All photography by Studioist.
In Australia, Sydney may have the flash but Melbourne has the culture, food, and sports. Whereas Sydney is about the sightseeing and beaches, Melbourne is the lifestyle experience.
Melbourne is the capital of the Australian state of Victoria and the second most populous city in Australia.
Founded in August 1835, Melbourne is now the cultural, sporting, foodie, fashion, and coffee capital of Australia and consistently voted “world’s most livable city” in regards to quality of life.
Situated on the Port Philip Bay and developed along the Yarra River, which comes from the indigenous word meaning “ever-flowing,” Melbourne’s relaxed vibe is addicting. Melburnians enjoy hanging out at outdoor bars, walking along the river, cheering for sports…simply living life and immersing themselves in the creativity that flows through the city.
The city is full of contrast. A mix of Victorian architecture and modern skyscrapers, high-end fashion and grungy street art covered laneways, and authentic ethnic cuisine and modern fusion eateries. It’s all thanks to the city’s rich history.
The Victorian Gold Rush between 1851 and the late 1860s led to a period of prosperity for this Australian colony as well as an influx in population growth thus leading the city to be dubbed “Marvellous Melbourne” in wake of the boom. It’s estimated that 500,000 immigrants came to Victoria to seek their fortunes during this time, making Melbourne Australia’s largest city at the time.
Now more than 250 languages can be heard on the streets of Melbourne, which also means some of the best ethnic food in the world can be found strewn around the city. There are large Greek, Italian and Asian populations in particular.
One of the best things about Melbourne is its diverse neighborhoods. Each neighborhood has its own character, vibe, and things to see and do. If you’re a hipster, Fitzroy is for you. If you love Italian food, Carlton is the city’s Little Italy. For a beachside escape, head to St. Kilda. See what I mean? It’s not wonder Melburnians love it so much. There’s truly something for everyone and every lifestyle.
And getting to and from each neighbor is easy! Melbourne is home to the most extensive freeway network in Australia and the largest urban tram network in the world. Yes, trams! There’s no denying this city is built on character.
Melbourne city is also surrounded by fantastic outings like to the Yarra Valley vineyards, the Great Ocean Road coastal drive and rock formations, the Grampians National Park and The Dandenong Ranges, even Philip Island where penguins and seals can be seen swimming about.
If this is your first trip to Melbourne, there’s not better place to stay than in the CBD. It’s safe, walkable, and convenient—especially as trams within the CBD are free. I’d recommend a place towards the right side of the grid. (If you look at Melbourne’s CBD on a map, you’ll notice it is in a grid formation.)
RELATED: Check out our Travel Guide for Melbourne, Australia for more information about where to go, what to see and do, where to eat and what not to miss.
Note: One of the highlights of Melbourne is the Great Ocean Road, one of the great coastal drives in the world. The drive can be done in a day, though I wouldn’t recommend it with such a short timeline as you’ll be driving the entire time and really miss out on what makes the drive so special. I have included an option for a two-day version of the trip, however recommend extending your trip if possible and taking a 3 day/2 night road trip.
As always this itinerary is not set in stone. Make adjustments as necessary. Do what’s best for you. This is merely a helpful guide. For example, if you really want to drive the Great Ocean Road, do it! Or if an AFL game or market is on a different day, make whatever changes you need to make your trip…well your trip! :)
There’s no way to experience all Melbourne has to offer in a week but we tried to fit a little bit of everything in this 7 day itinerary, sharing some of the best things to see and do, places to eat, and activities that immerse you in the culture and lifestyle of the Melbourne in hope you’ll trip will be unforgettable.
G’DAY & WELCOME!
Chances are you would have flown all night to arrive in Melbourne in the morning.
7:30 A.M. — Arrive Melbourne Tullamarine Airport.
Depending where you’re staying there are a couple ways to get there. You can take a cab, ride-share or SkyBus.
A typically ride-share/taxi fare from the airport to the CBD is around $55+ and includes the compulsory airport fee for CityLink tollway charges.
SkyBus operates five services from Melbourne Airport providing passengers fast airport transfers to Melbourne City, Docklands and Southbank, St Kilda, Frankston and bayside suburbs and Melbourne’s western suburbs, so depending where you are headed SkyBus may be your cheapest option. Service starts at $17, with discounts for families and roundtrip purchases. The service is very easy to navigate and areas are marked with easy to follow signage.
If you’re staying in the CBD, take the SkyBus to Southern Cross Station and use the SkyBus Link, a free city hotel shuttle, to take you to your final destination.
