Wonder Down Under: The 10 Best Things to Do in Melbourne, Australia

melbourne star observation wheel
Image courtesy of Melbourne Travel and Tourism

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* Visiting Melbourne? These are the city’s top attractions
* Melbourne is Australia’s second most-populous city and visited by 60 million people a year
* From shopping to sports venues, there’s something for everyone in this city down under

With a mix of delicious food, captivating arts and must-see sporting events, Melbourne is a city with a lot going on. From the world’s 10th largest sporting stadium and the home of Australian cricket, to the ever-busy Federation Square that’s full of bars and restaurants, there is something for everyone.

As Australia’s second most populous city, Melbourne has a name to live up to. It won’t let you down by providing a pleasant and variable experience for you and every visitor.

1. Melbourne Cricket Ground

Australia is one of the major homes of sport across the world. And within Australia, arguably the most important sporting venue is Melbourne Cricket Ground. This impressive oval building, which is simply known as “the MCG,” is the home of Australian cricket and worthy of a tour for all visitors, sports fans and not. Take a stroll through the sporting museum before spending your afternoon enjoying a game.

things to do in Melbourne Australia best attractions cricket ground stadium Image courtesy of Melbourne Cricket Ground


2. Old Melbourne Jail

Once home to some of Australia’s most notorious criminals, the Old Melbourne Gaol’s structure remains remarkably similar to how it was during its functioning period, giving you a real look back in time. The jail may have ceased operations in 1929, but as you tour the bluestone building and courtyard, you’ll get a first-hand view into exactly what it was like to get arrested in times gone by.  

things to do in Melbourne Australia best attractions old jail gaol Image courtesy of Old Melbourne Gaol


3. Observation Wheel

Touted as the Southern Hemisphere’s only giant observation wheel, the Melbourne Star offers beautiful views of the surrounding dockland area. Located in the Waterfront City precinct, this eye-catching ferris wheel has 7 spokes which reflect the seven-pointed star found on Australia’s flag. This is a great way to get above Melbourne’s skyline day or night.

things to do in Melbourne Australia best attractions star observation wheel Image courtesy of Melbourne Tourism


4. St. Paul’s Cathedral

Found in the very heart of Melbourne, St Paul’s is a stunning, twin-spired cathedral. The building itself was created in the neo-Gothic transitional style and is, in the opinion of many, the finest creation of William Butterfield – a distinguished English architect. As you look at this beautiful building, you may notice that it features two Gothic elements; it’s partly from the Early English Period and partly from the Decorated Period.

things to do in Melbourne Australia best attractions cathedral St. Paul's Image courtesy of St. Paul’s Cathedral Melbourne


5. Federation Square

While not the “official” center of Melbourne, Federation Square is surely the center in the hearts of Melbournians. With a variety of street shows, displays and stage action, this busy square is a fun place to lose a few hours.

things to do in Melbourne Australia best attractions federation square Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


6. St. Kilda Beach

A great place to watch ships come and go, St. Kilda Beach hosts a mix of cafes, bars and restaurants. You can also take a walk down St. Kilda Pier to catch a look at the world’s smallest penguin species as they swim around their nests among the breakwater. Surrounded by Acland Street and Luna Park, this peaceful beach area is a great place to relax, take a run or have your own picnic.

things to do in Melbourne Australia best attractions beach st. kilda Image courtesy of St. Kilda Melbourne


7. Block Arcade

Even if you choose not to venture into any of the shops, the Block Arcade is worthy of a walkthrough just to take in the stunning architecture. The Victorian-esque arches and walls provide a glimpse into the time of a younger Melbourne. On top of the feast for your eyes, you’ll find a variety of shops, including offerings of delicious chocolate and thirst-quenching tea.

things to do in Melbourne Australia best attractions block arcade shopping Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons


8. Queen Victoria Market

The Queen Victoria Market is a great place to get your vacation knick-knacks and souvenirs. With a tram stop right outside the front on Elizabeth Street, a visit is well-worth adding to any Melbourne travel itinerary. This sizable market offers almost everything you can imagine, including fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, shoes, toys and more. There’s also a food court where you can enjoy a variety of hot meals.  

things to do in Melbourne Australia best attractions queen victoria market shopping Image courtesy of Queen Victoria Market


9. Royal Botanic Gardens

If you’re a fan of green spaces, the Royal Botanic Gardens should be on your list of must-visit attractions in Melbourne. Located on the south bank of Yarra River, the gardens contain 10,000 species of native and exotic plants. While you could spend all day at these gardens, 3 hours is generally recommended. During this time, you can explore the various landscapes, enjoy refreshments in one of the tea rooms and even take a 30-minute gondola cruise on the lakes.

things to do in Melbourne Australia best attractions royal botanic gardens Image courtesy of Visit Victoria


10. Dandenong Mountain Day Trip

If you stay in Melbourne long enough to earn a day trip out of the city, consider visiting Dandenong Ranges. The park is just a short drive outside the city and features several well-trodden trails. The Kokoda Trail is a favorite and takes just 1 ½ hours to walk. Inside the park, you’ll find small waterfalls, hills and a plateau with great views.

things to do in Melbourne Australia best attractions day trips dandenong mountain range Image courtesy of Visit Victoria

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