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How to Spend 5 Days in Melbourne: A Day-by-Day Itinerary

How to Spend 5 Days in Melbourne: A Day-by-Day Itinerary

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Heading to Melbourne and trying to plan the perfect itinerary? There’s a lot to see in Victoria’s biggest city and with so many can’t-miss activities, we were a bit overwhelmed by where to begin! 

So after our most recent trip, we put our favorite experiences into this easy-to-follow 5-day itinerary. 

You’ll have three days to explore the city and see the top sites, like the Melbourne SkyDeck, Queen Victoria Market, and a dinner cruise on the Yarra River. Two of your days are left for day trips… which you’ll have to read to find out what they are!

Either follow this itinerary step by step or pick and choose your favorite activities, regardless you’ll have a great Melbourne vacay!

Day 1

Breakfast – Operator25

Eggs at Operator25 in Melbourne Australia
Photo credit: Operator25
French Toast at Operator25 in Melbourne
Photo credit: Operator25

The best way to start exploring a city is by stopping for brunch! You need fuel for these five days ahead of you and our first pick is Operator25. The building itself used to house the old telephone exchange, thus the name Operator25. While it’s a historic building, the design is modern and has a homage to its past with wires hanging from the ceiling!

Okay, let’s talk about food. This is my absolute favorite place in Melbourne to have eggs benedict. They take classic dishes and put an Asian spin on them, so the char siu eggs benny were super unique. Other times we’ve been here we tried the crab omelet, Yuzu smashed avocado, and a Bali smoothie bowl – all were good! They are very vegan/veggie friendly so you can find tofu scrambles and black rice porridge, as well as other amazing dishes. 

Morning – Go on a Free Walking Tour

Exploring Melbourne on a walking tour
The views are amazing!
Exploring Melbourne on a city tour
It’s a great free introduction to the city!

It’s important to get the lay of the land on your first day in Melbourne, that way you know what areas to return to! Luckily, I’m Free Walking Tours provides two excellent walking tours. And as you can guess from the company name, they are free!

We jumped on the 10:30 am Melbourne Sights tour, which lasted about 3 hours. If you’re following this itinerary exactly, you’ll want to take this same tour to keep up with the schedule, otherwise it’s too late in the day! We got to explore the top city sights, learn tons about its history, and get the local scoop on the best places to eat and drink. I couldn’t believe how quickly 3 hours went, our guide was so fun it made the time fly by. 

Be sure to reserve your spot online so they know how many people to expect, but it’s all free and only took us a second to sign up. They do accept tips though, so bring some cash to thank your tour guide!

If you want a more in-depth experience, this guided walking tour takes these staple locations (plus some hidden gems) and gives details you won’t hear anywhere else. You’ll walk around Hosier Lane, Fed Square, Melbourne Gaol, the Arcades, Chinatown, and more, making this an even more immersive tour than the free one listed above! I think this is a great option if you’re a history buff and want to learn the true stories and facts about Melbourne. This tour includes your guide and any admission fees, and some alcoholic beverages along the way for $99 AUD.

The tour departs at 11 am, and I recommend booking it in advance to secure your spot!

Lunch – Afloat Floating Restaurant

Our food we ordered at Afloat in Melbourne Australia
The food was amazing too!
A cocktail at Afloat in Melbourne, Australia
Mmm, cocktails by the water!

How does sipping on a cocktail and taking in views of the Yarra River sound? Pretty good to me! Afloat is a floating restaurant with gorgeous surrounding scenery and even better food. They change themes every summer, when we were there it was Viva Mexico – we had so much fun, it almost felt like we were back in Mexico!

We loved the vibrant atmosphere and refreshing cocktails. The food was so tasty and they offered a variety of small plates, so we ordered a few things to try. There really isn’t a better lunch spot in the city! They are open from 11 am to 1 am every day of the week.

