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Melbourne is Australia’s second-largest city with roughly 4 million people, though it still feels relaxed and not too crowded. It’s best known for the many parks in its center, the great food, and much more.
This itinerary includes 35 of the best things to do in Melbourne and is based on the three months that I lived in the city, after being forced to stay here due to the covid pandemic.
Although it was sometimes difficult to explore all these places because of restrictions that got worse day by day, I was so glad that finally, restrictions eased up again, so I had more time to explore other parts of Australia.
How to get to Melbourne
As Australia is a ‘big island’, it is obvious that you can only get here by plane if you come from abroad. Although, another unique option to get to Australia is joining an international cruise and visiting also beautiful islands as Fiji and Vanuatu.
There are flights from everywhere in the world to this amazing city and search engines as Skyscanner, Kiwi, and Trip, which are my favorites, are the best way to find the cheapest or best flights to Melbourne.
When travelling domestically between cities in Australia, there are multiple ways like flying with Virgin, Tiger airways, or bus services like Greyhound.
A great way to travel around Australia is using Greyhound because they provide convenient stops along the way, and sometimes they also go on sale for cheap! You can also check if your hotel offers to pick up service from city centres or train stations.
If you’re travelling into the great outback, I highly recommend taking a car and hiring a trustworthy tour guide because it’s really difficult to get around. However, if you want to travel through each city at your own pace, renting or buying a car as I did is a good option because it provides convenience and freedom!
Since I already mentioned Greyhound, I should also mention that they offer luxury bus services which are great for long-distance travelling! In addition, they provide comfortable seats and A/C, so it’s worth checking out.
If you’re looking to go between cities, I recommend taking a flight because they are relatively quick and affordable. Many airlines offer this service, including Qantas, Jetstar or Virgin!
You can search for flights around Australia with the Kiwi Search engine above
BEST TIME TO VISIT MELBOURNE
Melbourne is a great location to visit any time of the year because it doesn’t have extremely harsh winters where you can never leave your home or summer with scarily high temperatures, though it will get cold in wintertime!
However, if you are planning to visit Melbourne, I recommend going between February and June because temperatures are pleasant, it’s right before the school holidays, so more places are open, and it’s not as crowded.
Where to stay in Melbourne
There are a lot of options on where to stay in Melbourne. From cheap backpacker hostels to luxury hotels and AirBnb’s. Great neighborhoods like the CBD or North Melbourne are perfect places to stay when you want to explore the city with public transport.
During the pandemic, I stayed at the Miami Hotel, which was an excellent and affordable choice! If you’re looking for something more luxurious, I recommend staying in The Victoria Melbourne.
The main reason I recommend and stayed at the Miami Hotel is for the affordable price, the secured parking area, and its perfect location.
The Miami Hotel has also a common kitchen to cook your own meals and laundry facilities.
This hotel is great if you want something more modern and comfortable!
It’s located in the Docklands, so it’s perfect for spending a day exploring there as well as checking out the beautiful view from your room.
If you’re looking for a hotel that provides five-star service and luxurious amenities, then this is the place to be!
It’s located in the CBD and has everything from an indoor pool, sauna, jacuzzi, gym, and even shopping!
A 5-day itinerary for Melbourne
A 5-day itinerary for Melbourne is perfect for anyone who wants to make the most of their time in Australia’s most livable city. Whether you have 3 days in Melbourne or even more days to spend, this itinerary is perfect to adapt to your length of stay.
I highly recommend you spend at least three days exploring the richly diverse neighborhoods, taking in all that vibrant culture has on offer before getting stuck into your sightseeing plans.
This itinerary includes a few days of discovering the best things to do in Melbourne and some pretty amazing day trips from Melbourne, such as visiting the Yarra Valley or hiking in The Grampians National Park.
DAY 1: Melbourne CBD
Start The Day Early With A Coffee At Common Ground Coffee
Melbourne is known for some of the best coffees in the world and that’s why it’s the way perfect to start your itinerary with a delicious coffee from Common Ground Coffee. The baristas are trained in mixology and customer service, so you know your drink will be perfect every time!
