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25 Things to do in Melbourne for First-Time Visitors

25 Things to do in Melbourne for First-Time Visitors

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Planning a trip to the beautiful city of Melbourne? With so much to do here, it can be hard to know where to start!

We’ve visited Melbourne more times than we can count, and Bailey even lived here when she first moved to Australia, so we know the city very well. In fact, I’m a little jealous of those who get to see this city for the first time – and this blog will certainly help you with that.

So keep on reading, because we’ve got a list of the 25 best things to do for first-timers in Melbourne to ensure you experience this fantastic city to the fullest.

Our Favorite Things to do in Melbourne

1. Go on a free walking tour

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

Whenever we travel to a new city, we take a free walking tour to get our bearings. I’m Free Walking Tours offers two fantastic options, which are ideal for first-time visitors. 

The Melbourne Sights tour leaves at 10:30 am and lasts for around 3 hours, so it’s perfect for your first morning in the city. It took us on a journey through the city’s history and allowed us to check off all of the top sights. We even got personalized recommendations from our guide on where to eat, drink, and shop. 

Meanwhile, the Culture Capital tour leaves at 3 pm and lasts for 1.5 hours. I found that this was more geared toward those who want to get off the beaten path and see a lesser-known side of the city. To be honest, I think it’s worth doing both of these tours if you have time! 

You’ll need to sign up online so they can manage group numbers, but there’s no booking fee and it only took us a second. And yes, as is usually the case with walking tours, “free” does actually mean tip-based, so do bring some cash! 

2. 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!

The best way to enjoy Melbourne’s famous Yarra River is by booking the Spirit of Melbourne dinner cruise! In my opinion, it’s the most relaxing way to go sightseeing in Melbourne, and the four-course meal definitely exceeded my expectations. The chargrilled beef filet we had was worthy of a top steakhouse, and of course, we loved the bottomless drinks. 

If I only had one night in Melbourne, I would spend it on this cruise! The views are fantastic, and since the cruise lasts for 3 hours, you get to see the city bathed in golden light at sunset and then lit up after dark. You can read our full review of the cruise here. But we’re not the only ones who loved it, as it has 1,000+ excellent reviews, which you can read before you book

The cruise costs $185 AUD, and there are no hidden costs – not even tips, since Australia is not big on tipping! You also get free cancellation up to 4 days beforehand, and my tip to ensure the best experience would be to message the company through Viator after booking and request a table by the window. We did and secured the best seat in the house! 

3. 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!

Ah, the Great Ocean Road. It’s a stunning road that hugs the Victoria coastline, with some excellent stops along the way. The Twelve Apostles are probably the most famous, but we also loved visiting the koala colony at Kennett River, and Loch Ard Gorge is also very striking.

We visited the Great Ocean Road on this full-day tour so we didn’t have to do too much planning or drive ourselves. We had such a fantastic day and we’re clearly not the only ones, since it has over 4,500 glowing reviews! It was a small group tour and since we were in a minivan, we got to explore spots that big tour buses wouldn’t have been able to access. For $155 AUD each, we didn’t think it was too expensive for a full-day adventure.

You can also explore the Great Ocean Road by yourself if you don’t mind driving! I’d recommend heading out early and allowing yourself the entire day for this. Make sure to check out the stops I mentioned above, as well as the Razorback Rock Formation and the Island Arch Lookout. But personally, I’m glad we went on a tour.

4. See the penguins at Phillip Island 

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 an awesome bonus of a tour here!

Phillip Island is roughly a 2-hour drive from central Melbourne, but we think it’s so worth it because it’s home to the world’s largest Little Penguin colony! Yup, and if that weren’t cute enough, there’s the chance to see them waddle across the beach at sunset as part of the Penguin Parade! 

We loved sitting in the grandstands and watching the penguins. If you go by yourself, you absolutely must book tickets in advance, as unsurprisingly, it always sells out. Tickets cost $32 AUD and since the penguins arrive for their nightly walk at sunset, the exact times change each month, so I advise checking the calendar before you go. I also highly recommend arriving extra early in December and January, which are busy months. 

We actually took this wonderful full-day tour of Phillip Island so we didn’t have to organize anything ourselves, but we still had lots of free time to explore independently. We also got to visit the Moonlit Sanctuary to see koalas, kangaroos and handfeed wallabies, as well as stop to see the iconic Brighton Beach Boxes. It costs $175 AUD, which is a very competitive price for a full-day tour in Melbourne.