Take your Afloat experience to the next level with this Bottomless Brunch experience! What’s better than brunch on a riverboat cruise with free-flowing drinks? Starting at 1 pm, this is more on the lunch side of brunch, but you’ll cruise down the Yarra River taking in all of Melbourne city sites. This is a 2-hour boozy brunch cruise, so you might have to pace yourself to keep up with the rest of the itinerary, or simply enjoy!

It includes a fantastic brunch spread, and of course, bottomless mimosas, prosecco, beer, or wine. This experience is only available on Saturdays and Sundays and for $118 AUD, it’s not a bad deal for this experience! Check the details and reserve your spot on this bottomless experience here.

Afternoon – Melbourne Skydeck

Daniel poses for a photo at the Melbourne Skydeck
The outdoor deck is cool!
The Yarra River as seen from the Melbourne Skydeck
What a view!

From river views to bird-eye views, you’ll see a lot of Melbourne today. Visiting the Melbourne Skydeck is necessary on your first day in the city. We were impressed to find out this is the tallest observation deck in the Southern Hemisphere at 300 meters (975 feet) tall. It was definitely tall enough to make my stomach drop!

There are a few ways you can enjoy the massive tower. We booked the Edge experience, which allowed us to stand in the all-glass cube extending off the side of the tower. You can look down (way down) and see Melbourne below! It was a bit nerve-wracking but really cool all the same. Tickets for this experience are $43 AUD. 

They also offer a VR experience, which looked like a lot of fun! The VR takes you to the top city sites and even on a virtual zipline for $49 AUD. If we were going to splurge I would have done the Cocktails in the Clouds experience, which includes a cocktail at Bar 88 and the VR experience for $50 AUD. 

We still went and enjoyed the bar without booking this specific ticket, and the yummy cocktails plus the views made for a great time. If you can time it to visit between 4-8 pm, you can hit their 2-for-1 happy hour!

If you’re looking for an upscale fine dining option, dinner at Eureka 89 is a fabulous option! It’s definitely on the expensive side, as the 6-course tasting menu starts at $190 AUD. But, you don’t have to pay for admission to the Skydeck and still get those killer views, so it’s great if you’re celebrating something or just feel like balling out! Be sure to make a reservation a few days beforehand.

Dinner/night – Left Bank Melbourne Restaurant & Cocktail Bar

Cocktails at Left Bank Melbourne Restaurant & Cocktail Bar
Photo credit: Left Bank
Meal and drinks at Left Bank Melbourne Restaurant & Cocktail Bar
Photo credit: Left Bank

For dinner on night one, we are taking you to one of the liveliest and most popular cocktail bars in the city. Left Bank Melbourne Restaurant & Cocktail Bar is more than just a cocktail bar, we were blown away by their restaurant too! 

My absolute favorite part of this place is the vibe though, it’s trendy and classy, but still very friendly and welcoming. It is only a 3-minute walk from the Melbourne Skydeck and overlooks the Yarra River, and we had a lovely evening watching the skyline light up from the rooftop terrace. 

Their food menu rotates seasonally, so you’re always getting something fresh! We had the salted baby calamari for starters, and it set the bar so high. For mains, we had the lamb shoulder (slow-roasted for 12 hours – YUM!) and the king prawn risotto. Prices range from $29 to $59 AUD for entrees, but you’re definitely paying for quality – everything we tried was amazing!

Finally, the cocktails deserve a mention, as this is a cocktail bar too! Their menu is huge and the showmanship of the cocktails made them almost too good to drink (almost). 

You can stop by the Left Bank for dinner until 12 am Sunday through Thursday and until 3 am Fridays and Saturdays. They also have special events and promotions that rotate through, for example, a free bottle of wine with two entree purchases (what a steal!).

Day 2

All day – Drive the Great Ocean Road

the twelve apostles on a great ocean road tour australia
The Twelve Apostles rock formation
Bailey in a fallen over tree in Kennett River on a great ocean road tour australia
Enjoying a nature walk at Kennett River!

