Top 10 Things to do in Melbourne

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World-class touring routes, amazing wildlife, World Heritage-listed attractions and ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ activities are some of the top ten things to do in Melbourne.

10. Carlton Gardens, Royal Exhibition Building

& Melbourne Museum

The combination of the Carlton Gardens, Royal Exhibition BuildingMelbourne Museum and IMAX in one location makes this area a worthy destination to visit. Add to it the fact that the Carlton Gardens and Royal Exhibition Building are Melbourne’s first World Heritage-listed attractions and you have a top ten destination on your hands.

While beautiful Carlton Gardens features ornamental lakes and fountains, the Royal Exhibition Building located in the garden’s centre is considered one of the most spectacular pieces of architectural works in Melbourne.

If you have time, head over to the Melbourne Museum and IMAX located opposite the Royal Exhibition Building for state-of-the-art interactive exhibits and major galleries featuring everything from Darwin to dinosaurs and bugs to bygone machines.

9. River Cruise on the Yarra

Like any awesome city, one of the best ways to explore Melbourne is over water. Let a Melbourne river cruise guide you past the highlights of this wonderful city as you discover the best of what Melbourne has to offer, while gently meandering your way through this river city.

Discover Melbourne as you enjoy a scenic sightseeing cruise from the water on either a Melbourne river cruise along the Yarra or a boat trip to historic Williamstown.

For a Melbourne river cruise along the Yarra, choose to cruise past Melbourne CBD and Victoria Docks and discover the landings of the early settlers or cruise through Melbourne’s picturesque gardens, parklands and one of the world’s most famous sporting arenas, the MCG.

A boat trip to historic Williamstown will take you by Melbourne’s CBD, shipping channels and Docklands on your journey to the old maritime seaport of Williamstown. On this river trip you will get the chance to explore this early colonial settlement which boasts a charming array of restaurants, cafes and galleries amongst picturesque gardens.

8. Hot Air Ballooning over the CBD

For an unforgettable Melbourne experience, take a hot air balloon ride over the city. It’s an early start but worth every dollar and minute for a breathtaking view of the city skyline at dawn.

Take off at dawn and witness the sun rise as you float gently over the city of Melbourne. Take pleasure from the serene spectacle of Melbourne waking gently at sunrise, then quickly transforming into a bustling metropolis of over 4 million people. Enjoy stunning 360° panoramic views of Melbourne only available from a hot air balloon. Drifting silently with the wind, experience many of Melbourne’s wonderful landmarks.

Depending on the winds you may fly over the CBD, or you may head over the inner suburbs, parks and gardens to discover why Victoria is labelled the Garden State. The flight lasts for approximately one hour; the memories last a lifetime.

Take your hot air balloon ride one step further with a champagne breakfast. Or opt to take a hot air balloon ride over the Yarra Valley or Great Ocean Road. Whichever way you do it this is one for the bucket list.

7. Royal Botanical Gardens & Shrine of Remembrance

Victoria is known as the Garden State of Australia and for good reason. With beautiful gardens and parks dotted around the state and city of Melbourne, you won’t go far without finding a lush pocket of greenery.

The Royal Botanical Gardens is by far the most popular and easily accessible gardens in Melbourne largely due to its location in the heart of the city. Considered one of the world’s finest gardens, the Royal Botanical Gardens offer visitors a calm oasis of beautiful plants and landscapes in the midst of busy city life. Explore these picturesque gardens on a self-guided walk, guided tour, punt on the lake or by coach.

Combine a visit to the Melbourne Gardens with a stop at the Shrine of Remembrance, Victoria’s largest and most-visited war memorial honouring Australian Defence Forces in both war and peacekeeping. Explore the special exhibitions on the legacy of war in Australia and pay your respects to those who sacrificed themselves for their country. On a clear day, the views of Melbourne city from the top of the Shrine are worth climbing for.

6. Sporting Event at the MCG

It’s no secret that Australians are crazy about sport, and no city is more fanatical than Melbourne. With such iconic sporting landmarks as the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG or the ‘G’), Etihad Stadium and Rod Laver Arena located right in the heart of the city, it’s hard for any Melburnian not to be an avid sports fan.

Be a part of the spectacular sporting scene in Melbourne and head to the MCG for a game of Australian Rules Football (AFL) in winter or a cricket match in summer. Soak up the action and atmosphere from the grandstands as you become a part of the local crowd cheering on their team. This unique experience is not to be missed.

For sporting fans, go behind-the-scenes and experience the spirit and character of the MCG ground with an unforgettable guided MCG Tour; or discover Australia’s largest sporting collection at the National Sports Museum.

