The city is known for its many laneways, its cultural diversity and amazing street art. It’s also known for being the coffee capital of the world, and for being regularly voted as the world’s most liveable city.
Below you will find my actual tried and tested itinerary for Melbourne. It features many free or low cost things to see and do within the city, along with an overnight trip to the Great Ocean Road, which is considered to be one of the worlds most scenic coastal drives. No trip to Melbourne is complete without vieiwng the tiny penguins as they march along the beach after sunset on Phillip Island.
- Brighton Bathing boxes
- St Kilda
- Windsor & Phrahan
Brighton Bathing boxes – Iconic & much-photographed group of 82 brightly coloured wooden beach huts from the early 1900s. If you’re travelling by train, take the Sandringham line. The journey takes around 20 minutes, and you alight at the Brighton Beach Railway Station. From there, it is just a 500m signposted walk through pretty scenery to the bathing boxes (FREE). Allow 1-2 hours.
St Kilda – Walk along the St Kilda seafront and admire the boom-time mansions as you head to Luna Park. Re-live the neighbourhood’s genteel resort days and get dizzy on the rides at the iconic Luna Park, $5 entry not including rides Luna Park. Take a dip in the heated seawater spas and pools at the historic St Kilda Sea Baths. Keep an eye out for little penguins at the St Kilda Breakwater (FREE). Wander down Acland and Carlisle Street and check out the independent shops and old European cake shops. If you are in St Kilda on a Sunday, visit the St Kilda Arts and Craft Market (1000-1700). Allow 2-3 hours.
Windsor & Prahran – Prahran and Windsor are the cool kids suburbs in Melbourne. It has more grunge appeal thanks to some fantastic restaurants, interesting bars and street art. Style seekers cant go past the stretch of alternative shops in Chapel St in windsor and Prahran. If coffee is your thing, there are plenty of independent cafes to grab a flat white and watch the world go by as you people watch. Allow 2-3 hours.
- Laneways Street Art
- The National Gallery of Victoria
- State Library Victoria
- Royal Botanical Gardens
Laneways Street Art – Meander through the cobbled alleyways at Hoiser Lane, AC/DC Lane, Duckboard Place, Flinders Court St. Keep your eyes peeled throughout the city as street art really is everywhere (FREE). Alternatively take a street art tour with a local insider. Allow 1-2 hours.
The National Gallery of Victoria – Popularly known as the NGV and founded in 1861, it is Australia’s oldest, largest and most visited art museum (FREE). Allow 1-2 hours.
State Library Victoria State Library Victoria is the central library of the state of Victoria, Australia and is beautiful inside. Anyone can sit in the library and read books, the latest copy of your favorite magazine or even write your next blog. The library was established in 1854 as the Melbourne Public Library, making it Australia’s oldest public library and one of the first free libraries in the world (FREE). Allow 1 hour.
Royal Botanical Gardens – Drawing nearly two million visitors annually, they’re considered one of the finest examples of Victorian-era landscaping in the world. This inner city oasis, sprawling across 89 acre has stunning vistas, tranquil lakes and diverse plant collections. During summer, the lawns come alive with outdoor cinema, theatre performances and exhibitions (FREE). Allow 2-3 hours. Royal Botanical Gardens
- Plenty Gorge Park
- Yarra Valley Vineyards, Wineries & Cellar Doors
Plenty Gorge Park – See kangaroos in bushland at Plenty Gorge Park. Our friend lives just around the corner from this park so we went for a morning walk here as we had yet to see any “wild” kangaroos (other than the roadkill ones we had seen on our road trip along the east coast of Australia). A good place to stop enroute to the wineries.
Yarra Valley Wineries & Cellar Doors – The Yarra Valley is one of Australia’s most charming wine regions, and for those based in or visiting Melbourne, it’s less than an hour’s drive away. Find yourself in award winning vineyards, wineries and cellar doors of the delicious Yarra Valley. You can do this via a tour, or hire a car and have a designated driver or use an Uber. Our friends live in Melbourne and took us on our own little tour, determined to help me discover a wine I could drink and enjoy.