Today we are leaving the city and embarking on one epic road trip. We spent the entire day driving along the iconic Great Ocean Road and it was the most memorable part of our Melbourne trip. This 240-kilometer (150-mile) drive hugs the southwest coastline of Victoria, giving impressive cliff views, giant limestone rocks, and even wild koalas! This day trip made me truly fall in love with Melbourne, and I’m certain you will too. 

If you like to explore on your own, you can easily take this drive by yourself and make stops along the way. However, we chose to join this full-day tour which planned all of the logistics for us, and since we weren’t driving both of us could enjoy the views the entire way!

We aren’t the only ones who love this tour, there are 4,500 raving reviews – you can read them all here!

The Great Ocean Road technically starts in Torquay, so after being picked up from our hotel in the city, we headed to the quaint beach town for morning tea and a chance to explore. We then officially began the drive and gave a little cheer as we passed under the Great Ocean Road Memorial Archway. Our first stop was Kennett River, home to the resident Koala colony! Even after living in Australia, I still can’t get enough of these furry critters hanging out in the trees. 

One thing we really appreciated about this tour is that they broke up the drive by adding in stops every 40 minutes to an hour. So we never felt like we were in the car for too long, and honestly, the views kept us plenty entertained. 

Bailey looking out at the ocean on a great ocean road tour australia
Don’t mind me, just taking in the views!

Next, our guide took us to Apollo Bay which has stunning views of the turquoise water and more to do than we had time for! So we simply stopped for lunch, gawked at how beautiful this place was, and then kept moving.

About 1 hour down the road our next stop was the most famous, most beautiful, and my absolute favorite: the Twelve Apostles! This is a grouping of limestone stacks, reaching 45 meters (150 feet) and they are strikingly impressive. Despite the name, there are only eight stacks, after one collapsed in 2005. We had an hour to explore the area and take in views from the viewpoint. 

Our final official stop was at Loch Ard Gorge, the infamous site of the 1878 shipwreck. Here we learned all about the rough waters of the Southern Ocean and how this area got the name “Shipwreck Coast” (bet you can guess for yourself!). We made one bonus stop at the Gibson’s steps on the way home to see how the rough ocean waves and winds have caused so much erosion. 

This tour lasts all day and is honestly a great value for money at $155 AUD. It includes hotel pickup and a comfy van that fits up to 24 people, as well as lunch, and national park fees. The guide’s commentary was really helpful, and there is also an app you can listen to that explains the sites you see as you drive. Be sure to bring some money as you’ll stop for dinner on the way home. 

Related Read: Looking for more tour options? Here are our top 5 Great Ocean Road tours from Melbourne!

Day 3

Breakfast – Lune Croissanterie 

A lady makes croissants at Lune Croissanterie in Melbourne
The savory croissants!
The croissants we bought at Lune Croissanterie in Melbourne, Australia
Yep, we got four!

Pastries aren’t usually our go-to for breakfast options, but when you’re this close to the legendary Lune Croissanterie even we can’t say no! This croissanterie is Melbourne famous and they offer a weekly rotating menu of croissants. Since they specialize in this one pastry alone, they are truly out of this world good. I love that their menu rotates so often, so you never know what’s on offer, but it will be tasty regardless!

This place is an institution and people will wait in queues for about an hour to snag a croissant. I recommend going on a weekday and getting there about 30 minutes before they open. Or simply be prepared to wait in line for a bit if you don’t want to get up that early! Lune Croissanterie is open every day except Wednesdays at 7:30 am.

Morning – Queen Victoria Market 

Bailey and Daniel pose for a photo outside the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne, Australia
Bailey walks the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne, Australia
It takes a while to explore the entire market!

This morning, we are going to hit the Queen Victoria Market! This historic market is giant and full of fresh produce, locally made items, eclectic knick-knacks, food trucks, and so much more. Bailey and I had so much fun poking through the shops to see what goodies we could find. We might have left with a box of specialty chocolates as a souvenir that never made it home!

