A freelance writer who can't resist good food and exploring new places. Visit my blog at www.travelchook.com
Published August 14th 2014
Top 25 Things to Do in Melbourne
Still doing the same old things every weekend? There is no reason to lack variety in and around Melbourne's CBD. The place is brimming with activities, events and beauty every day of the year. To help you on your way to getting some variety in your weekend, here is a list of the top twenty five things to do in Melbourne listed in no particular order.
1. Acland Street Visit the quirky Acland Street shops in St Kilda, just a short tram ride from the CBD. Gawk at the calorie laden decadent cakes through the shop windows and indulge for morning tea. Walk off the cake and coffee by taking in all the views along St Kilda pier and finishing with a late lunch on the water at Little Blue Restaurant (located at the end of the pier).
2. Bike or Walk the Yarra River Trail with Picnic Lunch
Bike or walk the Yarra River Trail and be sure to stop for a very leisurely lunch under a magnificent old tree with a river view. Take a backpack and fill it with food, drink, a reading device and small blanket to relax on.
Wander the floors of the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) and sit and view masterpieces. I have spent full days here and still not gotten enough of it. Finding a painting you love, sit down, and discuss it with anyone else who views it. I have found this a truly relaxing and thought provoking way to spend a day. If, like me, you cannot bear to leave the National Gallery until it closes but still want lunch or a hot drink, there is a café in the NGV.
Check their website to see what special exhibitions are on at present or coming up.
6. Indulge in a chocolate fantasy day Create your own chocolate lovers adventure and visit three different delicious chocolate cafes, indulging for morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea. Just a little treat at each place though.
Koko Black chocolate dessert - delicious!
Each cafe has a different vibe and so many unique and divine chocolate options that your decision making skills will be severely tested. But never fear, you can always get a take home pack to go – thank goodness. Here are a few scrumptious places to start you off - my personal favourite Koko Black, Lindt Cafe, and Chokolait .
7. See a Show at the Theatre
It is hard to beat a great night of entertainment at the theatre with dinner. The best shows will forever live in your memories and be worth every cent. To check which shows are on at the Regent Theatre, Princess Theatre, Comedy Theatre or Forum Theatre among others, go to all of the following: Marriner Group, Her Majesty's Theatre, and other theatres.
9. Lygon Street
Walk Lygon Street to inspect the cute terrace Italian restaurants, and enjoy dining on fine pasta and garlic bread. Walk off the meal by enjoying the rest of Lyon Street to find the ultimate gelato for dessert. It's not just the food, it's about the vibe. Soak it up.
10. A walk and lunch in the Royal Botanic Gardens
Walk the Royal Botanic Gardens following the walking map and take in the tropical glasshouse, lawns laden with colourful flowers, ancient trees and stunning lakes. Enjoy a leisurely lunch at the Observatory Café or Terrace Tearooms on Ornamental Lake to catch your breath and watch the swans.
11. St Patrick's Cathedral and lunch in the CBD
Visit the stunning St Patrick's Cathedral and take in the atmosphere by attending a service there. Do lunch in the city afterwards. With the all the fabulous café's in Melbourne, it can be tough to make a decision. Consider Chinatown Yum Cha or KoKo Black Chocolate Café. I know this is the second time I've mentioned KoKo's, but that's only because it is so damn good. Okay, you want the truth? I can't get it off my mind and am having withdrawal symptoms.
12. Shop, Caffeine, Shop, Caffeine, Repeat
Shop till you drop. Tramp the streets of Melbourne's CBD stopping wherever you fancy to shop, eat, have a latte, observe the crowd, admire the old buildings and explore hidden lane ways. Shopping for clothes, electronics, shoes, adventure sports gear or books is always a pleasure in this gorgeous city. It is essential to stop at random cafes for regular hot drinks so you don't wear yourself out. After all, shopping is supposed to be fun – not exhausting. Ditch the stilettos for flats and achieve a higher level of endurance.
13. MCG Tour – calling all sports fans, or not
Take a tour of the MCG (Melbourne Cricket Ground). This one is for sports fans who love sporting history. I must say that although I am not exactly a complete sports buff, I still very much enjoyed the tour.
14. Melbourne Zoo
Get an animal fix of fluffy furry cuties at Melbourne Zoo.
15. Yum Cha in Chinatown
Dine on dumplings at Yum Cha in Chinatown for an early lunch. Unsure where to go? Don't worry, I can help you out with an article on some of the best yum cha places in Chinatown Melbourne.
16. Australian Centre for the Moving Image
Packed with events, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Federation Square has a calendar which lists what is showing on any given day. Check the calendar, choose an exhibition or screening that appeals to you and just go. There is no shortage of cafes in Federation Square to keep your stomach happy afterwards.
17. Yell at an AFL game
Go to an AFL game and indulge in a few drinks and meat pie or other junk food and scream your head off (in support of your team of course). Although, it is not necessary to know or like the game to enjoy the atmosphere. Going to an AFL game is more than just supporting a team, it is a social event to share an experience with others. Oh, and let's face it, we all like to let off a bit of steam now and then. So channel your anger and frustration about your boss, finances, and love-life into screams that support a particular team and therefore look as though they are directed at the game. You'll feel better, and you'll fit right in.
18. Parliament House and the Architecture Tour
Visit Parliament House and include the Architecture Tour.
20. Photograph the Block Arcade and Melbourne Architecture
Photograph Melbourne in all its diverse glory. Start with the heritage listed Block Arcade and its stunning architecture, mosaic floor and beautiful shopfronts. The ambience of the place is unforgettable. Take your camera and photograph it in detail. There's no need to leave when you get peckish, as the Hopetoun Tea Rooms (serving decadent high teas) is right there. Booking in advance may be a good idea though.
Shopfront in the Block Arcade
21. Old Melbourne Gaol and Polly Woodside
Spend time in Old Melbourne Gaol and the Polly Woodside. A free tram conveniently runs between the two sites. It may seem like very touristy thing to do for locals, but sometimes being a tourist in your own city can provide new experiences. Just go with the flow and have some fun with it.
22. Ice Skate or watch Ice Hockey at Docklands
Do Docklands. Try ice skating at Docklands or watch the Melbourne Mustangs or Melbourne Ice play an ice hockey match, guaranteed to be action packed. If you've never been to an ice hockey match, take the opportunity to give it a go. It can be addictive.
23. Tour Melbourne while dining on the Tramcar Restaurant
Dine in style while sightseeing Melbourne streets at night on the Tramcar Restaurant. It can be quite romantic and the unexpected may occur. The last time I did this, a lone lady on a street corner must have decided it all looked far too civilised and straight-laced, because she quite deliberately took the time to flash the whole tramcar.
24. Golden Mile Heritage Trail
Walk the Golden Mile Heritage Trail to see some of the most amazing and oldest buildings in Melbourne CBD. Before you start walking the trail, turn on your iPhone (or other smart phone) to view the free map and plug in your earphones to listen to your free guide as you do the walk.
To get the map and free audio tour, find the Museum Victoria apps on your iPhone or other smart phone and download the free MV Tours app. It provides a guide to the Golden Mile Heritage Trail including a map, audio, images, and lists of stops.
For those that prefer a live guide, Hidden Secret Tours run a tour of this trail.