Melbourne is a stylish, sophisticated, and dynamic city with plenty to explore! Some of our favorite things to do in Melbourne are wandering through lanes and arcades covered in street art, exploring the vibrant culinary scene, driving the Great Ocean Road, wine tasting in Yarra Valley, and wildlife tours just outside the city.
Here are the 16 best places to see and things to do in Melbourne, Australia:
1. Federation Square
Watch the world go by from a comfy deck chair in Federation Square. Melbourne’s meeting place and unique cultural precinct brings together a creative mix of attractions, museums, galleries, and restaurants.
View of Federation Square from Transit Rooftop Bar. Image: Tourism Victoria
2. Lanes and Arcades
Melbourne’s arcades and laneways are full of hidden treasures. Take a step off the beaten track and discover local designers and specialty retailers, quirky cafes, independent designers, street art, amazing architecture, and historical tales of Melbourne along the way. We definitely recommend a guided tour so you can discover the hidden gems of Melbourne that only the locals know!
3. St. Kilda
Just 3.7 miles from Melbourne’s city center, St. Kilda is Melbourne’s seaside neighborhood, which is much-loved by residents and visitors. St. Kilda is renowned for its sandy beaches, palm-lined boardwalks, gorgeous sunsets, great restaurants and bars, and fascinating history.
4. Royal Botanic Gardens
Looking for some peace and quiet in the heart of the city? Take a stroll through the internationally renowned Royal Botanic Gardens, a beautiful oasis featuring thousands of plants, including rare and endangered species.
5. Harbourside Docklands Art Trail
This waterfront walking trail features public art from Melbourne-based and international artists. The trail is divided into three sections, each approximately 1.5 miles long. Download the Harbourside Docklands Art Trail app for a map and special commentary on the works.
6. Shopping in Melbourne
Melbourne is home to a diverse and stylish selection of shops offering everything from locally-designed originals to vintage gems. Top shopping locations include Flinders Lane, Emporium Melbourne, and QV Melbourne.
Shopping in Melbourne. Image: Tourism Australia
7. Chapel Street
The Chapel Street Precinct is a vibrant area filled with high-end designer shops, quirky cafes, and stylish bars. Find unique trinkets at the Chapel Street Bazaar, indulge in multicultural cuisine, and explore local art at one of the many galleries in the area.
8. Art Galleries
Melbourne is home to a thriving arts scene and boasts more than 100 galleries, ranging from large public institutions like the National Gallery of Victoria and Australian Centre for Contemporary Art to smaller commercial galleries and artist-run cooperatives. See our list of Melbourne’s best art galleries.
9. Melbourne Markets
Locals and tourists alike love visiting the Melbourne markets for food, clothes, art, and more. The Queen Victoria Market (open Tuesday – Sunday) is a must-visit; South Melbourne Market (open Wednesday and Friday – Sunday) features produce and gourmet treats that will delight any foodie; and the Rose Street Market (open Saturday – Sunday) features handmade goods from local artists and designers.
10. Great Ocean Road
Take in surf beaches, historic ports, whale lookouts, rainforests, and mountain ranges on this spectacular coastal route. A highlight of the Great Ocean Road is the Twelve Apostles’ limestone stacks, created by nature rising from the ocean depths.
Twelve Apostles on the Great Ocean Road. Image: Tourism Australia
11. Yarra Valley
The Yarra Valley, renowned for producing Australia’s finest pinot noir, is just an hour’s drive from Melbourne. Take a guided tour or follow a self-drive wine trail and design your own route between cellar doors.
Hot air balloon over Yarra Valley. Image: Tourism Victoria
12. Phillip Island
Phillip Island, a natural wonderland, is just a 90-minute drive from Melbourne. Every night, visitors can witness the Little Penguins in their natural habitat as they make their nightly march up the beach to their dune burrows.
13. Mornington Peninsula
Under an hour from Melbourne, you’ll find orchards, olive groves, and more than 200 vineyards in the Mornington Peninsula. Take coastal walks, spot seals, and swim with dolphins. End your day with a nice, relaxing soak in the hot springs.
14. Nature and Wildlife Tours
Discover native Australian wildlife in its natural habitat. Wildlife excursions led by local guides allow you to witness kangaroos, koalas, and more just a short drive from the city. Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary is a popular place to interact with Australian animals up close.
Feeding kangaroos at Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary. Image: Tourism Victoria
15. The Goldfields
An easy 90-minute drive from Melbourne, Ballarat is home to Sovereign Hill, an open-air museum that brilliantly recreates life during Victoria’s glorious gold mining days. See how the Eureka Rebellion shaped modern Australia and immerse yourself in the spectacular AURA sound and light show. The nearby Ballarat Wildlife Park is worth a visit as well.
16. The Grampians
The majestic mountain ranges and forests of the Grampians are famous for their magnificent scenery and Aboriginal heritage. Discover rock art, go fishing or canoeing, enjoy scenic hikes, and get up close to native animals in this picture-perfect mountain range.
Our Australia travel specialists have visited Melbourne several times and are happy to chat about the best things to see and do! Call us at (888) 229-0082 to start planning your trip to Melbourne, or browse our Australia travel packages.