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The Top Things to do in Melbourne

Looking for all the best things to do in Melbourne and surrounds? Book day tours, cruises, attractions and activities online here! Melbourne is best known for its city attractions, architecture, laneways and natural attractions. Spend a day or two exploring the Melbourne CBD with several attractions in close proximity to one another. Combo passes are great value for money bundling several attractions together for one low price. No visit to Melbourne would be complete without a tour to Phillip Island or Great Ocean Road or to the Mornington Peninsula . Browse our expansive range of Melbourne tours and attractions here and book online!

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Top 10 Things to do in Melbourne

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A city of culture, coffee, colour and contrasts, Melbourne is widely regarded as one of the best all-around cities not only in Australia but on the global stage.

It's a city that can be enjoyed over the course of both short and long stays, although prioritising what you're looking to do in such a diverse city can often be a difficult task.

As a frequent contender for the title of "World's Most Liveable City", it's an urban metropolis that still retains something of a small-town feel, with an emphasis on the artistic, quality dining and plenty of historic architecture to explore.

In this article, we break down what are the top 10 "Must-Do" experiences and sights to visit while in Melbourne to help you get the most out of your visit to this diverse and lively capital city. We attempt to cover attractions and sights catering for a broad range of tastes, however, regardless of your interests, all of these items are worth a visit during your time in Victoria's capital.

1. Shrine of Remembrance

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Location: Birdwood Ave, Melbourne

Victoria’s largest war memorial and perhaps Melbourne’s most recognised landmark, the Shrine of Remembrance stands as a lasting tribute to our country’s fallen soldiers and various other servicemen who sacrificed their lives during the First and Second World Wars to help ensure our freedom.

Holding over 120 ceremonies and commemorative services throughout the year, the Shrine is also one of the most active venues for paying tribute to our heroes and is also situated in a great vantage point that offers beautiful views of Melbourne city itself as well as the bay area, it makes for a must-visit while in the city for both historical and scenic purposes.

An appropriately solemn atmosphere surrounds the shrine (as it should do), and its architectural design mimics that of ancient Greece – a metaphor for a people with which the ANZACs identified themselves during their time deployed in action.

"Victoria’s largest war memorial and perhaps Melbourne’s most recognised landmark, the Shrine of Remembrance stands as a lasting tribute to our country’s fallen soldiers and various other servicemen who sacrificed their lives. "

Visiting the Shrine of Remembrance can be a deeply moving experience, and one that which young children especially may not find particularly interesting or be able to fully understand – thus it is advisable to ensure they are on their best behaviour throughout.

One of the nicest touches which visitors may want to aim to be there for is the daily ceremonial taking down of the flags at 5 pm. This is a solemn yet spine-tingling experience, one that can not be had anywhere else in the proximity of the Melbourne CBD, let alone the large majority of the rest of Australia.

2. National Gallery of Victoria

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Location: 180 St. Kilda Road, Melbourne

Those in need of a dose of culture can make the easy trip to the National Art Gallery of Victoria, located in the heart of the Melbourne CBD, for exactly what you need.

As Australia’s oldest dedicated art gallery that opened way back in 1861, this pristine and beautiful testament to human creativity is one of the pride and joys of Melbourne that is filled with visually impressive art and fantastic exhibitions all-year-round.

Its series of modern, light-filled galleries ensures every piece of artwork and sculpture is illuminated to their fullest effect, and the displays themselves are many and varied, ensuring there is something here for all fans of not only art but culture in general as well.

"Its series of modern, light-filled galleries ensures every piece of artwork and sculpture is illuminated to their fullest effect, and the displays themselves are many and varied, ensuring there is something here for all fans of not only art but culture in general as well."

The building of the gallery itself is slick and modern, appropriately reflective of the contents inside, with a stunning stained-glass ceiling adorning the top of its main room that adds an extra layer of artistry to what is already a very worthwhile Melbourne attraction.

Regardless of when you visit, there is always something happening at the Gallery, plus most of the exhibitions are FREE so it makes for a great place on those days in Melbourne when the rain happens to be coming down.