In addition, they also serve delicious takeaway food or have an amazing lunch while seating on their terrace.
ADRESS: 225-229 Victoria St, West Melbourne VIC 3003, Common Ground Coffee
Visit Queen Victoria Market
It is the world’s largest open-air market, but don’t let that scare you away. It’s a huge maze of fruit-, vegetable-, meat-, and fish stalls with the skyline of Melbourne in the backdrop.
Every single stall has the best local products to offer, making it difficult for you to walk by without stopping at all. The prices are extremely competitive as well.
For me, it was a no-brainer to buy vegetables and fruit at Queen Victoria Market as it was much cheaper than the big supermarkets as Coles and Woolworths. Also, artisanal products such as olives, cheese, and chocolate are hard to resist.
The Victoria Market is easy to explore on your own but if you wanna experience the best of it, I recommend joining a guided tour in this vibrant city.
Read Some Books And Admire The Beautiful State Library
The State Library of Victoria is majestic. Even if you’re not exactly a huge bookworm, the architecture alone will inspire you. For me, it was a fun way to expand my photography skills and see all the people attached to their books.
It’s located in the center of Melbourne and easy to visit while you are exploring other parts of the city. Make sure you check out the website before you visit the Library. I was able to visit the Library only twice in 3 months due to other events and covid.
Wander Through China Town
The China Town area is the home of many great hidden gems – not only in the form of restaurants but also small shops. This place becomes so vibrant at night due to the concentration of young people out for their after-work drinks or dinner.
Chinatown is a nice neighborhood in the city with a lot of restaurants, bars, karaoke- and entertainment venues.
Tip: Have lunch or dinner at Dragon Hotpot, you can choose your own vegetables, meat and fish and they prepare it for you. It is also very affordable as you pay for the weight of the food you take.
BOOK: With this City Walking Tour, you will discover the best-hidden gems in Melbourne.
Do Some Shopping In Melbourne CBD
Melbourne is the perfect place for some shopping. To start with Melbourne Central, which is a shopping mall that has beautiful architecture, impressive cathedral-like pillars, and a glass ceiling. This place is somewhere you want to spend some time walking around.
Some of my favorite places for shopping in Melbourne are The Emporium Mall, Elizabeth Street, Collins Lane, and Chadstone. Although you should visit the H&M on Elizabeth Street as it is probably the most beautiful H&M store I’ve been to.
Of course, it’s not all about shopping, but it’s definitely somewhere you can kill time when it’s a rainy day.
Tip: Chadstone is outside the city and easy to combine with a day trip to the Mornington Peninsula or the Yarra Valley
Visit The Royal Arcade & Block Arcade
Walk through these shops in order to get a better grasp of the city’s culture. The owners are passionate about their products, making it difficult not to purchase anything when you step in.
These small vintage shopping malls are more than just stores; they’re an experience. You can find all sorts of treasures in these two historic arcades- from old-school video games to boutique clothing lines with some really catchy t-shirts or artisanal handmade cakes and pies.
BOOK: A guided tour to discover all the Lanes and Shopping Arcades of this amazing city
Discover The Street Art In Union Lane – Hosier Lane – Ac/DC Lane
Melbourne has a vibrant street art scene that covers buildings and roads, laneways, and back alleys. Keep your eyes peeled for the world-class graffiti because it’s everywhere! One of my favorite places to see some is Union Lane or Hosier Lane.
If you walk up these lanes, you will discover murals on every other wall. It’s truly amazing how much effort went into these works of art, which are all curated by local artists.
Another great place to check out is Ac/DC lane – this one is where the Led Zeppelin song was filmed for their DVD release “The Song Remains The Same” featuring Paul Rodgers as lead singer (the original singer was Robert). These days, this lane features some great street art.
Visit Fed Square
Fed Square is a great place to spend your evening. They host events year-round, from music festivals to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival. In addition to all of this, Fed Square has an amazing outdoor area where you can purchase food and drinks from a number of different vendors.