Since it’s the morning, I recommend stopping by Bellboy Coffee for a cup of joe as you walk around. There are too many restaurants to choose from, and if you can come for lunch or dinner too, you can try even more. But to maximize our time, we joined this small-group food tour which showed us a truly unique side of Australian cuisine. 

Over two hours, our guide fed us Coffin Bay oysters, pickled octopus, and even peppered kangaroo! Don’t worry, it wasn’t all strange food, we had a lot of more approachable dishes like olives and dolmades. We learned a lot about the market’s history and why it’s so significant to Melbourne, and our guide was a lot of fun to explore with. We felt that this was a good price at $99 AUD for a lot of food and info!

Morning – Walk the Lanes and Arcades

Bailey sits on a bench in ACDC lane in Melbourne
Exploring AC/DC Lane
Bon scott mural in ACDC lane in Melbourne, Australia
The street art is super impressive!

Melbourne is full of unique art and ornate buildings, so spending a few hours wandering through these specific areas is a fantastic way to get a feel of the city. There are multiple lanes of street art and impressive murals, but our favorite is AC/DC Lane. 

This small alley is off of Flinders Lane and was once just a basic street called Corporation Lane. But in 2004, the city decided to jazz it up and dedicate it to AC/DC and all of their ties to Melbourne. This is also where the best music venues and dive bars are located, and artists don’t need a permit to paint here – so it’s truly a tribute to art!

You don’t need a ton of time to wander through the alley, about 30 minutes should do (it’s too early to stop off in one of the dive bars!). After, wander about 12 minutes down the road to check out the Block Arcade and the Royal Arcade. They have a totally different vibe than AC/DC Lane!

Arcades are covered walkways, and these two are quite lavish. The Block Arcade has a really pretty mosaic floor, but the whole thing is so pretty that it’s worth a visit. There are lots of shops around, and with Bailey’s sweet tooth, we were sure to stop by Haigh’s Chocolates for their amazing truffles. The Tea Room 1892 is also a great stop for coffee, tea, and cakes. If you fancy a high tea, this is one of the best in Melbourne!

Bailey poses for a photo inside the The Block Arcade in Melbourne Australia
The Block Arcade is stunning!
The Royal Arcade in Melbourne Australia
The Royal Arcade in Melbourne, Australia

During the summer, our favorite patio spot here is Cafe Segovia, whether you stop in for lunch, a coffee, or just a peek!

Right next door is the Royal Arcade, which is yet another beautiful covered walking area full of shops. We personally prefer the Block Arcade, but the Royal Arcade is still stunning and it’s actually the oldest of its kind, dating back to 1870! So it holds a lot of history within its streets and is an essential addition to any good Melbourne itinerary.

If you haven’t had enough treats today, be sure to stop by Caffé E Torta. This traditional Italian cafe has light dishes, but the real winners are their sweet treats! Paint n’ Powder is a rare perfume shop, and my favorite stop is to grab another cup of coffee at Kit Espresso!

To get a little more in-depth with the Lanes and Arcades area, you can join this Arcades Dessert Walking Tour. I hope you like chocolate because it includes 7 chocolate tastings and even a cheese and chocolate pairing. It departs at 10:45 am, so you might have to shuffle around some of your activities to fit it in, but it is certainly a unique way to experience this slice of Melbourne!

Lunch – Enjoy a meal on one of the laneways

Chicken dish at Vespa Rossa
Photo credit: Vespa Rossa
Seafood pasta at Vespa Rossa in Melbourne
Photo credit: Vespa Rossa

You will quickly find that there are tons of options for lunch around the laneways. We mentioned a few above, but our go-to spot is Vespa Rossa! Since this restaurant is tucked away in the block arcade alley, it’s a bit of a hidden gem, but once you stumble upon it, you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

They make fresh, Mediterranean-style food and have a cozy vibe. We had quite had our fill of sweets by now, so we went with some savory lunch options (although the french toast looked really good!). We split the Italian prosciutto pizza and the wood-fired crust was just perfect! The seafood linguini was really tasty too. Throw in an afternoon cocktail, and it makes for a lovely little lunch spot!

