Things to do in MELBOURNE – One Day Itinerary

Melbourne enchants with a unique mix of history and modernity, good food, art, culture, major sporting events and thus a variety of things to do, making it the perfect destination for a city break. For many years, Australia’s second largest city was actually THE most livable city in the world! Why this is so and what there is to discover, you can find out here.

What do you learn in this article?

BIG5 Things to do in Melbourne

You don’t want to miss the sights? Find all your tips and checklist for your city break in Melbourne here:

BIG5 Melbourne – Speed Date

Outstanding:

Melbourne was for a long time the most liveable city in the world and today its inhabitants are considered the happiest. All this is no coincidence!

Sucks:

Evil voices claim that weather is unpredictable and you should have everything with you – sunglasses, umbrella and jacket

DO:

Be sure to plan enough time for the visit, the city and surroundings are really great

DO NOT:

Don’t be put off by the fact that Melbourne doesn’t have THE sights – here is where it all comes together

Don’t tell your mother:

The ozone hole over Australia quickly leads to severe sunburn – cream well with a high sun protection factor!

BIG5 Melbourne – Rapid Fire Q&A

  • How many days should I allow for Melbourne? – For the BIG5 in the city centre (CBD) one day is enough, for one of the great day trips a second. But you can also spend a week in the city, there’s lots to discover!
  • Melbourne… Okay, what exactly am I supposed to do there? – Melbourne doesn’t have THE sights, here it does the whole package. The city is considered a stronghold of culture, sports events and good food and is close to great beaches.
  • What did you like most about your visit? – The convenience of sightseeing: everything is very central and easy to reach – and for me personally remarkable: the coffee culture!
  • Can I combine Melbourne with other destinations in Australia? – Absolutely! Brighton Beach with the famous beach houses is still in the city, the Great Ocean Road is a day trip from Melbourne
  • Is the Melbourne Pass worth it? – For the Melbourne sightseeing in one day the pass is not necessary, but it can be worth it for a longer stay

BIG5 Melbourne – Orga

Best Travel Time

The best time to visit Melbourne is from November to April, but the generally temperate climate makes it possible to travel to the city all year round

Arrival & Departure

Visa: Check here if you need a visa for Australia with your passport

  • Flight: The international airport “Tullamarine Airport” (IATA: MEL) is directly approached by many airlines
  • Flight: There are 3 other airports in the Melbourne area: Avalon Airport (AVV), Essendon Airport (MEB) & Moorabbin Airport (MBW)
  • Bus: From / to Canberra (twice daily, ~ 8 hours, 60-100 Euro); with Greyhound Australia, night bus connection possible

From the airport, take the Skybus to Southern Cross Station and from there take a comfortable ride to your accommodation. Alternatives are taxi or rental car.

The next stop is … Canberra, Sydney or Alice Springs

Accommodation

Recommended location: walking distance to Southern Cross Station or a Circle Line Tram Station

  • Budget: Flinders Backpackers (35 Elizabeth Street, 3000 Melbourne; 25€ dormitory, ~70€ double room), hostel in very central location with good common rooms
  • Budget: City Square Motel (67 Swanston Street, 3000 Melbourne; 60€ single room, ~90€ double room), ideal location for your city trip to Melbourne with only 3 minutes walk from Flinders Street Station
  • Medium: ibis Melbourne Central (399 Little Lonsdale Street, 3000 Melbourne; ~80€ single room; 95€ double room), very well equipped hotel in the heart of the Melbourne CBD
  • Medium: The Victoria Hotel (215 Little Collins Street, 3000 Melbourne; ~70€ double room), centrally located hotel with fitness centre
  • Nobel: Quay West Suites Melbourne (Southgate Avenue, Southbank, 3000 Melbourne; ~150€ double room), 5* hotel with great views of the Melbourne skyline
  • Nobel: The Langham Melbourne (1 Southgate Avenue, Southbank, 3006 Melbourne; ~180€ double room), 5* hotel in a magnificent location that leaves nothing to be desired

Price Level

In Australia you pay with Australian Dollars (AUD)

Withdraw money: In Melbourne’s CBD, there are plenty of ATMs, so withdrawing money is no problem at all

Beer indicator: Australia is certainly not known for “cheap” alcohol prices

Cost of a taxi: basic fee is $4.20, 1 kilometer ~ $1.65

Restaurants, Bars & Cafés

  • Higher Ground (650 Little Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000) – upscale, unusual cuisine in a great architectural atmosphere
  • Embla (122 Russell St, Melbourne VIC 3000) – a stylish wine bar, directly above is the adjoining restaurant Lesa
  • Maha Restaurant (21 Bond St, Melbourne VIC 3000) – rather high-priced restaurant with interesting experimental flavours from all over the world
  • Three one 2 one (424 Bridge Rd, Richmond VIC 3121) – not directly in the CBD, but the strong burgers are worth the short metro ride!

