Melbourne: Australia’s coffee and cultural capital, a city of architecture, art among the infamous laneways, a city thriving with fantastic restaurants, quirky cafes and charming little side streets that’ll keep you busy exploring for days!
To make your time in Melbourne easier, we have selected not only the Top 5 highlights but suggestions that go above and beyond those Top 5, as we know just how much in Melbourne there is to do, and you won’t want to miss any of them.
To make things even easier for you, we have put our Top 5 Things to do in Melbourne on the attached document here, for you to print out and keep.
Melbourne is a city of choices and it’s been hard for us to list the Top 5 must-do’s in this vibrant city. However, we have shortlisted the Top 5 and we have also provided a few other options too that follow closely behind them!
1. Royal Botanic Gardens
Attracting over 1.8m visitors annually, these gardens are a treasured part of cultural life and boast tranquil lakes, stunning vistas and are home to amazing and diverse plant collections and is a natural sanctuary for native wildlife.
Here you can run, walk, cycle or just relax in the stunning scenery and meander along the Aboriginal Heritage Walk, wander the Garden Discovery Tour or even ride on the Garden Explorer. There’s even a Children’s Garden with plant tunnels, a bamboo forest in which to hide and explore with rocks to climb – these gardens have everything a child could want to help them discover the natural world!
There are two cafes situated in the Botanical Gardens and if you find yourself here in the summer months, the lawns come alive with an outdoor cinema, theatre performances and exhibitions.
Entrance is free, and the gates are open from 07:30 to sunset every day of the year.
Location is on Birdwood Avenue, Melbourne, 3004.
If you are interested in finding out more, you can contact the Botanical Gardens Visitor Centre on +61 3 9252 2429 or visit their website https://www.rbg.vic.gov.au/visit-melbourne
2. Shrine of Remembrance
Opened in 1934, the Shrine of Remembrance is the Victorian state memorial to Australians who served in global conflicts throughout the nation’s history. The Shrine is renowned for its architecture, and you should head to the balcony for incredible panoramic views of Melbourne and the sprawling parklands.
Within the inner sanctum of the building are a labyrinth of galleries featuring over 80 artworks, personal effects and historical artefacts of Australians at war. Special events, exhibitions, talks and events happen here throughout the year providing an ever-changing experience. For a unique insight to this place, tours are run daily from the Visitor Centre at 11:00 and 12:45, admission is free, however the Shrine welcomes donations.
Opening hours 10:00 – 17:00 daily; closed Good Friday and Christmas Day.
Last entry to the Galleries and Balcony is 16:30.
Location Birdwood Avenue and St Kilda Road. Contact: +61 3 9661 8100 or visit their site http://www.shrine.org.au/home
From roof top bars to basement boutiques – Melbourne’s laneways are filled with eclectic one-of-a-kind mixed bag of outlets! The laneways have an Alice in Wonderland feel and you just never know what lies around the next corner!
You’ll notice that some of the laneways are so busy you could mistake it as a main street, however our golden tip is to head to Union Lane as this is one of the most unique. You’ll find yourself in a different world yet its smack bang in the middle of a shopping precinct just off Bourke Street Mall. Union Lane is around 550m long and while it doesn’t have the same hustle and bustle of bars and cafes as some laneways, its main attraction is the artwork that covers pretty much every inch. You may even be lucky enough to see something being freshly painted!
You’ll probably also stumble across Hosier Lane (opposite Federation Square) which is the central point of this city’s street art scene. The history goes back to the city’s early days, with heritage Council Victoria listing No.3-5 Hoiser Lane as having the “potential to contain historical archaeological remains associated with the settlement and growth of early Melbourne”.
There’s always so much to discover in the city’s hive of bustling, creative laneways, with their covert boutiques, famed restaurants, hole in the wall cafes and astonishing bars!
If you’d like to explore the laneways of Melbourne, you can either take a tour with one of the several tour companies operating, otherwise, if you have time, the best way is to just wander and see where you end up!
4. National Gallery of Victoria (NGV)
The place to come and discover art, classic and contemporary, local and international art! This place has two impressive galleries conveniently situated at the heart of Melbourne city centre and are just a short stroll from each other.
Here you’ll be able to meander through the collections of European, Asian, Oceanic and American art and situated in the Ian Potter Centre just over the river you’ll find the majority of Australian art on permanent display than anywhere else in the world – this is a must visit for its Australian Indigenous and non-Indigenous art as well as touring exhibitions!
The Australian collection of art at the NGV comprises of more than 20,000 pieces of work with approximately 800 works being displayed in the new building at one time. Many of these are rotated frequently to show the full breadth and diversity and provide visitors with fresh insights! Admission to the permanent collection is free, however some fees may apply to special exhibitions and are advertised on the day.
NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne. Free entry, open daily 10:00 to 17:00, closed Christmas Day.
The Ian Potter Centre, Federation Square, Melbourne. Free entry, open daily 10:00 to 17:00 daily, closed Christmas Day.
Contact number: +61 (0)3 8620 2222
5. Eureka Skydeck
Tower over the city on the 88th floor of the Eureka Skydeck – at 285m high, this building houses ‘The Edge’ a switchable glass cube 88 floors up. Extending three metres out from the building this offers the highest public vantage point in the Southern hemisphere! If you venture out into the moving glass cube, you’ll be in a six-tonne horizontal elevator that starts from inside the walls of the Skydeck and moves outwards to jut out of the east side of Eurekas Tower. You have been warned…it’s not for the faint hearted as the glass box plays a soundtrack of creaking, groaning and smashing glass which all adds to the (somewhat sadistic) atmosphere and provides terror for concerned occupants! However, you will be rewarded with the most astonishing panorama of Melbourne.
If seeing through a floor to the ground, 285m up doesn’t do it for you, then we suggest you plant both feet on the Skydeck – it’s just as high but without the extreme fear factor!
Located at Riverside Quay, Southbank, this building and its views will change the way you look at Melbourne and beyond.
Opening hours: 10:00 to 22:00 daily (Christmas Day and NY Eve 10:00 to 17:30 – last entry 17:00)
Cost of entry to the Skydeck only – prices start from $15.50 for concessions, $20 for adult ticket and $11.50 for children (4 – 16 years).
On top of that you can pay extra for ‘The Edge’ experience which starts at $10 for concessions, $12 for adults and children $8 (children 4-16 years).
You can check out more information on their site here.
Our Top Tip: we recommend that you avoid driving around the city if you can help it, parking is tricky at the best of times and with a large vehicle, it’ll be next to impossible!
Once in Melbourne, grab yourself a ‘myki’ card as this is Melbourne’s public transport ticket to travel on the city’s trains, trams and buses. International and interstate visitors heading to Melbourne can buy a myki Explorer pack which combines the myki card, visitor information and special offers all-in-one. Head to ‘Public Transport Victoria’ website here for more information.
If you have arranged your motorhome hire already, you may be interested in checking out this blog we’ve written which gives some really useful information on where to pick up your motorhome from and the best way to get to the depot from the airport, along with heaps of other useful information such as giving the location of the nearest supermarkets and even a few suggestions of where you can stay. Check out that blog here.
If you haven’t got your motorhome sorted yet, be sure to get in touch with us and we’ll make sure you get the best bang for your buck! Check out our vehicle options here and let us know what vehicle type you are thinking of and we’ll make sure you get paired up with the right vehicle to suit your needs and requirements for your trip.
All images are courtesy of Tourism Australia and Time Out Australia and Visit Victoria.