It’s also near the Yarra River, which makes it a perfect place to relax and unwind. Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, I was not able to visit any event at Fed Square but make sure you add this place to your Melbourne itinerary.
Visit Flinders Station And Take The Free Tram On Elizabeth Street To End The Day
As far as train stations go, Flinders Station in Melbourne is one of the most beautiful ones. It has a neo-classical design with arches, columns, and ornate details that make it look like something out of an old Hollywood movie enhanced by its location next to St Paul’s Cathedral.
This is definitely one place you want to spend some time walking around at night – especially if you are craving some ice cream. Visit the area around Flinders Station also at night opposite the Yarra River as the lights give beautiful reflections on the water.
Day 2: Southern Melbourne:
Visit the South Melbourne Market
This is Australia’s oldest operating fresh food market which has been around for about 150 years. As the name suggests, the market is located in the South of Melbourne and has different areas. From fresh fish and bakeries to household gadgets and fortune-tellers.
I would recommend spending some time walking around each area because you can get anything from handmade products to some beautifully fresh produce. Also, the best time to visit the market is on a Sunday as it has more stalls open than during the week.
Tip: Check the website for the most up-to-date trading hours of the South Melbourne Market.
BOOK: Visit the market and many other sights with a guided walking tour around Melbourne.
Visit The Shrine Of Remembrance
The shrine of remembrance is a beautiful World War I memorial in the middle of downtown Melbourne. It’s a great place to take interesting photos, and you can easily spend an hour there taking everything in (its beauty and history).
Although it was built to honor Australia’s war veterans, it’s open to everyone and promotes peace, making it a perfect place for people from all walks of life to visit if they are looking for peace and quiet.
Discover The Beautiful Flowers And Birds In The Royal Botanic Garden
Melbourne’s newest crown jewel, the Royal Botanic Gardens, is located in South Yarra, and at over 60 hectares, they are one of the largest botanical gardens on earth.
If you like plants and flowers, you will love this place as it has a wide range of species (over 10 000) and lots of different areas to see them such as an azalea garden, rock garden, and heathland walk, among others.
They also host concerts and outdoor movies during warm months, which is another great way to spend your evening after exploring all that South Yarra has to offer (I definitely recommend visiting).
Discover Some Art In The National Gallery Of Victoria (NGV)
This is the oldest and one of the best art museums in Australia. It’s so large that it has been divided into two buildings- NGV International, specializing in modern and contemporary art, and The Ian Potter Centre: Australian art, which features mainly Australian art (although there are some interesting international exhibitions too).
One of my favorite works at this museum was “Triennial Profile” from Refik Anadol, a huge 3D animated screen that combines visual and audio art together- it’s truly amazing to see when you get up close to it!
TIP: The entrance to the NGV is free although some temporary exhibitions might require buying tickets in advance. Visit the website of NGV for more information about the newest exhibitions
End The Day With A Sunset At The Eureka Sky Tower
Eureka Skytower is the best spot to watch Melbourne’s sunset over the Yarra River because it offers amazing views of downtown and you can make some amazing photos from a different perspective. It’s also located on the Southbank, so you can spend an hour or two walking around there if just looking for somewhere to relax and unwind.
For an extra fee, you can do an optional attraction that’s only for the brave among us. A small glass room is built on the outside of the building and the floor will become transparent once you enter. Are you afraid of heights? This attraction might not be for you then.
This is one of my favorite things to do in Melbourne and I actually liked it so much that I bought tickets for 3 different dates, although, I couldn’t go the last time due to the pandemic restrictions.
BOOK: Buy your tickets in advance and make sure you show up early before sunset as it is the most popular time for visiting the Eureka Skytower
Watch The Crown Plaza Fire Show Along The Yarra River
The best place to watch the fire show is right next to or in front of the Crown Hotel in Melbourne. The fire towers are placed on the banks of the Yarra River and I didn’t notice the towers the first time as they were bigger than I thought.
Another great place to watch the fireballs blown in the air is from the Bridge or the opposite side of the Yarra River.