BIG5 Melbourne – Activities

  • Take the Circle Tram for a tour of the centre
  • Enjoy the flair of Federation Square, surrounded by Flinders Street Station, St. Paul’s Cathedral and skyline
  • Walking tour of the city centre – lots of history, Chinatown and busy markets
  • Immerse yourself in the world of colourful street art all over the city
  • Enjoy one of the best coffees in the world

BIG5 Melbourne – Photo spots

  • Flinders Street Station across Federation Square
  • The countless street art motifs, e.g. in Hosier Lane or Union Lane
  • Visit the magnificent block arcade
  • From the Princes Bridge to the promenades of the Yarra River
  • The city from above from the skydeck of Eureka Tower

 

BIG5 Melbourne – Things to do off the beaten track

  • Read a book at La Trobe – Cathedral in the State Library Victoria (Library)
  • You want to go to Italy? Visit “Little Italy” in and around Lygon Street
  • St. Kilda – You will experience a special spectacle after sunset when the penguins come ashore
  • Go on a discovery tour in the hip Fitzroy district
  • Drive the official Formula 1 track yourself by car

BIG5 Melbourne – Culinary Journey

  • Pies in every variation: from hearty to sweet
  • Vegemite – THE typical Australian ingredient for a good “Brekky” (breakfast)
  • Coffee – a must in one of the world capitals of coffee!
  • Kangaroo steaks or sausage
  • Desire for “international” delicacies: You’ll find a huge selection in Chinatown, Little Italy and Greek restaurants (Melbourne has the largest Greek community outside Athens)

BIG5 Melbourne – Communication

In Australia they speak English of course, but beware, the “Aussie Slang” has many own words (Arvo = afternoon; Ciggie = cigarette; Brekky = breakfast; Mozzy = Mosquito; …)

  • Thank you – ta / tata / cheers
  • Yes – yes
  • No – no
  • Hello – g’day
  • Bye / Goodbye – see ya

“Typical Australian” is another “mate” to put behind many sentences 🙂

BIG5 Melbourne – Helpful Websites / Links

BIG5 Melbourne – Overview map for your city break

Best things to do in Melbourne tips one day itinerary: The Melbourne skyline from the other bank of the Yarra River

Explore the things to do in Melbourne in one day

I love Melbourne. And not just because of its extremely high density of cafés. Some even claim it has the highest density in the world, and the Yarra River is actually “brown” – like coffee.

Many say that Melbourne is different from the Australian capitals. I can only confirm that.

With its artistic vein, the love of good food and coffee and the convenience of sightseeing make Melbourne a great and highly recommendable destination for a city trip.

Even if the city does not have THE iconic sights like Sydney, it is a great city with a special flair and attitude to life. According to a study, the “Melbournians” have been living in the “happiest city in the world” since 2019. This must be on it…

Melbourne has a lot to offer. Especially if you’re not there for long or don’t have much time for sightseeing, it’s not easy to pack everyone into one day. Nevertheless: Many sights are located in or very close to the Central Business District (CBD), the heart of the city.

A perfect day in Melbourne 🇦🇺 – here is your overview

Best suited for screenshots 📷📝

Your morning in Melbourne

  • Start at Flinders Street Station
  • Federation Square
  • Panoramic view from the Eureka Sky Deck
  • National Gallery of Victoria
  • Queen Victoria Park
  • St. Paul’s cathedral
  • Treasury & Fitzroy Gardens
  • Parliament House

Your afternoon in Melbourne

  • Lunch in Chinatown oder Bourke Street Mall
  • Queen Victoria Market
  • Admire the imaginative Street Art
  • Block Arcade
  • Walk along the Yarra River

Your evening in Melbourne

  • Dinner on the promenades of the Yarra River or a dinner boat
  • Marvel at the penguin parade in St. Kilda
  • Throw yourself into Melbourne nightlife

 

Click on the icon in the top left corner to use the full range of map options!