If you want more details, we wrote a full review of what we’ve dubbed the best Phillip Island Tour!

Related Read: This tour was one of a few we took with a popular tour company in Melbourne – read our honest review of Go West Tours Melbourne here!

5. Have a coffee in St Kilda

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

St Kilda is a beautiful seaside suburb that’s about a 15-minute drive from downtown Melbourne. We love coming here on sunny days in Melbourne to walk along the waterfront and head into the town center to grab a coffee. St Kilda is actually famous for its coffee, so I consider this a Melbourne must-do. 

We love the cute and colorful Galleon Cafe, or Fitzrovia is our top choice for food thanks to its huge sandwiches. And I get hungry just thinking about Wedge Espresso, which has great coffee and VERY decadent sweet treats. Or for coffee by the ocean, it’s hard to go wrong with Beachcomber Cafe

When I’m in the mood to shop (or need to buy a gift), the St Kilda Esplanade Market has some fantastic crafts and jewelry on offer. It’s open on Sundays from 10 am until 5 pm during summer and 4 pm in winter. And for families, Luna Park has lots of rides, including one of the world’s oldest rollercoasters.

6. Wander the 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!

The Queen Victoria Market is a huge, historic market in Melbourne CBD. It’s got fresh produce, specialty goods, and food trucks, so of course Bailey and I had to go and check it out! 

We absolutely loved The Mussel Pot, which is a famous food truck selling – yep, you guessed it – mussels! And if you have a sweet tooth, Koko Black makes incredible premium chocolates. They’d make great gifts to take home, although I don’t think I’d have the self-restraint for that.

In fact, we first visited on this small-group food tour, which took us on a 2-hour foodie journey through the market. We got so much unique and yummy food, from peppered kangaroo (yes, really), local olives, and fresh dolmades. It cost $99 AUD each and was the perfect introduction to the market. In fact, we had such a great time that we just had to come back again by ourselves later on in our trip! 

7. Explore the most beautiful library in Australia

Inside the Victoria State Library in Melbourne Australia
It’s pretty impressive!
Daniel poses with the Ned kelly Armor inside the Victoria State Library in Melbourne Australia
Ned Kelly’s armor!

Melbourne is home to the most beautiful library in Australia – I do apologize to my native Perth! But there’s no denying that the State Library Victoria is gorgeous and free to visit. In fact, it’s in the free tram zone, so we didn’t even spend any money getting there! The library is just a few minutes walk from the Swanson Street and La Trobe Street stations. 

Once inside, there’s a ton to explore! We got to see the armor that the famous gang leader and outlaw Ned Kelly wore during his final shootout with the police in the Redmond Barry Reading Room, which was seriously cool. The Victoria Gallery is also definitely worth checking out as they always have interesting exhibits.

The library dates back to the 1850s and its collection is huge! If you’d like to hang around and read, the La Trobe room is iconic. It’s six stories high and has over 30,000 books! Unfortunately, we were in a bit of a rush when we visited, but we’re definitely going to do even more exploring here the next time we’re in Melbourne.

8. Go on a 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!

The Yarra Valley wine region is one of the most picturesque wine regions in Australia – which is saying something, by the way! As wine lovers, we just had to take a wine tour from Melbourne, and we were so happy with this wine tour we booked.

We were impressed by the fact that, as guests, we got input into some of the stops, so we could have swapped out a winery for a distillery or a cheese factory – although personally, we were all about the wine.

I think we went to five different wineries and got to taste SO much wine. Our guide, Todd, was fantastic and made the tour fun. There were about 18 people in our group, so it was small enough that we could all get to know each other but big enough that it was a fun and lively day. We had our fill of both wine and beautiful scenery. 

Prices for this tour start from $139-$149 AUD (Fri-Sun is slightly more expensive), including transport and all tastings. We had to pay for our own lunch, but the prices were reasonable and the food was worth 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.

9. Take a walk down AC/DC Lane

Bailey sits on a bench in ACDC lane in Melbourne
Bon scott mural in ACDC lane in Melbourne, Australia
So cool!