8:45 A.M. — Check into your home away from home, whether it be a hotel, hostel or apartment rental. Freshen up, change and store your bags. To be honest the jet lag is brutal! I felt like I was going to sick until I washed up and ate a good meal so let’s do that!
Melbourne is one of the great coffee capitals of the world and they take their coffee very seriously here. See what the fuss is about by grabbing a cup at one of the hundreds of artisan coffee shops in the city.
9:15 A.M. — Get your coffee and brekky (Aussie shortened for breakfast) at Axil Coffee Roasters (Shop E6/121 Exhibition St, Melbourne VIC 3004 or 50 Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000). Take your time, enjoy the atmosphere and let the laid-back vibe of the city wash over you. Or eat your brekky and get your coffee takeaway.
10:30 A.M. — Stroll on Spring Street at your leisure and stop by the Parliament House.
Most people think Sydney is the capital of Australia, but it is in fact Canberra, a city located in the ACT (Australian Capital Territory), 170-miles south-west of Sydney and 410-miles north-east of Melbourne.
It’s to be noted that even today there is a strong rivalry between the Australian cities of Sydney and Melbourne.
Following Australia’s Federation in 1901, the country needed to establish a capital city. Sydney, Australia’s first city, and Melbourne, Australia’s largest city at the time, both wanted the honor. Since neither city would yield, the compromise was made to establish an entirely planned city outside any state, like how Washington D.C. is established.
Canberra was officially named as the capital of Australia on March 12, 1913; however, from 1901-1927, the Parliament House was the meeting place of Australia’s Parliament while Melbourne was still the nation’s capital.
Then turn down Bourke Street and head to at Melbournalia (5/50 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000). This aussie-centric gift shop stocks locally made arts, prints, crafts and clothing. The perfect place to find one-of-a-kind souvenirs that support local artisans.
Turn up Exhibition Street and onto Little Lonsdale Street to stop by Embiggen Books (197-203 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000) and browse the shelves of this classic independent bookshop.
12 P.M. — Lunch time! Melbourne has a very large Asian and Greek population so expect to be enjoying lots of ethnic delicacy while in Melbs. I’d recommend Wonderbao (4/19-37 A'Beckett St, Melbourne VIC 3000) for some of the best steamed bao buns you’ll ever eat or ChangGo Korean BBQ (70 Little La Trobe St, Melbourne VIC 3000) for a kimchi pancake and bibimbap bowl.
1:15 P.M. — Go into the State Library of Victoria—it’s free to enter but you’ll have to go through a security check—and wander the beautiful building admiring the architecture, it’s extensive collections, and exhibitions.
The State Library of Victoria is Australia's oldest public library and one of the first free libraries in the world. Snag a seat in the La Trobe Reading room or on their front lawn. Note: The State Library lawn is one of LeBraun and I’s favorite places to relax with a coffee, meet up with people, or simply enjoy some people watching.
But after such a long plane ride, we definitely wanted to get out and stretch our legs and there is no better way to explore while walking than with an I’m Free Walking Tour. No need to book ahead, just show up and meet your guide (the person in a bright green T-shirt). The tours run rain or shine.*
NOTE: Please check website for most up-to-date information regarding tour times, meeting places, and more.
FAQ 1: How is the tour free?
Excerpt pulled from their website: “We want everyone whatever their budget to enjoy Melbourne as much as we do. For this reason we don’t charge up front, instead we leave it to you to decide what you thought the tour was worth at the end.”
FAQ 2: How much should I give our guide?
Factor in the length of the tour, how many people in your group were on it, and if you enjoyed it. It’s coming to gift $10-$20 per person to the guide for the tour.
Overall if you consider the cost of paying for a group, private tour, or standard tour, even though “free” tours aren't totally free, you're still saving money.
2:15 P.M. — Meet the tour guide near the statue of Sir Redmond Barry in front of the State Library of Victoria (328 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 300)
2:30 P.M. — Enjoy your 2 1/2 - 3 hour exploration of Australia’s cultural capital on their Melbourne Sights tour.
NOTE: If you’d prefer to take a bus tour, hop on City Sightseeing Melbourne’s Hop-On, Hop Off Bus. With two routes, the double-decker bus hits the majority of landmarks and attractions, complete with pre-recording informative audio. Hop on and off at any of the stops or simply relax and enjoy the two routes through Melbourne.
