Things to do in Melbourne

The second largest city in Australia, Melbourne is brimming with a wide variety of attractions to enthral just about every kind of traveller. Whatever your taste or interest, there is bound to be something in Melbourne for you.

Art lovers will enjoy the National Gallery of Victoria; history buffs will relish touring the Old Melbourne Gaol; and culture vultures will love exploring the Chinese and Melbourne Museums. Those with a fear of heights should steer clear of the Eureka Tower, but thrill-seekers will be in heaven on the 88th floor of Melbourne's tallest building, which offers breath-taking panoramic views of the city. Children of all ages will love the Melbourne Zoo which boasts more than 350 different species of animals, and a day in the Royal Botanical Gardens is not to be missed.

Visitors keen on sightseeing will do well to purchase one of the iVenture Cards specific to Melbourne, all of which can lead to huge discounts on attractions and tours when used extensively enough. The cards come in several different categories and can be purchased online.

Cooks' Cottage photo

Cooks' Cottage

This cottage was originally built in the village of Great Ayton in Yorkshire, England, in 1755, by James and Grace Cook, the parents of Captain James Cook. When the cottage was off…

Cooks' Cottage

This cottage was originally built in the village of Great Ayton in Yorkshire, England, in 1755, by James and Grace Cook, the parents of Captain James Cook. When the cottage was offered for sale in 1933 it was bought by a prominent Melbourne businessman, Sir Russell Grimwade. He arranged for it to be taken apart brick by brick and transported via ship and train to Melbourne. In early 1934 the cottage was rebuilt on its present site in Fitzroy Gardens, East Melbourne. Even the ivy that adorns the cottage was cut from the original plants in England. Today it provides visitors with the opportunity to glimpse what life was like in 18th-century England, a slightly surreal experience in modern Australia. The historic building also provides audio-visual exhibitions about Captain Cook's life and adventures.

Address Fitzroy Gardens, Wellington Parade Street

Transport

Tram 48 or 75 from Flinders Street or Swanson Street to stop 9 on Wellington Parade; or City Circle Tram to Spring Street

Opens Open daily from 9am to 5pm (last visitor admitted at 4.45pm)

Admission

A$6.20 (adults), A$3.20 (children aged 5 - 15). Concessions are available.

Yarra River photo

Yarra River

A visit to Melbourne would not be complete without a good look at its main river system, the Yarra River. Often the subject of jokes due to its brownish colour, it is actually not …

Yarra River

A visit to Melbourne would not be complete without a good look at its main river system, the Yarra River. Often the subject of jokes due to its brownish colour, it is actually not dirty, just muddy. The Yarra has become the focus of much development in the central business district, with many new buildings, walks and parks having been created along its banks in recent years, including the relatively new Riverside Park. For the best view of the Yarra River walk to Princes Bridge, St Kilda Road, or take a cruise along the river from Princes Walk (below Princes Bridge). Otherwise, simply enjoy a stroll or a picnic on the riverbank in one of the public parks.

Website www.yarrariver.info

Old Melbourne Gaol photo

Old Melbourne Gaol

Victoria's oldest surviving remand prison gives visitors a chilling insight into prison life in a model 19th-century gaol. Behind the thick and forbidding walls Ned Kelly, the infa…

Old Melbourne Gaol

Victoria's oldest surviving remand prison gives visitors a chilling insight into prison life in a model 19th-century gaol. Behind the thick and forbidding walls Ned Kelly, the infamous bushranger, was one of 135 men and women who were hanged on the gaol's scaffold. Visitors can view the Hangman's Box, the Particulars of Execution book, and other exhibits relating to this grim period of Victoria's history, as well as the death masks used in the study of phrenology to predict criminal behaviour. The Women in Prison exhibition reveals the fascinating stories of the crimes committed by the female inmates. There are free performances every Saturday of , and night performances on Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday with hangman 'Michael Gately' as he recounts stories of the gaol by candlelight (not for the faint hearted or children under 12 years of age).