Afternoon – Free City Tram

free city tram around Melbourne
Off we go!
Scenic shot of a tram and train station in Melbourne Australia
Finders Street Station is one of the busiest stations in the world!

You’ll notice the cute green trams in operation as you explore the city, so we couldn’t resist riding them for ourselves! I love their old-fashioned aesthetic, although they are comfortable and even have onboard commentary these days. They are also an important piece of history, as the trams have been running continuously since 1885! 

The trams are free to ride when you stay within a certain zone. There are multiple historic stops you can take, and we used them as a self-guided hop-on hop-off sort of tour. We have at least three stops that you should take while riding the trams, Victoria Library, Flinders Station, and the Melbourne Gaol. Although, if you have more time you can definitely enjoy the other stops as well – see the map and stops here!

Victoria Library

The State Library Victoria boasts some of Melbourne’s finest architecture and is insanely beautiful. It’s located within the free tram zone, so it was an easy stop on our itinerary. It’s free to enter and you can get lost exploring. 

The library’s collection goes back to the 1850s and the whole building is massive. The La Trobe Room was the most impressive, sitting at six stories high with an ornate dome roof, and over 30,000 books! There’s more than just books though, we saw the armor that the infamous gang leader/outlaw Ned Kelly wore on his final showdown (guess the armor didn’t work very well). 

Flinders Station

You’ll quickly recognize Flinders Street Station, it towers over the street! Dating back to 1854, this was Australia’s first steam engine rail station. Today, it’s an iconic photo op, and a quick stop while you ride the tram. It’s located close to the Yarra River, so you can also swing by here while you’re exploring the city. 

There’s actually not a lot to see inside, but you can always go in for a peek! The old clocks out front are my favorite part, and it just has that old-timey charm.

Melbourne Gaol

The Old Melbourne Gaol was one of the most fascinating areas to explore. We can’t pass up a chance to learn about a city’s shady past, and the gaol has just that! This housed the infamous criminals such as Ned Kelly (mentioned earlier) and Frederick Bailey Deeming, who they think was potentially Jack the Ripper. This place definitely had spooky vibes, but is an essential stop during your tram ride. 

General admission is $35 AUD and there is a self-guided audio tour that’s included. If you’re really interested in the gaol’s history, I’d recommend taking one of the guided tours that are offered, like the Nighttime Ghost tour or the Escape Artists tour for $5 AUD more. 

Dinner/night – Enjoy a dinner cruise on the Yarra

Bailey cheers her wine on the spirit of melbourne dinner druise
This was such an amazing cruise!
Steak dinner on the spirit of melbourne cruise
So good!

One of our favorite Melbourne activities was going on the Spirit of Melbourne dinner cruise. The Yarra River is iconic in the city, so slowly sailing along it during the sunset and enjoying a fantastic four-course dinner was an experience we won’t soon forget (even with the bottomless drinks!). 

The cruise lasted for 3 hours, which gave us plenty of time to explore the boat, take in the views, and enjoy dinner. There were so many food options, but the standouts were the lamb kofa starter and the chargrilled beef filet entree, plus port wine paired with dessert. We were stuffed by the end! 

Watching the golden sunset from our window-side table was the cherry on top. Here’s a secret tip: message the company when you book this tour through Viator and request a table by the window, they were super accommodating and we had the best seats on board! It was a really unique way to experience the city, as we passed by some of the major sites we had been exploring the past few days. 

You can read our full review of the cruise here – spoiler alert: we loved it! We aren’t alone either, this dinner cruise has over 1,000 glowing reviews that you can check out here before you go. 