Routes begin around 9:30 a.m. daily from Federation Square. Check the website to purchase tickets and get the most up-to-date tour information. Last tours are around 4:10-4:30 p.m. depending on the route.
Another option would be to ride the City Circle Tram (#35). It’s free and takes guests by some of the top sights with pre-recorded audio along the route. The City Circle route is serviced by heritage W class trams - classic trams dating between 1923 and 1956 which is fun in its own right. This is fun if you have time to spare, but honestly it’s hard to heard the informative audio with people talking. Plus locals use the route for their day-to-day so it’s fairly busy most of the time. Definitely wouldn’t recommend during rush hours.
6:30 P.M. — Grab an early dinner at The Hardware Society Melbourne (118-120 & 123 Hardware St, Melbourne VIC 3000) in Hardware Lane, Melbourne’s most European-style red brick paved laneway lined with restaurants, cafes, and shops.
By this point, you’ll be exhausted. Head back and relax in the hotel, but try to stay awake until an appropriate hour, otherwise you’ll be waking up at dawn. This is the best way to cope with the dramatic time change.
LET’S GET CULTURAL!
8:30 A.M. — Our early bedtime combined with the excitement of exploring Melbourne had us waking up around 6:30 a.m. but take your time and adjust this day accordingly. Hopefully you’ll wake up as refreshed and ready to go as we did.
9 A.M. — Grab coffee and brekky near your hotel. Melbourne’s coffee culture is for real so it’s hard to find a bad cup. That is unless you go to a Starbucks or giant international chain. For heavens sake you’re in Melbourne, stop at a local cafe. :)
Some excellent spots are:
- Brother Baba Budan - 359 Little Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000
- Axil Coffee Roasters - Shop E6/121 Exhibition St, Melbourne VIC 3004 + other locations
10 A.M.— Melbourne is the undisputed culture capital of Australia so today we’re going to get some culture! I say that as I twirl my Monopoly man mustache. Haha.
There are museums in Melbourne a-plenty so choose a couple and spend the day exploring and learning.
If you’re interested in art:
- National Gallery of Victoria— Known as the NGV, the art museum was founded in 1861 and it’s now the oldest, largest, and most visited art museum in Australia. Entry is free (with the exceptions of some traveling exhibitions) and focuses on the international works in the collection.
- Ian Potter Centre: NGV— Containing over 20,000 Australian Indigenous and non-Indigenous paintings, sculptures, photography, fashion and more.
If you’re interested in history:
- Shrine of Remembrance—Standing tall over Kings Domain, The Shrine of Remembrance is a war memorial built to honor the servicemen and women of Victoria who served in World War 1, but not honors all Australians who have served in war. Its museum collections feature uniforms, letters, photographs, stories, and even a gallery of medals. Make sure to check out the view from the upper deck then walk through parts of the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria.
- Old Melbourne Gaol— Operating as the city’s prison from 1842 to 1929, the gaol (Australian spelling of jail, as in penitentiary) held and executed some of Australia’s most notorious criminals like Ned Kelly! Take the short guided tour before exploring the building and its exhibitions. The Old Melbourne Gaol also offer night tours! It’s also great for kids.
- Immigration Museum—Housed in a Renaissance Revival space, the museum focuses on Australia’s immigration history from the Gold Rush to post-WW2 and beyond. Today roughly 28% of Australia’s residents were born overseas and more than 250 languages are spoken in Melbourne.
- The Immigration Museum is a museum primarily displaying Australia's immigration history. It is located on Flinders Street in Melbourne, Victoria, in the Old Customs House. It is famous for its most important space, the Long Room, which is a notable piece of Renaissance Revival architecture.
If you’re interested in fun/more interactive (or are traveling with kids):
- Australian Centre for the Moving Image (AMCI)—…ACMI for short (like in the road runner cartoons), is dedicated to tv, film, games, art and digital culture. Its permanent exhibitions provides history of the moving image and its influence in pop culture while its traveling exhibitions have been some of the most popular in the city. We LOVED the David Bowie exhibition. The museum is highly interactive and there’s a Games Lab where you can play retro video games.
- Melbourne Museum—Spend time exploring science, natural and cultural history at the largest museum in the Southern Hemisphere!
If you’re interested in sports:
- National Sports Museum & MCG— Go behind the scenes with a tour of Melbourne’s premier sporting stadium—The Melbourne Cricket Ground, affectionately referred to as the “G”—with a guided tour and learn the history and significance of the city’s iconic arena.
