If you ever visit Sydney, you will know, that Melbourne is the most fun sister among them. Effectively, if you meet both of them at a party, Melbourne is the ‘sister’ that you’d love to spend the whole night at the party, laughing chatting and dancing with you! Sydney is undoubtedly shinier but Melbourne has character and flair – all the traits for a great city to visit!
Melbourne is also not like any city you get in most places across the globe either. Sure many cities can brag an iconic skyline, fantastic nightlife, really awesome food, and rich history but there are very few that have incredible beaches to throw into that mix too!
Melbourne efficiently lets you eat your cake and have it – all the attractions (and distractions) you’d want in a city like Melbourne – along with access to some wonderful natural sights are all here. Suffice to say, if you have never visited Melbourne, it surely deserved a place on your travel plans! (also, if you’ve been – it’s always worth retreating back!)
With that being said, let’s get started with 10 sights you have to see when you’re in this fantastic Australian city!
The fact that Federation Square totally contradicted public opinion in Melbourne when it opened in 2002 kinda makes it even more incredible to see. It was started in 2002 to mark 100 years of federation, and it’s sleek, geometric new era design is a huge contrast to the historical Victorian structures around it. Events and entertainment are regularly held in the outdoor performance area of Federation Square, so there’s a fair chance there’ll be something going on when you visit.
Random sidebar: It’s also the biggest free Wi-Fi site in Australia and I am yet to meet a tourist who doesn’t love free Wi-Fi!
St Paul’s Cathedral
There has to be at least one cathedral in every sightseeing place, doesn’t there? St Paul’s Cathedral fills that void of the cathedral in Melbourne, and believe me, I am not kidding when I say, it’s absolutely stunning.
Built-in 1868 it’s a wonderful example of Gothic Revival structure in Australia. It’s free to everyone (save that cash dollars y’all!), so make sure to head inside for a gander when you’ve finished admiring the wonderful exterior.
Melbourne Museum and Royal Exhibition Building
If you only plan for one museum on your trip to Melbourne make sure that it’s this one. Their collections are extremely different and unique, ranging from its Aboriginal Centre (Bunjilaka) to its children’s museum. The building itself is amazing to see from outside, and the sprawling gardens and parkland which circles it are a great place to explore or stop for a picnic.
This incredible skyscraper is 91 stories high, crowned and plated with gold. It’s gold plating is a nod to the explorers of the Victorian goldfields, whose 1854 rebellion (The Eureka Stockade) bestowed its name to the tower. Appreciate the sparkling facade from the ground, then head up to the Skydeck on the 88th floor for an incomparable view of the city below.
The Melbourne Cricket Ground
Whether you’re a sports buff or not, the MCG has hosted enough amazing sports events that it’s now seen as a piece of history rather than just a sporting ground.
It holds the honor of the first ever Test cricket match in 1877, as well as the 1956 Olympic Games, the 2006 Commonwealth Games, and the 1992 World Cup. Sport is a big part of the Aussie culture so, even if it’s not a big part of yours, definitely head over here.
Captain Cook’s Cottage
It’s worth a visit Captain Cook’s Cottage if only to marvel at the fact that it has been brought from Yorkshire, England, to where it stands till date in Fitzroy gardens. Past this novelty, it offers an inside look into Cook’s exploration of Australia and is set in wonderful well-kept garden land with a Spanish-style conservatory nearby.
Check Out The View From The Melbourne Star
Once you’ve delved into some of Melbourne’s history, pop over to Docklands, the city’s most modern district. Docklands is a riverside village bursting with parklands and places to gorge, so it’s the perfect place to unwind, explore and tank up on some incredible Australian food! (Melbourne actually has a really amazing food scene).
It’s also home to the Melbourne Star, an observation wheel which offers simply amazing 360-degree sights of the city from a 40-story height.
Royal Botanic Gardens
These gardens, spread across 40 hectares, are well known regarded to be amongst some of the finest in the world. You can catch a view of over 50,000 plants here (amazing right?), including a few rarities. Don’t miss the opportunity to take an incredible tour through the heritage of Australia’s inborn culture with the gardens’ Aboriginal Heritage Walk.
After experiencing the gardens all morning, treat yourself with a pick-me-up at one of Melbourne’s best coffee shops, Manchester Press they make an amazing espresso. On the other hand, if you want a wonderful breakfast and amazing coffee, head over to Axil Coffee Roasters – although quite crowded, it’s well worth the rush. Their eggs and cappuccino are too delicious to miss.
Shrine of Remembrance
This is one of the city’s more lackluster sights, bound to inspire you to remember the sacrifices made by those lost in the First World War.
The shrine was built in the Kings Domain Gardens shortly after the war ended and is still the focal point for functions held each year on 25th April for ANZAC Day, and on 11th November for Remembrance Day. Consider visiting the shrine at night, as it’s almost even more incredible when it’s all lit up against the contrasting darkness.
The Dandenong Ranges
One of the best things about Melbourne is that you only have to commute an hour out of the city to get to some actual, unspoiled natural beauty – that’s the whole eating-your-cake-and-having-it deal I said earlier.
Take a day away from the hustle and bustle of city life to enjoy the blooming rainforest and flowing waterfalls of the Dandenong Ranges. Check out the mountains’ lookouts offering views of the city and its circling countryside, and explore the amazing surrounding villages to see what Melbourne has to offer away from the bright city lights.