7 Things to do in Melbourne

Things to do in Melbourne, Australia for travelers

“What’s Melbourne like?” I asked everyone who’d ever been there before my visit.

“Oh, it’s fantastic. Amazing culture, shopping and cafes. Melbourne’s great. You’ll love it.”

That was the general consensus.

I visited Melbourne last year for a blogging conference but I didn’t see anything apart from a conference room and 150 bloggers.

Much as I love bloggers (and I do!) when I went back for another blogging event I was dying to see Melbourne properly and experience it myself.

You see I just didn’t really get the concept of Melbourne or what everyone got so excited about.

As Australia’s second largest city there are the inevitable comparisons between Melbourne and Sydney. Of course, everyone loves Sydney. Sydney has the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and Bondi Beach. Beaches galore in fact which make a stunning back drop to the city.

But Melbourne is famed for its shopping and cafes. Sadly I don’t like shopping much and I don’t drink coffee so while I was looking forward to checking Melbourne out my expectations were low.

My guess was that Melbourne would fall short compared to other cities I know well like London, Paris and New York. That it wouldn’t have the buzz of Istanbul in Turkey, the laid back vibe of Vientiane in Laos or the diversity of Nairobi in Kenya.

I was wrong. What I love best about travel is having your expectations overturned and that certainly happened to me in Melbourne.

After nearly oversleeping (I blame the comfy beds and lovely dark rooms at the Lyall Hotel) and almost missing my first morning in Melbourne, it was a lovely surprise to wake up to find that I just had time to shower, eat and grab my camera before leaping into a van with Simon from Melbourne Private Tours for a city tour.

Simon was a veritable font of knowledge on all things Melbourne and by the end of the morning I felt like a local. I not only knew which places I wanted to go back to but I knew how to get there by tram.

Here are 7 things to visit in Melbourne, the capital of Victoria, Australia.

1. Walk the pier in St Kilda or hire a bike and go for a ride along the esplanade. It’s not normally this windy though everyone agrees the only downside to Melbourne is the ever-changing weather.

Things to do in Melbourne, Australia for travelers

2. Go to the Botanical Gardens, admire the views of Governor’s House (if the flag’s flying the Governor is in residence) or jog the tan which loops round the gardens.

Things to do in Melbourne, Australia for travelers

3. Ride a tram. Melbourne City has the largest working tram network in the world. The City Circle is a free tram for tourists but it’s easy to get the hang of the trams and ride them anywhere which will really make you feel like a local.

Things to do in Melbourne, Australia for travelers

4. Visit Brunswick Street in Fitzroy for cafes, books, giftware and alternative shopping.

Things to do in Melbourne, Australia for travelers

5. Cruise along Lygon Street for fantastic Italian food and make sure you go to Brunetti for coffee and a sweet treat. The cake counters and displays look as good as their baking tastes.

Things to do in Melbourne, Australia for travelers

6. Shop at Queen Victoria Market for a huge selection of fresh fruit, veggies, meat and fish. It’s also stuffed with delis selling everything from Polish sausages to Australian chocolates and everything else you could ever need from clothes to Aussie souvenirs.

Things to do in Melbourne, Australia for travelers

7. Zoom up the Eureka Tower. The lift will whizz you up to the 88th floor in less than 40 seconds for fantastic 360° views over and beyond Melbourne city.

Things to do in Melbourne, Australia for travelers

So what is Melbourne like? Well, you need to visit yourself to find out.

But I get Melbourne now and I’ll be back. I’d like to bring the Mucho Man next time and who knows, maybe if they play their cards right I might even bring the Candy kids along too.

My Splendid Sponsor

I was thrilled to be sponsored by The Tailor for my trip to Melbourne to attend a blogging conference. The Tailor is a luxury travel company that creates and organizes Australian and African travel experiences for discerning travelers.

Thanks to the Tailor I spent four nights at The Lyall Hotel in Melbourne and toured the city with Melbourne Private Tours.

Would you like to visit Melbourne or have you got any tips for visitors to Melbourne?

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  1. Ree - Little Aussie Travellers November 4, 2011 at 11:36 pm - Reply

    Oh we loved Melbourne, we were lucky enough to get to visit for the Launch of Charlotte’s Web the Movie, but we didn’t have much time there and I was SUPER preggers with baby 3 so I literally waddled my way up the street and through the markets. It’s a beautiful city and one we’ll explore again soon now the kids are a little older. The Museum was great and my big boy really loved seeing Pharlap and they had great interactive displays for the kids. Glad you had fun :)

    • Annabel Candy November 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm - Reply

      Hi Ree,

      Great to see you here! The museum was one thing I missed. Another reason to go back:)

  2. Sonia Marsh/Gutsy Living November 5, 2011 at 12:39 am - Reply


    Melbourne strikes me as a combination of parts of Europe, (the tram, the people) and California (the palm trees).
    Doesn’t it snow there during your winter?

    • Annabel Candy November 5, 2011 at 3:25 pm - Reply

      Hi Sonia, the palm trees are imported. Not sure if it snows but it gets cold. Brrrrr.