- Then head to the National Sports Museum and discover rich stories of Australia’s sporting history. The museum has tons of memorabilia and interactive elements.
Other museums include, but aren’t limited to:
- The Old Treasury Building
- Koorie Heritage Trust
- Museum of Chinese Australian History Inc.
- The Johnson Collection
- Polly Woodside (Melbourne’s Tall Ship)
- Victoria Police Museum
- ANZ Bank Museum
- The National Opal Collection
- Hellenic Museum
- Grainger Museum
My top choices (in no particular order) are NGV, Shrine of Remembrance, National Sports Museum & MCG, and ACMI.
I’d recommend reviewing the list during breakky and then heading to the museums when they open to maximize your day. Most open around 10 a.m. and close at 5 p.m. If you’re going to hit two museums, budget accordingly. Always check their websites for the most up-to-date information and operating hours.
1 P.M. — Where you eat lunch completely depends on which museums you decide to explore. I’d recommend somewhere close by and quicker so you can spend more time in the museums before they close.
Head to the next museum and keep exploring.
5 P.M. — Melburnians love a good hangout so join in by checking out one of the classics, Rooftop Bar (Curtin House, 252 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000). The laid-back backyard bbq-style bar has fantastic views of the city.
7:30 P.M. — Just a few streets over are some of the best dumplings in the city. Mmm…Shanghai Street Dumpling & Mini Juicy Bun (342 Little Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000) is the bomb! There’s always a queue but the kitchen moves quickly. If you don’t want to wait they also do takeaway. If you get takeaway, enjoy down at Fed Square taking in the scene.
8:30 P.M. — The evening is yours. Do something off the Optional Evening Activity List at the bottom of this post or go wherever the night takes you.
Hop on the #86 transferring at Gertrude St/Brunskwick St for the #11 or the #11 from Spring Street. Either way get off the tram at Leicester St/Brunswick St in Fitzroy.
9:30 A.M. — Let’s get some brekky! In Fitzroy, there are hundreds of cafes and restaurants to choose from, but we’d recommend Vegie Bar (380 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC 3065) for spot-on veggie, vegan and raw meals, or Lune Croissanterie (119 Rose St, Fitzroy VIC 3065) for some of the world’s best croissants. They’re renowned for their amazingly crusty, buttery, and layered and buttered croissants, pastries, and croissant sandwiches. If you want to try something more innovative, head to Industry Beans (3/62 Rose St, Fitzroy VIC 3065). A roaster in a former warehouse that serves up aromatic coffee blends, imaginative dishes and even hosts coffee classes.
11 A.M. — Hipsters love their coffee and Fitzroy is home to a lively, artisan coffee scene.
If you didn’t order coffee with breakfast, order some takeaway from one of their trendy shops. We’d recommend Industry Beans (3/62 Rose St, Fitzroy VIC 3065), Young Bloods Diner (60 Rose St, Fitzroy VIC 3065), Stagger Lee’s (276 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC 3065), or Newtown Specialty Coffee(180 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC 3065), but honestly you can’t really go wrong.
11:15 A.M. — Visit the Rose Street Artists’ Market (60 Rose St, Fitzroy VIC 3065). The market is open every Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. - 5 p.m, and hosts up to 120 local artisans selling everything from photography, potter, clothing, plants, gifts, home decor, and more!
12 P.M. — Time to get your shop on! Brunswick Street is packed with one-off boutiques, secondhand stores, antique shops, edgy record stores, and more. Stroll down the street, hopping into shops, and getting lost among the street art-lined laneways. In Ftizroy there are fantastic murals around every corner, including some of the city’s most famous artists.
Don’t miss these stores:
- Arnsdorf - 229 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
- Wilkins and Kent - 230 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
- Vintage Sole - 258 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
- Kloke - 270 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
- Gorman - 235 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
Or the street art on:
- Rose Street
- Johnson Street
- Moor Street
- Smith Street
2 P.M. — By now you’ve probably worked up quite an appetite, stop for lunch. Try Grub Fitzroy (87-89 Moor St, Fitzroy VIC 3065) for the atmosphere. Grub Fitzroy serves seasonal options from a 1965 Airstream van that’s parked in a graffitied and industrial covered courtyard. For a delicious I-can’t-believe-this-is-vegan menu, check out Smith & Daughters (175 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC 3065) or their quicker counter-option Smith & Deli (111 Moor St, Fitzroy VIC 3065).
Keep in mind that most shops will close around 5 p.m. so try and budget your time accordingly.