Is the Melbourne Pass worthwhile for your city trip?

The Melbourne Pass is a great way to save money that you can later invest elsewhere for a delicious coffee or late-night drinks. It includes 35 attractions including the Melbourne Zoo, Melbourne River Cruises, Eureka Skydeck and SEA LIFE Aquarium.

There are two alternatives:

Melbourne Flexi Attractions Pass

From the first day of use, you can choose to visit 3, 5 or 7 attractions within 3 months.

So here you can choose your highlight attractions. You can easily book the Pass online

Melbourne Unlimited Attractions Pass

The full load of Melbourne sights? Then this pass is for you!

Within 3 or 7 days you can visit ALL 35 attractions included in the pass. The Unlimited Attractions Pass iis also available online.

The attractions included in the one-day plan alone don’t make the pass particularly attractive. Depending on how much you plan to visit, you can check this on a case-by-case basis.

But if you want to spend more time in Melbourne and want to see and experience a lot, the pass is definitely worth it.

Things to do in Melbourne in the morning

We set off on a tour full of highlights in the southern Australian metropolis.

I am a big fan of Free Walking Tours, a guided tour with a local guide. They are only based on a donation. On this tour you learn interesting facts about the city and are shown the best sights in the centre. You can reserve a place for the tour here.

Of course you can also go on your own to discover Melbourne. I have summarized the Melbourne itinerary for one day here:

No matter where you start from: Take the City Circle Tram. Watch out for line 35! This line is very practical, as it circles Melbourne’s CBD (Center Business District). The trams are mostly still in the design of the last century and are an attraction in themselves
Many of Melbourne’s attractions are located in the immediate vicinity of the stations.
And best of all, the City Cycle Tram is free

So no matter where your accommodation is, you can take the tram to the starting point:

Start at Flinders Street Station

Flinders Street Station is an important public transport hub – and a landmark in itself.
The impressive station is over 100 years old – it is the oldest in Australia. Both its dome and the tower are visible from afar.
Meet me under the clocks” – The row of clocks in front of the station is a popular meeting place for locals.

 

 

After a first coffee from one of the many stands nearby, the tour continues – Melbourne is truly a paradise for fans of the brown hot drink!
The big Federation Square is right across the street from Flinders Station – you just have to cross St. Kilda Road. Framed by modern architecture, the square is an important cultural centre of the city, where events such as concerts are regularly held.

Do you like magnificent panoramic views? Then there is one special for you among the things to do in Melbourne: Let’s go to Eureka Tower on the other side of the Yarra River. As you can see, not only London has a district called “Southbank“. From the Eureka Sky Deck you have an incomparable 360 degree view over the city and far into the surrounding area.
If you haven’t had a drink yet, there is a great café with a view.

You can also book tickets for the Eureka Tower online in advance.

Best things to do in Melbourne tips one day itinerary: The Melbourne CBD from Eureka Skydeck

Enjoy the generous green spaces of the city

Very close to the tower is the “National Gallery of Victoria” (NGV), an impressive mixture of garden, gallery, museum and exhibition rooms. And the best thing is: The entrance is FREE. So even if you’re not a big fan of art, it’s worth a visit! It’s practically on the way and who knows – maybe you’ll find something interesting for you after all!

Stroll a little through Queen Victoria Park! Depending on your time budget and priorities, you can also shorten your visit. Here you will find the “3 Palms” and a big flower clock at the Queen Victoria Memorial.

Over the impressive Princes Bridge you return to the north side of the river. From the bridge you have a great view of the promenades left and right of the river – one of my favourite photo spots in Melbourne!

 

Best things to do in Melbourne tips one day itinerary: The Prices Bridge over the Yarra River and the Melbourne skyline

Diagonally opposite Flinders Street Station and directly from Princes Bridge, St. Paul’s Cathedral catches your eye. This magnificent Gothic building is not only something for church lovers, but also an important historical building, especially in the relatively young city of Melbourne.

Continuing eastwards, through the Treasury Gardens to the Fitzroy Gardens, we arrive at a special photo spot in the pulsating city: Cook’s Cottage is like from another world. One feels straight transferred to a quiet English county. The Cottage is the parental home of the famous British explorer James Cook, who was the first European to sail around the east coast of Australia.
You can also spend as much time as you like in these extensive parks – or come back in the afternoon for a cup of coffee and a good book on a park bench or in the meadow.

