2 April 2019 by Gary Stevens
Artsy and sports-mad, beach-clad and skyscraper-capped – Melbourne’s charms are diverse as they are enticing. With that in mind, our list of Melbourne’s top attractions is designed to showcase the sheer breadth of its appeal, from street art to Aussie Rules football.
1) Get lost in the laneways
Those who wander off Melbourne’s grid are rewarded with a maze of intriguing laneways. Here, you’ll be able to discover everything from cosy trattorias and foot-tapping music venues to boutique shops and an ever-vibrant art scene. Of course, you’ll also quickly find a quirky bar to call your own. Our recommendation for street murals? Hosier and Rutledge are your best bets.
Laneway street art
2) Dine at some of Australia’s best restaurants
Simply, Melbourne prides itself on its food. Reflecting the city’s rich diversity and the region’s fresh produce, a table at its most notable restaurants is a treat worth travelling for. Pair innovative dishes and citywide views at the 55th-floor Vue de Monde or consider one of the Good Food Guide’s top 50 restaurants – Attica. Here, degustation courses span double-digit courses of creativity. However, for humbler eats there’s Queen Victoria Market. Home to over 600 traders, it’s the largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere. Be sure to wash it all down with a drink in the bohemian neighbourhood of Fitzroy.
Queen Victoria Market
3) Sip cocktails on a rooftop bar
Ever the trendsetter, Melbourne has been at the forefront of the rooftop bar craze right from the start. And, they’re found right across the city, tucked away in laneways, lining beaches and capping majestic buildings. Other than spectacular views, they all have one thing in common – a great atmosphere. Our favourites are Transit Bar, Naked in the Sky and Siglo for their expertly crafted cocktails.
Tattersalls Lane bar
4) Get cultured at a world-class museum
From history to getting hands on with science, there’s a Melbourne museum or art gallery for everyone. While the National Gallery of Victoria houses a whole world of international art, the Ian Potter Centre focuses on Australian works, including both Indigenous and non-Indigenous pieces. Alternatively, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image is an immersive experience in film, TV and digital culture. Then, the Melbourne Museum’s exhibitions on local history form the southern hemisphere’s largest museum, while the State Library of Victoria showcases the 19th-century armour of Ned Kelly – the last bush outlaw.
The Royal Exhibition Building
5) Watch a sports game
As the birthplace of Australian Rules, Melbourne is the perfect place to catch this most fast-paced and engaging of games, part rugby and part football. That’s alongside the Australian Open tennis championships, the Grand Prix and the Melbourne Cup – the horse race that stops the city with its own public holiday. We haven’t even mentioned the national pastime, with the 100,000-seater Melbourne Cricket Stadium among the largest in the world. Whatever you choose, you can expect a truly infectious atmosphere.
The Melbourne Cricket Ground
6) Catch a tram to St. Kilda and stroll along the beach
Getting around Melbourne is simple, with 160 miles of tramways. Perhaps the most scenic brings you out to the city’s famous beach – St. Kilda. Along with golden-sands relaxation, it also offers everything from pink-stained sunsets and palm-tree-dotted gardens to the historic rides of iconic Luna Park. There’s even Australia’s longest-running live music venue in Esplanade Hotel, while the area’s bohemian sensibilities are best tasted in the restaurants and bars of Fitzroy and Acland.
St. Kilda Beach
7) Kayak through the city
Perhaps the most unique way to see Melbourne is from the water, kayaking along the Yarra River. It’s the chance to marvel at the city’s skyline, with your guide bringing Melbourne’s history and glass-and-steel newcomers to life. The views of the 19th-century Customs House are particularly impressive, taking in its commanding Renaissance Revival architecture. However, for something extra special, consider heading out at night to see the city’s lights at their most dazzling.
Kayaking on the Yarra River
Inspired? Take a look at our selection of our Melbourne itineraries below: