Often lauded as Australia’s heart of culture, Melbourne is a blend of bustling laneways, world-class restaurants, sporting events, and incredible coffee. There’s something for everyone in this uniquely artistic city, whether you are a fierce festival lover or an artsy cafe dweller.
What to see and do:
Peruse through Queen Victoria Market
Home to over 600 small businesses, Queen Victoria Market is an exciting authentic market that has occupied Melbourne’s inner-city heart for 140 years. It is also the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere, sprawling over 7 hectares. Here you will find everything, from abundant fresh produce, intriguing art pieces and hand-made souvenirs, as well as adorable cafes and restaurants. On Wednesday nights, the Market holds the Night Market where people can enjoy live music and entertainment, festival bars, and global street food.
With so much to see and do, the Market’s vibrant and multicultural atmosphere makes even a simple stroll through the stalls a delightful experience.
Relax at the Royal Botanic Gardens
Boasting stunning vistas, tranquil lakes, and diverse plant exhibitions, it’s no wonder the Melbourne Gardens attract almost 2 million visitors a year. There is plenty to do in this 38-hectare sanctuary, from the Aboriginal Heritage Walk to a ride on the Garden Explorer, to Punting on the tranquil Ornamental Lake. The Gardens are also bursting with a myriad of amazing plant life, including rainforest flora, cacti, camellias, Californian species, and plants from Southern China. Even the little ones can enjoy themselves here with the Children’s Garden, with plant tunnels they can crawl through, rocks they can climb, and bamboo forests they can hide amongst.
Visitors can also unwind at one of two cafes and enjoy outdoor cinemas and theatre performances during summer evenings.
Try out the renowned coffee
Beating out world-renowned coffee cities, such as Rome and Vienna, Melbourne is often known as the coffee capital of the world. It’s not hard to see why. Melbourne baristas are committed to their craft and are known for their ingenious, innovative brewing techniques, redefining the standard for quality coffee. Even cafes in London even advertise that they have Melbourne baristas!
One place particularly popular amongst locals and tourists is Patricia Brewers on Little Bourke Street, a tiny hole-in-the-wall known to have long lines, friendly staff, and some of the best coffee in the city. However, it will be a challenge to find a cafe that is not amazing. Whether it’s a flat white, cappuccino, long black, filter coffee there’s a cafe in every laneway to suit every taste.
Breathe in the Art at the National Gallery of Victoria
As Australia’s oldest and most distinguished public art museum, the National Gallery of Victoria contains approximately 70,000 works of art spanning thousands of years. The NGV consists of magnificent galleries located a short walk apart, both with free entry to the permanent collection. From the ancient civilisations through the latest contemporary, embark on a time journey that takes you through different periods, styles, and inspirations.
The NGV offers a variety of extraordinary visual arts experience to suit visitors of all ages. Explore temporary exhibitions, Collection displays, films, late-night openings and performances, tours, or even programs for kids.
How to get there:
Take a direct or transfer flight to Melbourne Airport, located 22km north-west of the Melbourne CBD. There are several ways to travel into the city, the most convenient option being the Skybus service that runs 24/7, departing once every 10 minutes. Take a taxi if you’re short on time, although taking public transport via the bus and train would be cheapest.
Best time to go:
The best time to visit would be between the warmer months of March to May and September and November featuring moderate temperatures, less crowds, and lower air fares. The summer months from December to March is the peak season because of important events such as the Australian Grand Slam Open and the Australian Grand Prix while winter months from June to August bring in harsh chills, especially at night.