When visiting Australia one place that is always mentioned is Melbourne, and after visiting I can see why. Melbourne is a large cosmopolitan city on Australia’s south east coast. Melbourne is really quirky and has a cool edge to it, with lots of bars, restaurants, shops and street art you definitely won’t be bored here.
My husband and I travelled to Melbourne a few years back, as my brother in law lives in Adelaide. We decided to fly out to Melbourne to meet him there and spend a few nights there then all drive along the Great Ocean Road together back to Adelaide.
We spent a few days in Adelaide and also visited Kangaroo Island too then spent a few more days back in Adelaide before flying home.
We only stopped in Melbourne for 2 nights and only really had about a day and a half there, before heading off to explore the Great Ocean Road. While we didn’t spend long in Melbourne we managed to pack quite a lot in, and this is one city I would love to go back to.
Sights & Activities
Birrarung Marr Park
Birrarung Marr Park is located in the inner city on the Yarra River bank. The park is split into 3 sectioned terraces, the lower terrace follows the river and has lots of elm trees. The Middle Terrace hosts temporary facilities linked to events held at the MCG or Melbourne Park, while the Upper Terrace has views of the Arts Centre, Melbourne’s spire and St Paul’s Cathedral.
We had a lovely stroll through this park and it has lots of art and sculptures dotted around. It was a sunny day while we were here, and the park was just beautiful and had lots of people sitting and enjoying the atmosphere of this gorgeous inner city park. If your in Melbourne give this park a visit and maybe take a picnic too.
Flinders Street is one of the main streets in Melbourne and runs parallel to the Yarra River. Flinders Street is also home to Flinders Street Station which is has been around since the early 1900s. We stayed at the Rendezvous Hotel on Flinders Street too as it’s a good central location, and has lots going on with places to eat and drink.
Flinders Street has lots of landmarks and attractions and is a great street to base yourself on. Attractions on Flinders Street include Federation Square, St Paul’s Cathedral, Melbourne Aquarium and Batman Park.
Hosier Lane & Melbourne Street Art
Walk down the famous Hosier Lane and admire the street art that has made the Melbourne urban art scene known across the world. This street is full of colourful art work that has been created by local and international artists. We walked down here and viewed all of the different artwork, however if you wanted to find out more about the artists and the stories behind the artwork you can book onto a walking tour.
While wandering down Hosier Lane take a slight detour onto Rutledge Lane which is another great street to see lots of original artwork, including the wheelie bins which are also covered in artwork.
The street art around Melbourne is a huge draw for people, and also one of the main reasons I loved Melbourne so much. I think more cities around the world should embrace street art, it really gives a city more identity and character.
Old Melbourne Gaol
The Old Melbourne Gaol is Victoria’s oldest surviving prison, and also has an old magistrates court. The Gaol was built in the mid 1800s, and housed some of Australia’s most dangerous criminals.
The Gaol was home to 133 hangings between 1842 until it’s closure in 1929, including the famous Ned Kelly. The Gaol is a really interesting attraction with lots of history, and you can see how the men and women would have lived there all those years ago. The Gaol also provides lots of information about the Aboriginals lives and what they went through.
We found the Gaol really interesting and learnt lots, there were also prison warden actors which were great and made the tour around it more authentic. When visiting Melbourne try and make a trip here. It’s also pretty reasonably priced too, we paid AUS$28 each. There are also some evening and night tours too which look really good and quite spooky!
Queen Victoria Market
The Queen Victoria Market has been around since 1878 and has gone through many changes and controversy over the years and has gone from being a cemetery, livestock market and fruit and vegetable market. Today the market still retains much of its Victorian charm and in its original beautiful building, but now is home to a large array of shops and market stalls ranging from everything and anything.
You can also take foodie tours there too, as there is a huge selection of food and drink stalls there. Lots of it is local produce from nearby farms. We loved visiting here and spent a while wandering around the different stalls, I was in my element as I love shopping and picking up little trinkets everywhere I go. We also went there in the morning for our breakfast on our last day in Melbourne.
The Royal Arcade is the oldest arcade in Australia and was opened in 1870. It was also Melbourne’s first arcade. Melbourne has lots of Victorian architecture still today and it’s great to see that they are preserving these beautiful buildings for the next generations.
The Royal Arcade is an upmarket shopping centre with lots of boutiques, gift shops, arts and crafts and coffee shops. This beautiful arcade really reminds me of some of the Victorian arcades which we have here in the UK. If your a shopaholic like me, you need to have a wander through.
The Art of Banksy Exhibition
While we were in Melbourne there was The Art of Banksy Exhibition on at the Federation Square. We couldn’t resist and had to go and visit it, as all of us love street art. Unfortunately the exhibition is no longer running, however it’s always worth seeing what exhibitions are on in Melbourne as there is always something happening in Federation Square. Who knows there may always be another Banksy Exhibition in the future, we were just in Melbourne at the right time.
Food & Beverage
Queen Victoria Market
We visited Queen Victoria Market for some breakfast, I couldn’t resist some mini pancakes! However for any meal or snack this place has so much to offer with lots of local venders and stands offering up some of Melbourne’s most delicious food, and it doesn’t break the bank either.
Ponyfish Island Bar
We visited Ponyfish Island Bar early one evening and it was busy, but don’t let the busyness put you off, we found some seats quite quickly. This is a really quirky bar set on a small island in the Yarra River, it is surrounded by water and great views of the city. You can grab a bite to eat there or just grab a drink and watch the sunset. It’s set under the pedestrian bridge on the southbank and is accessible down some stairs.
Riverland Bar is located on the Yarra River just by Birrarung Marr Park. It is a great spot to sit and relax by the river and people watch. We came here for a drink in the afternoon, if you want a bar with outside seating and good location, then head to this bar, we had a jug of pimm’s to share and watched the world go by.
We spent 2 nights at the Rendezvous Hotel, the location is excellent and it is right in the heart of the city, set on the busy Flinders Street. The Hotel is basic and not much to write home about, however if you want affordable accommodation in the city centre with clean and comfortable rooms, then this is the hotel for you. We spent about £60 a night here room only, which is a bit of bargain for a room in Melbourne. When staying in a city you hardly spend much time in the room anyway, so I hardly ever see the point in spending out masses.
Transport & Getting Around
Melbourne is a great city for pedestrians I would recommend walking everywhere, and while walking around the city take in the the huge amount of art work this city has to offer.
Melbourne also has lots of public transport from trams, buses and trains so if your not feeling like walking then there is lots of options available and affordable.
The trams in the city centre are free for everyone to use. A hue section of the city is covered by these free trams from Melbourne’s CBD to the Docklands, there’s a map that shows the area that is covered by the free trams.
Melbourne is Australia’s cultural capital, this is one of the coolest cities I’ve ever visited. When visiting Melbourne try and have a look at what festivals are on while your visiting as there is always something going on in the city.
Important Information & Links
• Currency: Australian Dollar
• Language: English