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The Essential Melbourne Travel Guide

A city like Melbourne has so much to offer, and we know some of the best experiences you should put on your to-do list for your next Melbourne holiday.

The heart of Victoria, Melbourne is a city with depth and layers to peel back. Every visit reveals something new: a new café, new art to take in, new experiences to enjoy. Whether you’ve never been to Melbourne before or you’re a seasoned visitor, there are plenty of exciting new things just waiting for you to discover.

Dinner and drinks in Melbourne.
Dinner and drinks in Melbourne. Tourism Australia, Visit Victoria.

Eat

Finding a place to eat in Melbourne isn’t hard. The bustling city seems to have a trendy café on almost every street corner. But finding the best places to eat in Melbourne, the hidden gems that will make you want to come back to the city with friends to show off the amazing restaurant you found, those are a little more hard to find.
Underground Melbourne Dining
Take Izakaya Den 2029. Formerly known as Izakaya Den, the restaurant has recently rebranded and reopened with an entirely new look and feel. The entrance to the Den is behind a plain looking door and down a flight of stairs. Once you walk into the space, you’ll be drawn in by the dark stylish aesthetic and the open kitchen filling the room with enticing scents. 
Sky High Melbourne Dining

No. 35 Dining at Sofitel Melbourne on Collins. 
In contrast to the cosy atmosphere of Izakaya Den 2029, head up to No. 35 for breath-taking city views to go with a delectable European inspired meal. Seat yourself by one of the massive glass windows that look out over the Melbourne skyline. Head in for dinner and watch the city start to light up and come alive at night, or enjoy a relaxed brunch and take in the city in all its sunshine-filled glory. Vegetarian, vegan, dairy free, and gluten free meals are all available without ever sacrificing an inch of quality. From a forest mushroom velouté on toasted brioche with parmesan tuile to Moroccan slow cooked lamb to black forest crème brûlée, each and every dish is a luxurious experience to remember.
French-Melbourne Dining
The door to Bar Margaux is plain and just says “MGX”, but when it opens, you’re met with a vibrant buzz of music and chatter. The space is designed to evoke a late-night, New York-inspired, French bistro. The menu is unashamedly French and all about the classics such as escargot (snails in lots of garlic and Pernod butter) with the late-night menu ramping it up a notch serving croque monsieur filled with rotisserie lobster.  Their cocktails lean toward the classics and the wine list offers a good mix of French drops and locally made French varietals. 
Classic Melbourne Dining
Australians love a good steak dinner, and there aren’t any better steakhouses than Pretty Boy Italian Steakhouse. For dinner with a show, sit up at the chefs table to watch the talented chefs prepare contemporary Italian cuisine including handmade pasta, crudo and Melbourne’s best dry aged steak from the impressive meat cabinet. Featuring 30 day dry aged 9+ score Kobe Wagyu porterhouse for melt in your mouth steak dreams are made of. Their cocktails celebrate Italians finest spirits and liqueurs with its very own bespoke limoncello made right here in Melbourne distilled by Lin Lon Distilling Co & the wine list boasts handpicked Italian drops along with well-crafted Victorian wines.
Iconic Melbourne Cafés sprawl out into laneways. Tourism Australia, Visit Victoria.
Iconic Melbourne Cafés sprawl out into laneways. Tourism Australia, Visit Victoria.