Day 3: North Melbourne And The Vintage Neighbourhoods
Explore The Vintage Markets And Shops Of Brunswick and Fitzroy
Brunswick is the best place to buy some vintage products as there are over 200 shops and cafes open from Monday to Sunday. The glory of this place is that you can discover so many different stores ranging from second-hand clothing stores, music shops, bookstores, and one-of-a-kind furniture pieces.
I personally loved walking around to find some beautiful murals in both neighborhoods but you can easily spend some hours shopping and walking around all the vintage stores perusing these little trinkets, which makes it great for people with lots of free time on their hands!
The Fitzroy Market is open every Saturday from 9 AM to 2 PM.
Discover Hidden Street Art In Brunswick And Fitzroy
Melbourne is known for having amazing street art covering almost every corner of the city. However, the best place to see some impressive wall art pieces is in the neighborhoods of Brunswick and Fitzroy.
There are so many different types of images ranging from old school graffiti, stencils, and paintings that it’s hard not to get caught up in admiring them all.
The beauty about this place is that you can spend as much time as you want there because it’s really well set out with a lot of interesting cafes nearby as well as a market on Saturdays where you can take things easy after spending an hour or two searching for the beautiful murals.
TIP: Keep an eye on my blog as I will write an article about the most beautiful murals of Melbourne soon.
Take A Walk In The Carlton Garden & Visit The Royal Exhibition Building
The Carlton Gardens is the best place to take a stroll if you want to enjoy nature and meditate on life. The gardens are stunningly beautiful during autumn and spring because of the flowers that adorn most parts.
You can easily spend an hour or two walking around admiring this gorgeous garden which makes it great for people who love being outdoors. It’s also very close to the CBD of Melbourne, which makes it easy to explore other parts of the city.
Visit the Old Melbourne Gaol
The Old Melbourne Gaol was the main goal in Victoria back when it first opened its doors to prisoners during the gold rush. Hundreds of criminals were locked up here until they decided to either let them go or execute them (usually with hanging).
This place is particularly interesting because you can see how Australians lived during this period and all the different types of punishment they dealt out.
The museum is very well set out to spend an hour or two walking through it, making it perfect for anyone who wants to learn more about Australia’s dark history!
However, I was not able to visit the Old Gaol as it was closed for public during the Pandemic, It is definitely worth to visit.
MORE INFO: Old Gaol Melbourne
End Your Day With An Amazing Dinner In Little Italy
If you love fresh Italian food, there is no better place than Little Italy in Melbourne. There are so many different restaurants that it’s hard to choose which one you want to try out, but my favorite was the pasta at Tiamo and the amazing ice cream of Pidapipó Gelateria.
The restaurant itself has a very warm feeling because of its rustic interior design, which makes for great for a romantic dinner! Definitely recommend staying here if you love Italian food or if you just feel like treating yourself because it’s not too expensive either.
ADDRESS: 303 Lygon St, Carlton VIC 3053, Tiamo
Day 4: The Beaches Of Melbourne
Visit The St Kilda Promenade Market
The St Kilda Promenade Market is the perfect place to spend a Sunday in Melbourne. This iconic market has been running for over 150 years, making it one of Australia’s oldest markets still operating in its original location!
I loved walking around this place because there were so many interesting stalls selling handmade goods, paintings, and even vintage clothing. There are also some great food stalls there that sell all kinds of different cuisines ranging from Mexican, Italian, Spanish and German specialties
EXTRA INFO: The St Kilda Market is open every Sunday from 10.00 till 16.00
Relax At The Beach Of St Kilda
St Kilda beach is the perfect place to relax and spend a day with your friends. The best thing about this beach is that it has a laid-back feeling, making for great photos on Instagram!
In addition, there are always interesting things around the beach, such as yoga classes and cycling, which fascinate me because it’s so different from what you see in Europe.
I went a few times to St Kilda Beach and had a picnic on the beach or just relaxed and read a book.
Visit Luna Park
I had a lot of fun at Luna Park because it’s such an iconic place for Australia. Luna Park is basically a theme park with some pretty old rides, but this makes it perfect for anyone who loves going on rollercoasters and exploring new things!