Continue shopping and exploring this area, turning east on Gertrude Street then north on Smith Street, making sure to check out these shops:
- Northside Records - 236 Gertrude St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
- Pickings and Parry - Shop 3/166 Gertrude St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
- Happy Valley - 294 Smith St, Collingwood VIC 3066
- Vintage Garage - 318 Smith St, Melbourne VIC 3066
- Cottage Industry - 67 Gertrude St, Fitzroy VIC 3065
5:15 P.M. — Happy hour anyone? Check out Naked for Satan (285 Brunswick St, Fitzroy VIC 3065), one of the Fitzroy’s best known bars serving up Spanish specialties like pintxos, then head upstairs to enjoy their rooftop bar, Naked In The Sky, with great views towards the CBD and surrounding suburbs. Or check out The Everleigh (150-156 Gertrude St, Fitzroy VIC 3065), its old-world decor and its extensive classic and custom cocktail menu.
7 P.M. — Stick around the area for dinner, doubling back to a spot that looked interesting for perhaps heading to Cutler & Co (55-57 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, Yarra, Victoria 3065) or Charcoal Lane (136 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, Yarra, Victoria 3065) for seasonal, fresh and Australian-flair meals in cozy spaces.
8:30 P.M. — Off the optional evening activity list at the bottom of the post, I’d recommend checking out the Queen Vic Night Market if it’s on or simply walking down Swanson Street or along Southbank.
8:30 A.M. — Spend time this morning exploring laneways. Take some pictures and grabs coffee and a pastry from a new cafe. A few of the most popular laneways include:
- Hosier Lane
- Centre Place
- AC/DC Lane
- Tattersalls Lane
- Hardware Lane
- Meyers Place
10 A.M. — What’s a trip to Australia without seeing some kangaroos? Kangaroos are synonymous with Aussie life, but they definitely prefer less inhabited area so the best way to guarantee you’ll see them during your time in Melbourne is to visit them at the zoo.
The Melbourne Zoo is only 4-km (2.5-mi) north of the CBD. Royal Park and Visy Park/Royal Parade are the two closest tram stops, roughly a 15-min ride from the CBD.
It’s the oldest zoo in Australia and houses more than 320 animal species. Aussie highlights include kangaroos, koalas, little penguins, crocodiles, fur seals, Tasmanian devils, pelicans, wombats, and platypuses. There’s also elephants, orangutans, tigers, and a reptile house. Grab a map when you arrive as it lists the free keeper talks, animal interactions, and feedings throughout the day.
Make your way to the Melbourne Zoo (Elliott Ave, Parkville VIC 3052). It’s open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
5 P.M. — Head back into the city and to Madame Brussels (59 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000), a bar designed as a rooftop garden party complete with faux grass and tennis attire. Madame Brussels is one of regular spots as it was just across the way from our apartment. Enjoy happy hour on the terrace with a cocktail and some snacks.
7 P.M. — Hungry yet? I’m always hungry so that’s not a fair question. Haha. For dinner I’d wander around Chinatown. Melbourne’s Chinatown is the longest continuous Chinese settlement in the western world and the food is simply HEAVENLY! Flower Drum (17 Market Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000) is a Cantonese restaurant that’s now a Melbourne institution. ShanDong MaMa (Mid City Arcade, 7/200 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000) is just around the corner and hidden in a small arcade but they have some of the best dumplings in the city! Even vegan options! I could eat a 100 of the dumplings in one sitting. :) Or if you want, head towards Flinders Lane - one of the most popular eat streets in the city - and check out Chin Chin (125 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000)’s South-east Asian-inspired menu and their hip DJ-spinning cocktail bar. Did I make it sound lame by using the word “hip”? I promise it’s a very nice and trendy place to go.
8:30 P.M. — I love getting lost in the laneways of the CBD especially in the evening. The air is buzzing with activity, people out and about, and discovering hidden gems. I’d recommend spending the evening getting lost in the laneways. :) Or check out some of the optional evening activities at the bottom of the post.
If you’d prefer to stay in the CBD during the day, SEA LIFE Melbourne is a Southern Ocean and Antarctic aquarium right on the Yarra. It’s home to crocodiles, coral reef fish, rays, seahorses, penguins, sharks, sea turtles and much more!