Melbourne is famous for its quirky lanes filled with vibrant street art, but our favorite is AC/DC Lane! It’s a narrow alley just off of Flinders Lane, and it’s covered in artwork dedicated to the legendary rock band. So, you might say that this is the true Highway to Hell (sorry, I couldn’t resist that one). 

AC/DC lane used to be known as Corporation Lane, which is like the “Jane Doe” of street names in Melbourne. However, in 2004 it was renamed AC/DC Lane to honor the band’s ties to the city, and because the area is teeming with so many music venues and dive bars. It’s also one of the few areas in Melbourne where artists don’t need a permit to paint murals on the walls!

AC/DC Lane also leads to Duckboard Place, which is covered in gig posters and music-related murals. This is where WWII troops used to let off steam back in the day, so there’s a proud history of debauchery around here.

10. Check out The Block Arcade and Royal Arcade

The Block Arcade

Bailey poses for a photo inside the The Block Arcade in Melbourne Australia
The Block Arcade is stunning!
Haigh’s Chocolates inside the Block Arcade in Melbourne, Australia
Haigh’s Chocolates inside the Block Arcade in Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne is also home to tons of pretty arcades (basically covered walkways), but the Block Arcade is the best of them all. The mosaic floor alone makes it worth a visit, but we also loved exploring some of the places inside.

Haigh’s Chocolates is a must for anyone with a sweet tooth (which is definitely Bailey) and Coal River makes the most delicious truffles. We stopped in The Tea Room 1892 for tea and coffee, and of course, we had to try a few of their elegant cakes! They’ve got one of the best high teas in Melbourne.

Meanwhile, if you want to dine outdoors, we like Cafe Segovia during the summer. It’s situated on the cutest outdoor laneway and so we like coming here for lunch on a nice day! There’s a fun, retro vibe to this cafe and the food looks almost as good as it tastes.

The Royal Arcade 

The Royal Arcade in Melbourne Australia
The Royal Arcade in Melbourne, Australia
Bailey enjoys a coffee at Cafe E Torta in the Royal Arcade
Bailey enjoys a coffee at Caffe E Torta in the Royal Arcade

The Royal Arcade is very beautiful, although we do prefer the Block Arcade. Still, if you have time, why not visit both? This arcade is actually the oldest in Melbourne since it opened in 1870, so it’s pretty historic! 

Caffé E Torta is an authentic Italian spot with the most delicious sweet treats, and there are some pretty rare perfumes to be found at Paint n’ Powder. Personally, I love getting my caffeine fix at Kit Espresso, which does one of the best cold brews in the city. 

Tip: If you want a fun guided experience to explore the arcades – this Arcades Dessert Walking Tour is our pick! It’s full of the sweetest treats and our guide was amazing.

11. Line up for the best croissants at 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!

I wouldn’t usually advocate lining up for pastries, but it’s worth it when they’re from Lune Croissanterie! This is a famous croissanterie in Melbourne (in fact, they have three locations) and the menu changes every week, so I can’t tell you exactly what will be on offer, but I can promise that they’ll be delicious. I normally grab a few different flavors to try at once.

Sometimes, a place goes viral and there will be queues outside for a few weeks until the buzz dies down, but people have been lining up for these pastries for YEARS in Melbourne. They open at 7:30 am every day except for Wednesdays, when they’re closed, and I would recommend getting there at least half an hour ahead of time – if not more! I usually make this a weekday treat, since the lines are especially long at weekends. 

12. Visit the MCG

Bailey poses for a photo at the MCG during the Taylor Swift concert
Taylor Swift plays at the MCG in Melbourne
That’s 96,000 people!

The Melbourne Cricket Ground (aka the MCG) is an iconic part of the city! There’s always something going on here, and this is where we came to see Taylor Swift the last time we were in Melbourne. It was every bit as amazing as you would imagine!

We always check the MCG’s events calendar when we’re in Melbourne to see if there’s a cricket match, football game, or concert we can catch. But if nothing tickles your fancy, you can book this guided tour of the MCG instead, for just $35 AUD. We had a great time and our guide told us so many stories about famous matches and the sporting legends who have played here. In fact, I think this is a must for any sports fan, and you never know who you might meet as you explore this legendary stadium!

13. Ride the free city tram around Melbourne

Scenic shot of a tram and train station in Melbourne Australia
It’s a great way to get around the city!
free city tram around Melbourne
Off we go!