5. Melbourne’s Dining & Nightlife

With a host of world-famous chefs, award-winning baristas and flavour defying bartenders, Melbourne’s dining scene and nightlife is second to none in Australia. In fact, Melbourne is the envy of Australia when it comes to dining and nightlife. Melburnians love their food, drink and nightlife so much that it’s evident in the number of venues across the city – there’s a pub, bar, café or restaurant on every corner.

With its multicultural population, Melbourne’s dining scene thrives on the exotic, original dishes that have followed immigrants to the city. Experience an authentic taste of Asian Melbourne by visiting Chinatown in the CBD or dining in Little Vietnam on Victoria Street, Richmond.

For a special treat and a unique dining experience in Melbourne, consider dining in the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant. As the glossy, burgundy trams cruise the scenic streets of Melbourne, diners enjoy fine cuisine and drink the very best of Australian wines. A truly unforgettable experience!

4. Phillip Island

No visit to Melbourne is complete without a day trip to Phillip Island, home of the world-famous Fairy Penguin Parade. Arriving at sunset every evening, the gorgeous little penguins are one of the biggest tourist attractions in Victoria. It’s one of the many attractions that make a visit to Phillip Island worth the drive.

Other popular attractions on the island include Seal Rocks, Australia’s largest colony of fur seals; a large koala colony; Cape Woolami, with its lovely walking trails, excellent bird watching opportunities and great surfing; and the peaceful town of Cowes, ideal for swimming, relaxing and dining.

If you’re a racing fan, then you’ll want to get to Phillip Island in October for the Motorcycle Grand Prix which lights up the island. If the timing doesn’t suit you, opt to take a ride around the Grand Prix Circuit in a go-kart or take a walking tour of the track. The motor sports museum on the island is also worth a visit.

3. Wildlife Zoos, Parks & Aquariums

Meet some of Melbourne’s most exciting and endearing creatures at one of the city’s amazing wildlife zoos, parks and aquariums. From native Australian animals to Southern Ocean marine animals, there are few places in the world where you’ll come face-to-face with such unique and fascinating creatures.

Journey through a world of wildlife in the heart of Melbourne at Melbourne Zoo; experience an African adventure at Werribee Open Range Zoo; explore a bushland haven for Australian wildlife at Healesville Sanctuary; or get a glimpse of life underwater at SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium.

You won’t believe how many animals are at Melbourne Zoo. Over 320 species from around the world can be found in beautiful natural settings just five minutes from the city centre.

Experience an African adventure on over 200 hectares of beautiful natural surrounds at the Werribee Open Range Zoo just 30 minutes from Melbourne. Get on board a guided safari across the unique open range savannah and spot rhinos, giraffes, endangered African antelopes and zebras.

Explore a bushland haven for Australian wildlife at Healesville Sanctuary, just one hour from Melbourne in the stunning Yarra Valley wine region. Wander along the tranquil tracks and meet iconic Australian animals, including koalas, kangaroos, platypus, dingoes, wombats and emus in their natural surrounds.

Go underwater at the Melbourne Aquarium and enjoy all that the world’s oceans have to offer. Be amazed by Australia’s unique water life, or dive with the sharks for a true adrenaline rush (bookings required).

2. Melbourne’s Laneways & Arcades

Not just for getting from A to B, Melbourne’s laneways are a destination in themselves. These laneways are an integral part of the city’s identity and offer a snapshot of the myriad of sub-cultures that call the city home. Many of the city’s best restaurants, cafes, bars, boutique shops and street art are located in the labyrinth of alleyways and arcades that criss-cross the heart of Melbourne.

Spend a day exploring the city’s food, fashion and art in the network of laneways and arcades around Melbourne city. Take a guided walking tour to get a glimpse of Melbourne’s strong coffee culture, discover quirky shops, admire magnificent street art and find other hidden gems.

1. Great Ocean Road

With its scenic views and hair-pin turns, the world-renowned Great Ocean Road is one of Australia’s most spectacular drives. In fact, the Great Ocean Road region is more than a drive; it’s a journey everyone should experience at least once in a lifetime. It connects unforgettable road touring with a throng of bucket list-worthy experiences.

Drive along the 106km (66-mile) coastal route from Torquay to the South Australian border and be dazzled by huge cliffs, ocean vistas, beaches, rainforests, and some incredible rock formations. Marvel at the Twelve Apostles or be astounded by the natural and rugged beauty of the Limestone Coast. Check in at one of the lovely seaside towns on your journey like Torquay, the state’s surfing capital; the seaside town of Lorne; the fishing village of Apollo Bay; historic Port Fairy; or the old whaling town of Warrnambool where southern right whales can be spotted.

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