Melbourne is the most enjoyable city to live in in the world! It may not boast the stunning views of the Sydney Harbour, but it is the cultural and food capital of Australia. If you’re into coffee, Melbourne has some of the best coffee in the world – there’s no need to search far and wide: when you walk into a café in Melbourne, you are guaranteed a delicious coffee. The city is also known for its sports and has been named the sports capital of the world after hosting globally renowned events for a number of years. One day in the marvelous Melbourne is definitely not enough, and you WILL want to come back!!!
GUEST POST BY CHARLENE HALES
BLOG: Travel with Charl
What’s the best time to visit Melbourne?
Melbourne has very mild weather conditions all year around, so it’s always a good time to visit. In the warmer months, December to May, you can visit stunning beaches only a short tram ride or drive away from the city center and enjoy outdoor dining. Melbourne hosts the Australian Tennis Open in January, which attracts many tourists and is a fun day out. It also has many gardens and parks and celebrates countless outdoor festivals during this time, such as the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. In the cooler months, you can still experience Melbourne culture by visiting museums, exploring the city laneways, and much much more.
What’s good to know about Melbourne?
The first people to live around the area which is now Melbourne were the Aboriginal people. In 1835 John Batman and a group of businessmen bought some land from the local Aborigines for some trinkets. In 1837 the new settlement was named Melbourne (after the British Prime Minister at the time: Lord Melbourne). Due to the gold rush in a nearby town, Melbourne became Australia’s largest city in the 1860s and was also the capital city for some years and before Canberra was built. Although a fairly new city, Melbourne has preserved a lot of its Victorian architecture and now boasts a perfect mixture of the old and new.
One Day in Melbourne Itinerary
Follow this guide and make the most of your trip even if you’re short on time. These are the top sights and things to do during your one day in Melbourne.
Start your day at Flinders Street Station
Flinders Street Station is one of Melbourne’s iconic buildings. It certainly stands out in terms of architecture, and its central location makes it an ideal meeting spot and starting point for your one day in Melbourne.
From Flinders Street Station, cross St Kilda Road to Federation Square. You will either love or hate the modern and somewhat abstract buildings, nothing in-between. It is one of the city’s most important cultural places. Enjoy the free interactive Australian Film Exhibition which has something interesting for all ages, the Gallery dedicated to Australian artists, or simply stroll around and enjoy the surrounding views of St Paul’s Cathedral, the Yarra River and Flinders Street Station.
Laneways & street art – a must see!
From Federation Square, cross Russell Street over to St Paul’s Cathedral. If you wish, have a look inside as the architecture is pretty amazing. Then head up the street to Hosier Lane and its nearby laneways, which in my opinion showcases Melbourne’s best street art. On weekends, you are sure to see several wedding parties using the super cool street art as a backdrop for their wedding shots. You are also likely to bump into some street artists creating their latest tag and art. As you walk through Melbourne’s inner city, other laneways you should check out include Union Place, ACDC Lane, Caledonian Lane and Centre Place (also a good place to grab a tasty and cheap bite to eat).
A visit to Melbourne is incomplete without a coffee. While admiring Melbourne’s laneways, head to Degraves Street. This European-style laneway is a hub for coffee shops and restaurants, no matter the weather, grab a table outside, order a coffee (and a late brunch) and enjoy people watching.
Melbourne from up high
Take one of several footbridges that cross the Yarra River to the Southbank area and head over to Eureka Sky Deck. This is the tallest viewing platform in the Southern Hemisphere with floor to ceiling windows, so you will experience outstanding 360 degree views of the city and beyond.
Walk along the banks of the Yarra River. Enjoy river and city views and the buzz of the many street performers along the way. To quench your thirst, head down to Ponyfish Island via a set of stairs, a bar on an island under a bridge in the middle of the river. It’s a really fun vibe especially on weekend afternoons.
There are endless dining options in Melbourne. You can opt to stay in the Southbank area with an array of different cuisines and top-notch restaurants but note that most places are on the expensive side.
Recommendation – head back over the bridge by foot or tram and go to Chinatown on Little Bourke Street. This area is famous for Chinese food including dumplings, Peking duck and Sichuan. Enjoy a cheap but delicious feast together with your BYO bottle of wine or whisky in a casual and lively atmosphere.
For the little people
Head over to Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium for a few hours of interactive fun.
Where to stay in Melbourne?
The Victoria Hotel
215 Little Collins Street, 3000 Melbourne
The Victoria Hotel is a perfectly located value deal hotel, only a short walk from the Federation Square. The rooms offer comfortable stay and classical-style furnishings. The hotel features a swimming pool, a sauna and a rooftop fitness center.