I think it’s great that there’s a free tram zone in Melbourne because it makes the city so accessible! In fact, we used it as a free hop-on hop-off tour to get to know the city, because it stops at a lot of the major attractions. There’s even audio commentary on board, which we thought was pretty cool!

Some of the stops include the Melbourne Museum, Federation Square, the Sea Life Aquarium, and the Queen Victoria Market, which I talked about a little earlier in this blog. I also like the old-timey appearance of the trams – they make for great Instagram photos! 

A lot of public transport in Melbourne requires a myki card, but you don’t need this for the free tram. It’s such a fun and easy way to see the city, and there are also leaflets and maps on board for tourists to grab, so I think that the free tram is ideal for first-timers in Melbourne.

Related Read: For more budget-friendly tips, check out the best free and cheap things to do in Sydney!

14. See the city from the 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!

The Melbourne Skydeck is the tallest observation deck in the southern hemisphere, and the views are absolutely incredible. General admission costs $28 AUD but there are a few ways to jazz up your experience. We booked The Edge package, which meant we got to stand in the transparent glass cube that protrudes from the skydeck, so we felt like we were being suspended over the city. It was thrilling and definitely worth the $43 AUD! 

Some of the other packages on offer include a VR experience that shows you all of Melbourne’s top sights and takes you on a (virtual) zipline adventure for $49 AUD. Meanwhile, Cocktails in the Clouds includes the VR theater and a cocktail at Bar 88 for $50 AUD. We didn’t choose this package, but still went for a drink at the bar, and we were impressed by how good the cocktails were. There’s a great 2-for-1 happy hour between 4-8 pm. 

Alternatively, it’s possible to get up for free by going for dinner at Eureka 89. The food is pricey, starting at $190 AUD per person for the 6-course tasting menu, but it’s super fancy, the views are unbelievable, and you get complimentary admission to the Skydeck. I think this would be an amazing way to celebrate a birthday or anniversary in Melbourne! I’d recommend booking at least a few days in advance.

15. Soak up the sun on a floating restaurant

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

Does anything capture the spirit of an Aussie vacation like drinking a cocktail over the water on a warm, sunny day? We just loved spending the afternoon at Afloat, which is right in the city on the Yarra River. The views were absolutely beautiful, and there’s a different theme every summer. 2024 is Viva Mexico! 

The bar is bright and colorful, the cocktails were so nice and refreshing. We also really liked the food and the fact that there were lots of small plates on offer. Honestly, I just don’t think you can beat the vibe of this place. It’s open from 11 am until 1 am daily, and has a smart-casual dress code. 

16. Take a trip to the famous Brighton Beach

Bailey sits in front of a brighton bathing box with a crab on it during a go west penguin tour to phillip island near melbourne australia
Bailey and Daniel smile at the brighton bathing boxes on a go west penguin tour to phillip island
So cute!

Brighton Beach is famous for its brightly painted beach huts, which are worth hundreds of thousands of dollars – talk about prime real estate. It’s roughly a 30-minute drive from the city center, and it’s possible to take the Sandringham line train from Flinders Street Station, or the 600, 922, or 923 bus routes here. 

We visited as part of the Phillip Island tour we took, and although we did enjoy stopping here, we thought it was a bit overrated. I wouldn’t say it’s worth traveling to Brighton Beach just to see the bathing boxes, but if you want to swim or walk the famous Brighton Beach to St Kilda Track, then go for it!

17. 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 had so much fun cruising down the Yarra River on our very own small boat! When we found out that we could skipper ourselves through On a Boat, we just knew we had to give it a go. I mean, you don’t even need a boat license, although do be aware that the nominated skipper can’t be under the influence of alcohol. The boats are electric and very user-friendly, so don’t worry, this is totally safe as long as you follow the rules, although they do offer skippered cruises if you prefer.

We wanted to skipper, though, and it was so much fun. We filled up our cooler box with food and drinks and had such a great afternoon on the river. You can choose between 1 and 4-hour rentals, starting at $99 AUD per boat for a one-hour ride on a weekday. Since the boats can accommodate up to 9 people, I think this is a pretty decent price point, not to mention a really fun group outing! 

And for special occasions, there’s a luxury picnic option for the self-skippered boats. You need to bring your own food and drink but a crew will set it all up for you beforehand so that it looks picture-perfect. Costs start at $369 AUD. 