Melbourne is truly lucky to be the home of one of the best art galleries in the world; if you have even a passing interest in art in general, you will not want to miss the National Art Gallery of Victoria (NGA.)

4. Melbourne Cricket Ground Tours

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Location: Brunton Ave, Richmond VIC

You’d be hard pressed to find an Australian who doesn’t have at least one fond sporting memory of an event that was held during their lifetime at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground (or MCG as it is more popularly known).

Having been host to such amazing sporting events as the 1956 Olympic Games, the first ever cricket Test match, the 2006 Commonwealth Games, the 1992 World Cup and countless VFL and AFL Grand Finals, the MCG is a historic and permanent fixture in Australian sports (as well as the scene of numerous blockbuster music and celebrity performances).

Melbourne has one of the proudest sporting cultures of any Australian city, and the MCG is a true reflection of that fact, being a venue that is huge but still manages to maintain a feeling of friendly intimacy.

"Having been host to such amazing sporting events as the 1956 Olympic Games, the first ever cricket Test match, the 2006 Commonwealth Games, the 1992 World Cup and countless VFL and AFL Grand Finals, the MCG is a historic and permanent fixture in Australian sports.:"

Numerous tours are available that allow interested parties to go behind the scenes of the venue, sit in the coach’s box, visit the change rooms and media centres, and more for the quintessential MCG experience.

The stadium also contains the National Sports Museum, a facility which includes some of the most priceless pieces of memorabilia in Aussie sporting history.

The MCG isn’t only strictly for sporting nuts, however, the sheer degree of significance the stadium has for Australian culture will have an impact on the non-sports-fan as well. The venue also has multiple facilities inside that serve food and drinks including cafes, bars and restaurants for added convenience.

4. Laneways & Arcades

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Location: Various Locations, Melbourne CBD

Melbourne has a creative flare it embraces and this helps to differentiate it from any other Australian city.

It is often referred to as the ‘cool city’ and the laneways and arcades are just one way that it displays its 'je ne sais quoi’.

Getting lost in Melbourne is not such a bad thing when you have interesting street art to look at.

In fact, it can even lead to new discoveries like your new favourite hole in the wall café, secret rooftop bar or quirky clothing or gift shop.

"Melbourne has a creative flare it embraces and this differentiates itself from any other Australian city."

Download a laneways and arcades map or join a walking tour and discover some of Melbourne’s hidden inner city secrets, striking architecture and art works.

Among some of the most popular laneways for street art are Hosier Lane- just off Flinders Street near Federation Square with an ever changing murals and endless walls of creative arts and graffiti that can often change suddenly overnight.

Other notable laneways for street art are Centre Place, AC/DC Lane and Croft Alley.

For quirky cafes and bars head to Degraves Street for alfresco dining, tiny shops and boutiques that will make you feel that you are walking the streets of a European city.

5. Melbourne Zoo

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Location:Elliot Avenue, Parkville, Melbourne, VIC

One of the best wildlife facilities in Australia is within easy reach of the majority of accommodation in the Melbourne CBD – Melbourne Zoo.

Standing as a world-class facility, Melbourne Zoo is spread over a large distance so that the animals inside are provided with ample space in which to feel comfortable and move about and is divided up into various regions of animals reflecting their worldwide location.

Visiting the Zoo offers an opportunity to get back in touch with the many wonders of nature while being located only 4km from the Melbourne city centre.

"Visiting the Zoo offers an opportunity to get back in touch with the many wonders of nature while being located only 4km from the Melbourne city centre."

Set within a comfortable and scenic botanic garden setting, the zoo provides a relaxing atmosphere with a variety of landscapes, from the Victorian-era formality of the main drive to the lush jungles of the Asian and African rainforest areas.

With numerous animals of all kinds to see, you will most likely need to dedicate a full day at Melbourne Zoo in order to see everything. Some of the most widely-acclaimed highlights of which include the elephant enclosure, meerkats, and of course many of the typical Aussie favourites such as kangaroos, koalas, echidnas and more.