Quest Flemington Central
1 Ascot Vale Road, Flemington , 3031 Melbourne
Quest Flemington Central is a unique design hotel experience, located next to the Flemington Racecourse. The hotel features sensational building facilities including an infinity pool, gym and a rooftop terrace. The apartments offer a luxury and comfortable stay for both business and leisure travelers.
Art Series – The Larwill Studio
48 Flemington Road, 3052 Melbourne
Art Series – The Larwill Studio are exceptional contemporary suites only an 8 minutes’ drive from Melbourne city center. The spacious rooms offer amazing comfort and feature artwork by David Larwill. Their shared areas are designed to help you enjoy your stay to the fullest.
Melbourne Central YHA
562 Flinders Street, 3000 Melbourne
Melbourne Central YHA tends to be the most liveable hostel in Melbourne, located within the Free Tram Zone. Perfect for younger travelers and backpackers, this hostel offers the ultimate Melbourne experience and features a rooftop terrace with BBQ facilities and amazing city views.
DAY TRIPS FROM MELBOURNE
Not only is this city a fascinating place to visit, but it also provides plenty of opportunities if you want to leave town for a while and check out what else there is to enjoy in the vicinity. Day trips from Melbourne are a lot of fun, and here’s what you should definitely consider.
Great Ocean Road
If you want to experience the full beauty of Australian coast, you absolutely must hit the Great Ocean Road. It is an astonishing day trip from Melbourne which will take you near some truly spectacular sights. Seeing the incredible Twelve Apostles is something you’ll never forget, and you can enjoy visits to two national parks along the way – Great Otway and Port Campbell. Hanging out with koalas at Kennet River is also a very alluring option.
Animal lovers simply cannot afford to miss a trip to Phillip Island. All kinds of creatures characteristic for Australia can be found on this trip as your first stop should be Maru Koala and Animal Park where you can see koalas, wombats, kangaroos and even Tasmanian devils! From there it’s just a short ride to the island itself, and the main stars there are – penguins. Watching them climb the beach to their burrows at sunset will make you feel you’re in a fairy tale.
Those of you who appreciate great wines will want to head to Yarra Valley. This is the place where some of Australia’s best wines (and there are quite a few excellent ones) are produced. The valley itself is absolutely beautiful and a great place to take some photos, but you will also see loads of wineries along the way. Taste what they have to offer, enjoy a delicious lunch and check out some really old tools that were used to help manufacture wines. Foodies will absolutely love this trip, but even if you don’t consider yourself to be a gastronomy enthusiast a trip to Australia’s countryside will be well worth it.
A very special day trip from Melbourne can be had if you hop aboard Puffing Billy, Australia’s oldest steam train. You can ride all over Victoria with it and get to know this incredible region more closely. From rainforests and valleys to various mountains and ridges, nothing can stop this fascinating machine. You will also be able to observe wildlife along the way and all in all have an absolutely magical experience. Sounds great, doesn’t it?
Extra tips for visiting Melbourne
– Melbourne is best explored by foot, as its grid-like streets are easy to navigate and most attractions are within a walking distance.
– If you feel that you’ve walked enough for one day, take the free City Circle Tram, number 35. The free City Circle tram operates in a circular route passing major tourist attractions. Start your journey at Flinders Street Station and work your way around the city.
– The quickest and easiest way to travel from the airport into the city is by taxi and takes around 20-30 minutes, but try to avoid the morning peak time of 7-9 am.
Pin for later!
If you have any other propositions for this One Day in Melbourne Itinerary feel free to share it in the comments below!
Make sure you have everything you need
What to pack for your next trip?
Make your next trip as simple and as enjoyable as possible by packing smart. It’s amazing how much stress top travel items can save you, so choose carefully.
Things like lightweight travel backpacks, for example, are ideal for short trips and allow you to move around with ease, and a passport holder will make sure you keep your documents safe at all times.
Check our travel checklist guide for 2021 to make sure you haven’t missed anything, and travel to your next destination in style and with maximum comfort.
Charlene was born in Malta but grew up in Melbourne - Australia where she calls 'home'. Charlene started her expat career in May 2011 when she and her husband, newlyweds of 5 months, expatriated to Bangkok – Thailand. Bangkok is truly the city that never sleeps and they loved every crazy piece of it, the friendliest people that you’ll ever meet and the most flavorsome cuisine. After 2 amazing years they moved back home to Melbourne. In June 2016 it was time for a new adventure so Charlene and her husband flew across the world and expatriated to Nuremberg – Germany. Nuremberg has to be one of the prettiest cities she has ever seen, she still pinches herself when she walks by the Castle on her way home and considers herself very lucky to be living there. Charlene is now learning German and exploring Europe.