Melbourne has been called the fashion and sporting capital of Australia, but it has far more things to do than just beer, football and clothing. Melbourne has some spectacular attractions, historic buildings and fantastic things to do in and around the city.
The Melbourne of today is a far cry from yesteryear. Vibrant, yet with a quiet sophistication, Melbourne is Australia’s second most populated city and also the nations second most popular tourist destination, rivaled only by Sydney.
There always seems to be something going on in Melbourne. Football finals, Art exhibitions, Spring Racing Carnival and a host of festivals such as Melbourne Moomba Waterfest.
Just out of Melbourne lie some of the best natural attractions in Australia. The Great Ocean Road is regarded as one of the best coastal drives in the world and the attractions include world standard surfing beaches and limestone formations such as the Twelve Apostles and London Bridge.
Another popular natural attraction is watching the Little Penguins come ashore each night at Phillip Island. There is no greater thrill for nature lovers than to see the fairy penguins returning to their nests at sundown, after being away fishing all day.
But you don’t have to go far to enjoy Melbourne. History is well preserved in Melbourne with glorious architecture like the Flinders St Railway Station, which takes centre stage on the banks of the Yarra River.
Come with me as we discover places of interest, find wonderful things to do and take journey’s to places I overlooked in my youth.
We will travel to spectacular ocean vistas , replica gold rush towns, see penguins and unique Australian animals. Stay at some of the best hotel accommodation and taste delicious food from a variety of sources.
This is the modern Melbourne just waiting for you.
Things to do in Melbourne
Fitzroy Gardens in Melbourne
Since the early days of Victoria, Fitzroy Gardens has been an important recreation area and green belt parkland refuge for the growing metropolis of Melbourne.
With a long history, Fitzroy Gardens has been a refuge for many famous people seeking a gentler pace from the hustle and bustle of a major city. With many fine examples of fountains, sculptures and statues, the Melbourne Fitzroy gardens are a living treasure.
Today, Fitzroy Gardens holds some historic attractions, such as Captain Cooks Cottage, Conservatory and and of course, the famous Fairy Tree. The park is a quiet place for locals and tourists to enjoy, all just a short stroll from the Melbourne CBD.
Just a short stroll from the top end of Collins Street, just behind the Victorian Government Treasury buildings, lies this perfect green paradise that is the Fitzroy Gardens.
Considered among Melbourne’s best gardens, rivaled only by the Royal Botanic Gardens, the Fitzroy Gardens has a history dating back some 150 years since first established in 1864 by the Colonial Government.
Named after Sir Charles Augustus Fitzroy, who was the Governor General of the Australian Colonies from 1851 to 1855, Fitzroy Gardens is home to some important tourist attractions such as:
- Captain Cooks Cottage
- The Conservatory
- The Fairies Tree
- Tudor Village
- Sculptures and Statues
Many tour companies make the Fitzroy Gardens one of their stops with overseas visitors enjoying the wide open spaces, historic buildings and fabulous flora and fauna.
At the weekends it is one of Melbourne’s popular wedding venues for both ceremonies and photo shoots.
Getting to the Fitzroy Gardens is an easy walk. From the steps of the Victorian Parliament House, walk down past the Treasury Buildings, through Treasury Gardens and across the road into the Fitzroy Gardens.
Facilities include swings and slides for children, park benches, picnic spots, toilets and in the centre of the gardens, Pavilion Cafe, where you can have a light refreshments, coffee and book a function.
Fitzroy Gardens is a fabulous spot to spend a quick visit to see the historic Cooks Cottage, Fairies Tree and Observatory or to spend some enjoyable peaceful hours among the flower gardens, statuettes and special features.
The Fitzroy Gardens are managed by the City of Melbourne and was listed by the National Trust in 2000. Bring the kids to the Fitzroy Gardens, as they will have fun on the Dragon Slide and will also love the Fairy Tree.
Melbourne Zoo Parkville
Visit Melbourne Zoo and enjoy the spacious surroundings, excellent display of animals from both Australia and the world, plus superb visitor facilities of arguably the best zoo in Australia.
Open from 9.00am to 4.30pm daily, Melbourne Zoo is just a short distance from the Melbourne CBD, with public transport available to and from all areas of the city. We normally take a train to the Royal Park station as we stay at the top end of the city. No matter what end of town you stay at, there is transport available that will take you to the zoo.
If you self drive, there is plenty of parking available at each gate entrance.
A day at the Melbourne Zoo is one of the most satisfying moments in time, as the zoo has a fabulous collection of animals on display from all points of the world.
