1. Ride the City Circle Tram
If it’s your first time in Melbourne, a really fun way to get a feel for the layout of the city (and learn a little bit about its history) is to ride the number 35 tram. The City Circle Tram is a free service that travels around the fringes of the central business district and the docklands waterfront area, passing many of Melbourne’s finest attractions along the way.
The beautiful heritage trams that service route 35 not only give travelers a free trip around the city of Melbourne, but also a romantic, nostalgic trip back in time. With their burgundy body, green roof and gold trimmings, they’re hard to miss. And the entire trip only takes around 45 minutes. So before you do anything else in Melbourne, get acquainted with the city in style on a City Circle Tram.
2. Visit St. Kilda beach
St. Kilda beach is a beautiful place to visit, especially in the warmer months, with something for people of all ages. St. Kilda beach is Melbourne’s own little slice of Florida or the Gold Coast, but more hip and edgy.
Down by the beach, surrounded by palm trees, is Luna Park: an amusement park that welcomes visitors with a big open mouth. Inside the mouth of Luna Park you’ll find rides and attractions that will keep the young—and young at heart—amused for hours.
For cultural and artistic types, the streets of St. Kilda are lined with some of Melbourne’s finest fashion stores, galleries and an assortment of restaurants. If you have dinner in St. Kilda, a great thing to do afterwards is a romantic stroll out along St. Kilda Pier. The large wooden boardwalk extends right out over the water and is lit by a series of lamps. If you time your walk well enough, you might be lucky enough to see the local penguins returning home at dusk—head to the rocks, right at the very end of the pier.
3. Eat and drink in a laneway
In recent times, Melbourne has become famous for its laneway culture—so much so that other Australian cities have tried to emulate its vibe, but none do a hip and happening laneway better than Melbourne. Perhaps the most famous laneway in Melbourne is Hosier Lane, located in the heart of the CBD, near Federation Square. Hosier Lane is renowned for its eclectic—often political—street art, enchanting cobblestone, and cocktail lounges like Misty and Mo Vida.
But Hosier Lane is just one laneway in Melbourne, so keep your eyes open as you wander the streets of the CBD and the hipper suburbs. Many visitors pass by Melbourne’s best laneways, unaware that they have just missed some of the city’s most exciting bars, restaurants, galleries and boutiques.
4. See a theatre show
For those that appreciate art, Melbourne is definitely the place to be—it is widely regarded as Australia’s ‘cultural capital’. It’s also home to some of the oldest, grandest theatres in the country. Melbourne theatres showcase the traditional arts, as well as a smorgasbord of cutting-edge contemporary works by local artists. Some of the city’s most popular theatres include:
- Regent Theatre
- The Arts Centre
- The Princess Theatre
- The Astor Theatre
- Her Majesty’s Theatre
- The Forum Theatre.
Why not book some cheap airfares to Melbourne, and scratch that cultural itch with a night out at the theatre with someone special?
5. Relax in parks and gardens
After a hard day of shopping and eating, one of the best things to do in Melbourne is to relax in one of its many parks and gardens. The Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne is simply spectacular, and widely regarded as the best botanic gardens in Australia. It’s easily accessible by tram and is a great place to escape to at any time of the year.
For a trip back in time visit the Fitzroy Gardens on the edge of the CBD. The Victorian-era landscaped gardens are a unique place to have a picnic or relax with a good book. But there’s also plenty to see and do in these gardens, like a visit to Cook’s Cottage: built in England in 1755 by Captain Cook’s parents, and shipped to Melbourne in 1993. Other attractions include:
- A conservatory
- An ornamental lake
- The fairy tree
- The rotunda
- Fountains and sculptures.
After a brief, relaxing stint in one of Melbourne’s parks and gardens, you’ll be ready to jump back on a tram and hunt down one of its secret laneways.