One of the most popular attractions in Luna Park is the “Big Dipper”, but make sure you check out the website and opening hours on their website before you go.
There is also a Luna Park in Sydney for those who like adrenaline!
BOOK: Buy your tickets for Luna Park in advance here
Take Some Photos At The Colorful Cabins On Brighton Beach
The colorful cabins at Brighton Beach are some of the most iconic things about Melbourne because they’re so aesthetically pleasing. The best thing about this place is that you can take all kinds of different photos depending on what kind of color you like!
Don’t feel shy to pose as you won’t be the only one posing in front of the colorful cabins. The best time to visit Brighton Beach is probably early in the morning and if you come by car, don’t forget to pay at the parking area. Traffic controllers come here often to check the tickets.
BOOK: Visit the Brighton Beach houses with a cycling tour along the beaches of Melbourne
Try To Spot Penguins On The St Kilda Pier
One of the coolest things to do in Melbourne is watching the penguins at St. Kilda’s Pier. This is such a cool experience, but after doing some research, I found out that it only happens in the right season, so make sure to do some research before you go.
However, if you can’t go during the right season, the St. Kilda Pier is always beautiful to walk along during sunrise and sunset with a beautiful skyline of Melbourne in front of you.
End The Day With An Amazing Sunset
To end the day, I highly recommend heading to St Kilda pier and watching the sunset there because it was probably one of my favorite moments in Melbourne.
A golden glow created a beautiful sight on the city’s skyline from the St Kilda Pier and when we turned around, a rainbow occurred over St Kilda Beach, a magical feeling!
Although, just visiting St Kilda pier during the daytime is also a good option as there are many bars and restaurants along the promenade.
Day 5: Daytrips from Melbourne
Taste Wines In The Yarra Valley
Distance from Melbourne: 50 min. – 55km
Yarra Valley is home to some of the most exquisite wines in Australia. So, if you’re interested in trying these wines or your friends are really into wine, I recommend visiting this place because tasting new wines for some people is an experience within itself!
At every vineyard, there will be someone who can give you recommendations about what kind of wine you should try depending on your preferences, or just ask for a sampling plate to try different wines for great prices.
I went to the vineyards of Chandon and the Yering Farm Wines and had an amazing tasting experience, especially the Yering Farm Wines because of its familiar atmosphere and amazing views over the vineyards. Although Chandon was great, it was a bit more expensive.
BOOK: Join this wine-tasting tour from Melbourne and visit 4 different vineyards in the Yarra Valley including the Yering Farm Wines and Chandon.
Distance from Melbourne: 1 hour – 80km
If you’re interested in the seaside lifestyle, the Mornington Peninsula is definitely something for you because it’s the best place to relax and have fun. Of course, every beach is perfect for Instagram photos and if you visit the Peninsula between November and March you might be able to pick your own strawberries.
I spent a few days around the Mornington Peninsula during the Easter weekend and it was amazing although it is one of the busiest periods of the year here.
Waking up with a coffee at Cafe Del Sol, jumping from the rocks at Back Beach, and tasting some delicious wines at Montalto Vineyards was just what I needed during this short-break trip.
BOOK: Book a day trip to the Montalto Vineyards and relax in their beautiful garden with some great food.
A Road Trip Along The Great Ocean Road
Distance from Melbourne: Anglesea: 1 hour 20min. – 115km / Peterborough: 3 hours – 250km
The city of Melbourne has a lot to offer but there are also amazing day trips that you can make in just a few hours driving from the city. Wine tastings in the Yarra Valley or chasing waterfalls in The Great Otway National Park are just a few options.
Probably the most epic and popular day trip is making a road trip along with the Great Ocean Road in Australia, where you can admire the 12 apostles, one of the new 7 wonders from land.
BOOK: If you don’t have your own transport then book this amazing Great Ocean Road experience from Melbourne
READ ALSO: The Great Ocean Road: 9 amazing viewpoints
Pick Your Own Sunflowers
Distance from Melbourne: 1 hour 20 min. – 115km
When you have only 4 days in Melbourne and don’t want to spend your days at the beach but do something fun and unique, go pick your own sunflowers in Dunnstown.