For the cruise, dinner, and bottomless drinks, we think the $185 AUD price tag is worth it! They also offer free cancellation 3 days before you go, so you can book your spot and have flexibility. This is a very popular experience, and if you have limited time in Melbourne, I can’t think of a better way to use it!

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.

Day 4

Brunch – Jardin Tan

Eggs on toast at Jardin Tan in Melbourne
Photo credit: Jardin Tan
Coffee at Jardin Tan in Melbourne
Photo credit: Jardin Tan

This morning’s itinerary will take you to the Royal Botanic Gardens, but before you start exploring, stop for breakfast at Jardin Tan. Jardin Tan is conveniently located within the botanic garden’s grounds and I love their light and bright open-air concept, perfectly fitting for the gardens!

The Kiosk is a good option for those looking for something to grab and go, like coffee, pastries, and small breakfast items. But I recommend heading to the Eatery, where you’ll find the good stuff! 

Their breakfast menu is small but mighty – I loved the smashed avocado toast, but have chili scrambled eggs and eggs your way and it all looks delicious! Jardin Tan also has a large menu for all-day offerings, and it’s Vietnamese-inspired dishes so they are extra tasty. 

However, the big highlight of Jardin Tan is their High Tea! Unfortunately, it is only offered at 1 or 2 pm, so you will have to adjust your schedule to do this, but the homemade scones, finger sandwiches, tarts, and free-flowing tea and coffee make for a lovely garden experience! Regardless of which you choose, this makes for the perfect start to your fourth day of exploring Melbourne.

Morning – Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria – Melbourne Gardens 

Melbourne Botanical Garden
So beautiful in summer!
Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria
You’ll be impressed!

Spending a morning at the Melbourne Gardens was a lovely outdoor escape from the bustling city life. We love exploring cities, but sometimes they can get overwhelming and I need some greenery to recharge. These gardens are simply stunning and have been around for over 170 years, so the plant life is lush and flourishing.

The gardens cover 38 hectares and have over 8,500 species of plants – it’s easy to lose track of time here. My personal favorite area was the Aird Garden, full of cacti, succulents, and plants I’d never seen before! They also have a self-guided Flora and the Baron tour on offer, which was really helpful to learn about the history of the gardens and the plants themselves. It’s free, you simply use your phone and it took about 50 minutes to get through the tour. 

You can check out what’s on at the Gardens before you go, as they host lots of events! While we were there, they had an outdoor cinema that looked like such a fun evening activity. There is even an enchanting Lightscape event that happens from June to August, which is perfect for a cozy winter activity!

The Royal Botanic Gardens are open from 7:30 am to 5:30 pm daily and are free to enter. We spent about 2-3 hours exploring here and could have stayed longer (especially if you’re a plant lover)!

Lunch – Teatro Restaurant

Just a 5-minute drive or a 15-minute walk is a fantastic lunch spot, you’ll probably be a little tired after walking through the gardens for hours, especially if it’s warm outside. So head to Teatro and relax over a delicious Italian lunch. Large, open-air, and trendy, Teatro overlooks the Yarra River and makes some seriously tasty food!

They are famous for their wood-fired pizza, and we absolutely loved the pesto gnocchi! And of course, we split a tiramisu because it’s too good to pass up!

Teatro is open for lunch Friday through Sunday from 11:30 am to 4 pm. You can also stop by for dinner every day of the week from 5-9 pm! I highly recommend thinking ahead to get a reservation for lunch, as it can get really busy.

Afternoon – Rent a boat and float down the Yarra River

Two river boat rentals travel down the Yarra River in Melbourne City center
This is so cool!

We couldn’t get enough of the Yarra River when we were in Melbourne, and I’m sure you’ll feel that way too. While soaking in the views of the river while on land and on the dinner cruise was fun, we wanted to explore the river for ourselves. So we rented a boat through On a Boat and were captains of our own boat, which was such a unique experience!

You don’t have to have a boat license, but it’s important to note that the chosen captain can’t be under the influence, no one likes drinking and boat driving! But the boats are very easy to operate and are all electric, so as long as you stick to the guidelines you shouldn’t have any issues. 

