10 Things Not To Miss In Melbourne

Melbourne is an exciting, buzzing 21st century city, jam-packed full of creativity, culture and coffee! Australia’s second most populous city, it’s considered to be the nation’s cultural capital and has been the birthplace of, amongst other things, Aussie Rules Football, the national film and TV industry, impressionism, contemporary dance and is recognised by UNESCO as a City of Literature. Here’s our guide to the top 10 things not to miss in Melbourne.

Queen Victoria Market

Queen Victoria Market

The southern hemisphere’s largest open-air market and ‘the heart and soul of Melbourne’, the Queen Victoria Market has over 600 traders selling all sorts from jewellery and accessories, arts and crafts including paintings and photography, clothes, fabrics, leather goods, shoes, toys, gifts, homewares and lots, lots more.

If you’re hungry, the sheer selection and choice of meats, cheeses and fish, fruit and veg, seafood, breads, cakes and pastries, spices, confectionery, tea and coffee and artisan food from many of Melbourne’s best food producers will excite you and leave you wondering why you didn’t bring more money! Every Wednesday evening in August the Winter Night Market attracts loads of people and you can also take foodie, heritage and cultural tours of the market.

Eureka Skydeck

Eureka Skydeck

How do you fancy standing almost 1,000 feet up above Melbourne’s streets on the 88th floor of the Eureka building and taking in the city’s best views of the ships out in Port Phillip Bay, the CBD, sports district and the Docklands and on a clear day, the Dandenong Ranges?

The wind hits you as you make your way out onto The Terrace and for a thrill like no other, try The Edge, a floor to ceiling (including the floors and the ceilings) glass cube jutting three metres out from the side of the tower .The Eureka Skydeck offers a multi-sensory experience the likes of which you will never have experienced before.

Royal Botanic Gardens

Royal Botanic Gardens

The gardens on the banks of the River Yarra feature a global selection of over 10,000 varieties of flora and fauna as well as endemic Australian plants, cacti, mini-ecosystems and an indigenous rainforest.

Admission is free and there are guided walking tours, the nature-based Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden as well as The Terrace and Jardin Tan for lunch and tea. You can bring dogs and picnics to the gardens and if you’re here at night, don’t forget to check out the Moonlight Cinema and the Observatory.

Degraves Street

Degraves Street

Degraves Street is the place to be for trendy restaurants and cafés and represent the stereotypical examples of Melbourne’s world-famous laneways. Tread the blue cobblestones while your senses overload at the stencil art and graffiti, the cool shops and the coffee. Oh, the coffee…

Jungle Juice and Degraves Espresso, described as the ‘quintessential Melbourne café experience’ is a delicious mix of Parisian street vibe and Italian outdoor dining and drinking culture but wherever you go, you’ll find quirky, understated cool on every corner.

Old Melbourne Gaol

Old Melbourne Gaol

For those with a more macabre fascination of the city’s history, the Old Melbourne Gaol ticks all your boxes! It was built in the mid-1800s to cope with Melbourne’s growing criminal population and is one of the city’s oldest buildings.

Discover the story of the arrest and hanging of Australia’s most infamous citizen, the bushranger Ned Kelly as well as taking original cell block night tours, legendary ghost story tours and you can hear the stories of the hangmen who delivered a total of 133 prisoners to their maker. This is not for the feint-hearted but it’s a great grisly day out!

National Sports Museum

National Sports Museum

Australians are sports-mad! The National Sports Museum is at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (known as the MCG) and is a testament to the nation’s greatest sporting heroes and triumphs and includes memorabilia from the heroes of cricket, Aussie Rules football, rugby and the Olympics.

There’s also a fantastic interactive exhibition where you can participate in a range of activities including cycling, archery, elite athlete reaction testing, netball shooting, beat the keeper and lots more.  If you’re into your sport, there’s no better place to indulge your passion than the National Sports Museum.

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

On the Yarra waterfront, the SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium is packed full of thousands of aquatic creatures including the world’s only display of Elephant Sharks, one of Australia’s largest saltwater crocs and the altogether more sedate Seahorse Pier and Penguin Playground.

There are lots of interactive exhibits, feeding sessions and12 habitat zones including the state-of-the-art Croc Lair, Bay of Rays, Coral Caves, Shipwreck Explorer, Ocean Discovery and Mermaid Garden as well as lots of underwater experiences that will blow your mind! The aquarium is a fun day out in Melbourne for all the family.

Cherry Bar

Cherry Bar

Their website suggests that Cherry Bar is ‘pretty much the best rock ‘n’ roll bar in the world’ and while there might be a number of pretenders to that particular throne, it’s certainly up there! Located, not coincidentally, on AC/DC Lane (named for the band), you’ll find a ‘don’t care, slightly anarchic’ vibe, music purists and good beer – the holy trinity for a rock ‘n’ roll bar.

You’ll find live music and DJs playing rock music every night of the week including Thursday’s famous soul night and it’s the bar of choice for post-gig touring bands. They even knocked back a performance by Lady Gaga to honour a local band who had booked their slot weeks before!

Cycling The Bay Trail

Cycling The Bay Trail

The full length of the trail follows the coastline for 40-odd kilometres but the most popular stretch is the 6km waterfront ride from St Kilda Pier to Bay Street in Brighton. You don’t have to cycle, you can rent inline skates or even walk it but whatever mode of transportation you opt for, you are assured of stunning vistas and great weather.

As you travel south you’ll pass Melbourne’s historic Luna Park and you’ll most certainly want to stop once you see the cakes in the windows of the cafés on Acland Street. You’ll go past St Kilda Marina and the parks, restaurants and sports fields that line the route and you’ll end up in Bay Street as you watch the boats, sailboarders and yachts vie for space out in the bay.

Cook’s Cottage

Cook’s Cottage

A small, nondescript brick house in Fitzroy Gardens may not, on the surface, appear to be one of Melbourne’s best tourist attractions until you discover that it’s Australia’s oldest building and was shipped here from Yorkshire in England, brick by numbered brick by Sir Russell Grimwade. The cottage was originally built by the parents of Captain James Cook, the British sailor who stumbled across the east coast, called it New South Wales and claimed it for Britain.

This is a fascinating journey back in time to the birth of Australia and includes period furniture and antiques, an old English cottage garden and volunteers dressed up in clothes from the 18th century to tell you the story of maybe the most famous man in the Australia’s history.

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