Melbourne - Flinders St Station
How long to spend in Melbourne

Vacationers

3 days

Culture buffs

4-5 days
Topping The Economist’s list of the world’s most liveable cities for a staggering 6 years in a row, Melbourne proudly wears the crown of being Australia’s cultural capital. It’s a city made for ‘Culture Buffs’, with sensational food, coffee, excellent galleries, endless shopping, trendy laneways, awesome street art and a full calendar of cultural events – the list just goes on and on!

Globetrotters

Morning Federation Square & street art
Afternoon Bourke St
Evening Flinders Lane
Melbourne - Flinders St Station

Flinders St Station

Not only is getting public transport a breeze in Melbourne, but all trams within the CBD ‘grid’ are free! If you want to take the scenic/tourist route though, try to get a historic City Circle tram (no. 35). Get out near Flinders St station and head to Degraves St for your first taste of amazing Melbourne coffee and the city’s laneway culture. This European-inspired laneway has some good cafes, restaurants and boutique shops.

Cafe's in Degraves St

Cafe’s in Degraves St

Back in the direction of Flinders St station, directly opposite is Melbourne’s most popular meeting spot and architecturally its most controversial – Federation Square. Experimental, modern, industrial, by many seen as just an eye sore. But love it or hate it, there’s a lot to explore within the square including the Australian Centre of Moving Image (ACMI) and the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia. Both offer free admission to their permanent galleries.

Melbourne - Federation Square

Interior of Federation Square

Directly opposite the square is yet other Melbourne icon – St Paul’s Cathedral. After checking out these sights all on opposite sides of Melbourne’s most popular intersection, Hosier Lane is also opposite Federation Square off Flinders St. This is just one of Melbourne’s many living street art galleries filled with graffiti and colourful murals. It’s probably Melbourne’s most Instagrammed laneway (in other words, always brimming with crowds and tourists). The lane is constantly changing and being re-sprayed with new art all the time. More awesome street art (with less crowds) is just a block further east in ACDC lane and Duckboard place.
Hosier Lane

Street art in Hosier Lane

Next cross Exhibition St for the Sofitel on Collins. Why? This hotel has a well known but hidden attraction – the ‘loo with a view’. Head to the 35th floor and check out the awesome view of Melbourne from the large bathroom windows (skip this if you intend on going to the Eureka Skydeck though – see Day 2). Walking along Collins Street you’ll no doubt quickly realise why this is known as the ‘Paris end’ of Collins Street.
In the afternoon, to get a taste for Melbourne’s famous shopping.walk down Bourke St Mall. Walk through the Royal and Block Arcades to see the classic architecture. The malls all connect into eachother and the shopping seems never-ending! Travelers with little ones could alternatively spend the afternoon at the Sea Life Aquarium.
Flinders Lane is the CBD’s most popular strip for wining and dining in style. Here you’ll find a number of Melbourne’s top rated and raved about restaurants such as Chin Chin (if you’re prepared for a long wait), Supernormal, Lucy Liu Kitchen & Bar, Fonda Mexican, Movida and many others.

DAY 2

Morning Queen Victoria Market
Afternoon Southbank, NGV & Arts Centre
Evening St Kilda
Queen Victoria Market

Queen Victoria Market

Starting in the northern end of the city this morning, the Queen Victoria Market is like Melbourne’s version of Covent Garden in London. The market is massive and includes quality Australian handmade products, shoes, as well as cheaper products and bargains too. There’s also a great Deli Hall where you could get some items for a picnic.

If the weather is right, what better place for that picnic than in the Royal Botanical Gardens (just a few tram stops away). Alternatively head to one of the restaurants by the river at Southbank or at Ponyfish Island under the pedestrian bridge.

Music buffs could next check out the Australian Music Vault in the neighboring Arts Centre. There’s a Sunday artisans market here also. If you only visit one art gallery in Melbourne don’t miss National Gallery of Victoria (NGV International), which has free entry. Not far from here is the unmistakable Eureka Tower which is Australia’s 2nd tallest building. Eighty-eight levels up is the Eureka Skydeck 88 observation deck which has some of the best views over Melbourne and a unique ‘edge’ experience for those not-at-all afraid of heights.

