Looking for a few suggestions for things to do with kids in Melbourne?
I'm going to add to Jen's top 10, with the top 5 kid-friendly things to do in Melbourne.
 
see-the-lions-at-Werribee-open-range-zoo-in-Melbourne
Melbourne zoo and Werribee Open Range Zoo have lots of wonderful friends waiting to meet you. Photo: Tony-Media from Pixabay 
 

Let's start with all things animal...

  1. Melbourne Zoo provides hours of entertainment. Let's face it - who doesn't love chatting to the animals, and there are 320 different species to meet.  

  2. Werribee open range zoo where animals roam freely. Werribee zoo is fighting extinction of wildlife extinction and has rescue and breeding programs in place. Go there - you'll feel like you've taken a trip to Africa as you take the safari train through fields of zebras, lions, hippos, girrafes, and more.

  3. Visit the Melbourne aquarium to see all-things underwater...from fish, sharks, sting rays, jelly fish and more.

  4. Old Melbourne gaol is a must visit. It's a museum but has cool tours of the old gaol cells and court rooms, and you can get a first hand experience of how dark and bleak life in prison was. 

  5. Head to St Kilda where you'll find the huge smiling face of Luna Park. This is the old-fashioned kind of theme park with carousel, dodgem cars, the red baron, mirror mazes, and roller coasters.  Afterwards, get an ice-cream and walk along the St Kilda beach or esplanade.

Visit-Luna-Park-in-Melbourne
Walking through the laughing mouth of Luna Park and discover rides, carnival games and more.
Photo: 
Michael Baragwanath from Pixabay