Melbourne is a coastal city that takes pride in its numerous attractions. From hip cafes, wildlife encounters, wonderful gardens and incredible shopping, to vibrant nightlife and vast galleries, this bustling metropolis has a little something for everyone. For travelers visiting Melbourne for the first time, consider this your guide to this beautiful city on Australia’s South Coast, in the state of Victoria.
Channel your inner ‘shopaholic’ at the Direct Factory Outlets.
If you love shopping, then Melbourne is the place to go. Not only are there great street shops all around Melbourne, but there are 3 DFO’s as well – Moorabbin, Essendon, and South Wharf. All with great choices and varieties, these outlet stores are one of the best shopping experiences in Australia for great food, prices and crowds. It’s worth noting that car park fees can be quite expensive if you are going to be shopping while, so it is ideal to take the local tram.
South Wharf is the closest to the Central Business District (CBD) and is great if you have a few hours to spare. With two levels full of stores that range from sporting to luxury apparel, it is open from 10am – 6pm daily.
Visit the Tranquil Gardens.
There are many gardens nestled within Melbourne, such as The Royal Botanic Gardens and Fitzroy Garden. These natural beauties are a great escape from the busy streets of Melbourne and is a lovely place for walks anytime of the day. With quite a marvelous setting, every turn and angle offers a different view. You don’t have to enjoy flowers in particular to enjoy the serenity. There are many great National Parks such as the Dandenong Ranges and Mornington Peninsula National Park a stone throw away from the CBD.
Get THE view at the Eureka Tower Skydeck.
Probably one of the best and greatest point of view of Melbourne, the Eureka Skydeck stands a towering 296 metres above the CBD, overlooking the streets of Melbourne. Conquer your fear and take in the outstanding views. Notable attractions such as the Dandenong Ranges, Federation Square and Port Phillip Bay can be easily seen from the skydeck.
An adult ticket is $20 and with an additional $12, visitors can observe from a glass cube suspended 88 floors over the streets. There is also a kiosk for beverages and snacks. If you want to splurge, you can go to the 89th floor and enjoy fine dining experiences overlooking the spectacular city views.
See Melbourne from up in the air.
For those that have the extra cash, take to new heights and see Melbourne from the sky. Hot air balloons, skydiving and helicopter flights are all available around the CBD. For more spectacular views, visitors can also consider the spectacular Melbourne Star Wheel located at the heart of the popular docklands district. Be sure to bring your camera for this outstanding 360 view.
Enjoy Melbourne River Cruises.
If a bird’s eye view of Melbourne doesn’t take your fancy, you can see Melbourne as it is from the popular Yarra River. The Melbourne River Cruises offers a selection of cruises to choose from. Enjoy the views, relax and even dine. Or simply use it as a means of getting from one side to the other.
Encounter wild things at the Melbourne Zoo.
A lovely zoo for a great day out with the family. Animals are in spacious surrounds yet easy to view. This trip could take the entire day, so be prepared. There is plenty of shade and great areas to sit and rest. With over 320 species it is a wonderful place to get up and close with many of Earth’s great creatures. From tigers, elephants to little penguins, it is not only entertaining but educational. And if you want to take another step closer, you can drive 30 minutes out of the CBD and visit Werribee Open Range Zoo for a wildlife experience with a difference. If you prefer the underwater world then then there is also the Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium.
Explore the many sandy beaches nearby.
There are many sandy beaches near Melbourne, with St Kilda and Brighton being the most popular. With excellent views and water activities, visitors can swim and soak in the sun. Brighton Beach in particular has the popular bright painted bathing boxes along the long stretched beach that is worth to check out.
Take a day trip to the Puffing Billing Railway.
Puffing Billy is a great day-trip from Melbourne, and is open every day except Christmas Day. The adventure begins at Belgrave, a little town in the mountains. The steam train makes its way through the rich Sherbrooke Forest which have notable views of Port Phillip Bay. The last stop is the notable town of Gembrook where you can eat, and even get a few gifts at the Gembrook Market before heading back for Belgrave. The full return journey would take 5 hours.
Take a day trip to Mornington Peninsula.
The Mornington Peninsula is encompassed by the famous Port Phillip, Western Port and Bass Strait. Surrounded by natural attractions, activities and water activities the peninsula makes it an awesome base for exploring. Some notable activities includes swimming with dolphins and seals to snorkeling with sea dragons.
That is not all, the peninsula is also a great place to unwind and be spoiled, there is a fabulous Peninsula hot springs where guests can unwind. It is an immaculate place to get away from the bustling metropolitan offering both private and open spaces. Do book ahead as the Mornington Peninsula hot springs commonly gets occupied.
Coast along the Great Ocean Road.
With the striking beauty of the rugged but calming edges of Australia, the Great Ocean Road takes travellers up close and personal with the golden beaches, majestic ocean waves, and thick lush green forest, being the ultimate Aussie Experience. The road trip snakes along the rough coastline of the Southern coast. Here you can see world-renowned attractions such as the 12 apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, London Bridge, Gibson Steps, Bay of Islands and more.
This road trip alone will take a few days to explore, so make sure you set enough time out of your trip. Renting a car or motorhome is the best way to tackle this, as you can save on costs and have the flexibility to go and stop wherever you please. Also, book any of the Melbourne accommodation beforehand with a night at each destination you want to stopover. The Great Ocean Road goes through a few towns which are great for the whole family to enjoy, for example, Lorne and Apollo Bay and others with notable importance like Port Fairy and Port Campbell.
A final note…
Make sure to book your flight to Melbourne, as there are so many more activities and attractions for you to explore. Appealing to every type of traveler, you can find anything in the state of Victoria, from galleries, wineries, museums, theatricals and nightclubs. Your adventure awaits 🙂
Have you traveled to Melbourne? Share your favorite Melbourne memories in the comments below!
*This is a sponsored post by WebJet, as always all opinions expressed are my own.