Best Things To Do in Melbourne
Like any major city, Melbourne features a zoo and museums like the Melbourne Museum and the National Gallery of Victoria. You'll also find the Melbourne Cricket Ground, a must-see attraction for any sports fan. Meanwhile, nature lovers will appreciate the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne and Port Campbell National Park, while history buffs will enjoy seeing the Shrine of Remembrance and wandering around the State Library Victoria. Other quintessential things to do in Melbourne include shopping at The Block Arcade, riding the City Circle Tram and sampling the region's famous wine.
Updated August 26, 2016
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To commemorate the 19,000 Victorians killed during World War I, the city of Melbourne built the Shrine of Remembrance in 1924. The monument, which was inspired by famous Greek sights like the Parthenon and the Acropolis, features several memorials, including the bronze Gallipoli Memorial, The Forecourt (a World War II memorial that houses the Eternal Flame) and the Remembrance Garden (where fallen soldiers from post-World War II conflicts are honored). Several military-themed exhibits are also available inside the shrine.
According to many recent travelers, the Shrine of Remembrance is one of Melbourne's best attractions. Though a sobering experience, you'll walk away with a greater understanding and appreciation of Australia's participation in major conflicts. Past visitors recommended joining one of the free property tours, which are offered daily at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. and last about an hour. And for incredible views of the grounds and the Melbourne skyline, check out the second-floor balcony.
- #2View all Photos#2 in MelbourneNatural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Sightseeing, FreeTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDNatural Wonders, Parks and Gardens, Sightseeing, FreeTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDRead More
One of Australia's most stunning natural wonders is the Twelve Apostles rock formation found in Port Campbell National Park. Seven stacked rock structures constitute the Twelve Apostles, six of which can be seen from the attraction's main viewing platform. Other landmarks situated in the park include The Arch, London Bridge and a grotto.
Whether you love the great outdoors or just want to snap some jaw-dropping photos, you should consider making the 144-mile trek to Port Campbell National Park. If you decide to drive here, take some time to travel along the Great Ocean Road, which offers terrific views of the park. Another way to see the site is by helicopter. And if you're lucky, you may spot wild koalas and kangaroos during your visit.
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Founded in the mid-1800s, the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne encompass 94 acres of greenery. Some of the gardens' highlights include region-specific plant collections, the Rare and Threatened Species Collection, the Gardens House and the Perennial Border. There are also pathways, shaded benches and statues situated throughout the property.
Though you can wander through this attraction within a couple of hours, past visitors recommended taking your time to truly appreciate all of the plants housed here. It's a great spot to read or enjoy an afternoon picnic as well. If you're traveling with kids, check out the childrens garden, which offers a variety of hands-on activities.
- #4View all PhotosfreeYarra Valley#4 in MelbourneWineries/Breweries, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDWineries/Breweries, Free, Neighborhood/AreaTYPEHalf Day to Full DayTIME TO SPENDRead More
Though you'll find five wine regions near Melbourne, the area's most well-known is the Yarra Valley. More than 70 wineries are located in this region. Two of the Yarra Valley's most popular vineyards include Domaine Chandon, which specializes in sparkling wine, and Giant Steps, where you'll find several kinds of chardonnays and pinot noirs.
Several wine tours throughout the Yarra Valley are available. Tour operators recommended by past visitors include Wild Wombat Winery Tours, Yarra Valley Winery Tours and Yarra Valley Private Winery Tours. If you're traveling without a car, consider choosing a tour operator that offers pick-ups and drop-offs from the CBD.
- #5View all Photos#5 in MelbourneMuseums, Sightseeing, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDMuseums, Sightseeing, FreeTYPE2 hours to Half DayTIME TO SPENDRead More
The State Library Victoria is a must-see attraction for book worms, architecture lovers and history buffs. Built in 1856 on 2 acres of land in Melbourne's central business district, the library houses a variety of books and historic artifacts, including famed Australian outlaw Ned Kelly's suit of armor and a collection of rare children's books from the 19th century. The site's architecture is equally as impressive. Pay close attention to the library's exterior, which features neoclassical architectural details like stone columns and a symmetrical layout, as well as the octagonal La Trobe Reading Room.
