VictoriaMelbourneMelbourne is a city famous for its cosmopolitan culture, arts, sport, fashion and food. Voted one of the most liveable cities in the world, enjoy its vibrant cafe culture and food scene.
Melbourne, the capital of the state of Victoria, is a warren of laneways that reveal buzzing bars, galleries, live music venues, acclaimed restaurants and designer boutiques to those who dare to delve. It's also a city with a passionate love of sports and relishes any opportunity to party, boasting an action-packed calendar of events. Set on the Yarra River and reaching to the shores of Port Phillip Bay, sophisticated Melbourne is, at first sight, a balanced grid of neatly angled streets. But beneath this sense of restraint lies a restless creative energy. The CBD comprises many precincts - enclaves with distinct charms. Some are just a lane or two, while others cover a suburb or a busy CBD street. Spend time experiencing the richness of Melbourne in the creative Flinders quarter, the city arcades, the arts and adjoining sports precincts, Chinatown and the Paris End of Collins Street. Visit some of the city's iconic streets in Fitzroy, St Kilda, Carlton, Richmond, Toorak and South Yarra. Melbourne's melting pot of cultures is reflected in its restaurants, cafés and bistros serving a dizzying spread of great cuisines, from the substantial and classic to the exotic. World-renowned restaurants plate up alongside cheap and cheerful ethnic eateries and cafés-cum-laboratories dedicated to the city's obsession with coffee. Explore the inner city shopping centres and venture down arcades and laneways to uncover locally designed originals and the best of international fashion brands in stores as notable for their design as the wares on show. Leave time to admire the elegant Victorian-era streetscapes and gardens, take in a film or food festival and add a visit to one of the many galleries and opulent theatres. Be sure to include a cocktail or glass of wine in any of Melbourne's famed bars.
It is increasingly hard to imagine Melbourne without Federation Square. As a home to major cultural attractions, world-class events, tourism experiences and an exceptional array of restaurants, bars and specialty stores, this modern piazza has become the city's meeting place. Since opening in 2002, Fed Square has become one of the most visited attractions in Melbourne with more than 10 million visits a year. It is host to more than 2,000 events a year and home to the National Gallery of Victoria's Australian collection, The Ian Potter Centre as well as the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI).
Heide Museum of Modern Art
Heide Museum of Modern Art, or Heide as it is affectionately known, began life in 1934 as the Melbourne home of John and Sunday Reed and has since evolved into one of Australia's most unique destinations for modern and contemporary Australian art. Located just twenty minutes from the city, Heide boasts fifteen acres of beautiful gardens, three dedicated exhibition spaces, two historic kitchen gardens, a sculpture park and the Heide Store. Café Heide, located in the sculpture plaza opposite the main entrance of the museum, serves coffee, breakfast and a delicious lunch-time menu that focuses on seasonal produce grown in the kitchen garden. Visit the website for information on the exhibitions and programs and to discover the museum's fascinating history.
Explore St Kilda
The beachside suburb of St Kilda has long been Melbourne's favourite playground, from its days as a genteel seaside resort to the storied hedonism of the 1960s and 1970s and the fiercely independent neighbourhood oozing with cosmopolitan cool it is today. Melburnians and visitors from around the world flock to St Kilda's foreshore to walk, cycle and skate, or to take advantage of a windy day and dive into Port Phillip Bay to sail, windsurf or kitesurf. A more refined aquatic activity can be had in the heated seawater pools at the historic St Kilda Sea Baths. Generations of kids and adults alike have been thrilled by the rides and amusements at Luna Park. The Scenic Railway rollercoaster has some of the best views of the Bay. Little penguins can be spotted from the breakwater at the end of the iconic St Kilda Pier. Away from the foreshore, much of St Kilda's activity is concentrated in the cafes, restaurants and bars of Fitzroy and Acland streets. By day the streets are lined with people meeting over coffee; at night they're buzzing with clubbers and night owls making the most of the pubs, bars and clubs often featuring international bands or DJs. St Kilda has long been treasured for its independent vibe. Don't miss the independent music and book stores, as well as second-hand furniture and an expanding collection of fashion boutiques, particularly clustered around Barkly and Carlisle streets. Celebrate St Kilda at February's St Kilda Festival, a week of music and comedy performances culminating in Festival Sunday. The twilight market runs on Thursday evenings during summer, and the St Kilda Film Festival screens in May. St Kilda is 7.5 kilometres from the CBD. Catch tram number 16 from Swanston Street, number 96 from Bourke Street, or number 112 from Collins Street.