We grabbed a cooler and snacks and spent a few hours cruising the scenic river. Rentals are available between 1 and 4 hours, starting at $99 AUD for 1 hour and reaching $399 AUD for 4 hours. The boats can fit up to 9 people, so it’s actually a really good price if you split the cost up. Then it’s just a fun few hours on the river with your friends!

They also have skippered cruises available, or a luxury picnic on the boats if you’re here for a special occasion. You bring the food and beverages but they make the boat so cute with rugs, fresh flower bouquets, and special dishes and cutlery – it’s so cute!

Night – Walk along the river 

Melbourne and a lit bridge at night on the spirit of melbourne cruise
Melbourne all lit up!

By the end of day four, you’re probably getting a little tired! I am always shocked at how exhausting city exploring can be, so tonight, we are going to have a relatively chill evening walking along the river. 

There is a lot to explore as you wander around the Yarra. You can follow the Main Yarra Trail which will follow the river and take you by some iconic city sights. The Evan Walker pedestrian bridge allows you to cross to the other side, and the bridge is quite beautiful when it’s lit up at night (see the photo above)! There is a hidden set of stairs on the bridge that will take you to a small floating bar on the river, Ponyfish Island (shh, this is a bit of a local’s secret!). 

Enterprize Wharf and Park has some unique art installations, such as “Constellations” on the wharf. These are five sculptures of a dragon, a woman, a bird, a man, and a lion, which are unique to see. In Enterprize Park, you’ll see old pier posts upcycled into art pieces, these are even more impressive in my opinion!

There is even a free art walk you can follow! Enjoy a self-guided tour as you see all of the unique art of the area – there’s a lot! You can find the stops and trail map here

One of the most notable areas is Federation Square (or Fed Square for short). There is always something happening here, as Fed Square is the hub for arts and festivals in the city. The square takes up an entire city block and is made up of several buildings, including art galleries, museums, gorgeous outdoor spaces, and unique architecture. 

You can check their website to see what events are happening, or simply wander around the square and I’m sure you’ll find something quirky and awesome! There are a handful of restaurants and bars, so this is a good place to stop for dinner. Chocolate Buddha makes some amazing Japanese food and Beer DeLuxe is a relaxed pub with local craft beer. We loved heading to the Transit Rooftop Bar for a cocktail, it gave killer city views!

There are tons of restaurants you’ll pass as you explore along the Yarra River. My recommendation is to keep your eyes peeled for whatever looks good to you, and you can enjoy dinner along the river and explore until you’re ready to call it a night.

Related Read: If you loved this Melbourne itinerary, be sure to check out our 5-day Perth itinerary too! It just might beat Melbourne, if you ask me!

Day 5

Breakfast – Have a coffee in St Kilda

Bailey at St Kilda Beach in Melbourne Australia
St Kilda is beautiful!

We have a little bit of a later start for your final day in Melbourne. To make the most out of your time, head 15 minutes outside of town to St Kilda. This laid-back beach town is insanely cute, and it just so happens to be famous for its coffee – what better place to go for breakfast?

There are too many good coffee shops and cafes to narrow down to just one, so I’ll list a few of my faves! The Galleon Cafe is brightly colored and has that classic cafe vibe, and we love Fitzrovia and its giant (and delicious) sandwiches. In terms of the quality of coffee, I think Wedge Espresso might take the cake here! And for coffee with an ocean view, head to Beachcomber Cafe. Have I done anything to help you choose or simply laid out too many good options!?

Late Morning – Phillip Island Penguins Tour

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!

It’s time to leave the city and set off on some outdoor adventure – our favorite way to travel! Just a 2-hour drive from Melbourne is Phillip Island which has the world’s largest Little Penguin colony! Get ready for cuteness overload, especially at sunset as they all waddle across the beach in the Penguin Parade.

