In Melbourne, we began our Australian trip. We found Melbourne, for a big city, to be not intimidating and easy to get around. Here are our top 10 things to do in the city and around:
Marvel at the adorable penguins of St Kilda Pier
You can watch them for free every night before sunset, in the middle of the city, amazing isn’t it? It is a well kept secret and many tourists pay for excursions outside the city. On site, volunteers give excellent information on these cute penguins. More information on: stkildapenguins.com.au.
Have a coffee (with delicious pastries) in one of the many city institutions
Melbourne is known worldwide for its coffee culture. Let yourself be inspired by the coffee shop windows on your way. Acland street in St Kilda probably has the largest concentration of bakeries in Australia. Many vegan and lactose free options are also available.
Wander in the arcades
In the city center there are various laneways (or arcades), where you can admire street art, eat or go shopping. Make sure to go through Hosier Lane, Royal Arcade, Bloc Arcade and Degrave street. We also liked the pastries from Organic Food and Wine Deli, a nice place for lunch (with options without lactose and vegan).
Enjoy the museums
The city is full of museums, there is something for everyone. We loved the Australian Center for Moving Image Museum (ACMI) about video games, television and movies. You can play video games! Not far from there, the immigration museum is also worth visiting and offers very interesting exhibitions. Finally, the Museum of Natural History has been highly recommended especially for its miniature temperate forest in the heart of Melbourne.
Stroll the markets
The Queen Victoria Market is certainly the largest and most impressive. Ideal to buy some delicacies, fresh products or simply souvenirs. We had a gourmet break at Koko Black during your visit to the market, they offer lactose free / vegan chocolates.
Even though it is smaller one, the South Melbourne Market also impressed us. You can even buy books from The Merchant of Fairness.
Go for a walk in the huge Royal Botanical Gardens
Located at Kings Domain park.
Feast at one of the many restaurants
We were incredibly surprised by the food quality in Melbourne. There are so many options, we have never been disappointed. There is something for every budget and taste, from modern Australian chef restaurants to the traditional pub. International cuisines are also very well represented, do not miss a visit to Chinatown.
Watch kitesurfers in action at St Kilda Harbor Beach
A good way to wait and enjoy sunset before going to see the penguins.
Visit the Victoria State Library and the many bookshops in Melbourne
Ideal for book nerds. The State Library is really worth a visit. In addition to being able to play chess and to admire the collection of books, you can also enjoy the temporary exhibitions. For bookshops, check out Mary Martin Bookshop, The Paperback Bookshop, Readings St Kilda and All Star Comics.
Explore the Yarra Valley and stay in a castle
The Yarra Valley is about an hour’s train ride from Melbourne, although access is easier by car. It is a beautiful and rich region, known for its production of wines. We visited the Domaine Chandon winery. It is also an opportunity to see kangaroos, which proliferate everywhere outside of Melbourne.
We particularly recommend a stay at the Château Yering hotel. In addition to a beautiful setting and grandiose rooms, you can taste the wines produced on site. The hotel is an hour’s drive from the airport. We recommend you check it out as soon as you arrive to enjoy the Australian countryside and fine wines before exploring Melbourne.
La liste de lecture et films de Clémentine
- Australia Travel Guide, Lonely Planet, if you are travelling to other places in the country.
- Melbourne & Victoria Travel Guide, Lonely Planet, if you are going to the Melbourne area only.
- The movie Australia, 2008, with Nicole Kidman and Hugh Jackman. A great movie to learn more about the history of Australia and discover the desert landscapes.
- We have also selected 3 completely different movies, all initiatory journeys through the Australian center and desert: Rabbit-Proof Fence, The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert and Tracks.
- The novel Oscar and Lucinda from Peter Carey.
Want to travel a little bit more with us ? Read our articles about Australia.