18. Visit Grampians National Park

Silverband Falls in Grampians National Park in Australia
Silverband Falls
A kangaroo in Grampians National Park in Australia
A kangaroo in Grampians National Park in Australia

As nature lovers, we have to recommend getting out of Melbourne and exploring Grampians National Park! It’s so rugged and beautiful, although it’s a 3-hour drive from the city so we highly recommend booking this full-day tour rather than driving yourself.

We loved visiting the gold mining town of Ballarat, and the chance to go on a bushwalk to the pretty Silverband Falls. We also bought lunch in the small town of Halls Gap and our guide took us on a kangaroo-spotting walk here which we loved. Then, we did a 30-minute hike around the Wonderland Loop which offers the most amazing views, before visiting MacKenzie Falls, which is another highlight of the park. It was a long day at around 13 hours, but our guide, Chris, kept the group’s energy high with his great sense of humor and we had so much fun exploring that it didn’t feel that long. 

The tour cost us $155 AUD each and we went in the summer, so we made sure to book in advance through Viator. It usually runs on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, so plan accordingly!

19. Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria – Melbourne Gardens

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

The Melbourne Gardens are a breath of fresh air when you need a bit of an escape from the hustle and bustle of the city. With well-maintained gardens and lots of exotic plants, it’s no wonder they attract almost 2 million visitors every year.

We really enjoyed our visit here. The Arid Garden was particularly cool, with all of the cacti and succulents, and we learned a lot on the self-guided Flora and the Baron Walk, which took about 50 minutes. There’s plenty for families to do here, as well, and kids can let off some steam at the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden.

I also recommend checking out what’s on at the Gardens while you’re in Melbourne. In the summer, they often host an outdoor cinema here and the enchanting Lightscape event takes place after dark between June and August, so it’s a great winter activity. 

20. Old Melbourne Gaol

Prison cells inside the Melbourne Gaol
It’s a scary place!
Old Melbourne Gaol 1
Next time I want to go at night!

True crime fans cannot pass up the chance to visit Old Melbourne Gaol! We like uncovering the darker side of a city’s history, and we did that here while discovering the chilling stories behind Victoria’s oldest prison. It’s a bit like the Alcatraz of Australia, as infamous criminals like Ned Kelly and Frederick Bailey Deeming were held here – in fact, the latter was actually suspected of being Jack the Ripper. This place sent shivers down our spines!

A self-guided audio tour is included with general admission, which is fascinating, but there are lots of guided tours on offer if there’s a particular aspect of the gaol’s history that you’re interested in. For example, there’s a nighttime ghost tour, or the Escape Artists tour only costs $5 AUD and runs during the day. It takes you through all of the inventive ways that prisoners tried to flee. After walking around the gaol, I can’t say I blame them! 

The Gaol is open from 10 am until 5 pm daily, but you can book an after-dark tour if you’d like to visit at night. General admission tickets cost $35 AUD.

21. Take a photo at Flinders Street Station

Flinders Street Station in Melbourne Australia
Flinders Street Station in Melbourne Australia

Flinders Street Station is one of Melbourne’s most iconic buildings, and it’s one of the free tram stops, so it’s well worth stopping by to snap a photo. It’s right near the Yarra River, too, so you could do this before heading to Afloat for drinks or hopping on the dinner cruise we talked about earlier! 

There’s not a ton to see inside the station unless, of course, you’re catching a train, but this beautiful and historic building is too good of a photo opportunity to pass up. It’s actually the oldest and busiest train station in Australia, and we loved seeing all of the clocks outside.

22. Grab Brunch at Operator25

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

Operator25 is an amazing brunch spot, and my favorite place in the city to grab eggs benedict. The name stems from the fact that the restaurant is housed in an old telephone exchange building, so it’s pretty historic but inside it feels fun and modern. The wires dangling from the ceiling are a cheeky nod to its heritage!

What sets Operator 25 apart is that it offers an Asian twist on Western brunch. I’ve had char siu eggs benny here, which was really tasty, and they’ve also got crab omelets, Yuzu smashed avocado, and the classic Bali smoothie bowls! They’re also really well known for having lots of great veggie and vegan options, like tofu scramble, corn fritters, and black rice porridge. 

