Effortlessly cool, Melbourne is one of the most eclectic cities in Australia. As a result, there is something to excite every traveler hiding around each art-covered corner. Blending a fanatical love of sport with an eye for fashion, a passion for food, an unbridled talent for art and a truly welcoming nature, this is a city that has it all and doesn’t mind sharing.
Every visit will reveal something that either didn’t exist the last time around or simply wasn’t quite ready to unveil itself to the curious traveler. Dancing to its own rhythm, Melbourne will rarely give you what you expected, but usually it will be just what you needed. Here are 10 items to add to an itinerary for all those lucky enough to spend a weekend in this magical city.
10 Watch Australian Football at the Melbourne Cricket Ground
While the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) does host cricketing fixtures throughout the summer, in the winter it becomes the home of Australian Football. Ten teams hail from the Melbourne area and so every weekend of the colder months sees multiple fixtures scheduled for the 100,000 seat arena.
A little research will show you which are the best games to attend in regards to enjoying the contest surrounded by plenty of fans, but no matter which two teams are playing, the MCG will always provide a great atmosphere. Do as the locals do and grab a meat pie at half-time.
9 Take it "Easey" when you get hungry
A celebration of all that is Melbourne, Easey’s serves burgers and beers inside a train carriage that rests on a rooftop five stories above the spirited city. So much more than a place to eat and drink, it is a melting pot of art, music, community and of course, delicious, handcrafted burgers.
Ever-changing art exhibitions and installations line the hallways and staircases on the way to the restaurant space, and even the seats patrons sit on often change in style and design between visits. It is unlikely you will find somewhere else where you can eat a burger, sip a cocktail and chat with friends in a train carriage in the sky, so make sure you stop by here for dinner while in Melbourne.
8 Cruise along the Yarra River
A picturesque river that flows through the center of town like a shimmering divider, the Yarra twists and turns as it shows off the city from a different perspective. A magnificent way to experience the sights and sounds of Melbourne is to climb aboard a boat that submits to the current, slowly cruising alongside several attractions and providing local insight into the surrounding areas.
The more adventurous can also take to the river under their own power aboard a kayak and forge a path through the silky surface. A Melbourne icon, the Yarra River is a must-experience for every traveler.
7 Go green in the Royal Botanic Gardens
Melbourne has some of the best bakeries and cafés in the country, and the best way to enjoy a tasty pastry and frothy coffee is while breathing the invigorating air filling the Royal Botanic Gardens.
Placed neatly on the downtown fringe, the vast space features nearly 9,000 species of plant, shimmering lakes and lush grass that waves gently in the wind, beckoning visitors to sit and relax amongst it. Don’t miss the tropical glasshouse near the centre, which features a variety of unique flowers and other flora.
6 Ride in an operational antique
The city centre of Melbourne is quite large, so tourists will need to decide on a method to cover the distance and see as much as possible. While it is a very walkable city, there is a free tram service that circles the city all day long and offers a wonderful service to both visitors and locals.
The heritage trams are over 85 years old and decorated in beautiful maroon and green with yellow and gold trimmings. Able to be used as a completely free hop-on, hop-off service, there are brochures aboard that reveal some tourist hotspots along the line worth visiting, but don’t underestimate the joy of simply riding these lovely old trams and feeling a part of the city’s past.
5 Defy baggage restrictions after a day of shopping
It is no surprise that Melbourne is renowned worldwide for its shopping options: there are just so many of them. Chapel Street is one of the most popular, thanks to the recognizable celebrities that are often seen window shopping or searching through racks for the latest fashion bargains.
Head to Bridge Road in Richmond for some real bargains alongside delicious food at great prices, while Fitzroy is the place to be if vintage is on the agenda. Here, the streets hide some of the best bargains in Australia for yesterday's trends, just waiting for the resurgence that is sure to come.
4 Serenely saunter around Abbotsford Convent
A glorious spot to spend a mid-morning stroll, Abbotsford Covent is a meeting point for artists and community-minded locals, for the simple reason that it is a soothing, calming paradise close to the center of a busy city.
The area is a car-free zone, so if the unpredictable Melbourne weather is kind, take a stroll or hire a bicycle and make your way here along a dedicated, safe path free of motor vehicles. There are plenty of brunch and lunch options nearby serving delicious local fare, so you really will want for nothing while relaxing in this refreshing haven.
3 Explore the street galleries for free
Melbourne has a huge collection of incredible street art hidden around every corner and an exploration of the colorful, insightful works could easily fill an afternoon. Head first to Hosier Lane opposite the striking Federation Square. Just prepare to collect your jaw from the paved streets as you soak in the incredible murals along its length.
From there, search between Exhibition and Russell streets for ACDC lane to see unbelievably brilliant tributes to the famous Australian rock and roll band. Croft Alley is another space that blows the mind of every visitor, due to its vibrant colors and intricate artistry on display 24-hours a day.
2 Taste Old Melbourne at Queen Victoria Markets
A crucial hub for food, handmade items and community spirit since 1878, the Queen Victoria Markets are still home to some of Melbourne’s most delicious foods, ranging from fruit and vegetables through to elegant cheeses and slowly-smoked meats.
The building itself is worthy of the journey and forms a part of what is the largest open air market in the Southern Hemisphere. Its stunning Victorian-style design causes many to miss bargains on the ground level, due to walking around with their eyes fixed firmly above. Whether you leave here with several purchases or none, a wonderful experience is delivered to all.
1 Spot a penguin in St Kilda
Perhaps Melbourne would not be the first place many think of when ruminating on where to find penguins, but the beachside suburb of St Kilda has a thriving colony that established itself in the 1970s and wows tourists every night of the year.
Wandering up onto the beach just after sunset, tourists need not worry about missing the little creatures, as they haven't skipped a day across all of those decades. Local guides are on hand to answer any questions visitors may have and ensure the safety of the penguins, especially during mating and nesting seasons.