It’s a 1-hour and 30-min drive from Melbourne, and close to Ballarat, which is also a nice city to explore.
Make sure you take your camera with you to snap some amazing photos. It’s a 5 AU$ entrance fee but you can stay as long as you want and walk through the beautiful yellow fields.
MORE INFO: Check on Instagram @pickyourownsunflowers to get the latest news of the sunflowers
A Visit To Philip Island
Distance from Melbourne: 2 hours – 150km
For those who love animals and some hidden gems, I would highly recommend visiting Philip Island because it’s one of the few places in Australia where you can get close to wild penguins!
Make sure you also visit Philip Island Nature Park, where you can make a beautiful walk along Woolamai Beach to the Pinnacles lookout. The best part about this trip was a picnic with a beautiful sunset at Red Rock Beach.
BOOK: Explore Philip Island and most of the beautiful spots with this day tour from Melbourne.
READ ALSO: 7 amazing things to do on Philip Island
Chasing Waterfalls In Great Otway National Park
Distance from Melbourne: 2 hours 45 min. – 210km
If you’re interested in getting some great photos for Instagram as well as seeing some amazing places, then I highly recommend going to Great Otway National Park. This Park has so many things that will help give your feed more character and keep it interesting because who doesn’t love waterfalls?
There are many different ones, but the Hopetoun Falls, Phantom Falls, and Jamieson Creek Campsite were my favorite places in the Great Otway National Park!
Grampians National Park
Distance from Melbourne: 3 hours – 260km
Honestly, the best thing about this place is that you can do whatever your heart desires because everyone has a different experience in Grampians National Park. There are many activities to participate in, like hiking and camping, However it is the ultimate place to take some stunning pictures from Victorias most beautiful National Park.
The best views of Grampians National Park are from The Balconies, but if you want an experience, hike up the Hollow Mountain, where you get panoramic views of Australia’s most impressive mountains!
The hike up the Hollow Mountain was incredibly beautiful with the sunset but be careful as I lost the signs of the hiking trail and spent 2 hours more to get back down.
BOOK: Don’t get lost like me and book a guided tour from Melbourne to experience the highlights of The Grampians on a day trip.
Mount Buffalo National Park
Distance from Melbourne: 4 hours – 350km
I loved the visit to Mount Buffalo National Park because it felt like I was in a different country, and even though it was wintertime, you will still have the opportunity to do some hiking or skiing, and who doesn’t want to go skiing?
The best part about this place is visiting the waterfalls, especially the Crystal Brook Falls, a massive 200-meter single-drop waterfall. However, if you’re afraid of heights then try going to Eurobin falls because the stunning views surround you.
In Mount Buffalo are also many other things to do like skiing, climbing up rocks, or watching the sunset from the glass skywalk.
Melbourne is a great location to explore and has so many things to offer! It’s a really beautiful place with a lot of different experiences, unique landscapes, and amazing food.
I hope that my 5 days in Melbourne itinerary can help you to plan your trip to the most liveable city of Australia.
Let me know if there are other things I should add to this list and which places you enjoyed most during your visit?
Plan your Melbourne itinerary with my favorite travel apps
To plan my adventures, I use these FREE websites and apps as they provide the best information, the best deals, and they are user-friendly.
PICTURES AND EDITING
All the pictures on this page are made and owned by me. If you are interested in some pictures to use for your magazine, website, blog, or any other purpose, just send me an email and we’ll figure it out.
Do you like the edits? My Presets will be online soon so you can edit your pictures in just one click!
The camera gear I used for this trip
I never go out without my camera and many people ask me which gear I use. So to make it quite easy, I listed all the gear I used for this trip below.
Most of the time, I travel with the Sony A7III and the Sony 24-105mm/f4 as my primary lens but depending on the location, I change to another setup. However, I love the Tamron 17-28 to shoot in the big cities.