Welcome to Australia! This article focus is on must-see places in Melbourne. It is the second-largest city in Australia and the capital of Victoria, which is a southern Australian state. Located along the shores of Port Philip Bay, this far away settlement was built in 1835 on the banks of the Yarra River. Melbourne changed drastically with the finding of gold into one of the world’s wealthiest cities. The city is growing rapidly with a population of close to 5 million and ranks as the world’s most livable city for seven consecutive years.
Prosperity turned Melbourne into a metropolis filled with impressive civic buildings, cathedrals, amphitheaters, and gardens. It’s an incredible tourist destination for foodies and nature lovers. If a city has a fragrance, then Melbourne’s is the aroma of coffee beans. Great coffee, food, and fashion aren’t luxuries here, but they are the basic needs of everyday life. This fascinating city has a lot to offer. So, without further ado:
Must-see places in Melbourne
1) Wander in the city center – CBD
Take a walk down the wide paths of Collins and Burke streets to witness the old-school architecture which will make your eyes pop. Melbourne has the most extensive urban tram network in the world, hop on one to take free rides within the city’s central business district (CBD). The free tram service connects you to most of the major attractions within the city center. You can visit Melbourne central, a famous shopping mall located close by (Swanston street). Here you can hop on a tram to get to the fed square.
There are two famous botanic gardens in Melbourne. The oldest is the Royal botanic garden. It was created in 1846 featuring 36 hectares of lush green landscape with garden beds near the Yarra River. Cranbourne Gardens are the other one which was opened in 1989. This one is well known for its biodiversity conservation attempts.
2) Flinder Street Station & Federation Square
Visit the Federation Square in the heart city which is overlooked by Flinders Street Station (the busiest railway station in Australia and a popular landmark) and St Paul Cathedral. Fed Square is an artful blend of the yesteryear elegance with edgy, modern design. While you are here, grab a pass to one of Melbourne’s coolest museums – The Australian Centre of the Moving Image. Here you can uncover the history of the Aussie (Australian) cinema. In the underground, you have the Melbourne visitor’s center where you can find out what is going on in the city.
3) Southbank & Arts Centre
On the other side of the Yarra River is the Southbank. Famous for the public display of modern art, shopping and dining places in the Docklands. The Docklands is home to the Etihad Stadium and gives you a spectacular view of the big observation wheel, Melbourne star. While you are here you must pay a visit to the Eureka Tower. It is Australia’s second tallest building and one among the world’s tallest residential skyscraper. The 360-degree view of the city from the Eureka Skydeck on the 88th floor is amazing. You can find cruise companies along the Southbank that provide sightseeing riverboat cruises. Close by is the fascinating National art gallery where you will find beautiful artworks and stained-glass ceilings. The National Art Gallery of Victoria is the oldest, largest and most visited art museum in Australia.
4) Street Art Lanes
Melbourne’s great artworks aren’t confined to the city’s galleries. Just like New York and Berlin, Melbourne ranks as one of the world capitals of street art. Take a stroll in the inner city lane-ways with other street art lovers. Best lanes to check out street art and to click some photos are Hosier Lane, AC/DC Lane, Degraves Street, Duckboard Place, Croft Alley, Smith Street and Brunswick Street (Fitzroy).
5) Shrine of Remembrance
Situated in Kings Domain gardens, this majestic shrine constructed after the First World War was built to commemorate Victorians who served during the great war. You have regular self-guided tours and the building beautifully lights up during the night. You can find more information about what’s on here.
6) Queen Victoria Market
Spend a morning exploring the largest open-air markets in the city with many stalls at Queen Victoria Market. First established in 1874 and also known as “Vic Market” is Melbourne’s most well-preserved 19th-century market. Here you get to sample the city’s finest produce. Melbourne Immigrants have contributed immensely towards developing the city’s taste buds. If you visit this place, then you must try their Jam filled hot doughnuts on a cold winter morning! Vic Market is also popular for its tours and special events like night markets, and concerts in summer. The Market is closed on Mondays, Wednesdays and public holidays.
Note: If you want to experience Melbourne food (Immigrant influenced) then there are other famous food strips like Lygon Street and Acland street.
7) Saint Kilda
Saint Kilda, an inner-city suburb is famous for its beach, food strips (for pastries and wine), and the Luna Park which is the Bayside fun fair. Luna Park was built in 1912 and is fully operational to date. It is home to the world’s oldest roller coaster. Take a walk down the Saint Kilda Beach pier and if you know where to look and if you are lucky, then you will spot the little penguins in their burrows amidst the rocks below the pier. The Saint Kilda is famous for its beach, nightlife and also has a romantic evening vibe to it.
8) Brighton Beach
If you follow the boardwalk south of Saint Kilda it will lead you to the infamous heritage-listed colorful bathing boxes on Brighton beach. This is one of the most photographed spots in Melbourne. It is also one of the most visited beaches in Melbourne. You can relax on the beach amongst the turquoise blue waters, the golden sun rays and the soft sand. Here you can also find a picturesque and scenic 17kms walking trail called the Bayside Coastal Arts Trail.
9) Great ocean road
If it is your first-time visiting Melbourne then be sure to include the scenic drive to great ocean road. It is ranked as one of the most scenic drives in the world. This drive meanders along the southeastern coast covering a distance of 250kms from Torquay to Warrnambool. While you’re on this journey pay a visit to the Twelve Apostles (limestone rock formations), Loch Ard Gorge, London Arch, The Grotto, and Gibson Steps, which are all part of the Port Campbell National Park. My recommendations for pit stops on this drive include other places such as Bells Beach, Split Point Lighthouse, Lorne, Apollo Bay, and The Great Otway National Park.
Other places that might be of Interest
- Princes Pier – Port Melbourne, this is one of the hottest photography spots.
- Melbourne Museum
- Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens
- Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) and the National Sports Museum
- Albert Park – Australian Grand Prix
- Parliament House
- State Library of Victoria
- Melbourne Science Works
- Chapel Street – A historic market place which is famous for its gothic style architecture.
- Werribee Park and Mansion
Melbourne is a city where everything is done with style, passion, and with an elegant presentation. Welcome to the shivery Melbourne! A city well known for its temperamental weather, four seasons in one day as the locals describes it. Melbourne is Australia’s cultural capital and has so much to present. Hence, it is nothing like a typical concrete jungle. Along with its high rising buildings, it has a ton of nature, culture, food, and fashion to offer. Remember, if you are tired of walking around the city, then you can hop on a tram to go about just anywhere within the inner-city area. I hope you have a great time visiting this beautiful city, which is very close to my heart! If you enjoyed reading this article and want to know more about what Victoria offers outside of Melbourne then you must read my next article here.