Melbourne Coffee

Did you know that Melbourne has more than 24 specialty coffee roasters? There’s no way to visit Melbourne and not sample some of the coffee the city is so well-known for. There are plenty of options, but we recommend a stroll along Centre Place and the charming laneway cafés that sprawl through the street. Poke your head into one of the hole-in-the-wall restaurants or cafés for your morning caffeine fix and bite to eat. You’ll also be able to see some of Melbourne’s iconic street art within Centre Place.
Melbourne laneway art, Visit Victoria
Melbourne laneway art, Visit Victoria

Play

Melbourne Art
Melbourne is known for being a trendy city, full of art and life. One of the best ways to truly understand the energy of Melbourne is to wander the streets and take in some of the best street art you’re likely to come across anywhere in the world. 
You can book a tour, with a guide who can take you to some of the best hot spots in the city, or you can simply wander at your leisure. The City of Melbourne has a recommended route and map to take in some of the best street art. Try walking Myers Place, one of the oldest laneways in Melbourne. Its grey walls have been brought to life by green galleries, including a giant Mike Makatron mural, 'Jungle Funk'. Then wander the famous Hosier Lane. Hosier Lane celebrates often political graffiti and art installations from local and international artists alike. 
Melbourne Shopping
As you wander through Melbourne, you’d be remiss to ignore some of the best shopping opportunities in the country. Walk up and down the Chapel Street Precinct and pop into whichever store beckons. The Precinct Association is an independent, not-for-profit group that represents the small indie stores that make up the precinct. You won’t find many big-name stores here, but you will find charming vintage shops and unique boutiques. 
Then head to Chadstone, the biggest shopping centre in Australia. You could spend hours, days inside the Chadstone Shopping Centre if you wanted. Maybe even stay in the Hotel Chadstone (connected to the shopping centre via a walkway), for a luxurious experience in the heart of the fashion capital of Melbourne.

Iconic Melbourne Fun


The grinning mouth of Luna Park. Tourism Australia.
The first Luna Park in Australia opened in Melbourne in 1912 and it has been a place of fun and adventure since. Thrill rides, family rides, sideshows, and more wait beyond the iconic mouth entryway.
Another iconic site in Melbourne is Federation Square. When you think of Melbourne, Fed Square is often one of the first places of interest that comes to mind. And it’s not hard to see why. Fed Square is home to several restaurants and cafés as well as galleries and museums that all embody the casual, trendy energy the city is known for. Just a street away is St Paul’s Cathedral, a great attraction for history and architecture lovers, as well as Flinders Street railway station, an icon itself in addition to being an important public transportation hub.
Melbourne Sights
There are a lot of ways you can see all that Melbourne has to offer, but the best way to take it all in is from high up in the sky, at the Eureka Skydeck. Head up at sunset to watch the sun paint the sky in warm hues as you look out over not only the city but across the serene Port Philip Bay as well. The more adventurous visitor may want to try the Skydeck Edge, the only moving glass structure in the world. The Edge is like stepping into Willy Wonka’s glass elevator as you find yourself suspended nearly 300 meters over Melbourne in a glass cube. If you ever find yourself hungry for views of the city, there are plenty of sights to take in from the Skydeck. 
Quay West Suites Melbourne
Quay West Suites Melbourne

Rest

In a city as varied as Melbourne, you have plenty of options when it comes to where to stay. 
With views of the bustling city below and a fabulous bar and restaurant, the Quay West Suites Melbourne stands out as one of the best accommodation options in the city. Apartment-style accommodation keeps you in comfort and control as you can whip up dinner in your room, or pop into the Jarrah Restaurant and Bar for fresh, local food and a glass of wine.
In the Mantra City Central Melbourne, you’ll find classic architecture, modern conveniences, and intrinsic Melbourne style. The old, stone façade might seem as if it should be at odds with the trendy rooftop terrace, but the Mantra embodies the excels in deliberate, eclectic style. The central location keeps you close to all the major Melbourne attractions and offers self-contained apartments that will make you feel like you’ve found your home away from home.
If staying close to the city centre is high on your priority list, the ibis budget Melbourne CBD is perfect. Right in the heart of the city, the ibis is well within reach of Federation Square, laneway cafés, and public transportation, if you want to head further out of the city. The ibis budget Melbourne CBD prides itself on convenience, with inexpensive prices to help you get the most out of your Melbourne holiday. Discover more budget accommodation options in Melbourne to save money to spend on more rich and exciting experiences throughout the city.
In true old meets new fashion, the newly built Novotel Melbourne South Wharf Hotel stands proud as one of the newest additions to one of Melbourne’s oldest districts. The sleek, modern style of the Novotel is accented by opulent elements of gold and marble, making any stay feel palatial. Floor to ceiling windows look out onto Melbourne, letting in plenty of natural light throughout the day and showcasing the inviting city that lights up at night.
Several bars and restaurants have taken root on Federation Wharf and strolling through the bustling space, you’re sure to find somewhere to interest you.
Several bars and restaurants have taken root on Federation Wharf and strolling through the bustling space, you’re sure to find somewhere to interest you. Image credit: Tourism Australia, Ali Mayfield Photography.