As the Zoo is extremely popular, the venue can often get quite crowded, especially on weekends and during school holidays (during which children can enter for free), so getting there early or choosing regular weekdays to visit is generally a good idea.

6. Queen Victoria Markets

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Location: Corner of Elizabeth & Victoria St, Melbourne

The Queen Victoria Markets in Melbourne are the largest markets operating in the Southern Hemisphere with a 140 year history bringing fresh produce, merchandise and services to the people in the heart of the city.

The markets officially opened in March 1878 after an interesting past as a cemetery and live stock market before its current status as a central marketplace.

A wander around the heritage listed markets are a treat for the senses and a feast for the eyes as you see and smell all the delicious culinary treats on display to taste and purchase.

Among some of the vendors that you can find here are fresh seafood from fishmongers, cheese shops, a delicatessen, organic produce, fresh fruit and vegetables, breads, cakes and pastries, ice cream and specialty products.

There are also permanent cafes selling breakfast and lunch to all those who start feeling peckish walking around the markets.

"A wander around the heritage listed markets are a treat for the senses and a feast for the eyes as you see and smell all the delicious culinary treats on display to taste and purchase."

Visitors will find that this is a great place to pick up a gift or souvenir, whether it is for clothing, arts and crafts, UGG boots, leather items, children’s toys and clothing, jewellery, accessories plus health and beauty products.

If you want to discover and meet the producers of some of the most popular markets then a 90 minute foodie tour is a great place to start to discover the marketplace.

A tour such as this will lead you around the market with 10 food tastings and a complimentary glass of wine and a famous Melbourne hot jam doughnut.

Tours run on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 9am and 11am in small groups of no more than 15 people for a more intimate, personal experience.

If you prefer to visit on your own then the markets are open on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday with the fresh produce section open at 6am and the specialty shopping open from 8am.

The best way to get to the Queen Victoria Markets is via tram with the markets sitting in the free tram zone. Look out for Trams 19, 57, 58 and 59 which stop at Elizabeth Streets or Peel Streets just outside the markets.

7. The Colonial Tramcar Restaurant

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Location: Tram Stop 125 Normanby Road, South Melbourne, VIC

The Melbourne Colonial Tram Restaurant is one epicurean journey that you should add to your own top 10 things to do in Melbourne.

A fleet of well loved Melbourne trams have been painstakingly preserved and restored operating as a moving restaurant taking visitors and locals on a journey through the streets of Melbourne dining on gourmet cuisine and Australian wines since 1983.

The historic trams are fitted with décor that is reminiscent of the colonial period and with dining booths that can fit groups of four on one side of the tram and booths of 2 on the other plus a working kitchen, bar and restrooms.

It is quite remarkable that each tram can seat 36 passengers comfortably giving you the space to relax as you take in the sights at either lunch or dinner session.

Travelling 7 days a week, the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant serves a 4 course meal during the 2 hour sightseeing tour of Melbourne City consisting of an appetiser, entrée, main meal from the seasonal menu and a cheese platter to finish.

"Historic trams are fitted with décor that is reminiscent of the colonial period and with dining booths that can fit groups of four on one side of the tram and booths of 2 on the either plus a working kitchen, bar and restrooms."

A tour during the day gives passengers the benefit of seeing the city at its best while a dinner tour has a completely different atmosphere and somewhat of a romantic and/or jovial party atmosphere in the evenings.

The appeal of the colonial tramcar somewhat romanticises and celebrates the colonial history of Melbourne alongside gourmet meals such as a lightly spiced chicken breast or seared beef tenderloin and a charcuterie of duck terrine, chicken liver parfait and kangaroo carpaccio and a fully stocked bar.

The Colonial Tramcar restaurant is a great way to see Melbourne in style, celebrate a special occasion or wine and dine someone special on a romantic date night in Melbourne.

This is the world’s first travelling tramcar restaurant and a unique Melbourne experience appealing to visitors and locals.