While you can go visit Phillip Island on your own, we think taking this full-day tour from Melbourne is the best way to go. The penguin walk doesn’t happen until dusk/dark and we got back around midnight, this made for a long day and late night so we didn’t want to drive!

The tour picked us up from our central Melbourne hotel, and like any good tour, included multiple stops to make it a full day. We took a short drive out of the city to the Brighton Bathing Boxes, which made for a quirky photo stop. After another 1.5 hours of driving, we reached the Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park.

Bailey and Daniel smile at the brighton bathing boxes on a go west penguin tour to phillip island
The famous Brighton Boxes!
Many penguins walk down a path on phillip Island during a go west penguin tour near melbourne australia
You stand on the viewing platform and watch the penguins walk by!

For those who love animals or are excited about Australia’s native wildlife, you’ll love this conservation park! We got to hand-feed wallabies and kangaroos (the highlight of this experience) and learned all that the conservation park is doing to combat extinction. Our guide here was so informative and welcoming, we were really excited to hear about the work the organization is doing!

We then went to the Nobbies to see Australia’s largest seal colony in their natural habitat. I couldn’t believe how many there were!

Finally, for the grand finale of the night, and for our five days in Melbourne, the Penguin Parade! There is a special viewing platform so you can watch the penguins waddle by, without getting too close to them. They head out to their burrows for the night, then in the morning, they waddle back to the colony again!

We had a fantastic time on this tour, and because we got back late, we were so appreciative of our tour guides. You can read our full review of our Phillip Island tour here! It includes transportation, all of your entrance fees, and your guide, but all food and drinks are on your own. This full-day tour is $175 AUD and departs from 10 am to 12 pm (depending on the time of year). 

Related Read: This tour is operated by Go West, amongst many other popular tours. Before you go, read our review of the Go West Tour company to hear our honest opinion here!

Where to Stay in Melbourne

The Langham Melbourne room
Photo credit: The Langham Melbourne

With five days in Melbourne, you’re going to need somewhere comfy to call home! There are a lot of accommodation options 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.

Renting a Car in Australia

Driving through the outback in a rental car in Australia
Outback Australia!

With many must-see destinations in Australia outside city limits, one of the best ways to get around is in a rental car.

Australia is a huge country and traveling between cities or getting to some of the most scenic spots requires driving. While public transit is sometimes an option, it often adds a lot of time and planning. Plus, we love the freedom of a rental car to stop wherever we want and not have to stick to a set schedule.

Car rental in Australia is super affordable, especially if you choose a smaller vehicle. We use the website DiscoverCars.com. It’s a search engine that compares multiple car rental companies for you – saving you from visiting each website individually.

If you plan to be based in a main city like Sydney, Melbourne, or Perth and do a few day trips while returning your car to the same location, we’ve booked rentals for as cheap as $25 AUD a day! Full coverage insurance can be added for around an extra $12 AUD a day too. The price will vary depending on the time of year, type of car, and if you’re able to pick up and drop off at the same location.

Discover Cars also offers handy filters so you can search for cars that offer features like child seats, GPS, or let you have an additional driver. There are also free cancellation options if your trip changes. Read our honest review of Discover Cars here for more details!

Check out the selection and book your car rental online here!

Thanks for reading!

Bailey-and-daniel-smile-for-a-selfie-on-the-deck-of-the-spirit-of-melbourne-dinner-cruise on a get your guide tour
Thanks for reading!

That’s a full itinerary! Five days in Melbourne is the perfect amount of time to get a taste of the city and explore some of our favorite surrounding areas. We followed this itinerary pretty much to a T on our last visit and it made for a wonderful trip!

Thanks for reading our blog! If you found this article helpful, be sure to check out some of our other Australia blogs. As locals, we’ve traveled all over this beautiful country and love sharing our experiences. Here are a few to get you started:

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

How to Spend a Weekend in Sydney, Australia!

25 Things to do in Melbourne for First-Time Visitors