Past the imposing St. Patrick’s Cathedral, you’ll find yourself on the direct route to Parliament House, the government building of the State of Victoria. This historically significant building is also a great place for low-budget vacationers, as free guided tours are offered several times a day. (Attention: These tours do not take place when the Parliament is in session).

Things to do in Melbourne in the afternoon

Lunchtime! You have a lot of possibilities for this – hello, you are in Melbourne’s CBD!

My personal favourite is Chinatown, but there are also some shopping malls with food courts, e.g. the Bourke Street Mall and countless restaurants along the busy streets. In Chinatown you can find very cheap food, the traditionally decorated streets and the Asian flair.
Can we go on? Then let’s go!

 

 

From Parliament Station, the Circle Tram takes you to the Queen Victoria Markets (QVM), a huge marketplace with over 600 stalls selling a wide variety of goods. It is considered the largest market place in the southern hemisphere. The market is open Tuesday and Thursday to Sunday and as a shopping fan you can easily get lost and spend a lot of time there. No wonder that Melbourne is considered THE city for shopping in Australia. But also culinary delights are offered to every visitor, as there are delicious fresh delicacies, fruits and vegetables.

As you walk back through the city towards the Yarra River, there are great opportunities to admire the famous street art.
Special places for this are Hosier Lane, AC/DC Lane or Union Lane, where you can often meet artists live at work – or on weekends wedding parties for photos in special surroundings. If you are particularly interested in street art, you can download a  free PDF-map of all the major streets with street art in Melbourne’s CBD from the Whatson Melbourne website. There’s even a suggested route  suggested route for you to explore on your own.

 

 

Another attraction on the way is the Block Arcade on Collins Street. These arcades from the 19th century are used as shops today.

 

 

The afternoon offers a great opportunity to relax with a walk along the promenade of the Yarra River. Enough walking for today? Then the many parks are good places for you to sit down and enjoy the green grass.

Things to do in Melbourne in the evening

Melbourne wouldn’t be Melbourne if the city also had various great alternatives for your evening out:

The place to be for a dinner in a great atmosphere? Definitely the promenades of the Yarra River. A great location is in the middle of the river: On Ponyfish Island.

Alternatively, you can enjoy another city tour from a completely different perspective and in a special atmosphere.
The basic idea is the same: You have had a long day in Melbourne and a relaxed dinner is just what you need now? But of course it would be nice to have some sightseeing during dinner, especially with all the beautiful lighting in the city? A cruise on the Yarra River in a comfortable dinner ship combines both in a special way.

Dinner can be served anywhere, but you want to experience a special natural spectacle? Then I recommend the “Penguin Parade” in St. Kilda.

Off to the nightlife of Melbourne! For that you would actually need a guide! There are countless bars and pubs that you wouldn’t recognize as such from the outside, like Sister Bella or Ferdydurke. Whether in the suburbs or the city centre, Melbournians definitely know how to party!

 

 

You brought more time? Sights and day trips

Great, because of course Melbourne has even more things to do to offer and not just a program for a day!

Additional things to do in Melbourne

  • Melbourne Museum – the largest museum in the southern hemisphere with many interesting exhibits including huge dinosaur skeletons
  • Brighton Beach – The famous pictures with colourful beach houses
  • You have a car at your disposal? Then you can drive around the Melbourne Grand Prix Formula 1 circuit yourself
  • Many beaches are only a short car or tram ride away from the CBD
  • Visit trendy neighbourhoods outside the CBD
  • Melbourne Star Observation Wheel – A great Ferris wheel with views of the city and skyline. However, the Ferris Wheel is opened and closed again and again, so make sure you know in advance if you can really use this attraction

 

 

The best day trips from Melbourne

Melbourne is a great starting point for unforgettable day trips, here you will find a selection:

  • Great Ocean Road
  • Phillip Island’s Penguin Parade
  • The Dandenong Ranges and the Yarra Valley
  • The Mornington Peninsula
  • Grampians National Park

 

I personally chose the famous Great Ocean Road!

 

 

And what’s your favourite day trip from Melbourne?

 

So come on, pack your bags and let the “happiest city in the world” infect you 🇦🇺

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