Party

A unique experience awaits anyone who wanders down the laneway that ends with Bar Americano. The petite indoor space (now extended with alfresco seating) is the epitome of a cosy cocktail bar. New York inspired styling with dark wood furnishings and metallic accents will draw you inside, but the drinks will keep you there. Just don’t be disappointed if there are no seats available, Bar Americano's small space keeps it an exclusive location so book ahead to guarantee your spot.
For more cocktails and a few more seating options, 1806 is the place to be. 1806 sits in a building that was once a theatre restaurant, and the owners made good use of the space, turning the stage into the bar. The floor space is taken up by red velvet and dark leather chairs and overhead chandeliers illuminate the glamourous space. The menu features cocktails from every decade since 1806, the year when the word “cocktail” was first printed. The knowledgeable and friendly staff are always on hand to help you decide which drink to try and if you still want to learn more, you can sign up for one of their cocktail masterclasses. 


Bar Americano. Visit Victoria.
In St Kilda, head to The Prince rooftop beer garden (stairs and lift access available) to breathe in the fresh air and have a cheeky beer while you’re at it. Look out over views of the bay as well as the city while a DJ plays nearby. If you’re looking for the perfect Saturday afternoon to evening venue with friends, The Prince’s rooftop has to be on your list. 
For more outdoor drinks, Arbory sits along the Yarra River as it runs through Melbourne. Beer on tap, sprits, signature cocktails, wine, and more await anyone who walks into Arbory. Grab dinner or a light snack (maybe a cheese plate to share) to go with your drinks as you enjoy the rustic-chic style of this riverside venue.
Melbourne may be a bustling city, but there are plenty of places to relax and unwind, you just have to know where to look.
Melbourne may be a bustling city, but there are plenty of places to relax and unwind, you just have to know where to look. Image credit: Tourism Australia.

Unwind

With all the bar hopping, touring, and walking through the city, you might need to treat yourself to an afternoon of indulgence. Relax in Melbourne with a visit to a spa. One of the most popular in the city, Laurel Beauty and Spa is dedicated to creating a tranquil space for massages, facials, and skin treatments. 
To the south of the Melbourne CBD is St Kilda and, more importantly, St Kilda beach. The beach faces Port Phillip Bay and while the westerly winds can create impressive waves, the bay is protected from ocean swell and often enjoys calm waters. If you find yourself needing a break, a day in the sun, of lying on soft sand, of wading in cool waters, St Kilda beach is never far away. Grab an ice cream cone from the ice creamery nearby for a sweet treat on a relaxing afternoon.

The Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. Visit Victoria.
Back in the heart of the city, when you need to take a moment in nature, try a visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. Seasonal events, workshops, talks, and activities run throughout the year that can enrich your time in the gardens. Or you can take things at your own pace and stroll through the lush greenery. Grab lunch and a coffee at one of the two dining options within the gardens before finding the perfect tree to relax under with a good book or a loved one. If you are going to spend a large part of your time unwinding in the beauty here, why not find a hotel close to Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria.
Melbourne is a bustling city, a city that feels alive, a city that’s begging to be explored. So why not start planning your Melbourne holiday now?

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