There's no time for sleep in Melbourne, a city where culture buffs, sport nuts, fashion lovers and foodies all have their niche. Discover cafes, bars and boutiques in city laneways sprawling secretly off ordered streets. Soak up the vibrant riverside atmosphere from Southbank and visit Federation Square, where creative and café culture meet. Cruise down the Yarra and wander the lawns and lakes of the Royal Botanic Gardens. Soak up the unique energy of the city's diverse precincts, from upmarket South Yarra to beachside St Kilda and edgy Fitzroy. Then day trip to the beaches, wineries, galleries and golf courses of the Mornington Peninsula.
At a glance:
- Two nights Melbourne
- Federation Square
- St Kilda
- Mornington Peninsula
CBD attractions and laneway culture
Begin your Melbourne adventure in its bustling centre. Hop on and off the free shuttle bus or City Circle Tram. Lose yourself in the bustle of Queen Victoria Market. Check out Southbank’s huge casino complex and string of riverside restaurants, bistros and bars. Then visit the unique galleries and museums in the cultural hub of Federation Square. Hit the shops in the historic Melbourne General Post Office, QV laneways and other alleys and wrought-iron arcades. Kayak or cruise down the Yarra River, walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens or round it on the loop locals call ‘The Tan’. Tour the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the super star of Australian sporting grounds, and catch a game of cricket or AFL. In the evening, head out for a Chinese feast along Little Bourke Street or try Italian in a laneway trattoria. Stop for live jazz or a nightcap in a hidden laneway bar, or find a café serving late night coffee and cake.
Yarra River to St. Kilda Beach
Watch the elegant crowds pass you by from a café in South Yarra’s Chapel Street. Get seduced by the designer fashion, then explore the eclectic stores lining Greville Street and Toorak Road in Prahran. Peek into the precinct's high society history at Como House, a Victorian-era mansion with manicured gardens. Afterwards, catch a tram down to St Kilda beach where you can wander the esplanade or go sailing, windsurfing or kiteboarding. Browse the boutiques and have lunch in one of the cafés spilling onto Fitzroy Street or Acland Streets, which is lined with inviting patisseries. Dine out in one of the city’s diverse eating enclaves – try Vietnamese in Richmond, Italian along Carlton’s Lygon Street or Spanish or Indian along Johnston Street in Fitzroy. Nearby Brunswick Street offers gourmet pubs, hip ethnic eateries and lively nightspots to dance the night away. See a performance of comedy, theatre, ballet or modern dance at the Arts Centre on the Yarra River.
Hire a car and head out to the Mornington Peninsula, where vineyards and olive groves meet ocean views. Stop off in historic seaside village of Sorrento. Take in spectacular views on the coastal walk from Sorrento Ocean Beach to Portsea Back Beach, then wander the galleries, grand hotels and charming cafes. Swim with wild bottlenose dolphins or spot them on a cruise. On the tree-lined tip of the peninsula you’ll find Portsea, a secluded playground for Melbourne’s rich and famous. See the opulent, ocean-front mansions walking along the cliff-top, then drive to Red Hill in the hinterland. Dine out in a romantic restaurant, tour the wineries and pick your own berries on a berry farm. In Flinders, you can surf and swim on the beaches or test your handicap on a golf course with sea views. Hunt for antiques or follow one of the walking trails through Mornington Peninsula National Park.