- Chandon – Chandon flies the flag as the only Australian sparkling specialists with genuine French heritage. Splash tasting available for $12 per person, with $6 refundable on bottle purchase, for group sizes of up to 10 people without a booking. The grounds are beautiful with far reaching views of the vineyards. The only downside is that the splash tasting area was so busy as it is a popular tour pit stop and so it was difficult to hear what the wine expert was saying. Chandon
- Yering Station – Housed in the original winery building, circa 1859 the Cellar Door and Wine Store allows visitors the opportunity to be taken on a journey of wine, tasting the Yering Station collection best suited to the individuals palate. $5.00 per person to taste the Yarrabank, Village and Estate wines at the bar. Tasting fees are negated on purchase. The service was very relaxed, informative but with personality and finally I found a wine I liked, Riesling! Yering Station
- Great Ocean Road
- Great Ocean Road Chocolate Factory
Great Ocean Road – We hired a car for 48 hours from Sixt for £64 and started the 210km road trip from Melbourne City Centre to the Great Ocean Road, leaving at 0900. There are plenty of lookout points along the scenic coastal route to stop and admire. Alot of blogs said to stop half way for the day at Lorne, but we didn’t as we enjoy driving. We managed to see the Twelve Apostles and went as far as London Bridge, Grotto and the Bay of Islands, which were our favorites.
Great Ocean Road Chocolate Factory – Enroute to the GOR, stop at the award winning Chocolate Factory where you can see chocolate being made, taste free samples, join a guided chocalate tasting for just $3pp, wander the enormous gift shop or even grab a cooked breakfast and coffee in its cafe.
- Great Ocean Road
- Phillip Island
Great Ocean Road – If you didn’t get to see all the places along the GOR, get up early and have them to yourself, or revisit your favourite without the crowds. Our personal favorites were Drive back along the GOR and head towards Philip island. We spent £50 on fuel which enabled us to cover 1,000km for the duration of our 48 hour car hire.
Phillip Island – The oh so adorable penguin parade occurs shortly after sunset so it is advised to arrive at least 1 hour prior to this to get the best seat (far left corner at the front on the beach section). We purchased the self guided penguine parade tickets online to skip the queue for $26.50/£15pp. Tickets available here Penguin Parade
- Eat: Tokyo Tina – A Japenese street food inspired restaurant with a modern twist, set within some fun decor. Tokyo Tina
- Eat: Two Birds One Stone – A stylish cafe for coffee lovers offering a range of brewing methods from espresso, aeropress, syphon, pour over and cold drip. The menu is impressive, with stand-out dishes like the impressive house-made crumpets with rhubarb jam, marscapone and candied macadamias. Two Birds One Stone
- Eat: Tropicana Juice Food Bar – The best juice I have ever tasted! The acai bowl is a feast for the soul and the salads were hearty, nutritious and delicious. Tropicana Juice Bar
- Eat: Massaros – Enjoy estate grown wines with rustic Italian dishes from wood fired pizzas, al dente pasta to traditional bruschetta and classic Tiramisu. Massaros
- Drink: It pays to be curious – many of the citys best bars are concealed in laneways, rooftops and underground passages. Our favorite speakeasy bar was JungleBoy which is hidden behind a sandwich shop.
- Sleep: Airbnb – We stayed in a cool converted warehouse in Prahran, which was stylish in a fantastic location and reasonably priced. Airbnb cool converted warehouse
- Sleep: If you have a camper van or are willing to sleep in your car, you can stay at Port Campbell National Reserve for $10/£6pp. Toilets, showers and a camp kitchen included.
- Sleep: North Pier Hotel – Fantastic budget-mid range accomodation on Philip Island. North Pier Hotel
I hope you find this blog useful and are inspired to wander the city’s laneways and drink fantastic coffee.