In the late afternoon hop on a 30-35 minute tram ride out to St Kilda, a hip waterside suburb with a nice beach without waves. Didn’t picture yourself swimming in Melbourne? Well, even when the sea is chilly there’s an indoor pool, as well as Melbourne’s Luna Park and the Palais Theatre for entertainment. Sunday is also market day here along The Esplanade. Take a walk along the St Kilda pier. 30mins after dusk keep a look out for the penguins (behind the pier). St Kilda has a relaxed vibe and is a great place to linger and spend your evening. Have dinner either by the waterside or in Ackland street. Either way, make sure you leave plenty of room for dessert! The European coffee shops along Ackland street and their selection of cakes, tarts and biscuits is too good to refuse.

Melbourne - Luna Park at St Kilda

Luna Park at St Kilda

Vacationers

Follow the Globetrotters itinerary for Days 1-2.

DAY 3

Morning Fitzroy Gardens
Afternoon Chapel St
Evening Yarra Cruise & Docklands
Today start off with a walk or run around Fitzroy Gardens and take a break by going into the historic Cook’s Cottage within the gardens. Take a tram south to the Prahran market to check out the fresh specialty produce and perhaps a mid-morning snack. Whilst you’re in Prahran, check out the shops on Chapel St.
In the late afternoon head back to south side of the city, head onto a Yarra River Cruise and get off in the Docklands precinct. This is a modern part of the city that only in the last decade has been transformed into an entertainment destination and still under further development. Check out some cool modern architecture and inspiring sculptures in the NewQuay area. Behind Harbour Town is the Melbourne Star Obsersation Wheel which has had an on-again-off-again relationship with the city but is finally now back in operation.
Webb Bridge near Docklands

Webb Bridge near Docklands

Culture Buffs

Culture buffs could never get enough of what Melbourne has to offer, but at a bear minimum could spend at least two extra days in the city for some extra cultural sights most suited to their specific interests and tastes.

Follow the vacationers itinerary for days 1 – 3. However on Day 1 if you intend to check out more than one gallery at the Ian Potter Center & ACMI, you could reserve shopping along Bourke St mall for another afternoon.

Day 2 could actually be spread out over 2 days if you want to spend more time at the NGV & see a show at the Arts Centre. History buffs should also check out the Shrine of Remembrance whilst in the Royal Botanical Gardens, which includes a museum about Australian soldiers & the World Wars.

DAY 4

Morning Smith St
Afternoon CBD north
Evening Lygon St

For breakfast this morning head up to Smith St in Collingwood which is becoming known as Melbourne’s hippest street with great eats, shops & vintage markets. Then venture back down towards the city and check out one of the sights in the northern pocket of the CBD that suit your interests, such as the Melbourne Museum, Old Melbourne Gaol or the City Baths. For lunch head a few blocks south for Chinatown or the Greek Precient on Lonsdale St.

Melbourne Central

Melbourne Central

Have you had enough of Melbourne’s great shopping yet? If not, spend some time at Melbourne Central which has all the major international brands under one roof (or ‘dome’). History buffs will appreciate this mall as it has been built around a historic shot tower and is the centerpiece of the centre.

In the evening get a tram further north to Lygon Street in Carlton, which is also known as Little Italy. Tons of great Italian restaurants line the street, the trouble is picking just one!

DAY 5

Depending on your interests dedicate the day exploring some sights specific to your interests, here is just a pick from many…

Shopping buffs
Brunswick St
Gertrude St
Bridge Rd

History buffs
Immigration Museum
Parliament House
Shrine of Remembrance
Royal Exhibition Building

Sports buffs
Melbourne Cricket Grownd (‘MCG’) and the sports precinct

Travelling with kids
Melbourne Zoo

For those ready for a big night out, there’s loads of entertainment options and things to do to at the Crown complex. Check out the What’s On schedule to see what shows are on whilst you’re in town. There’s also numerous bars, clubs, shops, a cinema, restaurants, shows and family-friendly attractions at Crown also. It’s an extravagant venue but certainly will make for a memorable night out.

Got more time? Consider these day trips

After seeing all the sights around town, if you have more time up your sleeve why not venture to some of these fascinating destinations within close proximity:

Great Ocean Rd

Great Ocean Rd

- Great Ocean Road. Take a road trip through small  towns, beaches, see rock formations in the ocean (such as the Twelve Apostles, through there are no longer twelve), waterfalls, and a whole lot more.
- Mornington Penninsula. Beaches, wineries, hiking opportunities. A great way to completely unwind from the city life.
- Yarra Valley. Visit the cellar doors of Victoria’s oldest wine region, specialising in cool climate wines, Pinot Noir, sparkling wine and Chardonnay.

Days mapped out

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Ever wondered how long you need to spend in a particular city or place? You can spend hours crawling the web trying to find a well informed answer.

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