Address Russell Street (between Victoria and La Trobe Street)

Website www.oldmelbournegaol.com.au

Transport

City Circle Tram No. 24, Stop No. 7 or train to Melbourne Central Station (2 min walk)

Opens Open daily, from 9.30am to 5pm. Closed on Good Friday and Christmas Day.

Admission

A$25 (adults), A$13.50 (children aged 5 - 15). Concessions are available.

Dandenong Ranges National Park photo

Dandenong Ranges National Park

The famous lyre bird, which has the ability to mimic any other bird, is the most important inhabitant of the Dandenong Ranges National Park, just 25 miles (40km) from Melbourne via…

Dandenong Ranges National Park

The famous lyre bird, which has the ability to mimic any other bird, is the most important inhabitant of the Dandenong Ranges National Park, just 25 miles (40km) from Melbourne via Burwood Highway or Canterbury Road. The park, covering 3,215 hectares, plays an important role in protecting the famous birds. Visitors enjoy walking, cycling and picnicking in the park at venues with enchanting names like Ferntree Gully, One Tree Hill or Sherbrooke Forest. The park is rich in wildlife and spectacular mountain ash forests and fern gullies are to be seen. The historic Puffing Billy steam train runs from Belgrave to Lakeside close to the park, and there are numerous craft shops, antique shops, gardens and restaurants in the area. Dandenong Ranges National Park allows visitors to escape from the bustle of Melbourne for a taste of the Australian wilderness just beyond the city.

Address Monbulk Road

Website www.parkweb.vic.gov.au

Ballarat photo

Ballarat

This historic town of great elegance and charm is the gateway to the goldfields. The name is an Aboriginal word meaning 'resting place', which is well suited because a tranquil lak…

Ballarat

This historic town of great elegance and charm is the gateway to the goldfields. The name is an Aboriginal word meaning 'resting place', which is well suited because a tranquil lake and botanical gardens are the focal point of the city. The main Avenue of Honour is lined with 4,000 trees as a memorial to citizens who served in World War I. The city is steeped in the history of the Gold Rush era. Visitors enjoy the Eureka Trail, a two-mile (3km) walk that retraces the route taken by the police and soldiers during the Australian rebellion of the Eureka stockade in 1854, and it is possible to undertake a self-guided Heritage Walk through the inner city's streets. Ballarat is also celebrated for its fresh produce, sold at farmer's markets which occur almost every weekend somewhere in the city.

Website www.visitballarat.com.au

Great Ocean Road photo

Great Ocean Road

From Melbourne one of the most popular self-drive routes for tourists to follow is the circular Great Southern Touring Route, which includes spectacular scenery and takes in some o…

Great Ocean Road

From Melbourne one of the most popular self-drive routes for tourists to follow is the circular Great Southern Touring Route, which includes spectacular scenery and takes in some of Victoria's most beautiful, scenic and cultural attractions. The first part of the route hugs the coastline going south along the Great Ocean Road, renowned for its coastal scenery, passing lush Otways rainforests and on to the magnificent limestone rock sculptures known as the Twelve Apostles in the Port Campbell National Park. Other attractions along the Great Ocean Road include the historic villages of Port Campbell, Queenscliff, Portland and Port Fairy, as well as resort towns and coastal cities such as Torquay, Apollo Bay, Geelong and Warrnambool.

Website www.greatoceanrd.org.au

Grampians National Park photo

Grampians National Park

The lofty summits and ridgelines of the Grampians region provide inspiring natural beauty in a park that is home to a variety of habitats, unique wildlife and more than one third o…

Grampians National Park

The lofty summits and ridgelines of the Grampians region provide inspiring natural beauty in a park that is home to a variety of habitats, unique wildlife and more than one third of all the plant species found in Victoria. The park is particularly well known for its colourful displays of springtime wildflowers, which are at their best during October. There is an abundance of wildlife in the lowlands, including emus, kangaroos, possums, koalas, wallabies and more than 200 species of bird. The park also has some interesting Aboriginal art sites among its 167,000 hectares of woodland, heath, swamp, forest and sub-alpine zones. There are campsites and some wonderful overnight walking trails in the park, as well as some shorter walks for those just wanting a pleasant stroll.

