Dubbed the biggest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere, walking through the Queen Victoria Market could see you purchasing anything from a pet goldfish to a Moroccan leather handbag. An extensive line-up of food is the market's core appeal, with international culinary delights and local produce galore nodding to the site's 140 year history as a market of livestock, fruits and vegetables. Sample steaming hot mussels, fresh olives and handcrafted chocolate during your walk through the 17-acre space. Then complete the experience by purchasing a fresh bunch of tulips or roses, even if they only adorn your hotel room a few days.
Go for a wee at the Sofitel
Public toilets don't get much more spectacular than those found on the 35th floor of Melbourne's Sofitel hotel. Known locally as the "loo (a slang word for toilet) with a view," these bathrooms boast some of the best views of the city, stretching past the Botanical Gardens, Melbourne Cricket Ground and - weather permitting - out towards the Dandenong Ranges. Marble floors and ornate gold details finish off the elegant setting, which is open to the public and accessible from Collins Place in the city's centre. Without a doubt one of the best things to do in Melbourne.
Take a day trip to the Yarra Valley
The luscious vineyards that sprawl over the Yarra River have become regarded as a wine growing region of international acclaim. Just an hour out of the city, a trip to Yarra Valley is not just for lovers of quality wine and picturesque grapevines. The region is also home to a gin distillery, numerous boutique breweries, berry farms and many producers of homemade cheese. Offering a glimpse into Victorian countryside, visitors are welcomed by traditional design, endless opportunities for indulgence and genuine Australian hospitality.
Dance until dawn at Melbourne’s famous nightclubs
Australians are known for their ability to have a good time, and the city of Melbourne offers plenty of evidence of this. Boutique wine bars and world-class restaurants might start the night, but it will be the underground nightclubs, rooftop haunts and 24-hour dance clubs that finish things off. Experiment with musical styles well into the AM at places like Brown Alley, New Guernica and La Di Da, not forgetting the glitz and glamour of Level 3 at the Crown Casino. Spread your Melbourne nightlife ventures across various nights to ensure you experience numerous parts of the city, dancing your way around Fitzroy, Southbank, South Yarra and St Kilda.
See an AFL game at the MCG
A distinct branch of Australian football, AFL has gripped the state of Victoria for over 120 years. The season takes place over the Australian winter from March to September, with games held in various locations across the country. If you can catch one of the grand final matches you'll be witnessing Australians at their most passionate and fanatic. Best of all, the finals are held in the impressive Melbourne Cricket Ground, locally referred to as "The G", which is the 10th largest sport stadium in the world. A meat pie and a few beers are essential to the experience.
See a classic at the Astor Theatre
Classic film junkies will find no end of enjoyment at Astor Theatre, a historic single-screen cinema found on Chapel Street in St Kilda. The atmospheric setting of red seats and gold chandeliers has been entertaining film buffs since 1936, and is one of very few still-running cinemas of its kind in the world. Although the foyer and dress circle cinema sit in their antique magnificence, the screen quality and sound system has been brought up to date, bringing brilliance and clarity to old school films in various rare formats. Visit on a Monday, Wednesday or Thursday for a reduced ticketed price of $14 AUD.
Things To Do in Melbourne
White Night Festival
Part of an international series of events, White Night Festival sees the city of Melbourne transforming into an eclectic playground of artistic inspiration from 7am-7pm on one special night in February. Gardens, streets, museums and restaurants stay open through the dark hours, housing special events and shiny exhibitions that offer no shortage of thrill and colour.
Cross your legs and hold your belly through the Melbourne Comedy Festival, a brazen collection of laugh-out-loud comedy events held over a month through March and April. Comprising of over 6,000 performances, many of which are free, the festival draws in the country's most well-respected comedians, as well as a suite of international acts.
Diversity, independence and artistic freedom of speech are the characteristics that shine through the Melbourne Fringe festival. Held in more than 160 different venues across the city, the uncurated, open-access art event falls over 2 weeks each September in a celebration of cultural democracy.
St Jerome's Laneway Festival
An important element of the Australian music festival lineup, St Jermone's Laneway is an international event that first took place in Melbourne in 2005. Held for one day in February, the Melbourne edition still closes down Caledonian Lane in the city's central business district to celebrate the best of Australian indie music.
