It was my first visit to Melbourne, which is the second-most populous city in Australia after Sydney and I tried to fit in as much as possible in one day. So what to see in Melbourne? I started from my hotel to walk towards Southbank first.
The Southgate Promenade, Crown Entertainment Complex, Melbourne Exhibition Centre and much more are on the southern side of the Yarra River. The Southgate Promenade is the perfect place to wander, take in the beautiful skyline, browse the shops and go for a delicious meal at one of the many restaurants by the water. If you want to try your luck, make a stop at the Crown Casino or just walk in to the luxurious hotel lobby. When it`s raining outside, you can always catch a movie at the Crown too.
Eureka Skydeck 88
Located on the southern banks of the Yarra river, you can go up the Eureka Skydeck for an amazing 360 degree view over Melbourne with Melbourne`s CBD, MCG, Port Philip Bay, Docklands and much more. It is the Southern Hemisphere highest viewing platform.
Opening hours: 10 am till 10 pm (with last entry at 9.30 pm) I paid $AUD 18.50 to have the Skydeck experience, it`s another $AUD 12.00 if you want to have the Edge experience (which I did not do).
Federation Square is a meeting place for many visitors to the city. It has museums, galleries, restaurants, bars,… You can enjoy an afternoon with a book, live music on stage or a sports game on a big screen. You can also find the Melbourne Visitor Center here for more information.
Flinders Street Railway Station
Flinders Street Railway Station at the corner of Flinders and Swanston Street is the oldest station in Australia. With over 100 000 people using the station each day, it is said to be the busiest suburban railway station in the Southern Hemisphere. The station is “the” meeting place for the locals with just a “meet me under the clocks” they reference to the clocks above the main entrance.
There are plenty of shops from souvenir shops to Myer on Bourke Street, Southgate for boutiques to old-style charm at the Royal Arcade. I didn`t have enough time to explore all.
Queen Victoria Market
I was told this is the place to see, as it is one of the largest markets with clothing, fresh fruit, meats,… Too bad I didn`t check the opening hours in advance, as it is closed on Mondays and Wednesdays. Market Trading Hours are Tuesday & Thursday from 6 am till 2 pm, Friday from 6 am till 6 pm, Saturday from 6 am till 3 pm and Sunday from 9 am till 4 pm. You can find more info here.
End your day with the fire display at Southgate. Find out when they are scheduled, as the time varies per season and are dependent on the wind and other weather conditions.
You can see so much more in Melbourne: the Aquarium, the Zoo, Botanical Gardens, visit the MCG stadium,… Unfortunately I didn`t have enough time to see all this, but hope to be back one day.
Personal tip on Food
Try a Schnitzel Parmesan, have a cupcake at the Cupcake Bakery if you`re a sweet tooth like me! And I discovered this cool concept when looking for a place to have dinner. At the Hwaro Korean BBQ restaurant you can cook your own food (with the help of staff) on a BBQ that`s placed on your table. I thought it was a nice experience on a winter`s night.
Where to stay?
I wrote a full review of the Travelodge Docklands where I stayed during my first visit. If you`re looking for a hotel even closer to the city, during my recent visit I stayed at the Travelodge Southbank, which is located at the river. Same principal: comfortable, clean and affordable rooms. If you want a hotel for a city visit combined with a event at the Etihad Stadium, I would recommend the one at Docklands. If you`re going for a city visit, I think the Southbank one is even better located. You`re close to Flinders Station, the bars & restaurants at the river and the shops.
Melbourne is also the perfect starting point for the Great Ocean Road.
What`s your tip when visiting Melbourne?