When I was twelve years old I had a counselor at sleep-away camp from Australia. I couldn’t get enough of the accent at the time and not much has changed since. Over twenty years later, I married an Aussie and in our travels, we moved to Melbourne for a while. I loved every minute of living there and wish everyone I know the opportunity to visit this beautiful city. To date, some of my favourite restaurants, markets, shops and things to do are held in this city filled with lane ways, a love of cafes and an outdoor lifestyle. Take a journey with me around this wonderful city.
Things to do in Melbourne, Australia
Getting to Know the CBD (Central Business District)
Collins Street: Fancy shopping amidst laneways filled with culinary delights & home of one of the city’s two Lindt Cafes
Spencer Street: Home to Southern Cross station; runs to Flinders Street (where you’ll find the convention center)
Swanston Street: Filled with souvenir shops, the arts center, Federation Square and a base for many tram stops
DeGraves Street: Café culture explodes here in a tiny laneway between Elizabeth and Swanston street-many cuisines available
Lygon Street: Home of Melbourne’s Little Italy
Sites to See
Melbourne Aquarium: Located on the Yarra River; find sea animals, penguins and a fabulous view
Old Melbourne Gaol: Visit and discover the history of Melbourne’s true ‘law and order’
Circle Tram: This free, red tourist tram regularly circles the CBD
Flinders Street Station: A central figure to the CBD, Flinders Street station is on the corner of Flinders and Swanston Street and houses train stations, food stalls (including Lord of the Fries) and buskers galore
Luna Park: This fun-filled amusement park is located in St. Kilda by the beach
Immigration Museum: Check out the stories of those who have journeyed to Australia to come to live
Chocolate Tours: Enjoy Melbourne’s ice cream and decadent chocolate at: Haigh’s, Koko Black, & the Lindt Cafe
Southbank and Crown Casino: A 24-hour entertainment complex complete with food, movies, shops, hotels and casinos located on the banks of the Yarra not far from Southbank’s busy waterfront filled with buskers, artists, restaurants, shops and dessert spots.
Chinatown: Wander Little Bourke Street into one of the world’s ‘longest continuous Chinese settlements’
Melbourne Zoo (summertime concerts at the zoo): Hang with Sumatran tigers, go behind the scenes with Gorilla keepers, take in the scenery with summertime concerts or just get your animal fix at a fabulous zoo.
Federation Square: Melbourne’s ‘Meeting Place’ – The cultural hub set on Swanston Street (just opposite the iconic steps of Flinders Street Station) is a one-stop shop! Events, tourist attractions, a visitor’s center/information booth, all sorts of restaurants/bars, interesting shops and arts museums are found in this courtyard setting that showcases fireworks, concerts, outdoor movies, live sporting sites and constant free WiFi in the heart of the city.
Shrine of Remembrance: The Shrine was built to remember and honour those who served/died in WWI and conflicts/peacekeeping duties since. If you happen to be in the city on ANZAC Day (25 April), head to the Dawn Service and be surrounded by thousands paying tribute and respect to servicemen/women in the early hours-it’s an experience that will touch your heart and will bring tears to your eyes.
Queen Victoria Market: Open Tuesday & Thursday through Sunday, this bustling market (my favourite the world over) has food, shops, cosmetics, fish/meats, deli and an ambience all its very own.
Transportation Services Around the City
Whether you’re heading from Collins street to Brunswick or from the city center to the sea, Melbourne’s public transport system can get you there. A MYKI card is a MUST for all visitors wanting to use public transport and can be purchased at a variety of outlets around the city (and of course at the trains stations). For day trips to the beach boxes of Brighton or Ballarat’s Sovereign Hill-hop on a suburban train or V-Line and enjoy the ride.
- MYKI cards/Tram Service/Trains & Busses
- Metropolitan train stations in the city: Flinders Street Station/Southern Cross Station/Parliament Station/Flagstaff Station/Melbourne Central
- V-Line (takes you from Melbourne to destinations in Victoria)
- *Sky Bus-pick up at Spencer Street Station direct to airport
- City-Circle Tram/Melbourne Visitor Shuttle
Shopping Around the City
Markets, direct-factory outlets, department stores, boutiques and everything in between can be found in the city-limits of Melbourne. Stalls with vendors selling their wares, discount shopping at outlets and department store sales are just a few ways to save a couple of dollars when shopping. Grab a long black/flat white from any barista in town and pop a pie in your face to sustain your shopping endeavors. You’ll find travel stores (Anaconda), international chains and specialty shops available to find that which you’re looking for or to stock up on gifts for friends and family.
- South Melbourne Market
- St. Kilda Sunday Markets
- Sunday Arts Market
- Queen Victoria Market
- Queen Victoria Night Market (Wednesday nights in summer)
- DFO at Docklands/DFO at South Wharf
- Laneways of Melbourne
- Melbourne Central/ QV/ GPO (high end)/ Australia on Collins (high end)/ Block Arcade (boutiques/cafes)
- Federation Square
- Collins Street
- Myer/David Jones (Department Stores)
**My suggestion…Tim Tams make the best edible gifts (just be sure not to eat them all before
you get back on the plane) and can be found at any supermarket around!
My favourite flavour: Dark Chocolate**
The City of Sport
(Cricket, Aussie Rules, Rugby League/Union, Soccer/Football, Basketball, Tennis)
Take in a game while you’re in town. There’s nothing quite like an Aussie Rules game of constant motion (without any padding) for eighty minutes. Roaring songs at a soccer match or the antics of those in Bay 13 at a cricket match at the MCG are sights and sounds of Australian sport. Formula 1 and the Australian Open are just a few of the world-class events that grace this city of sport every year. Don your team’s colours and join the crowd at any of these amazing arenas.
What’s your favourite spot in Melbourne?
What’s on your list when you visit? As a resident, how do you show off your city?
Visit Melbourne. Visit Australia. Enjoy the journey!