One of the best ways to see the State Library Victoria is to participate in one of the property's free tours. Most recent travelers said all of the tours are informative. Some tours are offered once daily, while others are only available on select days, so consult the library's website and plan your visit accordingly. Tours last approximately one to two hours.
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Opened in 1861, the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) is the oldest and most visited art gallery in Australia. Local artists are mostly featured, although there are works from international masters like Anthony van Dyck, Claude Monet and René Magritte. You'll also find unique exhibits like Ichwan Noor's "Beetle Sphere" – a Volkswagen Beetle that's been molded into a sphere – and Kohei Nawa's "PixCell-Red Deer" – a taxidermied deer covered in glass and crystal beads.
Though many of the museum's free collections are worth exploring, several recent travelers said paying extra for specialty exhibits is a must. Notable current and past temporary exhibits focus on iconic artists and art styles. The permanent Pacific Art collection, which displays indigenous artwork and artifacts from Pacific nations like Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and New Zealand, is another favorite.
- #7View all PhotosfreeThe Block Arcade#7 in MelbourneCafes, Shopping, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDCafes, Shopping, FreeTYPE1 to 2 hoursTIME TO SPENDRead More
Whether you're an architecture enthusiast, an art lover, a fashionista or a foodie, you'll find something to enjoy at The Block Arcade. More than 25 boutiques, galleries and specialty food stores are housed within this stunning structure, which features skylights, cast-iron details, mosaic floors and stained glass windows. Noteworthy shops include Haigh's Chocolates, Hopetoun Tearooms and a Dr. Seuss-themed art gallery.
Past visitors appreciated The Block Arcade's relaxed yet grand atmosphere and delectable food offerings. If you're a photography buff, you'll want to bring your camera. And if you visit during the holidays, you'll see beautiful Christmas decorations.
- #8View all PhotosfreeCity Circle Tram#8 in MelbourneSightseeing, FreeTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPENDSightseeing, FreeTYPELess than 1 hourTIME TO SPENDRead More
The City Circle Tram is a must-do. For one, it gives you a nice overview of Melbourne's top tourist attractions. More importantly, it's free. Just look for a burgundy and cream tram and hop right on. When you want to get off, push a red button (near the handrails) or pull down on the cord above your head.
Trams can get crowded, especially during the peak tourist season. However, many recent travelers said the trams are extremely convenient and efficient. If you don't feel like standing on a crowded tram, consider waiting for the next one. They depart every 12 minutes from the Flinders Street Station.
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The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is Melbourne's main stadium for cricket and the beloved Aussie rules-style of rugby (or footy). The National Sports Museum is also located here, and tours of the property are offered on select days.
The best way to see this sports arena is to come for a footy or cricket match. Recent visitors said all views, including those from the cheap seats, are superb. You'll find that food and refreshments served here are pricey but comparable to those offered at other Aussie stadiums.
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This is Melbourne's natural and cultural history museum, and there are all sorts of wonders to peer at, including several dinosaur skeletons and the preserved Phar Lap – Australia's late famous racehorse. Other must-see exhibits include a collection of Aboriginal artifacts and "Sam the Koala," an exhibit that focuses on the Black Saturday bushfires of 2009.
While some recent travelers enjoyed the museum, others noted that some exhibits lack information and did not justify their high admissions fees. Most agreed, though, that this attraction is great for kids.
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The Melbourne Zoo opened in 1862 and holds the distinction of being Australia's oldest zoo. The property is home to more than 300 animal species, most of which are free to roam in areas that mimic their own natural habitats. Aussie natives include kangaroos, wallabies, platypuses, koalas and wombats. And don't miss the Australian fur seals or the Australian little penguins: They're too cute to forget.
Past visitors said the Melbourne Zoo offers plenty for families to see and do. Plan on spending a half or full day here if you want to see the bulk of the zoo's animals. And if you have time, check out one of the "Meet the Keeper" talks, which give you a chance to see and learn more about animals like giraffes, elephants, seals and orangutans. Meet the Keeper talks are offered every 30 minutes between 10:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m.
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