Melbourne is an affable cosmopolitan city with expansive parks and gardens and top class dining and shopping. It’s also the mecca of Australian Football, host to the Australian Open Tennis, and a thriving centre for the arts. Whatever your interests, there are fabulous Melbourne activities to suit.
Making the most of inner Melbourne activities
Melbourne’s top galleries, sporting venues and public gardens are within easy distance of the CBD. Not to mention the Melbourne Zoo. Nearby Carlton and Fitzroy are also popular for their excellent cafés, restaurants and bars, as well as unique shopping.
It’s easy to get around thanks to free tram travel within the city circle. Visitors also make the most of the city’s Bike Share Scheme, with bikes for hire for only $3 per day.
The Capital City Trail is a 29 kilometre circuit of well maintained and mostly flat bicycle paths that takes in some of the city’s top attractions. From Southbank, it passes the Melbourne Cricket Ground and Rod Laver Arena, home of the Australian Open Tennis. Winding around the Yarra River, it takes in the charming Collingwood Children’s Farm. From there the trail leads through Yarra Bend Park, and past the renowned dining hub of Lygon Street, Carlton. Originally known for its Italian cafés and restaurants, the area also has an array of international menu options. From there, stop at the top rated Melbourne Zoo to visit the gorillas, meerkats and other amazing animals. Perhaps take in the views from the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel, or visit the Melbourne Aquarium on the route back to the CBD.
Melbourne activities CBD and Southbank
Federation Square is a popular meeting place for Melburnians and the home of the ultra modern Ian Potter Centre. The centre houses the Australian art collection of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV), with an extensive collection of indigenous art. The remainder of the NGV collection is at the impressive NGV International on St Kilda Road, a short distance across the river.
From Federation Square it’s an easy walk to begin exploring Melbourne’s famous laneways, beginning with the chaotically vivid street art of Hosier Lane. Degraves Street, Centre Place and the historic Block Arcade and Royal Arcade are also worth seeking out for incredible dining and shops. It’s handy to carry a laneway map.
Southbank is the hub of entertainment in Melbourne, and the location of Crown Casino. Otherwise check the program of Hamer Hall for performances by the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra. Not far away is the Southbank Theatre and the Malthouse Theatre for lovers of the dramatic arts.
Shoppers gravitate to the Queen Victoria Markets near Docklands for an eclectic range of stores and traders, and a foodie fix. The Rose Street Artists Market in stylish Fitzroy is open every weekend, selling artworks and wares from local artists and designers.
It’s worth heading out of the CBD to visit beachside St Kilda. It’s a six kilometre journey by tram to visit its Esplanade, pier and the rides and amusements at Luna Park. Certainly look out for the delectable treats at its European cake shops. Brighton Beach, with its colourful bathing sheds, is further south.
Further afield, the Great Ocean Road is a stunning coastal drive to the south west of the city.The road begins at the town of Torquay, about 80 minutes drive from the CBD and travels through charming coastal communities. It’s about five hours drive one way to reach the Twelve Apostles and Port Campbell.
Otherwise, tipplers will love a day trip to the wineries of the beautiful Yarra Valley. Yarra Glen is only an hour’s drive from the city. Or take a drive to Mt Dandenong for a bush walk in the Dandenong Ranges National Park.
Also see our Travellers guide to Melbourne