Alternatively you could get up really early and drive the Great Ocean Road (GOR). It’s a gorgeous coastal drive, but takes about 8 1/2 hours if you’re driving non-stop. The joy of the GOR is stopping at the beautiful small beaches, exploring the small towns, and viewing the rock formations so making it a one-day trip isn’t worth it to me so I’ve got two options for you—1) Get up early and use today and tomorrow to drive the GOR. Apollo Bay is a great place to spend the evening. This way you can enjoy the road a bit more. Or 2) If possible extend your trip 3 more days and do the GOR properly.
9:30 A.M. — Morning! Start your day the Melbourne way with coffee and a pastry.
Melbourne is Australia’s indisputable fashion capital. The streets are filled with fashionable people and the shopping centre’s are full of vintage to sale to off the runway fashions. You've noticed by now that Melburnians are very fashionable so join in the fun and hit the shopping centres.
In Melbourne most stores are open Monday-Friday 9 a.m. - 5 p.m. with slightly shorter weekend hours. Friday night is Melbourne’s “late night shopping” night with stores remaining open till 9 p.m. Australia encourages a good work-life balance and therefore storekeepers and workers stick close to traditional daytime business hours. How nice is that!
Where to Shop:
- Bourke Street Mall (231 Victoria Rd, Melbourne VIC 3078) - The most popular shopping hub in the city, Bourke Street Mall is buzzing with shoppers in search of the latest trends at some of the country’s biggest retailers like Myers and David Jones and favorites like H&M, Zara, Forever New, etc.
- Melbourne Central (La Trobe St & Swanston Street, Melbourne VIC 3000) - With all the most popular affordable stores under one roof, Melbourne Central is the perfect one stop shopping experience. Stores like Sephora, Bardot, Francesca, and French Connection, entertainment like a Hoyts Cinema, a bowling alley and karaoke bars, and a decent food court. Don’t miss 100 Squared, the emerging designer market for unique finds from independent designers.
- Collins Street - If you’ve got money to burn, Collins Street is where to spend it! The west end of Collins Street in the CBD is home to flagship ultra-luxurious designer stores like Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Prada, Giorgio Armani, and Dior. Note: Window shopping is always free. :)
- Melbourne Emporium (287 Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000) - For a high-end retail experience and international brands including Road & Gunn, Kate Spade, Lacoste, Michael Kors, and Armani Exchange as well as department stores Myer and David Jones. Plus Melbourne Emporium has an excellent food court!
- The Block Arcade (282 Collins Street, Melbourne CBD 3000) - This heritage listed building is one of the iconic shopping areas in the city and the beauty of the arcade itself—glass canopy, mosaic tiling, and ornate design—packs in impressive retailers like Wittner Shoes, Haigh’s Chocolates, and Crabtree & Evelyn.
- QV Shopping Centre (Cnr Lonsdale Street and, Swanston St, Melbourne VIC 3000) - We lived right near QV and it was our one stop shop from anything we needed. It’s so convenient. There are clothing stores in addition to staples like Woolys, Officeworks, and Big W. Plus Papa Rich, one of our favorite restaurants ever has a home at QV in Melbourne. Yum!
- DFO South Wharf (20 Convention Centre Pl, South Wharf VIC 3006) - The direct factory outlets have the best outlet selection in the Melbourne area with stores like Adidas, Billabong, Bonds, Clarks, Levi’s, etc.
- Other outlet shopping centers include Spencer Outlet Centre (201 Spencer St, Docklands VIC 3008) and Harbour Town Shopping Centre (434 Docklands Drive, Docklands VIC 3008). I wouldn't make a special trip to these outlets unless you love outlet stores or find yourself in the area just to check out.
- Chadstone Shopping Centre (1341 Dandenong Road, Chadstone VIC 3148) - Located 30 mins from Melbourne’s CBD, Chadstone is the largest shopping centre in the southern hemisphere—a shopper’s dream, right! There are over 350 stores. Don't let the distance discourage you, there is a roundtrip free shuttle from Fed Square a few times a day and the train can get you within a 15 minute walk from the centre.
5 P.M. — Most stores close at 5 p.m. unless it’s Friday night. For dinner check out one of LeBraun and I’s FAVORITE places—Papa Rich (QV, Level 2, Shop 11, QV Square, Melbourne VIC 3000). This Malaysian restaurant has amazing food and huge portion sizes! Seriously we found ourselves here weekly. Order the Curry Laksa, Kaya Toast, and the Roti Canai with Curry Chicken and you won’t be disappointed! I’m drooling over here just thinking about it.
6:30 P.M. — Join the crowd and start heading towards the Melbourne Cricket Grounds. It’s about a 15-minute walk from Flinders Street Station.
