Recently at a Coffee Morning, the conversation turned to what to do with
family and friends when they come to visit. We all know Melbourne is
consistently ranked among the best places in the world to live, but to
visit? We don't have an Opera House or a Harbour Bridge. You
can't snorkel the Great Barrier Reef or walk around Uluru from here. So
what are some interesting things to do in Melbourne?
First up, visit the excellent tourist information office in Federation
Square. They have information on visiting places in Melbourne and
also in greater Victoria. From there, you can get a good view of
the famous Flinders Street Station clocks. One of the city's most
recognisable landmarks, building works on the station commenced in 1900.
Across the river, for the best views of the city and the bay, head
up Eureka Tower.
Perhaps not as fun as
the Melbourne Star ferris wheel over at Docklands, but it is in a better
location and on a clear day the views can't be beaten.
For foodie types, Melbourne has quite a few markets that are well worth
visiting. Try Queen Victoria Market
at the north end
of the city, or visit Prahran
or South Melbourne
the river. Queen Vic has market tours you can book, but it is fun
to just wander the stalls and have a look at what's on offer, perhaps
with a doughnut from the American Doughnut Kitchen.
Animal lovers have quite a few options. Zoos Victoria
run three outstanding
zoos, and Healesville Sanctuary in particular is a good choice for out of
town guests. Nestled in the hills of the Yarra Valley, it showcases
native Australian animals. The new koala enclosure guarantees
close-ups of the popular marsupial, and I've been able to feed wallabies
and pat dingoes with my kids on recent visits. A good day trip itinerary
is to visit the Sanctuary in the morning and then stop at some wineries,
or the Yarra Valley Dairy
on the way home for some
treats. Further afield, the world's smallest penguins waddle ashore
every night at Phillip Island
For a bit of history, there's the Old Melbourne
where Australia's most famous bushranger met his end, or
. As many of us have migrated to Australia, this has
special importance. Museums Victoria also run the Melbourne Museum
and Scienceworks. Art lovers should head over to the National Gallery of Victoria
which currently has a Van Gogh exhibit on. Nearby, the Arts Centre
has performances on to suit all ages. Across the road, you can head
over to the Royal Botanical Gardens and walk to the Shrine of Remembrance
Melbourne's War Memorial. Join the locals in doing laps of the Tan
around the Gardens.
For something more unique, hop aboard the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant
lunch or dinner as you loop around Melbourne's famous tram tracks around
the city and suburbs of South Melbourne and St Kilda. Otherwise,
head down to the river and catch a boat
to see the city from a
unique perspective. Some even go out to Williamstown, which would
be a good place to walk around and do some window shopping before
catching a boat back. Melbourne also has hop-on, hop-off buses
beware of how often they run and try to plan your hop-offs accordingly.
It wouldn't be right to not include sports on a list of things to do
here. Melbourne is sports-crazy, and depending on the time of year,
there's the Australian Open tennis championship, cricket, the Grand Prix,
Aussie Rules footy, soccer, rugby, basketball, plus many more.
Visitors might enjoy a trip to the MCG
to catch whatever match is being
As someone who has lived here a long time now, I often overlook how
special this city is... perhaps there isn't "the" iconic attraction, but
there's always something going on, there's great food and coffee, and
lots to discover down the next laneway. I'd love to hear what your
favourite things to do here are!