Wander the National Gallery of Victoria
The National Gallery of Victoria has two magnificent galleries located a short walk apart, both with free entry to the permanent collection. NGV International houses a whole world of international art, displaying the National Gallery of Victoria's collections of European, Asian, Oceanic and American art. Since the National Gallery of Victoria opened in St Kilda Road in 1968, the total collection has doubled in size to more than 70,000 works of art. A truly iconic Melbourne building, the gallery has been redesigned to house one of the most impressive collections in the Southern Hemisphere. The NGV offers an extraordinary visual arts experience with diverse temporary exhibitions, Collection displays, talks, tours, programs for kids, films, late-night openings and performances.
Wander the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria
Attracting over 1,900,000 visitors annually, Melbourne Gardens is a treasured part of cultural life and a valuable asset to the heritage-rich city. With its stunning vistas, tranquil lakes and diverse plant collections, the Gardens are a place of continual discovery and delight. Enjoy the Aboriginal Heritage Walk, a Free Guided Walk, a ride on the Garden Explorer or Punting on the tranquil Ornamental Lake, all set against a beautiful backdrop and just moments from the city. These beautiful gardens are home to amazing and diverse plant collections such as camellias, rainforest flora, succulents and cacti, roses, Californian species, herbs, perennials, cycads and plants from Southern China. Guilfoyle's Volcano offers visitors a fabulous precinct to explore. The Gardens are also a natural sanctuary for native wildlife. The Children's Garden has everything that children could want to help them discover the natural world, with plant tunnels that they can crawl through, rocks that they can climb and a bamboo forest in which they can hide. Visitors can unwind at one of two cafés, The Terrace or Jardin Tan. Or find botanical-inspired souvenirs and gifts at the Gardens Shop. During summer, the lawns come alive with outdoor cinema, theatre performances and exhibitions.
Spend a day at Melbourne Zoo
You won’t believe how many animals there are at Melbourne Zoo. Over 320 species from around the world can be found in the beautiful natural setting just five minutes from the city centre. There's always something new to enjoy. Stroll through the lush Asian and African rainforests, Australian bushland and even underwater. Walk where tigers roam and monkey swing from tree to tree. See eye-to-eye with orangutans in their special elevated exhibit, explore the Trail of Elephants, and then head down the bush track to see unique Australian wildlife including koala, kangaroo, wombat and emu. Submerge yourself in the underwater world to see Victoria’s iconic little penguin and Australian fur seal. Keeper talks and feeding times are great opportunities for visitors to find out even more about the fascinating world of wildlife and the conservation programs Melbourne Zoo supports in the wild. Children under 16 years of age receive free entry every weekend, during Victorian Government school holidays and on Victorian public holidays.
Queen Victoria Market
Queen Victoria Market is an authentic, bustling, inner-city market that has been the heart and soul of Melbourne for 140 years. Home to over 600 small businesses, it is a great place to discover fresh and specialty produce, hand-made and unique products, great coffee and food, souvenirs and clothing. Shopping at the Market has always been one of life’s great pleasures. It is not just the abundance of fresh food, it’s the friendly banter with the traders, the vibrant and multicultural atmosphere, the special events and festivals, and the sense of belonging that comes with it. Be sure to take the Ultimate Foodie Tour, a two-hour guided walking tour where you’ll taste the freshest produce, discover unique ingredients, learn tips and tricks for shopping and cooking, discover the Market's history and meet some of our beloved traders. Bookings essential at qvm.com.au/tours Queen Victoria Market is also home to the Night Market on Wednesday nights, showcasing global street food, live music and entertainment, festival bars, specialty shopping and a great Melbourne night out. The Market also offers a historic venue space with a range of indoor and outdoor spaces.
Visit Werribee Park and Mansion
Soak up the richness of Werribee Park, an estate built on the wealth of an Australian pastoral empire. Explore the heritage-listed Werribee Mansion, set up a picnic in the beautiful formal gardens or see a kaleidoscope of colour when the 5000 roses bloom in the Victoria State Rose Garden. Experience the grandeur of the Werribee Mansion. Enjoy a picnic or explore the formal gardens and marvel at the expansive manicured landscape, intricately designed grotto and ornamental lake. Once the working heart of the Werribee Park estate, the remaining bluestone outbuildings of the farmyard provide a stark contrast to the elaborate craftsmanship of the Chirnside Mansion. Wander down to the heritage orchard and see the work the community and Parks Victoria have put in to preserve and restore the fruit orchard originally planted by the Chirnside family in the late 1800s.
