A quick note about traveling domestically in Australia: the security is nothing. They didn’t check our IDs, make us take off our shoes, or even glance at our boarding passes until we were about to get on the plane. If you’re worried about making a flight because you know security can take forever in America, don’t worry about it. It’s a breeze, and you’ll be through and at the gate with an hour to spare.
My travel buddies and I only had three full days in Melbourne, so we made sure to do our research and hit the best spots. So here’s my list of things you must do in Melbourne, Australia!
Melbourne is a really European city, with tons of outdoor cafes and restaurants, and a million little lanes and alleys lined with coffee shops and bakeries. Flinder’s Lane is a very popular street. We got breakfast and coffees at Degraves Espresso Bar. I became obsessed with flat whites while I was abroad (which you can now get at Starbucks and all my dreams have come true), and this was one of the best I had all semester.
We had lunch in South Bank on Saturday, and there are a plethora of really nice waterfront restaurants here. It was a gorgeous weekend in Melbourne, so we sat outside overlooking the Yarra River, sipping wine and people watching and generally looking like classy ladies who lunch. Highly recommend any of these places with tables on the water, all of their menus were fantastic.
Chin-Chin is one of the best restaurants in Melbourne. Unfortunately, they don’t take reservations and couldn’t seat us, so we missed out on this one. But we had heard so much about it and looked at so many photos of the great Japanese food they serve here that I had to include it on this list. I hear the crispy skinned duck is the best thing on the menu. So go here, because we couldn’t.
There’s a lot to do in Melbourne, so with only three days we felt like we really had to pick and choose what we were going to see.
The first full day we were there, we took a Great Ocean Road tour. Though the Road isn’t technically in Melbourne, it’s the easiest city to access it from, and tons of bus tours run on the weekends. We paid about $100 each for a full day tour, running from Melbourne to London Bridge and back. We left at 6am and were home at 8pm, so it was literally an entire day of driving along the coast, and it was beyond gorgeous. We saw koalas in the wild, had parrots land on our heads, and saw some of the most amazing natural rock formations I’ve ever seen. 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, and the Razorback are must sees, and the sunset over the water as we were driving back to Melbourne is something I will never forget. You MUST drive the Road, either on a tour or on your own. It was a highlight of my entire semester.
Hosier Lane, right off of Flinder’s Lane, is a maze of alleyways covered in graffiti. And not just typical graffiti, but massive works of art. You can’t see any of the original brick color because artists have covered every inch of it. This part of downtown makes for some really awesome pictures – because we do things for the Insta, let’s be real.
For an amazing view of the entire Melbourne area, the Eureka Skydeck is the perfect place. It’s the tallest building in Melbourne, and costs around $10 to ride the elevator all the way up. You get a 360 degree view of the city, and can go out onto a platform with a glass floor to really freak yourself out. Worth the money.
If You Have Time
The National Art Gallery was a really great place for a few nerds to spend a couple of hours. They had a really interesting mix of modern art and interactive exhibits, and we had a good time running around finding the weirdest piece of art we could. I’d recommend this if you are interested in art and have an hour or two. Plus, it’s free, and everyone likes free.
If you like to drink a little bit, the Morris Jones Cocktail Bar is fantastic. As is the norm in Australia, drinks were expensive, but it’s a very nice bar with extremely well dressed people and very nice outdoor tables. I liked this place because it was very much a bar and not at all a club. Great place to go all dressed up for a drink or two.
Queen Victoria Market is a massive craft fair/farmers market in the middle of downtown. It happens every day, but on Sundays there’s a doughnut cart with amazing beignets. This is a great place to get souvenirs, but is also very similar to every other market in Australia.
That’s how I spent my weekend in Melbourne! If you have been to or discover any other amazing must sees-especially restaurants, there’s so much great food here-let me know! I’ll definitely be back someday.