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5 Tours in Melbourne That Made Us Fall in Love With the City! 

5 Tours in Melbourne That Made Us Fall in Love With the City! 

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Are you looking for some of the best tours in Melbourne? We have a list of the ones that made us fall in love with the city that you need to try for yourself!

Melbourne is a big place and is surrounded by tons of things to see and places to go. I’m from Australia and we’re back to visit often. There is an undeniable charm here and I know you want to experience it for yourself. Well, these tours are the way to do it!

Regardless of which one you do, I know you’ll leave loving Melbourne as much as we do. So stick around and let’s get into it! 

Quick Pick: Our Favorite Tour

If you have time for only one tour in Melbourne and you want to book right now, our favorite tour is the Spirit of Melbourne Dinner Cruise. I can’t rave enough about the stunning views of the city as the sun sets, but then there’s the elegant 4-course meal and free-flowing drinks included!

It felt like a VIP experience the moment we were welcomed on board by the amazing crew and we won’t hesitate to go again next time we’re in Melbourne. It’s a big reason we fell in love with the city! The tour has hundreds of 5-star reviews and we can vouch that it makes for a fantastic night. It’s best to book in advance, but last-minute tickets are available!

1. Spirit of Melbourne Dinner Cruise 

Bailey cheers her wine on the spirit of melbourne dinner druise
This was such an amazing cruise!
Desert on the spirit of melbourne dinner cruise
Wine, dessert, and views of the city at night

The Spirit of Melbourne Dinner Cruise isn’t just one of the best cruises in Australia, but one of our all-time favorites. This all-inclusive experience offers stunning sunset and nighttime views of Melbourne, unlimited drinks, and a four-course gourmet meal. Seriously, what’s not to love?

From start to finish our 3 hours spent on this dinner cruise were nothing short of fantastic. Right from the beginning I loved that the staff greeted us, asked if we wanted a drink, and then told us where to catch the best views of the sunset onboard. Talk about 5-star service! 

I also really appreciated that they limited the number of people on the cruise to avoid overcrowding. Nothing ruins a cruise like too many people on a boat. But since they kept the guest list small, there were plenty of places for everyone to go and enjoy the sunset over the Yarra River. This made the whole evening more romantic and enjoyable for everyone!

Bailey looks out over the water during sunset during the spirit of melbourne dinner cruise
Sunset on the river

One recommendation I would make is getting a ride arranged to and from your accommodation. As I mentioned above there is free-flow alcohol so it’s nice to be able to have fun and not worry about driving back home – safety first! But don’t worry, this isn’t a party cruise, but an upscale experience. Even though people were having a good time, it never once felt like a booze-cruise.

This was an experience that kept on giving and we just couldn’t stop finding things to love about this cruise. The food was excellent (I recommend the chargrilled beef eye fillet) and the views of Melbourne lit up at night from the river were stunning. It’s also a neat way to see some landmarks like the Royal Botanical Gardens and Federation Square for free! If you’d like even more details, read our full review of this dinner cruise here.

By now it’s probably easy for you to see why this experience made us fall in love with Melbourne. It’s just such an amazing way to see the city and have an unforgettable night. I wouldn’t hesitate to book your tickets in advance since it’s one of the most popular experiences in the city. And for only $185 AUD, it makes sense why over 800 other people have given this cruise a 5-star rating!

2. Great Ocean Road Day Tour 

Bailey smiles and poses by twelve apostles on a great ocean road tour australia
The Twelve Apostles
Daniel walkng through Kennett River on a great ocean road tour australia
Kennett River is such a cool place!

To the south of Melbourne lies one of the most fantastic stretches of road in Australia. The Great Ocean Road boasts natural beauty unlike anywhere else and this full-day tour takes you to explore the best parts.

I’m a sucker for cute animals and nature so naturally, this tour had me smiling the entire time we were visiting Kennett River. Part of the Aussie experience is seeing all the iconic animals, so hanging out with koalas, wallabies, kangaroos, and kookaburras was one of my favorite parts of this tour. The nature walk included during your visit rounds off the experience perfectly!

loch ard gorge great ocean road australia
Loch Ard Gorge is stunning!

But boy oh boy were there a lot of other fantastic stops during the day. The Great Ocean Road is packed with them and I loved that you never spent too much time in the van because you were constantly getting out to look at something. The Twelve Apostles are easily the most famous of the bunch and after seeing them for myself, I can see why. Massive limestone formations that rise out of the ocean certainly make an impression!

