What to do in Melbourne for a day
Melbourne is known as the artsy, cultural capital of Australia and a long-time rival to Sydney. They say you’re either a Sydney or Melbourne person, as the two cities offer very different sides to Australia. Although I love Sydney, I am certainly a Melbourne kinda gal. Melbourne is a quirky, cosmopolitan city that has always got something going on. You can never get bored of it. So how do you see such a vibrant city in one day? Well, I’m about to tell you, my friend.
How to see Melbourne in one day
With only one day in Melbourne, you’ll want to start right in the centre. There’s no better place than Flinders Street Station and Federation Square. Flinders Street has been the heart of Melbourne since 1854 and is known as one of its most iconic buildings. Federation Square, just across the road, is the centre for events throughout the year. Don’t be surprised if, on your trip to Melbourne, you happen to see a concert, a protest, or cultural events happening in this piazza. There is always something happening here.
After admiring the architecture and musing at Fed Square and Flinders Street Station, head to Flinders Lane for a spot of breakfast before heading further into the city. Make sure you try out the coffee scene while you’re at it, Melbourne is known for its expertise in producing amazing coffee. I’d recommend heading to Dukes Coffee Roasters, a stylish little place that serves awe-inspiring coffee for tourists and locals alike.
Explore Melbourne’s laneways
After you’ve filled up on breakfast, it’s time to start exploring the city. Exploring the laneways is one of the best things you can do in Melbourne. These bustling streets and passageways are decorated with the city’s best street art, giving you a great taste of the creative culture in Melbourne that spills over onto every corner.
You could spend an entire day just exploring Melbourne’s artistic thoroughfares, but as you only have one day you’ll probably want to see more than just street art. In that case, stick to just exploring Hosier Lane, AC/DC Lane. These two streets are some of the most famous laneways that Melbourne has to offer. Make sure to have an Instagram-worthy photo with some amazing street art as your urban background!
For a full self-guided tour of the best of Melbourne’s street art, follow this easy route.
See the city by tram
After admiring the modern artistic spirit of the city, it’s time for some history! Catch the 35 City Circle Tram from either Russell Street or Flinders Street for a tram journey with a difference. This tram route is a free tourist tram that takes you around the city, showing you some of its main historic sites en route. This is a great way to get around the city quickly for free, as well as seeing a bit of history while you’re at it!
You can get on and off as much as you like, so if you fancy getting off to go see the tourist attractions like the Melbourne Museum and Carlton Gardens or the State Library, then simply jump off the tram. When you’re done, head back on to carry on exploring the city. As you only have one day, I’d recommend staying on the tram until Flagstaff Station. From there, walk to the Queen Victoria Market for a spot of lunch.
The Queen Victoria Market is a foodie’s heaven in the centre of the city. It is the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere, and a surviving landmark from the Victoria era (hence the name). It is a great place to get a feel for the life of the city, as it is still a working market, supplying the city with fresh, local produce. Enjoy some mouth-watering delicacies and dishes here before heading back on the City Circle tram to Flinders Street Station.
Experience the art scene
As you well know, Melbourne is known for its art. But there is plenty of fantastic art to see that isn’t down the laneways. After you’ve got off the City Circle Tram at Flinders Street Station, head to the National Gallery of Victoria. Here you’ll find enough art to make you feel like you’ve suddenly become extremely cultured and sophisticated. The gallery has around 70,000 works of art, including Asian, Australian, Indigenous and Contemporary collections. More than enough for you to find something you like!
See Melbourne from a different level
By this point, it should be late afternoon, so to finish off your day in Melbourne, go to the Eureka Skydeck. The Eureka Skydeck is a 297 metre (975 ft.) high, gold plated skyscraper that gives you 360-degree views of Melbourne. It’s is an amazing experience as you get to see Melbourne from a whole new perspective –– literally. Make sure to get up there while it’s still daylight, as you’ll be able to see Melbourne not just in the day time, but also at sunset and at night!
After taking in the stunning views of Melbourne from above, walk along the river back to the bustling city. By this point you’ll be hungry, so head to one of Melbourne’s amazing restaurants to savour some premium grub. Chin Chin is the place to go to try some damn-good Asian food with an Australian twist. If Asian cuisine isn’t what you’re after, head to one of the two MoVida restaurants nestled at the end of Hosier Lane. These two Spanish restaurants serve tapas at its finest, and both have a lively, buzzing atmosphere that suits Melbourne perfectly. What a way to end a perfect day in Melbourne!
Heading elsewhere in Australia? You’ll find plenty or travel tips and ideas over in the Australia Travel section. If you’ve already been to Melbourne, make sure to comment below on your favourite part of the city!