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Although Sydney is the city that most people think of visiting during a first-time visit to Australia, Melbourne also has a lot to offer travelers in this part of the world. Melbourne is a hip city that’s unique, has lots of diversity, and is a great place to get to know the Australian way of life. To help you plan your trip, here are some of the top things to do when you visit Melbourne, Australia.
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Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria are a very popular place to visit in Melbourne and absolutely gorgeous to see. There are over 8,500 plant species here that you can see when you walk through the area and admire the scenery. It’s easy to spend a half-day here to see everything, get some exercise, or learn from a self-guided audio tour. The Melbourne gardens are open daily and there is no admission cost to enter the gardens.
Melbourne is also near one of the world’s most renowned wine regions, which means that wine tours are very popular among tourists. The Yarra Valley is the prime wine region here and known for its historic farmhouses and beautiful vineyards on rolling hills. This area has hundreds of wineries and is about an hour from Melbourne. Make sure to try the local cool-climate wines, such as pinot noir and chardonnay. A few of the many wineries here are Maddens Rise, TarraWarra Estate, and Oakridge Wines. Consider booking a guided tour so that you can visit a couple different wineries and not have to worry about driving. You can also visit the Mornington Peninsula to visit the wineries, which are about 45 minutes from the city.
Melbourne is a great destination in Australia if you love the beach because there are some excellent beaches to relax at in the vicinity. One popular beach is St. Kilda Beach, and this beach is south of downtown. You won’t typically find strong ocean currents here, which makes the water great for swimming, windsurfing, and kitesurfing. The St. Kilda Pier is a landmark here worth checking out. Elwood Beach, Half Moon Bay, Dendy Street Beach, and Mothers Beach are other popular beaches in the area that you can explore as well during your time in Melbourne.
Street art is something that the city of Melbourne is known for, and certain areas of town are approved by the city for artists to make their creations. The graffiti art here is very impressive and creative, and it will make you look at this style of art in a whole new way. When you visit, you can take a street art tour to learn more about the art or refer to a street art map to see all the great areas of town. Definitely don’t miss Duckboard Place, Tattersalls Lane, Hosier Lane, and Blender Lane.
The Flinders Street Station is more than just a transit station; it’s a cultural symbol and landmark of the city. This is a busy railway station with a shopping area and restaurants. The building has been open for over 100 years and is featured on postcards and brochures throughout the city.
Foodies won’t want to miss the Queen Victoria Market, which has been a local tradition since the late-1800s. Here you can sample delicious foods, such as smoked meats and artisan cheeses. Vendors also sell creative crafts here, which make wonderful souvenirs. Wander around this flea market/food market to enjoy the food hall, and try to visit on a weekend to see the most vendors selling their best goods.
As a cultural hub of Australia, there are many great museums to see, including the Melbourne Museum. This downtown museum is by the Royal Exhibition Building and a museum of cultural and natural history. Inside, you’ll find multiple main galleries, a children’s gallery, permanent and temporary exhibits, an IMAX theater, amphitheater, public research center, café, and souvenir shop. Another interesting museum to check out is the Immigration Museum, which tells the story of how Australia became such a modern-day melting pot of cultures.
The City Circle Tram is a great way to get around Melbourne, and better yet, it’s free to ride. On this tram, you can hop on and hop off as you go sightseeing. The wait to get on the tram is typically pretty short since the trams circle the routes regularly. A couple of spots to visit in town via tram include the Princess Theatre and the Parliament House. Better yet, you can hear a recording of historical places while onboard the tram to learn about local landmarks as you go for a ride.
Another iconic place to see in Melbourne is Federation Square, which features unique architecture and is near the Flinders Street Station. This square is a popular place to grab a meal or drink outside and enjoy a nice day. It’s also a prime people-watching spot to rest your feet and enjoy some lunch as the city goes by. Melbourne enjoys a lovely café culture, so try to slow down your pace of travel with relaxing stops like this to take it all in and perhaps enjoy some of the amazing coffee that the city is known for. You can also check out local events that take place here, such as Christmas festivities, exhibitions, and guided tours.
If you have some extra time to spend in the Melbourne area, why not take an unforgettable road trip and get out to see some of the nature nearby? Port Campbell National Park is a great place to do this. The park is famous for its impressive wave-like rock formations, the Twelve Apostles, the Shipwreck Coast, and scenic drives along the Great Ocean Road. Popular tours and activities in the area include horse-riding, kayaking, rock climbing, bushwalking, four-wheel driving, and mountain biking.