7 P.M. — Arrive at the G, walk around, grab snacks, and settle in for an exciting evening. Aussie Rules is the craziest sport ever. It’s like a mix of rugby, soccer, football, volleyball, and quidditch…like for real!
7:30 P.M. — Kickoff.
10 P.M. — How was your, I’m assuming, first AFL experience? Crazy, huh! Post-game head back to your hotel or hit up a bar for a bit.
FREE DAY / ST KILDA
Every trip needs a free day, an opportunity to do whatever else you may want to do or see while you’re there. You may have passed an area you’d like to spend more time exploring, passed a museum or restaurant you’d like to check out, simply want to walk along the river and just generally enjoy Melbourne’s vibe. Now’s your time.
If you need a suggestion, how about heading to St. Kilda! Especially if it’s beautiful warm summer day.
St. Kilda is an eclectic seaside suburb just 6-km south-east of Melbourne’s CBD known for its bohemian, artsy scene.
9:30 A.M. — Trams run from Southern Cross Station and Bourke Street to St. Kilda which take about 20-25 minutes.
10 A.M. — Now while St. Kilda won’t fall on the list of world’s most famous beaches like Sydney’s Bondi Beach or Queensland’s White Haven, it is Melbourne’s most famous beach!
Especially in the warmer months the area is buzzing with activity. The esplanade boardwalk is alive with people walking, biking, and rollerblading. Sunbathers take in rays on the beach while others try their hand at kitesurfing and other water sports.
Snag a spot in the sun or in the surrounding parkland in the shade. Either way remember to wear sunscreen; the sun is very powerful in Australia.
Relax for awhile and enjoy your final day in Melbourne.
1:15 P.M. — Lunch time! If you’re feeling all-day breakky and an extensive menu of favorites like mac & cheese, schnitzel, burgers, salads, pastas, and more, check out La Roche (185 Acland St, St Kilda VIC 3182). It’s on the cheaper end of dining in the area, serves large portions, and a cool graffitied wall space. Or head the opposite direction toward Albert Park and check try Fitzrovia (155 Fitzroy St, St Kilda, Port Phillip, Victoria 3182). Lunch rolls, salads and cakes in a buzzy atmosphere. Mmm!
3:30 P.M. — The main streets in St. Kilda are Fitzroy Street and Acland Street. Each is lined with a variety of interesting shops, tempting bakeries, restaurants, cafes, and pubs. Go check them out.
5 P.M. — Most people say “It’s 5 o’clock somewhere,” but it actually is 5 o’clock here so let’s grab a schooner at one of the area’s hip bars. Many even have terraces with great views! I’d recommend:
- Hotel Esplanade (aka The Espy) - 11 The Esplanade, St Kilda VIC 3182
- The Vineyard - 71A Acland St, St Kilda VIC 3182
- Republica - 10/18 Jacka Blvd, St Kilda VIC 3182
7:15 P.M. — St. Kilda is a modern foodie haven so almost everywhere is going to be delicious. I’d head to St LuJa (9 Fitzroy St, St Kilda, Port Phillip, VIC 3182). Their food, drinks, and ambiance is top notch! Or for a unique experience try Lentil As Anything (41 Blessington St, St Kilda VIC 3182). A vegetarian restaurant designed around the premise of “pay what you think your meal is worth,” and staffed by volunteers. Just make an anonymous deposit in their collection box on their way out.
Also Milk The Cow (U 1 157 Fitzroy St, St Kilda, Port Phillip, VIC 3182) was recommended to us as well. They’re known for their individual fondue pots. Yup, you read that right!
Note: St. Kilda is known for their gorgeous sunsets so snag a seat by the window or outside if you can!
8:45 P.M. — Head to the St. Kilda Breakwater. Chances are there are already some people gathering along the edge for a special show.
9 P.M. — At night there are more than just stars in the sky around St. Kilda and they come in the form of little penguins! Around 30 minutes after sunset nightly the penguins waddle to and from their burrows to hunt for fish.
Please obey all signs and do not disturb, pet, feed, or enter the penguins’ area.
Check online for sunset times each day and adjust the schedule for the day as needed.
9:30 P.M. — Walk back to Acland Street for dessert. Perhaps a fruit tart or some vanilla slice from Monarch Cake Shop (103 Acland St, St Kilda, Port Phillip, VIC 3182). Yum!
10 P.M. — Your time in St. Kilda would not be complete without spending time in Luna Park, an old school amusement park that open in 1912 and has been operating continuously ever since. Make sure to take a ride on Scenic Railway, the oldest continually operating roller coaster in the world.
