Melbourne is Australia’s second biggest city and the capital of its second most populous state, Victoria.
Melbourne is a self-proclaimed capital of fashion, culture, sport and food. It hosts the Melbourne Cup horse race, the Formula One Grand Prix, the Australian Open Tennis Championship and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival.
Melbourne bends over backwards to impress its visitors. A trip to Melbourne is not so much about seeing, as it is about tasting, trying, looking and listening. Here are our top ten things to do in Melbourne.
1. Tram it! The Melbourne tram system with its perfectly maintained antique carriages is both efficient and atmospheric. It is a great way to travel and mingle with locals. It’s also good value–rides are even free around the city circuit.
2. AFL at the MCG . The MCG (the Melbourne Cricket Ground) was created in 1853 as a cricket ground and has hosted major national and international matches during the summer ever since. It is the spiritual home of Australian Rules football (AFL). If you have never seen this game it will take your breath away with its speed and acrobatics.
3. See Australian wildlife in the wild. Go on a private small group tour led by experienced wildlife guides. You can see a variety of wildlife from big Australia mammals to birds and reptiles, even insects. And you can make a difference while doing this – some tour companies donate part of the cost of each tour to Koala research.
4. Cafes in Degraves Street. This narrow lane is lined with intricate facades built in the style of an Italian village. The residents of Melbourne boast that they have the best coffee on the planet. Although that’s debatable, they do consider baristas artists and the coffee in Degraves Street is flavorful and creative.
5. Hosier Lane. Hosier Lane came into being when the Melbourne city counsel gave up prosecuting graffiti artists and instead dedicated this space as a living outdoor art gallery. Every inch of Hosier Lane is now covered with amazing spray-paint art that changes daily.
6. Laneway Bars. Melbourne’s laneway bars have made Melbourne the top nightlife destination in Australia. Laneway bars are atmospheric hole-in-the-wall bars-cum-restaurants each with their own signature theme. The laneway bars are dotted around the city’s Central Business District and in Chapel Street at night. You can try eggplant chips at “Hairy Canary” or tapas at “ Spleen”. You can sample Cuban music at “Murmur” and jazz at the “Paris Cat”.
7. Shopping in Chapel Street. This is a place for both the chic and the traditional. Upmarket antiques and vintage shops line one side of the street and restaurants and funky boutiques the other side.
8. The Penguin Parade. Philip Island is not technically in Melbourne but it’s an easy afternoon trip. Philip Island is where you can view the largest Little Penguin colony in the world. Every sunset thousands of these gorgeous little creatures emerge from the sea and waddle up the beach to their sand dune burrow homes.
9. Drive along the Great Ocean Road. Just outside the city is one of the most scenic drives in the world. The Great Ocean Road stretches for 243 km (151 miles) along the Southeast coast of Australia. During the drive, which is also on the register of Australian National Heritage List, you’ll pass by amazing natural sites including Apollo Bay and the 12 Apostles.
10. The Eureka Skydeck 88. Visit the Eureka Skydeck 88 to get a perspective on the whole city. You will have 360-degree views of Melbourne from 88th floor observation deck in the Eureka Tower. You can get some great shots from ‘The Edge’, a glass cube that projects out of the building with you suspended in the air above the city.