Meet at Stop 125 on Normanby Road to begin your culinary adventure and don’t be late for the tram.

8. SEA LIFE Melbourne

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Location: King and Flinder St, Melbourne

SEA LIFE is Melbourne’s very own aquarium in the centre of the city with Southern Ocean and Antarctic animals on display.

The Melbourne aquarium features 12 distinct, themed zones with over 10,000 marine creatures and continues to grow with a new exhibit opening in December 2018.

Visitors to the aquarium can view numerous marine life including huge sharks, massive sawfish, stingrays, jellyfish, penguins, sea horses and a resident crocodile.

"Sit in awe or stroll through the aquarium tunnels as you watch a diverse collection of animals in their exhibits, a spectacle that most people may have only seen in documentaries on television."

See the Bay of Rays, Mangroves and Rockpools, the Coral Caves, Shipwreck Explorer, the Mermaid Garden, Ocean Discovery, the Croc Lair, the Rainforest Adventure, Seahorse Pier, the Penguin Playground and more.

Sit in awe or stroll through the aquarium tunnels as you watch a diverse collection of animals in their exhibits, a spectacle that most people may have only seen in documentaries on television.

A visit to the SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium is both entertaining and educational with informative daily talks and feeding presentations sharing information about the behaviours, habits and diets of the animals you are viewing.

If you are looking for a half day activity to get out of the scorching hot sun or a rainy day activity then SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium fits the bill.

9. Horse & Carriage Rides with A Classic Carriage

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Location: Federation Square, Melbourne CBD

A horse carriage ride around Melbourne is one of the more unique ways to discover all the highlights of the city.

Not just reserved for royalty, you too can feel like a lord or lady sitting pretty up in these horse and carriages trotting around the city.

In fact, a horse and carriage ride seems quite fitting when you see all the heritage buildings, churches, gardens and old government buildings of Melbourne.

Choose between a 30 minute or 60 minute tour in your very own personal carriage seating up to 6 passengers.

"A horse and carriage ride around Melbourne seems quite fitting when you see all the heritage buildings, churches, gardens and old government buildings that dot the city centre."

Melbourne horse and carriage rides depart from Federation Square opposite Flinders Street Station from 1pm to 10pm.

See the Yarra River, King Domain, The Shrine of Remembrance, Treasury Building, Parliament House, Princess Theatre, China Town and Collins Street.

Tours operate from Thursday to Monday from 1pm to 10pm with the last 30 minute tours departing at 9.30pm.

Book a horse and carriage ride during the day and see all the highlights of Melbourne by the day or join a horse and carriage ride at night for a more romantic experience with someone special.

10. Eureka Skydeck

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Location: Riverside Quay, Southbank, Melbourne, VIC

As with many other towers located in cities throughout the world, Melbourne's Eureka Skydeck 88 is a great starting point for a first-time visit by anyone to Melbourne that offers a quick way to get an idea of your bearings while taking in amazing views of the city and its surrounds from the vantage point of the 88th floor of Eureka Tower.

As the highest viewing platform in the entire southern hemisphere, the distance viewable from the top of the tower encompasses not only a 360-degree panorama of Melbourne and its landmarks such as the MCG but also the picturesque ranges of the Blue Mountains that stretch out in the distance.

"Eureka Skydeck 88 is a great starting point for a first-time visit by anyone to Melbourne that offers a quick way to get an idea of your bearings."

Obviously when attending a viewing facility such as this the degree of impressiveness the on display is almost entirely dependent on the weather, so attempting to plan the trip up the tower in accordance with weather reports is generally a good idea as a rainy or highly overcast days can greatly restrict the distance of visibility.

Many who visit the tower often recommend attending in time to see the transition from sunset to nightfall, as the effect that the lighting has on the scenery of both the sky, the city and the mountains makes for a combination that is not to be missed. While the admission price may seem fairly expensive, there are no other options that provide comparably stunning views to what Eureka Skydeck has to offer visitors.

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