Melbourne is a city with surprises around every corner; discreet alleyways are home to renowned street art, quirky bars lie behind innocuous doorways, and the multiculturalism that gives zest to the city is celebrated in its festivals, museums, and most importantly – food! There’s a buzz of creativity and culture that permeates the city. For a dose of what Melbourne has to offer, here’s our pick of the best places to check out.
Affectionately known by locals as ‘Queen Vic’, this is the largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere and the perfect place to do a spot of souvenir shopping. Clothing, fresh fruit and vegetables, smoked meats, cheese, homewares and plants can also be found in abundance at this lively market, so be sure to bring your shopping bags.
Join a food tour and discover the Americana culture of Melbourne through its cuisine. The market is open from around 6am to mid-afternoon everyday except Mondays, when it is closed, and Wednesdays when it opens for a night market starting at 5pm.
Located in Little Bourke Street in Melbourne's central business district (CBD), Chinatown welcomes you with dramatic arches and neon lights, luring you in with the tantalising smells of dumplings, Peking duck, stir-fries and yum cha wafting through the bustling street. For any discerning foodie, this Melbourne precinct is not to be missed.
For culture buffs, don’t miss a visit to Australia’s oldest, largest and most-visited art gallery and museum – the NGV. Here you’ll find exhibitions ranging from local artists to international art royalty, covering contemporary art, fashion, architecture, dance and historical classics. The NGV sits a short tram ride away from the CBD on St Kilda Road, opposite the pretty Queen Victoria Gardens.
The Gallery is open every day of the week from 10 am up till 5 pm.
In need of some retail therapy? Melbourne Central is home to more than 300 retailers across five floors, and is one of Melbourne’s premier shopping and dining destinations. Catch the train or simply walk up bustling Swanston Street for Australian and international fashion brands, cafes, pubs and bars, a word-class cinema, beauty shops and plenty more.
While you’re there, make sure you look out for the hanging watch under the Shot Tower, which treats onlookers to a performance of the iconic Australian song Waltzing Matilda on the hour.
Melbourne is famous for quirky, hidden laneways, and Degraves might just be the most popular – at least for coffee! Situated opposite Flinders Street Station, meander down for a wealth of cafés and dining options in Degraves Street with this tour. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a bad coffee here, we can assure you. Degraves Street is also home to some of Melbourne’s famous street art, so keep your eyes peeled for the colourful graffiti.
Fantastic food, even better wine and farm-to-fork ethos, accompanied with a gentle seabreeze? It’s got to be Melbourne’s Mornington Peninsula region. This is a foodie’s paradise, with wineries, craft breweries, distilleries, farmers’ markets, artisan produce, fine dining and fresh seafood, with the added bonus of a gorgeous coastline and fantastic beaches. A short one hour drive south-east of the CBD is where you’ll find this coastal refuge from the hustle and bustle of the city.
Food and wine lovers will rejoice on a visit to Yarra Valley which is located about 80 km east from Melbourne CBD. Yarra Valley is home to cool-climate wines available for a sip in numerous cellar doors. You can spend a day vineyard hopping or explore the region’s other specialties like artisan chocolates and coffee. One activity to not be missed is riding a hot-air balloon at dawn over the wineries. Other attractions in Yarra Valley include Healesville Wildlife Sanctuary, Alowyn Gardens and Eltham Farmer’s Market that opens every Sunday.
Take a hot air balloon over Yarra Valley with this tour.
This picturesque stretch of road is famous for a reason — it is jaw-droppingly beautiful, and right on Melbourne’s doorstop. Wind your way along the coast as you drive by impressive limestone cliffs, sandy beaches and quaint seaside towns and villages. Make sure you stop by to see the surf beach town of Lorne, the famed 12 Apostles and the lesser known, but equally beautiful, Loch Ard Gorge.
You can’t go to Melbourne without catching a tram to the iconic seaside suburb of St Kilda. Browse through the quirky shops of Acland Street; go for a roller coaster ride in the historic Luna Park; indulge in an ice-cream as you wander the esplanade; and try to spot little penguins as you walk along St Kilda pier, which offers magical views across the city.
Bookmundi has teamed up with transfer comparison site Jayride.com for this article.
Jayride.com helps connect the dots between travel, travellers and ground transport. With their HQ in Australia, we thought we’d ask the experts for their recommendations. After you’ve found your perfect Melbourne holiday, don’t forget to book your airport transfer to ensure a smooth start to your trip.