If it’s your first time in Melbourne sightseeing, there are a couple of things you’ll want to put on your ‘To Do list’ and the good news is, most of them don’t have to cost a thing.
1. Take the City Circle tram
Look out for this burgundy tram (as opposed to green), which takes you around the city in 30 minutes. You can hop on and off at any time and an audio guide will point out various points of interest. It’s a great way to get acquainted with the city, plus, it’s free. The trams come around approximately every 12 minutes and you can board one at Flinders Street or anywhere along the circuit.
2. Queen Victoria Market
The Queen Victoria Market has been Melbourne’s iconic marketplace for 130 years. Half of it is taken up by fresh food stalls and the other half is dedicated to lifestyle products and souvenirs. During summer (14 November to 27 February) the Suzuki Market takes over from 5pm to 10pm every Wednesday, offering a fantastic array of world hawker food and handicraft.
3. St. Kilda Beach
The closest beach to the city, St Kilda has transformed into one of Melbourne’s trendiest suburbs. Catch a tram to Acland Street to check out unique cake shops, beach side cafes and buskers on the sidewalk. On Sundays there is a bustling arts market on The Esplanade.
4. The Block Arcade
The Block Arcade has been the place to Be Seen since 1892. It was modelled after the Galleria Vittoro in Milan, and features intricate mosaic floors alongside Victorian architecture. Hallmark shops include the Hopetoun Tea Rooms which drew society’s finest debutantes accompanied by their mothers or grandmothers.
Many cities have one but Melbourne’s is pretty special. A true oasis in the heart of the city with 38,000 hectares dedicated to horticulture and science. For the typical visitor the Royal Botanic Gardens is a spectacular park to explore with a magical Children’s Garden kids will love. The gardens also offers special outdoor events like Harp in the Gardens and Moonlight Cinema.
6. Public Art on Hosier Lane
A lane dedicated to graffiti. This cobblestone road features upcoming artists supported by the City Lights Project, a non-profit venture that turns dark alleys into public galleries. Hosier Lane offers a great photo op and is the best way to discover some of Melbourne’s finest street art.
7. Have a BBQ
Australians love their Barbies. Have one of your own at a nearby park. Many of Melbourne’s parks offer free barbecue facilities with gas pits that light up at a touch of a button. There are a myriad Aussie BBQ recipes but if you’re not the cooking kind the locals seem to love their sausages on bread.
8. Take a walk along the Yarra
Melbourne city grew out from the banks of the Yarra River. So a walk along its banks will take you to key landmarks such as Federation Square, Southgate Arts & Leisure Complex, Birrarung Marr park, the Melbourne Cricket Ground and the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria). Look out for hidden bars and cafes along leafy avenues.