You will simply fall in love with the manner in which the zoo management and staff has upgraded the enclosures, so that each animal is not only comfortable, the visitor has the best possible viewing area to see each animal in as close as their natural habitat as possible.
Opened in 1862, Melbourne Zoo is the oldest zoo in Australia, with a rich and diverse history. From humble beginnings, with just a few animals to display, the zoo now boasts over 320 different species including African lions, endangered lowland gorillas, tigers, orangutans, elephants and of course kangaroos, koalas and wombats.
Take a look at our zoo photos and read our thoughts on displays and enclosures that we regard as must see areas of Melbourne Zoo. We also suggest that you pick up an information brochure and zoo map at the entry gates which allow you to plan your way around the zoo grounds and learn of the feeding times for each animal. Just prior to individual animal feeding is best viewing times, where you see the animals moving and behaving naturally.
- Western Lowlands Gorillas
- Reptile House
- Tropical Butterfly House
It is advisable to plan to spend at least 4 hours at the zoo, with an all day visit the most preferred option. The Melbourne Zoo is sited on it’s original birth place at Royal Park, just a short 4 kilometres from the city centre. There is ample free car parking at both entrances with both trams and trains just a short walk from the bottom entrance.
If time is short, make sure you visit the upgraded African Rainforest area, which features gorillas and many monkey species, the fabulous open display area for the lions and neighbouring African Wild Dogs, the amazing tropical Butterfly House, the tigers, elephants and orangutans.
There is so much to see at the Melbourne Zoo it really is almost impossible to visit all the displays in the one day, plan for a return journey when time permits.
Melbourne Zoo Address
Elliot Avenue Parkville, Victoria
Melbourne Zoo Entry Hours
9.00am to 4.30pm Weekdays
9.00am to 5.00pm Weekends
(Selected twilight times apply during summer.)
How to get to Melbourne Zoo
Melbourne Trains run from all stations to Royal Park Station on the Upfield line.
Tram 55 runs from William Street every day of the week.
Elizabeth St. tram to North Coburg stops just 2 streets from the zoo in Royal Parade Parkville, near the old Carlton Football Ground.
Eureka Tower Skydeck Melbourne
One of the must do attractions of any visit to Melbourne, is taking the high speed elevator to the 88th floor of the Eureka Skydeck Lookout and enjoying the fantastic 360 degree views over Melbourne and suburbs. It takes just 37 seconds to travel from the ground floor to the 88th floor, Eureka Skydeck, in the elevator and it doesn’t even seem to be moving.
With uninterrupted views of the city, Port Phillip Bay and sweeping vistas as far as the Dandenong and Macedon Ranges, you can literally spend hours and hours enjoying the sights and recognizing famous landmarks and well known Melbourne buildings. The MCG, Rod Laver tennis centre, Yarra River, Flinders St Station, the much aligned Federation Square and many other famous landmarks are literally just below you.
We strongly suggest a visit to the Eureka Skydeck near sundown. Sunsets are almost always spectacular, yet from the Skydeck they are simply brilliant. Just sit back and enjoy watching the sun go down from a different angle, the colours and effects are stunningly beautiful from up high.
Photographers are almost in heaven at the Eureka Skydeck. With all those views on offer, you can take shots of some of the best known buildings and tourist attractions from a different perspective.
For example, how many photos do you see of the Shrine of Remembrance from ground level, yet there are not too many around taken from the air! This is you chance to do some aerial photography without paying those big bucks for an aircraft. By the way, tripods are welcome, so the most dedicated photographer can feel at home.
Eureka Skydeck 88 is located in the Southbank precinct, just a short stroll from Flinders Street Station. Currently the tallest residential tower in the world, the developers set aside one complete floor, the 88th, as a public viewing platform.
Of course you do have to pay a fee to be able to enjoy those fabulous views, but it is worth every cent you pay to look out over what is regarded as the most liveable city in Australia, Melbourne. Once up on the Skydeck you can purchase a cup of coffee or a coldie, have a snack and relax with all those views below.
There is a special viewing platform called “The Edge” that you are able to book, which is a glass cube which projects 3 meters out from the building, the floor is made of glass and you look straight down to the street below. The Edge is not for the faint hearted, yet is not seriously dangerous or anything. Call it a soft adventure, but an adventure it is, as you look straight down, seemingly just hanging in space, with no floor beneath your feet.
It’s pretty awesome up there in the clouds, so make sure you go and take the elevator to the Eureka Skydeck viewing platform.