Rainbow Serpent Festival
Dance music, arts and lifestyle blend together over 4 days in January for the annual Rainbow Serpent Festival. Held in Lexton, about 2-hour drive out of the city, revellers can expect to enjoy anything from permaculture classes to art exhibitions, massage to markets and everything in between. Camping out and dive into the spirit of zero inhibitions.
Top 5 Festivals in Melbourne
There’s never a bad time of year to visit Melbourne. But if your trip has an element of flexibility with its dates, it’s the festival calendar that should be considered. Art, music, comedy and culture step the city up yet another notch through many well-curated festivals.
National Gallery of Victoria
Attracting over 2.5million annual visitors, the National Gallery of Victoria - known locally as NGV - spreads across two locations; one in the city's art-hub of Southbank and the other in Federation Square. Established in 1861, it is the oldest art gallery in all of Australia, with collections spanning indigenous and Australian works, as well as historic European and Asian arts.
Personal identity, homesickness and cultural assimilation are just some of the soul-stirring concepts investigated at Melbourne's Immigration Museum. Rotating exhibitions feature inspiring stories of immigration from the world over, while permanent displays encourage further learning and discovery, including the history of customs controls and Australia's some 9 million immigrants since 1788.
With almost 5% of Australia's population holding Chinese ancestry, learning the links between Australia and China exposes a special part of the Australian story. Found in Melbourne's vibrant Chinatown, the Chinese Museums takes visitors back as far as the 1850s through artefacts that reveal the social fabric of the Chinese community. It also boasts the largest Chinese dragon in the world.
Australian Centre for the Moving Image
Here in the country's most important gallery of film, a progressive cinematic experience of learning and inspiration can be found. Masterclasses, history exhibitions, film screenings, and events take visitors on an explorative journey of both local and international film, going both behind and in front of the screen.
Proving the immense multiculturalism of Australia, the Hellenic Museum - an ode to Greek art, culture and history - is one of the most important museum spaces in Victoria. Located in a former Royal Mint, the building is now a portrait of Greece spanning film, visual arts, music, history, architecture, culture and education.
Top 5 Museums And Galleries in Melbourne
Melbourne’s cultural diversity and progressive mindset crawls through the city’s curation of galleries and museums. Sparking thought provoking ideas and reflecting on a strong history of immigration, these Melbourne attractions are not to be missed.
Tagliolini al Nero
Homemade pasta of squid ink finished with Tasmanian salmon roe and grated bottarga; it's of no surprise that the Tagliolini al Nero served at Tipo 11 has acquired a cult following. Found on Little Bourke Street, it's the perfect introduction to Melbourne's elaborate food scene.
Best eaten at Tipo 00, 361 Little Bourke St, VIC 3000
Fish Mackerel Dumplings
Chinese restaurants don't get much more authentic than ShanDong MaMa, an unassuming shopping centre haunt serving traditional recipes from the sleepy seaside town of Yantai. Order one serve of fish mackerel dumplings and you'll be going back for several more.
Best eaten at ShanDong MaMa, Mid City, 7/200 Bourke St, VIC 3000
If it's a picturesque breakfast you're after, a trip to Richmond's Top Paddock is in order. Their ricotta hotcakes - which come covered in edible flowers, fresh fruits, macadamias, seeds, lemon myrtle sugar and eucalyptus syrup - taste as good as they look. A reminder that Australians love a good breakfast.
Best eaten at Top Paddock, 658 Church St, Richmond VIC 3121
Duck Sausage Benedict
The traditional American breakfast of eggs benedict has been an Australian favourite for many years. Never shy to put their own spin on things, Aussies have experimented significantly with the dish, exemplified perfectly by the Duck Sausage Benedict served at Mammoth Cafe.
Best eaten at Mammoth Cafe, 736 Malvern Rd, Armadale VIC 3143
Marron with Sweet and Sour Pumpkin Seeds
If splashing $275 on dinner fits in your travel budget, the gastronomical excursion of Attica is one you'll remember for a lifetime. Their signature dish is a variation of marron - a crayfish found in Western Australia - but the black ant lamington and whipped emu egg also proves their aptitude for transforming Australian produce into 5-star food.
Best eaten at Attica, 74 Glen Eira Rd, Ripponlea VIC 3185
Food in Melbourne
Australia’s culinary capital, Melbourne travel always involves great eats representative of the multicultural population. Find yourself devouring a breakfast covered in edible flowers and eucalyptus syrup or splurge on a $275 set dinner menu featuring black ant lamington and whipped emu egg.