Melbourne - the cultural capital of Australia - home to Laneways, Cafe Culture, Inner City Rooftop Bars, Live Music & Free Artsy Shit Every Night of the Week! But there's more to Melbourne than just city life - The Great Ocean Road, the Phillip Island Penguin Parade and the funky, beach side suburb of St Kilda are just some of them! Got a few days to explore and wondering just what to do in Melbourne? Well here are our Top 10 things to do in Melbourne.
1. Explore the City Laneways
Check out Melbourne’s laneways, hear the stories, learn about the history and get a ‘taste’ of what Melbourne is all about. A Free city walking tour departs daily at 10:30am and will guide you through Federation Square, Chinatown, Old Melbourne Gaol, Melbourne Cricket Ground & more. Hear stories of Ned Kelly, Indigenous History, Melbourne’s Underworld and all that the city centre has to offer. The tour departs from the Sir Redmond Barry statue in front of the State Library at 10:30am. Do not forget your camera! See Melbourne's best laneway and rooftop bars!
2. Hire a Bike
There are 50 bike stations in Melbourne and surrounding suburbs. We recommend hiring a bike in the city centre and riding through Albert Park towards St Kilda. Follow the bike trail along the coastline east of the city towards Elwood & Brighton. As you ride along the bay you will pass by mansions (Brighton is Melbourne’s affluent suburb). Look out for the brightly coloured Brighton Beach Boxes and a lookout that offers beautiful views of the beach and the city skyline.
3. AFL Footy Game
Victoria is home to the Australian Football League – a sport that is completely unique to Australia and the locals are absolutely hooked on it! Games are on every weekend throughout the season and ticket prices are cheap – make sure you check it out!
4. Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is one of Australia’s most popular tourist destinations and has been voted as one of top scenic drives in the world. The drive along the coastline itself takes four hours one way from the city of Melbourne. Along the way be sure to check out Bells Beach, the surf side towns of Torquay, Lorne & Apollo Bay, Cape Otway Lighthouse, London bridge, Loch Ard Gorge and of course, the 12 Apostles!
There are a variety of tour options: 1 Day, 2 Day and 3 Day tours. We recommend a 3 day tour that will allow you to also explore the Grampians National Park. Alternatively, chat to the Base Travel Desk about hiring a Campervan.
Melbourne loves markets! Whether it is food, souvenirs, fashion & cheap everything – head down to a local market. Queen Victoria Market is in the city centre and open all year round, 5 days a week. During summer make sure you hit the night markets on a Wednesday – live music & cheap sangria. St Kilda night markets are also a must do in summer – expect to see international food stalls, drumming circles, fire twirling and more. On the weekends, South Melbourne market is just a short tram ride from the city & St Kilda. See our Guide to Australia's Night Markets!
6. St Kilda
St Kilda is a weird, wacky and beautiful, beach side suburb of Melbourne. Tram 96 operates between Melbourne and St Kilda and takes roughly 15 minutes from each destination. St Kilda is buzzing with character, history, Luna Park, good nightlife, street side cafes, a beach, Melbournians looking for a city getaway & a variety of ‘creative’ type locals. Base Backpackers is located in St Kilda – close to the city, yet away from the hustle and bustle.
7. Phillip Island
Home of the Penguins! Phillip Island is about 90 minutes south of Melbourne. When exploring the island expect surf beaches, bay, wildlife, wallabies, a historic homestead on neighbouring Churchill Island, the Grand Prix Race Track and the Penguin Parade! There are 32,000 small penguins that live on the island and each night you have the opportunity to watch them swim back onto the beach and make their way home.
8. Wilsons Promontory National Park
32 kilometers of national park with some beautiful beaches and hiking trails. You will find Wilson’s Prom 2 hours south of Melbourne and this place is a little off the tourist trail so don’t be surprised to find yourself basking in the sun at your very own beach.
9. Eureka Skydeck
Both a cheap and memorable activity! Make your way to the top of the highest public observation deck in the Southern Hemisphere as you take in the 360 degree views of Melbourne! The viewing platform has a number of binoculars and information stations centred around the walk allowing you to gain an overview of Melbourne's most iconic landmarks, history and attractions - a must do!
10. Yarra Valley / Mornington Peninsula Winery Tour
Mornington Peninsula has some great beaches, chocolate factories and wineries. The Peninsula runs south of Melbourne and tours depart daily. Alternatively, Yarra Valley is the more well known wine region & located north of Melbourne. Tours to each are a great day out.
You may like our Complete Backpacker's Guide to the East Coast of Australia if you're headed this way !