Explore the streets of Brunswick
Pull up a wooden crate or a designer chair and join Brunswick locals hopping from one newly-opened cafe to the next, switching to bars toward evening before patronising a hip eatery for a late meal. There's plenty of choice in Brunswick, with edgy, high-quality bars, restaurants and cafes seemingly opening weekly on Lygon Street, Sydney Road, Nicholson Street and everywhere in between. Like every good inner-city suburb, there's an indie sensibility about the art scene in Brunswick. See into Brunswick's creative heart at Tinning Street, Death be Kind or upstairs at the Alderman. The lines between commerce and art blur at places like at Brunswick Bound with its arty books, music and film, modern design at Five Boroughs, exhibition-esque pieces for purchase from Mr Kitly, and curated fashion at Monk House Design. Make your own works of art at Harvest. See evidence of Brunswick's position as a destination for generations of migrants at the veritable atlas of Mediterranean shops and Arabic eateries, mostly along Sydney Road. Stock up on pasta and porcini at Mediterranean Wholesalers and stuff yourself silly at Middle Easter bakeries like A1. Taste modernised flavours at hotspots like Rumi and Mankoushé. Brunswick is about six kilometres from Melbourne's city centre and is easily accessed by public transport.
Go green in the Dandenong Ranges, a verdant realm of fern glades, towering trees and eclectic villages less than an hour from Melbourne. See the seasons in the villages of the ranges as they burst with vibrant colour in spring and are softened by mist and dustings of snow in winter. Absorb the creative vibe of shops and galleries in Olinda, Belgrave and Sassafras. Gaze down at the city's twinkling panorama of fairy lights from SkyHigh atop Mount Dandenong. Stay in an elegant guesthouse dating from a century ago when the Dandenong Ranges was Melbourne's favourite retreat, or choose from more contemporary accommodation that combines old-world affectations with modern luxury, space and style. Glimpse the shiny flanks of the Puffing Billy steam engine from your hilltop cottage or sun-kissed garden as it chuffs along its narrow-gauge track. Jump aboard and dangle your feet out of the open-sided carriages, or opt for first-class travel. Get reacquainted with the elements in the vast national parks and gardens, from the blooms of the National Rhododendron Gardens to the whispering forests in the Dandenong Ranges National Park. Meander through lush gullies and misty mountain ash to magical places like Sherbrooke Forest, Doongalla Homestead and One Tree Hill. Be guided in quiet contemplation by mystical sculptures hidden among ferns in the William Ricketts Sanctuary. Conquer the Thousand Steps and the fascinating Kokoda Walk. To reach the Dandenong Ranges, travel along the Eastern Freeway and continue onto Eastlink tollway to Burwood Highway and onto Upper Ferntree Gully. Alternatively, travel through Montrose to the Mount Dandenong Tourist Road through Kalorama and Mount Dandenong to Olinda.
Visit the world-famous MCG
Open every day, explore Australia's favourite stadium by taking a guided MCG tour. Experience the inner sanctum of the MCG, walk on the hallowed arena and learn the secrets of the 'G on this very affordable experience. Highlights of this must-see tour include the famous MCC Long Room, MCC Library (founded in 1873), MCG tapestry, player change rooms, cricketers' viewing room, Ron Casey media centre, a portrait of Sir Donald Bradman and Sachin Tendulkar, a walk on the arena, Cricket Victoria Bill Lawry Centre, City Terrace with view's of Melbourne's skyline. Note: some areas on the tour route are subject to availability and alteration. Learn from their knowledgeable tour guides, and understand what makes the MCG the heartbeat of Melbourne. Combine your behind-the-scenes MCG tour with a visit to the National Sports Museum for a truly memorable experience.
Discover more in Victoria
- Arthurs Seat
- Barwon Heads
- Daylesford & the Macedon Ranges
- Falls Creek
- Great Ocean Road
- Great Otway National Park
- Halls Gap
- Main Ridge
- Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)
- Mornington Peninsula
- Mount Buffalo National Park
- Murray to Mountains Rail Trail
- Ocean Grove
- Phillip Island
- Point Nepean National Park
- Red Hill
- Tarra Bulga National Park
- The Bellarine Peninsula
- The Goldfields
- The High Country
- Wilsons Promontory National Park
- Yarra Valley & Dandenong Ranges