Of course, this is only a snippet of what we saw and even though the sights were incredible, the guides are what made them special. They were top-notch professionals and as informative as they were funny. Since this is a small group tour, they get to know everyone and make it a truly personal experience!    

Even though this tour had us falling in love with the nature that surrounds Melbourne, I will say it was a very long day. Bring snacks (there will be stops to buy meals), wear comfy clothes, and be ready for a long drive back. I wish I had brought a book or some headphones, but I took a nap on the way back instead.

This was easily a 5-star experience and I’m not the only one who feels that way. There are over 4,000 positive reviews you can read here with people calling this a “must-do” when staying in Melbourne. With how much you see and tickets only costing $144 AUD it’s not one to be missed!

Related Read: For more options for this scenic drive, check out our full list of Great Ocean Road tours from Melbourne!

3. Phillip Island Day Tour including the Penguin Parade 

Penguins walk down a path on phillip Island during a go west penguin tour near melbourne australia
Penguins on parade!
Feeding a wallaby at the moonlit sanctuary on phillip island during a go west tour near melbourne australia
Feeding Wallabies at the Moonlit Sanctuary is awesome!

Yes, you read that correctly, this Phillip Island Day Tour includes one of my favorite things ever – a penguin parade! If you love animals, I can’t recommend this tour enough. This award-winning experience is fantastic for people of all ages and is non-stop fun.

Right off the bat, I recommend bringing a backpack with everything you need for a full-day tour. Extra water and snacks are always a good idea, but sunscreen is something you’ll want. You spend quite a bit of time outside and take it from me, the Australian sun is strong!

I loved that the day started at the colorful Brighton Bathing Boxes on Brighton Beach. A little sand between your toes first thing in the morning is a great way to start the day! This is a great place to snap some funky photos to share with friends and family.

Bailey walks on a boardwalk at the nobbies on phillip island with the ocean in the background during a go west penguin tour to phillip island near mebourne australia
Walking The Nobbies before going to see penguins

While the penguin parade is what gets people excited about this tour initially, I think the stop at Moonlit Sanctuary ends up being the highlight for a lot of people. I adore animals and getting to feed kangaroos and wallabies was such an amazing experience. If you’d like to do this when you go, bring some extra cash to buy food for them at the sanctuary – it’s only $3 AUD per container.

It’s not all koalas and wallabies, however. This endangered animal rescue lets you get up close to a whole host of iconic Australian wildlife like kangaroos, dingos, and even pythons! You often have to book those experiences separately, but our guide helped us book the koala experience on the day. Moonlit Sanctuary is one of the top reasons we have this tour on our list – it’s such a cool place to visit!

But, seeing the world’s smallest penguins waddle up a beach and to their little penguin homes is ridiculously cute. So I understand why people come from all over the world to see it. I appreciated that the viewing platform had enough room for everyone to watch the show and that it was set up in a way that didn’t disturb the penguins. 

It’s easy to see why not just us but thousands of other people loved this Phillip Island tour. Costing only $175 AUD it makes sense that it sells out all the time! If you’d like more info, read our full review of the Phillip Island tour here.  

Related Read: Many of the tours we talk about are with a company called Go West Tours Melbourne – read our unbiased review of them here!

Why We Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Lowest price guarantee – If you happen to find the same tour at a lower price elsewhere, Viator will refund you the price difference.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here! Or, for more info, read our detailed review about Viator here.

4. Yarra Valley Wine Tour 

Grape vines at a winery in the Yarra Valley, Melbourne
I love the Yarra Valley!
A tasting glass of wine is poured at a winery in the Yarra Valley
The wine was so good!

As people who actively take wine tours around the world, we know a stand-out experience from a sub-par one. We can easily say that this Yarra Valley wine tour is one of the best and our recommendation for anyone who wants to experience Melbourne’s incredible wine country during their visit.

While this day trip had all sorts of fantastic stops, what made it go above and beyond for us was our incredible driver and guide, Janiey. If you’re lucky enough to get her, tell her Bailey and Daniel say hello! Although taking a look at the reviews it’s easy to see that all of the guides are exceptional at what they do and will make your day incredible regardless. 

While this is a wine tour, there are some non-wine-related stops that I loved. Four Pillars Gin Distillery made an absolutely brilliant gin and tonic and the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie had mouth-watering samples for everyone. I may or may not have purchased several bars for myself!   