Address 277 Grampians Road, Halls Gap

Website parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/parks/grampians-national-park

Eureka Tower photo

Eureka Tower

The Eureka Tower is the tallest building in Melbourne and the tallest residential building in the world, standing at just over 984ft (300m) tall, and offering 360-degree views over…

Eureka Tower

The Eureka Tower is the tallest building in Melbourne and the tallest residential building in the world, standing at just over 984ft (300m) tall, and offering 360-degree views over the city. There is a public observation deck on level 88, the Skydeck, which affords visitors with a head for heights a testing experience: a chance to be suspended above the city in a glass cube (The Edge) that juts out from the building by 10ft (3m) to hang out over the city far below. On entry into the cube, the glass is frosted and moves out over the edge of the building, but as soon as the cube is in place the glass unfrosts to the sound of smashing glass, revealing the city far below. The Edge is not included in the Skydeck Experience and requires an additional payment, but it is definitely worth it for those wanting extreme views!

Address Riverside Quay, Southbank

Website www.eurekaskydeck.com.au

Opens The Skydeck is open daily, from 10am to 10pm; The Edge may be closed in certain weather conditions.

Admission

Skydeck: A$20 (adults), A$11.50 (children 4-16). The Edge: A$12 (adults), A$8 (children). Other concessions and group tickets are available.

Melbourne Museum photo

Melbourne Museum

A fascinating museum complex situated in the Carlton Gardens, the Melbourne Museum is the largest in Australia, with more than 30 different exhibits covering history, culture, scie…

Melbourne Museum

A fascinating museum complex situated in the Carlton Gardens, the Melbourne Museum is the largest in Australia, with more than 30 different exhibits covering history, culture, science, animals and more. Its most notable galleries include the Bunjilaka, which explores the history of Aboriginal culture in Victoria; the Science and Life Gallery, focusing on insects and spiders, the marine world and Australia's local flora and fauna; and the Children's Museum, housed in a tilted cube, which offers colourful and interactive displays. Opened in 2000, the Melbourne Museum is a showcase of modern exhibition standards, with a three-dimensional Imax theatre screening documentary films and a resourceful public research centre, where visitors can investigate any subject they wish.

Address 11 Nicholson Street, Carlton

Website www.museumvictoria.com.au

Transport

Tram 86 or 96 to corner of Nicholson and Gertrude Streets, or City Circle Tram to Victoria Parade

Opens Open daily from 10am to 5pm. Closed Good Friday and Christmas Day

Admission

A$14 (adults). Concessions are available.

Federation Square photo

Federation Square

Occupying a whole city block, Federation Square is one of Melbourne's major attractions. A remarkable cultural nucleus, the square hosts more than 2,000 events a year in its outdoo…

Federation Square

Occupying a whole city block, Federation Square is one of Melbourne's major attractions. A remarkable cultural nucleus, the square hosts more than 2,000 events a year in its outdoor public spaces, St Paul's Court and The Square, and vibrant covered space, the Atrium. Renowned for its unique design, the triangular shapes that characterise Federation Square actually create an abstract map of the Australian Federation. Affording spectacular views of the city, Southbank and the Yarra River, visitors can not only explore the peculiar design of this cultural precinct, but also visit the many galleries, cinemas, museums, restaurants and shops that surround it, most notably the Ian Potter Centre and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image.

Address Corner of Flinders and Swanston Street

Website www.federationsquare.com.au

Queen Victoria Market photo

Queen Victoria Market

If you are planning a picnic at Birrarung Marr or the Botanic Gardens or just looking for some affordable souvenirs, head to the Queen Victoria market, one of the largest open-air …

Queen Victoria Market

If you are planning a picnic at Birrarung Marr or the Botanic Gardens or just looking for some affordable souvenirs, head to the Queen Victoria market, one of the largest open-air markets in the Southern Hemisphere, with almost 50 percent of the market dedicated to the sale of fresh produce, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, meat, chicken, seafood, cold cuts and cheese. A popular meeting place for locals and foreigners, this cosmopolitan market is best visited on a Sunday when adjacent Queen Street is closed down and converted into a sidewalk café area, where buskers entertain passers-by and children's rides are available. Officially opened in 1878, the Queen Victoria Market has been affectionately frequented by Melbournians for more than 125 years and still proves to be the best place for perusing a myriad of clothing, shoes, jewellery, bric-a-brac, antique and toy stalls.

