Things to do in Melbourne

Melbourne is Australia's second largest city and is located on the banks of the Yarra River, near the entrance to Port Phillip Bay. Melbourne is a thoroughly modern city but has a rich history. It was the discovery of gold in 1851, which gave rise to a population boom, with many prospectors flooding into the city. This legacy can still be seen today with many majestic Victorian buildings from that era still standing. In fact, Melbourne has more examples of Victorian architecture than any other city in Australia.

Whether it’s shopping, sports, relaxingly beautiful city gardens and parklands or the intense buzz of the Central Business District, this elegant multicultural melting pot of a city, has something for everyone.

Below are some of the top places to visit that you really don’t want to miss out on when you travel to Melbourne.

Federation Square

Commonly known as “Fed Square”, Federation Square is a great place for tourists to start a sightseeing tour of the city. Ultra-modern design of open and closed spaces juxtaposes fascinatingly with the surrounding Victorian architecture. Federation Square hosts over 2000 events annually, so there is always something going on. The Square also houses the Ian Potter Gallery dedicated to Australian art, as well as the Australian Centre for the Moving Image.

Eureka Tower

The Eureka Tower, famous for its gold crown and gold plated windows stands 91 stories above ground overlooking the Melbourne skyline. The Skydeck on the 88th floor is the highest public viewing area in the southern hemisphere. Visitors also have to experience “The Edge”, a glass cube that slides out three meters from the building.

Melbourne Cricket Ground

With a capacity of 100,000 and a rich history dating back to 1853, the MCG is one of the most famous stadiums in the world. In the past it has been the main stadium for both the 1956 Olympic Games and 2006 Commonwealth Games but it is also the birthplace of Test Cricket, and the home of Aussie Rules Football.

Visitors can take a 75 minute stadium tour and relive great moments in sporting history and can also visit the Australian Gallery of Sport and the Olympic Museum. If you are in Melbourne at the right time, it’s a fantastic experience to catch a game live at the MCG, with cricket being the summer option and Aussie Rules on offer during the winter months. Directly opposite the MCG is Melbourne Park, the home of the Australian Open tennis tournament, which takes place in January.

Royal Botanic Gardens

The Royal Botanic Gardens are located just south of the city centre, next to a bend in the Yarra River and are a green oasis of calm away from the hustle and bustle of the city, full of shaded benches, picturesque monuments and convenient pathways for a relaxing stroll.

Established in 1846, the Royal Botanic Gardens has over 14 million visitors annually and covers an area of 40 hectares. It contains over 50,000 plants, including many rare species. The Aboriginal Heritage Walk is a popular tour that looks into the rich heritage of indigenous Australians. In summer there is live theatre and a moonlight cinema in the evenings.

Captain Cook’s Cottage

The cottage was brought from Captain James Cook's native home in Yorkshire, and erected in Fitzroy Gardens, giving an insight into the life and times of Cook's adventures at sea and exploration of Australia and other parts of the world.

Yarra River Cruise

A cruise down the Yarra River is the perfect way to see the sights. Many cruise companies are located along Southbank and take in places such as Birrarung Marr, a parkland celebrating the river’s Aboriginal links. Another popular cruise goes across to historic Williamstown, a relaxing and quaint seaside port.

National Gallery of Victoria

The National Gallery of Victoria holds over 68,000 works of art in two city locations. The international collection is housed in the St. Kilda Road building. An extensive Australian collection is held in the Ian Potter Gallery in Federation Square and features both Aboriginal and contemporary art.

Melbourne Museum and Royal Exhibition Building

The Melbourne Museum is a modern purpose-built museum housing a diverse collection and includes the Aboriginal Centre and the children's museum. Adjacent to the Melbourne Museum is the Royal Exhibition Building. Built in 1880 to host Melbourne's International Exhibition, the building also held the first Commonwealth Parliament of Australia in 1901.

South Bank and Arts Centre

Located on the banks of the Yarra River, near Flinders Street Station, Southbank promenade has many cafés and restaurants as well as live entertainment. There is a great arts and crafts market held here every Sunday and there are many festivals throughout the year. The Arts Centre has a number of theatres and spaces including Hamer Hall, the home of the famous Melbourne Symphony Orchestra.

Queen Victoria Market

As well as the magnificent food halls, the stalls here are the ideal place to find the perfect Melbourne souvenir and also sell everything from clothing, art and toys. Tours are available and special events such as night markets and music concerts take place over the summer months.

Melbourne Zoo

Melbourne Zoo is Australia's oldest zoo and houses more than 300 animal species. Highlights include the gorilla rainforest, orangutans, hippos, Asian elephants, Sumatran tigers and Hamadryas Baboons. Kids will love the Growing Wild interactive area where they can burrow through tunnels and climb inside giant tortoise shells, while adults too, are sure to appreciate the interactive “I Animal”, which is part theatrical experience, part multi media tour and is a world-first of its kind.

St Kildas Beach

St Kilda is one of Melbourne's most popular beaches due to the bohemian neighborhood being just a short tram ride away from the city centre. The beach front is lined with shops, restaurants and cafés. Highlights of the area also include a lively bar scene with live music and the rollercoaster at historic Luna Park.


A great day trip from the city is to head out to a couple of wine regions in close proximity to Melbourne. The top two being Yarra Valley and Mornington Peninsula. Both are less than 50 miles from the city centre.