Looking for these?
Don’t be mistaken, Melbourne’s 82 famous colorful bathing boxes are on Brighton Beach, not St. Kilda Beach. Brighton Beach is another 25-minutes south on the tram from St. Kilda.
They’re one of the most photographed spots in the city, despite most people looking for them in St. Kilda.
Adjust the following timeline based on your departure time. Melbourne Airport recommends you complete check in a minimum of 2 hours before your international flight. Flights to USA destinations open 4 hours prior to departure.
7:45 A.M. — Last morning in Melbourne! Grab a good breakfast, check out of your residence, hop the SkyBus or hail a taxi heading to MEL.
11:30 A.M. — Depart Melbourne and Australia!
By now you’re in love with Australia and you’ll be sad to leave, but I hope you made unforgettable memories!
If you’re not leaving Australia yet, hop a flight or drive on to your next destination. Happy travels! :)
OPTIONAL EVENING ACTIVITIES
Grab a Cocktail at One of the City’s Bars
Melburians love a good hangout, and the city is brimming with them. Check out my Travel Guide | Melbourne, Australia for a list of some of my favorite laneway bars, rooftop bars, and quirky themed bars! Psst… entrances to these bars can be quite unassuming so you’ll probably walk past them one or two times before stepping inside.
Website | @federationsquare | Address: Swanston St & Flinders St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Essentially the town square, Federation Square—more commonly called Fed Square—is located just across Swanson Street from Flinders Street Station, Fed Square regularly hosts artistic, cultural and public events like large screen viewings of AFL. It’s also home to multiple museums, cafes, and bars. It’s here you’ll also find the Melbourne Visitor Centre.
As the main north-south thoroughfare of Melbourne CBD, Swanson Street is the world's busiest tram corridor. It’s always bustling with people admiring its heritage buildings taking advantage of its shopping.
Catch a Show at The Forum
Website | @forummelbourne | Address: 154 Flinders St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Built in 1929, The Forum remains a highly regarded theatre, cinema and live music venue in Melbourne’s CBD. The interior is just as ornately decorated as the exterior with the interior designed reminiscent of a Florentine walled garden, complete with a twinkling sky blue ceiling. Check their website for their show calendar.
Attend A Seasonal Festival Or Event
Check the city’s calendar to find out what’s happening.
Queen Victoria Night Markets
Website | @vicmarket | Address; Queen St, Melbourne VIC 3000
The largest open air market in the Southern Hemisphere and the most intact 19th-century market in the city, Queen Victoria Market is an icon. The Queen Vic hosts Summer and Winter Night Markets with 50+ street vendor food stalls, 100+ local artisans, live music and activities like backyard-style games in the warmer months and fire pits in the colder months. Check dates and times for upcoming night markets.
Website | @lunaparkmelb | Address: 18 Lower Esplanade, St Kilda VIC 3182
Melbourne’s Luna Park opened in December 1912 and has been operating continuously ever since. It’s one of two remaining Luna Parks opened in Australia, the other one being Sydney. The historic face welcomes guests to the park then rides are on a ticket basis. Don’t leave without riding the Scenic Railway, the oldest continually operating roller coaster in the world and one of only three that require a brakeman to stand in the middle of the train.
Flowing right through the heart of Melbourne, The Yarra was a major food source and meeting place for indigenous Australians and continues to be provide resources for the city. A river cruise is a great way to view the city. There are many types of cruises based on sights and duration. Some cruises even offer dinner experiences.
Website | @melbourne_star | Address: 101 Waterfront Way, Docklands VIC 3008
Adding to the list of giant observation wheels around the world like the London Eye and Las Vegas High Roller, the Melbourne Star is located in the Docklands area of Melbourne and an evening ride around the wheel is a fun and unique way to see the lights over the city.
Website | @crownresorts | Address: 8 Whiteman St, Southbank VIC 3006
The Crown casino and resort takes up two city blocks on the Southbank precinct of Melbourne, making it the largest casino complex in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the largest in the world. In typical casino fashion, the Crown is much more than just a casino, it’s also filled with shopping, restaurants, and entertainment options.
Website | @eureka_skydeck | Address: 7 Riverside Quay, Southbank VIC 3006
Take in the panoramic views of Melbourne and its surrounds from the highest viewing platform in the Southern Hemisphere! Also take The Edge experience and look 88-stories down through a glass-plated floor.