Address Corner of Elizabeth and Victoria Street

Website www.qvm.com.au

Transport

Catch any tram heading north along Elizabeth and William Streets. Stop at either Franklin or Victoria Street corner

Opens Opening times vary by day and section - check the official website listed above for details.

Melbourne Zoo photo

Melbourne Zoo

Housing more than 350 different animal species, Melbourne Zoo is a worthy attraction, even by the standards of a country famous for nature conservation and interesting animals. Bui…

Melbourne Zoo

Housing more than 350 different animal species, Melbourne Zoo is a worthy attraction, even by the standards of a country famous for nature conservation and interesting animals. Built in 1862, certain areas of the zoo have been preserved as historic zones, demonstrating to visitors the significant changes the zoo has undergone. Famous for its endemic inhabitants such as the kangaroo, wallaby, koala and wombat, the zoo also has elephants in the Asian Rainforest area, a gorilla exhibit, an Orangutan Sanctuary and Butterfly House. Little more than two miles (4km) from Melbourne city centre the zoo is situated in a breath-taking botanic garden setting that extends 55 acres, including more than four different ecosystems and an impressive 70,000 plant specimens.

Address Elliott Avenue, Parkville

Website www.zoo.org.au

Transport

Tram 55 from William Street, or train from Flinders Street Station to Royal Park Station

Opens Open daily from 9am to 5pm.

Admission

$31.60 (adults), $15.80 (children aged 4 - 15). Concessions are available and children under 16 get in free on weekends and holidays.

Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) photo

Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)

The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is one of the most impressive stadia in the world, and is well worth a visit even for non-sporting types. Originally built in 1853 for the Melbou…

Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)

The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is one of the most impressive stadia in the world, and is well worth a visit even for non-sporting types. Originally built in 1853 for the Melbourne Cricket Club (who are still based at the MCG), the stadium has undergone major redevelopments in its history and now stands as one of the most beautifully-finished, spectator-friendly grounds on earth. The MCG also houses the National Sports Museum, comprising the Olympic Museum, the Australian Sports Hall of Fame, the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame, and the Melbourne Cricket Club Museum, all of which contain interesting sporting memorabilia. The MCG is used for cricket in the summer (try catch a Boxing Day test match), Aussie Rules football in the winter, and for events like rock concerts and a host of other cultural events year-round.

Address Yarra Park, Melbourne

Website www.mcg.org.au

Opens Guided tours run daily, between 10am and 3pm. Check website for event information.

Admission

Guided tour: A$23 (adults), A$12 (children 5-15). Concessions and combined tickets for the museum and tours are available.

Puffing Billy Railway photo

Puffing Billy Railway

The Puffing Billy Railway is Australia's Oldest Steam Railway. A century old, the train still follows its original mountain track in the scenic Dandenong Ranges, offering spectacul…

Puffing Billy Railway

The Puffing Billy Railway is Australia's Oldest Steam Railway. A century old, the train still follows its original mountain track in the scenic Dandenong Ranges, offering spectacular mountain views and winding through cool fern gullies between Belgrave, Emerald Lake and Gembrook. The whole trip takes two hours in each direction. Tickets can be bought before boarding the train, which departs several times a day, but bookings are essential for the special luncheon or dinner trips, which include a meal in the first class carriage. The train sometimes hosts other fun events, like comedy nights. Family tickets are available and kids will love the novelty of travelling by steam train!

Website www.puffingbilly.com.au


Notice: Undefined property: stdClass::$latitude in /var/www/vhosts/tripreport.com/public_html/components/attraction-card.php on line 53

Notice: Undefined property: stdClass::$longitude in /var/www/vhosts/tripreport.com/public_html/components/attraction-card.php on line 54

Notice: Undefined property: stdClass::$latitude in /var/www/vhosts/tripreport.com/public_html/components/attraction-card.php on line 57

Send a link to this travel guide