  3. Cate November 5, 2011 at 6:12 am - Reply

    Hi Annabel
    I lived in Melbourne for a few years when we were first married – my man is a Melbourne boy. I’m not a big city fan. I’m not big on shopping. I don’t do coffee. But I loved Melbourne. And what did I miss the most when we left? The shopping (South Melbourne markets, centres that stayed open until ‘all hours’…) and the fantastic public transport system, beautiful old houses (okay, not so old in comparison with Europe) and gorgeous gardens. Also, Melbourne (or the part we lived in, anyway) had a quiet sense of dignity.
    Don’t forget to make a sideways trip to Mornington Penisnsula if you are ever down that way + I loved the streetside atmosphere in Malvern. Toorak and Prahran are a must for died-in-the-wool shoppers and coffee aficionados. Head to the Dandenongs for some spectacular gardens… etc. etc.
    Oh, and the old four seasons in one day cliche – it’s true.

    • Annabel Candy November 5, 2011 at 3:28 pm - Reply

      Hi Cate,

      Ah, thanks for mentioning the gardens, I was admiring those too.

      Next time I need to visit the Mornington Peninsula, Ocean Road, Toorak and the Dandenongs:)

      Will take lots of layers:)

  4. Seana Smith November 5, 2011 at 6:06 pm - Reply

    Hi there,

    I used to get sent to work in Melbourne a lot when I worked for Channel 9 back in the mists of time. The Melbourne TV audiences were so much more exuberant that their Sydney counterparts.

    Have been down for a couple of weekends to do autism confs in the last two years and really like the new developments by the river.

    Next year I am so coming to the blogging conf. I have to hubby-proof the trip as he will be working overseas next year. I need a bullet proof, fearless babysitter!!

    • Annabel Candy November 6, 2011 at 7:48 pm - Reply

      Hi Seana,

      Oh I hope that pans out. Otherwise we need a blogging event in Sydney! As far as I know there will be three in Melbourne next year and none in Sydney. Ow!

  5. Lisa Wood November 5, 2011 at 7:40 pm - Reply

    Hi Annabel,

    I loved Melbourne! Going down for the Problogger event was my first time in Melbourne…I loved every minute of being in city – the trams, the food, the culture – it was such a great city to visit.

    Thanks for sharing your 7 Things To Do In Melbourne.


    • Annabel Candy November 6, 2011 at 7:49 pm - Reply

      Hi Lisa,

      It is a fun place, especially when you visit from the sticks;)

  6. Harleena Singh November 7, 2011 at 2:55 am - Reply

    Hi Annabel,

    Wow! Melbourne sure seems inviting!

    I wish I were staying somewhere close – would have surely loved to visit the place and have a look around!

    Love the awesome snaps as well- sure seems you had a wonderful time.

    Thanks for sharing :)

    • Annabel Candy November 9, 2011 at 11:35 am - Reply

      Hi Harleena, I hope you make it to Melbourne some day:)

  7. se7en November 7, 2011 at 11:19 pm - Reply

    Love this post… Love the tram and the food market. I would go to Melbourne obviously for a pbevent and to visit Meet Me At Mikes in Fitzroy… Oh I would love that!!!

    • Annabel Candy November 9, 2011 at 11:35 am - Reply

      Hi Se7en,

      Hmmm, maybe someone needs to start blogging tours of Melbourne?! I’ll come with you:)

  8. leon Noone November 9, 2011 at 9:01 am - Reply

    G’Day Annabel,
    Great list: I’d add four things.

    Walk the wonderful arcades in the Bourke, Elizabeth, Collins and Flinders streets precinct

    Visit Enoteco Solena in North Carlton: great Italian food in the cafe; fabulous Italian food to buy in the shop

    Jump on a tram in the city and take a trip into the ‘burbs: an experience only Melbourne offers.

    Go to an AFL Grand Final: 100,000 spectators, extraordinary atmosphere. sensational spectacle: the Essential Melbourne. Melbourne is far and away the most passionate capital in Australia. That’s really what the Grand Final is all about.

    Of course, getting a ticket may pose a problem…….

    And have fun.


    P.S. I live, by choice, in Sydney!

    • Annabel Candy November 9, 2011 at 11:38 am - Reply

      Hi Leon,

      Thanks for the Melbourne travel tips! More for me to check out next time I visit:) The AFL final atmosphere would be incredible. And what about the Melbourne Cup racing day:)

      Sydney is fun too. I hope to get back there next year:)

  9. Farnoosh January 9, 2012 at 4:25 am - Reply

    First city of our 6-week South Pacific tour visit, we loved it, except it was not as warm and sunny as I had dearly hoped for a summer season. Nonetheless, we hit the cafes, theatres, shops, gardens, parks, and you name it, we did it. We even drove out to see the 12 Apostles. Now that was magnificent! Great post, Anabel, thank you for sharing!

  10. Doug Edwards January 23, 2012 at 12:27 pm - Reply

    Thanks Annabel.. I really enjoyed your Melbourne post its been over eight years since I have seen Melbourne, I particularly agree,if you compare the climate of Melbourne with say, Sydney or Brisbane you can be sadly disappointed. I love Melbourne because of its diversity (even the climate occasionally). I expect to be taking an overseas group their later in 2012..any tips will be appreciated.

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