23. Melbourne Lanes & Arcades Tour

Bailey explores on a Melbourne Lanes & Arcades Tour
Bailey explores on a Melbourne Lanes & Arcades Tour
Bailey tastes Haigh’s Chocolate in Melbourne Australia on a guided tou
Mmm chocolate!

We’ve talked about exploring some of Melbourne’s iconic lanes and arcades throughout this blog, but the ultimate way to discover them is by booking this Lanes & Arcades Dessert tour, which we loved. As soon as I found out it’s all about exploring chocolate shops and dessert cafes, I knew we had to do it! 

I don’t know what we loved more – exploring all of the quaint laneways and Victorian arcades, or trying luxurious, Aussie-made chocolates. We got to try so many different chocolates, desserts, and enjoyed a cup of super-rich hot chocolate. Then, just when we thought we couldn’t eat any more chocolate, the tour ended with a cheese and wine pairing which was the perfect break from all of that sugary goodness. 

We have to give a shoutout to our guide, Ivan, who was just so entertaining and told us so much about the arcades and laneways we passed through while keeping the laughs coming. The tour costs $103 AUD and we thought it was 100% worth it. I think it’s the perfect way for first-timers to get to know Melbourne’s hidden gems.

24. Melbourne Zoo

A cute koala at the melbourne Zoo
A koala at the Melbourne Zoo
The koalas are my favorite!

Visiting Melbourne Zoo is an especially great thing for families to do in the city, but to be honest, I think adults can have a great few hours here, too. It’s the ideal place to learn about Australian wildlife, like Victoria’s famous Little Penguins, as well as Tasmanian Devils, bandicoots, wallabies, and pretty much every other creature you can think of! 

The zoo is about a 10-minute drive from the city center, and parking is cheap at just $2 AUD for 5 hours. However, in the spirit of saving the planet, the zoo does encourage visitors to use public transport. The easiest ways to do this are by taking: The Route 58 tram to Stop 26, the Upfield Line train from Flinders St Station to Royal Park Station, or Bus 505. All of these drop off right at the zoo’s entrance!

Zoo tickets can be purchased online for $46 AUD per adult, $23 AUD for kids ages 4-15, and free for little ones 3 and under. The zoo is open from 9 am until 5 pm. My tip is to go early before the midday crowds, especially on weekends and during school holidays. I much prefer exploring zoos when they’re quiet!

25. Go on a food tour

Tasting mussels on a food tour inside the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne Australia
Yum!
International treats we tried on a food tour in Melbourne at the Queen Victoria Market
You try so many new things!

Melbourne is a real foodie city. In fact, we weren’t surprised when it got voted the best food city in the world a few years ago! So, we were keen to get to know the food scene here through food tours.

You may remember that earlier in this post we talked about taking a food tour of the Queen Victoria Market. It was such a fantastic way to get to know the market and we only have good things to say about it. 

However, to combine food and sightseeing, we highly recommend booking this walking food tour. What set this tour apart for us was the variety. We went all over Melbourne trying the best dumplings in Chinatown, amazing local coffee, and delicious coffee and pastries from hidden gems in the city’s charming lanes and arcades. It was a smorgasbord of Melbourne’s best eateries – no wonder it has so many 5-star reviews! (You can read the most recent reviews here).

The tour lasts for 3 hours and it’s a small group experience with a really lovely guide, so it felt like restaurant-hopping with friends. But at the same time, we got to hear a lot about Melbourne’s culture and pass by some of the city’s top sights. It costs $119 AUD and we think it’s the perfect way to spend an afternoon in the city. 

The only thing I will say is that the walking food tour takes you to a lot of similar spots to the chocolate tour mentioned earlier, so I’d recommend only doing one out of the two. However, you could do both the walking food tour and the market tour, like we did, because they showcase different sides of Melbourne’s foodie scene.

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 on a get your guide tour
Thanks for reading!

Melbourne is a fantastic city that we love spending time in! Hopefully, this guide on the best things to do in Melbourne has been helpful if you’re planning your first visit or given you some new ideas if you’ve been here before.

If you liked this guide, we have lots more where this came from! Have a look through our blogs about Australia for travel tips, tour ideas, and reviews. Here are a few related blogs that might be helpful:

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

How to Spend a Weekend in Sydney, Australia

Great Ocean Road Tours from Melbourne – the 5 BEST Tours for this Scenic Drive