The two wineries you visit, Balgownie Estate and Rochford Wines, were nothing short of amazing with stunning views of the countryside and wine tastings to match. I thoroughly enjoyed my glass (or two) of Balgownie Estates black label pinot noir, but there was a great selection of both reds and whites we tried throughout the day!

This tour does begin at 8 am, so I suggest eating some breakfast before you leave so you’re not drinking wine on an empty stomach. This tour is all-inclusive so once you’re picked up, there’s no need to worry about paying for anything extra! A great experience available all year round, this wine tour is $189 AUD.

5. Melbourne City Walking Tour 

Scenic shot of a tram and train station in Melbourne Australia
Flinders Street Station is one of the busiest in the world!
Two boats cruise the Yarra River in Melbourne Australia
Walking along the Yarra River

We think this Melbourne City Walking Tour is an amazing way for anyone to start a visit to the city. Having a guide take you to little-known local spots, give recommendations for the rest of your trip, and teach you about the city’s culture is sure to have you swooned with Melbourne.

What I love about this walking tour is that you see a lot and only actually walk about 3 km (1.8 mi) over a 3-hour period making it accessible to lots of travelers. There is still a fair amount of standing though, so bring comfortable shoes! This is also a year-round experience, so wear clothing appropriate for the weather since rain doesn’t change the tour.

The other aspect of this tour that makes it so great is the fact that it has a maximum of 12 people making for a more personal experience. Our guide was able to answer any questions the group had and it was always easy to hear what he had to say.

And there is quite a bit they will tell you! Even though we have been to Melbourne tons of times we were stunned by the amount of history we didn’t know about when it came to the city. Learning how it became known as the coffee capital of the world, the history of the architecture, and much, much more. I particularly enjoyed ACDC Lane which has tons of rock and roll murals you can get pictures of.

Remember how I said Melbourne is known as the coffee capital of the world? That’s not just some title they throw around, it’s true! And on this tour not only do you get to try some incredible coffee, but local Melbourne beer at the end of it as well. It’s an amazing way to end the tour.

With 1,000 5-star reviews, it’s easy to see this is no ordinary walking tour, but a cultural experience that people from all over the world love. Plus, it’s the most budget-friendly tour on our list at only $99 AUD.

Where to Stay in Melbourne

The Langham Melbourne room
Photo credit: The Langham Melbourne

If you’re planning to visit Melbourne, let us help you find a great place to stay. There’s something to fit every budget, so check out our top picks from luxury hotels to budget-friendly hostels. Here’s what you need to know!

The Langham Melbourne – $$$

For an elegant stay – think marble staircases, fountains, and chandeliers – The Langham Melbourne is the perfect place. The hotel is in the middle of Melbourne overlooking the Yarra River. You’ll get beautiful city views from the hotel’s restaurant and from the indoor pool. It’s also within walking distance of a number of top attractions.

Rooms here start at $300 – $400 AUD per night. Check availability and reserve a room here.

Grand Hotel Melbourne – $$

Stay in the Melbourne Central Business District at this historic hotel that has plenty of character. The studios and apartments at the Grand Hotel Melbourne give you more space than a typical hotel and even include a kitchen. You can also take advantage of the heated indoor pool and the fitness center with a sauna. Plus, it’s just a few minutes’ walk to Crown Casino, Southbank, Docklands, and more.

A studio starts at around $200 AUD per night and can be reserved through Booking.com here.

Space Hotel – $

You don’t have to sacrifice style for money at this hostel. The Space Hotel is a modern hostel with lots of extra guest amenities like a gym, a hot tub, and even a mini-theater. You can head to the rooftop terrace to relax and enjoy the views. The hostel is conveniently located in the Central Business District and is not far from the Queen Victoria Market and Chinatown.

Accommodation options include both private rooms and shared dorm rooms. A bed in a dorm starts at $55 AUD and private rooms begin at $100 AUD. You can reserve a spot in advance through Booking.com or HostelWorld.com.

Thanks for reading!

Bailey and daniel smile for a selfie on the deck of the spirit of melbourne dinner cruise
Thanks for reading!

I hope our guide on the best tours in Melbourne helped you find the perfect one for your trip! All of these tours made us fall in love with Melbourne and the areas surrounding the city. While you can absolutely explore on your own, these tours make it easier to have a seamless experience – especially if it’s your first time here!

Don’t leave just yet! We have tons more travel inspiration, tips, tour reviews, and city guides on our blogs about Australia.

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