This first time visitors guide to Melbourne will introduce you to the culture, love of food, art, fashion and sports of Australia’s second largest city.
All of these things have contributed to Melbourne being named the world’s most liveable city for seven consecutive years. There’s an enormous variety of things to do when visiting Melbourne for the first time, so we’ve put together a list of tips & recommendations, to help you discover its hidden gems. It includes our day tours from Melbourne which are a popular way to discover the city surrounds.
From the airport
The most convenient way into the city is by the SkyBus. The SkyBus operates all day, every day, running express between the Melbourne Airport (Tullamarine) and the Melbourne CBD. Once in the CBD, they offer a free city hotel shuttle to most Melbourne Hotels.
Around the CBD
Getting around the CBD is easy, as Melbourne offers a free city circle tram that operates around the CBD. Running in a loop, this free service passes major tourist attractions and is a great way to cover a lot of ground.
The list of great places to visit in Melbourne is endless. Regardless of the length of your stay, there is something for everyone. We’ve put together a list of our 5 top recommendations, for those visiting Melbourne for the first time.
1) Melbourne Laneways
Melbourne is known for its cobblestone laneways, threaded throughout the CBD. There’s always something to discover whether it’s a hidden restaurant, a hole in the wall café, or a bustling bar. Melbourne’s laneways offer numerous hidden secrets, waiting to be discovered. Check out some of the world’s best street artists, at Melbourne’s famous bluestone laneway – Hosier Lane. Located off Flinders Lane between Russell Street and Swanston street, here you will find a mixture of colours, and shapes created by local and international artists.
2) Watch a game of AFL
Melbourne is regarded as the sports capital of Australia. A sport that is unique to Australia is AFL, also known as ‘footy’ or ‘Aussie Rules’. The home of AFL is the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), which holds over 100,000 spectators. Enjoy a fun day at the footy and experience the atmosphere of the crowds, as you watch this fast pace game.
3) Visit Royal Botanic Gardens
Located by the side of the Yarra River in South Yarra, the Royal Botanic gardens is a great place to unwind. With its stunning landscapes, tranquil lakes and its beautiful collection of plants, you can easily spend the afternoon getting lost amongst the gardens beauty.
4) Queen Victoria Market
Also known as ‘Vic Market’ or ‘Queen Vic’, the Queen Victoria Market has been iconic to Melbourne for more than a century. Spread over two city blocks, you can shop for everything from local and imported gourmet foods, to clothing and souvenirs. The Market is open five days a week—Tuesday, and Thursday to Sunday. During winter, ‘The Winter Night Market’ operates every Wednesday night 5pm – 10pm.
5) Take a tour
Melbourne is the gateway to Victoria’s spectacular coastlines, world class wineries, and native wildlife. Take the day and visit the gorgeous regions that Victoria has on offer:
Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is a scenic coastal road near Melbourne with endless views. It is where you will find surf beaches and cosy seaside towns that feel a world away from the city. There’s wildlife including koalas, wallabies and many native birds. Plus part of the road ventures inland, through lush rainforest and towering mountain ash trees. For many visitors the highlight of the Great Ocean Road is the incredible Twelve Apostles rock formations. The Apostles coastline has many great locations including Gibson Steps and Loch Ard Gorge.
Phillip Island is a wildlife haven – just 2 hours drive from Melbourne. While the island is small, it is teeming with wildlife. It is most famous the tens of thousands of Little Penguins that call the island home. These seabirds nest on the island and each evening they can be seen returning from the ocean in what is known as the ‘Penguin Parade’. In addition, the island has wildlife including seals, whales, wallabies and many species of seabirds.
- Phillip Island Day Tour
- Phillip Island and Puffing Billy Tour
The Yarra Valley is a wine region located just 45 minutes drive from Melbourne. It is the ultimate day trip for foodies and wine-lovers alike. The region is renowned for its wineries – most of which specialise in producing chardonnay and pinot noir. There are big name wineries like Yering Station, Balgownie Estate and Domaine Chandon, as well as a host of smaller boutique wineries. In addition there are plenty of local producers making gourmet delights such as cheese, chocolate, relishes, fruit juices and more.
The Mornington Peninsula is known as the playground of Melbourne’s rich and famous. It boasts idyllic beaches, historic seaside towns and incredible ocean views from many different lookout points. It is also home to the Mornington Peninsula Hot Springs, which is the ultimate place to relax and rejuvenate during a trip to Melbourne.
- Mornington Peninsula Hot Springs Tour
Grampians National Park
The Grampians (Gariwerd) National Park is rich in Aboriginal history, native flora and fauna, and incredible natural environments. The sandstone peaks of the Grampians mountain range are best explored on foot. You can expect to encounter grand waterfalls, rare wildflowers and native Australia wildlife like kangaroos, wallabies and emus. For anyone wanting to take a day trip from Melbourne to a lesser known destination, the Grampians is a nature-lovers paradise waiting to be explored.
Wilsons Promontory National Park
Wilsons Promontory is often referred to as Australia’s best-kept secret. The national park at the southernmost tip of mainland Australia is the place to walk remote coastal bushland trails and swim at pristine beaches dominated by granite boulders. The Prom is a truly unique and unspoilt region, characterised by its pristine beaches and untouched wilderness. It’s where you can really get back to nature!
- Wilsons Promontory Day Tour
Written by: Leah Furey – Digital Content Coordinator