10 Most Popular Tourist Spots in Melbourne
MELBOURNE is regarded as the “World’s Most Liveable City”–an urban metropolis that still retains something of a small-town feel, with an emphasis on the artistic, quality dining and plenty of historic architecture to explore.
Here are the top 10 top sights to visit while in Melbourne to help you get the most out of your visit to this diverse and lively capital city. All of these places are worth a visit during your time in Victoria’s capital.
- Federation Square – Home to major cultural attractions, world-class events, tourism experiences and an exceptional array of restaurants, bars and specialty stores, this modern piazza has become the heart and soul of Melbourne.
- Geelong – a city southwest of Melbourne, Australia. Lining its bay, The Waterfront esplanade has a 19th-century carousel, plus a curved art deco boardwalk and sea bath at Eastern Beach. Scattered along The Waterfront are the Baywalk Bollards, colourful sculptures chronicling city history. The Geelong Botanic Gardens lie at the eastern end of the bay. The central National Wool Museum hosts changing exhibitions.
- Great Ocean Road – Set off on your own Great Ocean Road adventure and experience one of the world’s most scenic coastal drives. See the towering 12 Apostles, get up close to native wildlife, and take in iconic surf breaks, pristine rainforest and misty waterfalls as you go. Choose from a diverse array of things to see and do all across the region. Get outdoors on bushwalking, surfing and mountain biking expeditions or take the cultural route through galleries, museums and heritage attractions. Admire the stunning coastline on the Great Ocean Walk, see koalas, emus and kangaroos at Tower Hill, and explore surf towns and inspiring seaside villages. Gourmands will relish the opportunity to explore an internationally renowned culinary scene, while stopping in at cellar doors, farm gates and fresh provedores to stock up for the journey home.
- Mornington Peninsula – Breathe in the fresh sea air, sample innovative local cuisine, and soak up the relaxed alfresco lifestyle of the Mornington Peninsula, just an hour from Melbourne. Explore the galleries, spas and cafes in breezy seaside villages, cool off with a day on the beach, or escape to the hinterland for gourmet delights at boutique wineries.
5. Phillip Island – Endless family fun and iconic wildlife, pristine white beaches and hi-octane motor sports, you’ll find it all on a seaside holiday at Phillip Island, just 90 minutes from Melbourne. See little penguins and sleepy koalas in their natural habitat, teach the kids to swim on a quiet bay beach, and soak up all the action at the Australian Motorcycle Grand Prix.
6. Queen Victoria Market – The iconic Queen Victoria Market is the largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere. The city’s iconic and authentic marketplace has been operating since 1878, and is a much loved part of Melbourne. Home to over 700 small businesses, the market is an epicentre of food, shopping and seasonal events. As you browse the historic sheds and buildings, uncover a variety of clothing, jewellery, artisans, souvenirs and culinary delights. During the summer and winter months, the market transforms into The Night Market, a showcase of global street food, live music and shopping. Be sure to take a 2 hour guided Ultimate Foodie Tour, a small group walking tour for food lovers. You’ll indulge in some of the best food the market has to offer, learn about the history of the market and meet some of the colourful characters who call the market home (bookings essential). Celebrate the market’s 140th anniversary and taste the atmosphere at Melbourne’s favourite marketplace.
7. Southbank – Whatever your mode of transport you’ll find all roads lead south in Melbourne – to Southbank and South Wharf, that is, Melbourne’s waterside dining, drinking and shopping hubs. Roll up to Southbank’s restaurants and bars on two wheels, as numerous cycling trails converge amid the riverside hotspot’s public art installations. Southbank and South Wharf are also easily accessible by tram and train and even boat, with water taxis stopping regularly outside Southgate.
8. St Kilda – In beachside St Kilda, backpackers, families and joggers converge on the Esplanade, where yachts and windsurfers can be seen on the bay. Boom-time mansions, historic sea baths and Luna Park’s eye-catching rides are reminders of the strip’s past as a glitzy resort. Fine-dining restaurants and old European cake shops can be found on Acland and Carlisle streets. Revellers fill the area’s pubs and music venues at night.
9. Yarra Valley – Take an early morning balloon flight, meet passionate food and wine producers, and encounter a platypus at Healesville Sanctuary in the Yarra Valley. Wander the walking trails, meander the villages and discover the hidden delights of the Dandenong Ranges among its scenic winding roads, abundant artist studios, craft stores and renowned gardens.
10. Melbourne City Business District (CBD) – Melbourne’s city centre is characterised by spacious, tree-lined streets, many with tram lines running along them. The retail precinct includes the Melbourne Central Shopping Centre complete with its own underground railway station, the Bourke Street Mall, the Swanston Street Mall, and Collins Street which is home to exclusive fashion and jewellery stores. Chinatown, located along the eastern end of Little Bourke Street, features traditional Chinese shopping and dining experiences, established during the gold rush of the 1850s. A well-know landmark is Federation Square which is situated across the road from Flinders Street Station and opens out onto the Yarra River and adjacent parkland, features the city’s official visitor information centre, cafes, restaurants, and a hotel.
Melbourne is a mix of old and new. Exclusive shopping arcades and the bustling Queen Victoria Market, along with historical landmarks from centuries ago, blend in with modern office towers. The Rialto Towers in Collins Street is the central business district’s tallest building, rising to a height of 251 metres. Views of Melbourne’s city skyline can be enjoyed from the taller Eureka Tower across the Yarra River in neighbouring Southbank or the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel at Docklands.
Melbourne boasts extensive parklands, with many centred around the Yarra River to the south-east of the central business district. Birrarung Marr, Melbourne’s newest park, is located next to Federation Square, while the Kings Domain and Royal Botanic Gardens, between St Kilda Road and the Yarra River, feature the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, several lakes, a large collection of historical monuments and memorials, and pathways all of which traverse manicured gardens and lawns. The Shrine of Remembrance, in Kings Domain, is the scene of an annual Anzac Day dawn service, and includes a visitor centre as well as a viewing balcony inside the shrine which offers spectacular views. Across the Yarra River is Melbourne Park and Olympic Park, featuring international standard sporting and entertainment arenas.
Australia’s cultural capital is an experience in itself, but these Melbourne experiences will allow you to gain a truly unique perspective. Melbourne — a place like no other!