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8 Must-Have Experiences in Melbourne, Australia

Julie Australia 4 Comments

Melbourne is our favorite city in Australia. Yes, it even beats Sydney. Clean, quiet, compact, with tons to do, we fell in love with this city. It may not have the big sights like the Sydney Opera House and the Harbor Bridge, but there is a laid-back vibe in Melbourne. This is a place that welcomes you and makes you feel like you are home. Spend a few days here and fall in love with Melbourne, too.

Here is a list of our favorite experiences in Melbourne, a good starting point for having the best holiday in this awesome city.

Melbourne Australia

World’s Best Coffee

Dare I say that Melbourne is the best destination in the world for coffee lovers?

While in Italy, my obsession with coffee began. I quickly became a cappuccino addict. As we traveled around the world, I sampled cappuccinos from everywhere possible. Nothing even came close to the coffee of Italy. Not until Melbourne.

Oh, I was in heaven. I spent much of our time in Melbourne on a caffeine high, as I bounced from cafe to cafe. I was on the search for that perfect cappuccino…and I found it.

Where? At the League of Honest Coffee.

Best Coffee Melbourne

Melbourne is packed with cafes selling the highest quality coffee. Sorry Starbucks, you are not even in the same league as the cafes in this city.

My favorite three cafes in Melbourne:

Melbourne Coffee

Watch the Graffiti Artists at Work on Hosier Lane

Hosier Lane is an ever-changing work of art in Melbourne. This is an area where graffiti is not only tolerated, it is encouraged. Watch the artists at work, take selfies with the finished product, and simply have a great time here.

Hosier Lane Melbourne

Graffiti Artist

Julie Rivenbark

Tupac Hosier Lane

Go Shopping

Queen Victoria Market is Melbourne’s largest outdoor market. It feels like a flea market meets outdoor grocery store. Love it or hate it, most people say it’s a must-have experience in Melbourne (we weren’t big fans.)

Visit the Block Arcade, a small, scenic shopping mall in the heart of the city (this we loved!).

Wander the smaller lanes like Flinders Lane, Chapel Street, and Brunswick Street. The smaller lanes in the CBD are a joy to stroll through. Most likely, you will come across coffee shops and small bars, offering the perfect break from your shopping spree.

Melbourne Walks

Graffiti in Melbourne

We Love Melbourne

Ride the City Circle Tram

The City Circle Tram is a free, public transportation service in the heart of Melbourne. Use it as a hop on hop off service when touring the city.

Australian Centre for the Moving Image

The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) is one of the most visited museums in Australia. We are not big fans of museums, but this one we liked.

This museum is dedicated to Australian and International film, TV, and video games. So yes, kids may even like this museum. Did you know that there are video games to play and movies to watch?

And what is even more fantastic is entry into the ACMI is free! There is a fee for special exhibitions and to watch the feature films.

If you are visiting the ACMI with kids, do not miss the TY the Tasmanian Tiger Zoetrope. Watch TY dance around using strobe lights and special effects, while a catchy tune plays in the background. It is enthralling. Sure, it is an exhibit for kids, but I found it to be strangely captivating.

ACMI

Watch Aussie Rules Football at the Melbourne Cricket Ground

Before arriving in Melbourne, Tim would ask the Australians we met, “What should we do in Melbourne?”  The universal answer was “watch a game of footy at the MCG.”  So we did.

Australian rules football, also known as footy or Aussie rules, is a major pastime of Australian people.  Melbourne, with its MCG, sits at the epicenter of footy.  The MCG is the number one place in Australia to watch a footy match.  This is hallowed ground for Australians.  To watch a footy game here, preferably one that is a big game on a Saturday night, is like hitting the jackpot.

If you are in town and there is a footy match scheduled, do not miss it! This was one of our favorite experiences while in Australia.

MCG

Meat Pie MCG

Royal Botanic Gardens

If you like gardens, or just feel like getting “out of the city,” visit the Royal Botanic Gardens. You could easily spend hours strolling through this area.

Melbourne Botanic Garden

Take a Ride on the Melbourne Star

The Melbourne Star is a giant Ferris wheel, resembling the London Eye. The Star was built in 2008, but after a series of unfortunate events (like the wheel developing huge cracks in the supports) the entire Star was dismantled and rebuilt, permanently opening in December 2013.

The Melbourne Star is located in the Docklands area of the city.  We wondered why an attraction like this is located so far from the city center, but there are certain advantages to its location.  For one thing, there are no lines here.  During our thirty-minute revolution we had a pod all to ourselves.  Also, with its remote location, we had perfect views of the Melbourne skyline.  The views were awesome.

Melbourne Star

Melbourne Star View

For one of the best views in Melbourne, visit the Eureka Skydeck. We missed this and I regret it. We are huge fans of bird’s eye views, and this is the best bird’s eye view you can get of Melbourne without taking a helicopter flight.

Post updated May 2018.


Have you been to Melbourne? What must-have experiences do you think need to be on this list?

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Best things to do in Melbourne Australia

Comments 4

  1. Surprised that you consider Melbourne the best city in Australia. I lived there for four years and was overjoyed to get transferred to Sydney. In case you are thinking I am biased, I am not a native of Sydney. The weather and natural beauty surrounding Sydney are a lot better in my opinion. But if you are lucky and get ten successive good weather days you could be misled into thinking the weather is always nice there. Trust me it is not! Of course it is also a matter of horses for courses. If you are into coffee (which you evidently are) and into art, festivals and music shows then Melbourne is arguably the best city for that in Australia. I prefer an outdoors style of living and Sydney suits me better.

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      Sydney is awesome, we totally agree. There was just something about Melbourne that made it feel like it could be a place we could call home. Cheers, Julie

      1. I’m glad you feel that way. Having lived in both Sydney and Melbourne, plus other large cities around the World, I discovered that the people of Melbourne were less likely to invite a stranger into their circle of friends than people from say Sydney or Brisbane. Not that they were not sociable, but they tended to be rather tribal and it was not easy for them to form close friendships with anyone who was not born and bred in Melbourne. I’m not sure if this principle applies in America, but my experience in Australia is that hospitality was the warmest where the climate was hotter (Queensland, WA and the NT) and cooler where the climate was colder (Victoria, Tasmania and SA). There were exceptions, of course, and I have some very good friends in Melbourne, but this was harder to do than in Sydney or Brisbane.

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