Australia’s second largest city, Melbourne is full of grand Gold Rush-era Victorian buildings, treelined streets, and an overall fun city to both live in and visit. With a growing food scene and home to many sport teams and stadiums, you will never be bored on your trip to Melbourne.
1. Federation Square
Built to commemorate 100 years of federation in 2002, the Federation Square is a great place to start your tour of Melbourne. You will notice right away the unique architecture that is striking against the more traditional buildings around the square. Be sure to check the events calendar to see what outdoor performances you can fit in during your stay!
2. Royal Botanic Gardens
Established in 1846, a tour of the Royal Botanic Gardens of Melbourne is guaranteed to be a beautiful and relaxing afternoon—plus, its free. There are more than 8,500 kids of plants covering the 38 hectares. Take your children to the Ian Potter’s Foundation Children’s Garden where they can learn how to get a green thumb themselves. Or to the Aboriginal Heritage Walk where you can learn about the history of indigenous Australians. In the summer months, come watch live theater or see a movie.
3. Melbourne Cricket Ground and the National Sports Museum
Melbourne is known as the sporting capital of Australia, which means you absolutely have to go to a match for one of the sports teams while you’re in the city. And there’s no better place to go than the Melbourne Cricket Grounds. Considered by many to be one of the world’s greatest stadiums, it was the main stadium in the 1956 Olympics and the 2006 Commonwealth Games. It is also considered to be the birthplace of Test Cricket. You are able to take tours daily of both the stadium and the National Sports Museum. If you’re visiting during the summer, you can watch a cricket match. And if you’re in Melbourne in the winter, you can go watch soccer played on the field!
4. National Gallery of Victoria
The National Gallery of Victoria is so old and storied that there are actually two separate buildings you can visit in order to see the more than 70,000 works of art. At the St. Kilda Road location, you can view the international art collection. Here, you are encouraged to lie on the floor of the Great Hall room and stare up at the colorful stained glass ceiling above. If you want to see Australian art, then head to the Federation Square location. Here you will find Aboriginal works all the way up to mixed media contemporary art.
5. Melbourne Museum and Royal Exhibition Building
You will love a visit to the Melbourne Museum when you’re in town. Here you can learn from the many exhibits all about the Aboriginal people, or about Australia’s greatest racehorse, Phar Lap. There is even a children’s gallery that has many hands on activities for little ones to be engaged with. Next to the museum is the Royal Exhibition Building. Built in 1880 when Melbourne hosted the International Exhibition, this is where in 1901 the first Commonwealth Parliament of Australia met. You can sign up for a tour or see one of the rotating exhibits that is still put on here.
6. Melbourne Zoo
Founded in 1862, the Melbourne Zoo is known today as a modern facility that will bring a smile to anyone’s face. You can visit the Trail of the Elephants set in a village garden, which is all about the Asian Elephants. You can stay overnight in the zoo or attend one of the twilight concerts. There are even animal encounters that you are able to do!
7. Captain Cook’s Cottage and the Fitzroy Gardens
Learn all about the English explorer Captain Cook as you visit his home. This cottage was brought to Melbourne from Yorkshire, England and placed in the Fitzroy Gardens. You will learn about Cook’s worldly travels, especially the trips he took around the Australian coastline. After you’ve toured the cottage, walk around the Fitzroy Gardens and see the tiny Tudor Village and the Fairy Tree amongst the brightly color floral displays.
8. Yarra River Cruise
There is no better way to start exploring Melbourne when you first get into the city than on a Yarra River Cruise. Head over to the Southbank to find a touring company and then sit back and relax as you learn all about the city you’re about to explore. You can see the Birrarung Marr, a waterfront park meant to celebrate the Aboriginal people and their ties to the Yarra River. You can also see the top sights from the water, such as the Melbourne Cricket Grounds and the Royal Botanic Gardens.
9. Shrine of Remembrance
Built after World War I, the Shrine of Remembrance is in the King Domain gardens and was built to commemorate those Victorians that lost their lives during the war. You can take a tour, or do a self-guided tour, of the building and its surrounding grounds. A visit to the shrine in the evening once the lights are turned on is known for being particularly beautiful and enjoyable.
10. Parliament House
This is one of those attractions that not many people know about, which means you won’t have to deal with large crowds! And visiting the Parliament House of Victoria is one of the coolest things you can do while you’re in Melbourne. The Victorian legislature is comprised off a lower chamber, the Legislative Assembly, and an upper chamber, the Legislative Council. But you don’t have to be super involved in politics to enjoy a tour of the building! Built during the Australian Gold Rush, you will see gold leaf details, a mosaic floor, and chandeliers as you walk through the interior. Free tours are offered during the week when Parliament is not in session.
Melbourne is a fantastic travel destination and one you should definitely consider for your next trip! Use this guide to start planning your itinerary now and enjoy a relaxing visit!