Melbourne was the first city I visited in Australia. And you know what they say about your first ever travel experience to somewhere new – you will never forget it. Being the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria in East Australia, Melbourne is a metropolitan hub that offers so much, both within the city centre and in the outskirts.
I remember the anxiety and excitement that gnawed at me in college, eager for the adventures ahead. I vividly remember the long hours spent researching what to see, what to do, how to get to the main attractions, and where to even begin.
If you are thinking about visiting Melbourne and do not know where to start, this is it. Here is to ease your travel planning by ushering you through the 10 reasons to visit Melbourne, Australia!
1. Experience 4 Seasons In A Day
Like how Singapore is well-known for its tropical weather, Melbourne is famous for having drastic seasonal changes over the course of a day. It can be cold with relentless howling winds, but the next moment the sun would peek out, suffusing the streets with warmth.
Experiencing such weather changes is unique, considering the fact that we do not experience this in Singapore. If it’s your first time visiting Melbourne, it would be wise to bring extra thick clothing out – even in the summer!
2. Appreciate The Architecture
I was blown away by the wall graffiti and architecture that embellish Melbourne in a subtle yet noticeable way. The most impactful designs are at St Patrick’s Cathedral near Fitzroy Gardens at East Melbourne, and Flinders Street Station.
St Patrick’s Cathedral
The tall spires and rustic brick walls of St Patrick’s Cathedral take me back centuries. I’m sure Europe has tons of such beautiful churches, but since I have never been to Europe, this was the closest I got to a church as regal as this.
Flinders Street Station
You cannot miss this bright brownish-orange building in Melbourne’s city centre. Flinders Street Station is just opposite the Visitor Centre at Federation Square. It is the oldest station in Australia, and is a popular photography spot among tourists. Address: St Patrick’s Cathedral 1 Cathedral Place East Melbourne VIC 3002 Australia
Address: Flinders Street Station Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
3. Take Unique City Park Strolls
There are many city parks large enough to keep you occupied all morning. My favourite is Fitzroy Gardens in the Autumn, and Westgate Park in the Summer. These unique park experiences gave me a whole new appreciation for strolls in the park. Tranquility accompanied with the smell of fresh morning dew are perfect ingredients for a splendid Sunday morning.
The Conservatory at Fitzroy Gardens is free to enter for all who are intrigued by horticulture or who just want to admire floral beauty.The gorgeous pink salt water lake in Westgate Park is a must see in the summer. This natural phenomenon is invigorating, giving the lake a pretty lipstick pink stain. It’s definitely Instagram-worthy!
Address:Fitzroy Gardens East Melbourne VIC 3002 Australia
Address:Westgate Park Todd Road Port Melbourne VIC 3207 Australia
4. Visit the Werribee Open Range Zoo
About a half hour’s drive from Melbourne’s city centre, Werribee Open Range Zoo, is quite an unique experience. An African safari themed zoo, this place allows the animals to roam freely, as they would in their natural habitat. An Off Road Safari tour gives you an African savanna experience that brings Africa so much closer to you!
The Lion Encounter is a special guided tour option that brings you to the off-limits area where the keepers feed and care for the lions. A closer interaction with the King of the Jungle, with commentary by the keepersm, makes for an educational wildlife experience all in one.
Be sure to catch the animals in action during the stipulated showtimes as well. You will be awed by the Serval Cat presentation as the animal leaps and hunts right before your eyes.
Address: Werribee Open Range Zoo K Road Werribee South VIC 3030 Australia
5. Wine Appreciation With A View
Home of Victorian wine, the Yarra Valley is where wine growing started. With indulgence in good food, accompanied with wine and the inspiring view that surrounds it, the journey here has all the ingredients to be a road trip to remember. With loads of luxury cafes and restaurants to choose from, this place is worth a visit, even if you’re alone.
Yarra Valley is not just well-known for its wine – the valley also offers pristine regions with nature walks and villages to explore, as well as art galleries and markets! A day of enriching and pampering sounds like the plan to take on a getaway.
Address: Yarra ValleyVictoriaAustralia
6. Colourful Bathing Boxes In Brighton
The iconic bathing boxes in Brighton are so brightly coloured, it is definitely a must visit during the Summer!The pop of colours totally blends in with the vibrancy of the season. Thanks to their distinctive decorations, these colorful bathing boxes make the Brighton seaside a popular iconic destination for tourists and locals.
A great lazy day to spend by the beach, enjoying the sun, the sand, and the cute beach bathing boxes as the backdrop. Ahh, the life.
Address: Dendy Street Beach Victoria Australia
7. Watch Little Penguins Waddling At Dusk
Philip Island is known for its penguin parade at dusk. As the sun fades off, hordes of little penguins emerge from the sea waddling back to their nests. There will be a cuteness overload, seeing the penguins in plain view.
Philip Island also has other activities to offer other than penguin watching at dusk. With a drive to the western end of the island, The Nobbies is also a great and splendid area to see seal colonies. If you are not into wildlife, there are tons of nature walking and cycling trails available. For an adrenaline rush, the Philip Island Grand Prix Circuit is wonderful for the whole family too!
Definitely include this humble island as part of your itinerary. You won’t regret it!
Address: Phillip Island Victoria Australia
8. Escape Into Nature At Grampians National Park
For the nature lovers, and trekking enthusiasts, Grampians National Park is the place to be at! Away from the buzzing city life, an expedition through the forest and up the mountains for a spectacular sprawling vista is definitely the way to clear your mind and be free.
Be inspired by the fresh air and get active in the national park with a wide range of adventures to pick from! Be it trekking, fishing, canoeing or even rock climbing, these activities can cater to everyone with different level of fitness. A casual stroll or an overnight trek, it is your own calling! So get geared up for a good walk and be greeted with magnificent panorama views at the lookouts. The views are definitely worth your sweat.
Address: Grampians National Park Victoria Australia
9. Scenic Roadtrip Down The Great Ocean Road
Now, how can this end without even mentioning the most popular scenic self- drive in Melbourne! The Great Ocean Road is an Australian National Heritage – the world’s largest war memorial. Stretching 243 kilometres, the view down this drive is marvelously mind-blowing!With waves crashing hard against the coast, wind down your car window to listen to Mother Nature as you cruise along. Take the journey slow, and marvel at the stunning coastline. You will really wish you had the ability to stop time.A common stop for many will be the viewing of the Twelve Apostles. This iconic limestone rocks formation draws hordes of tourists every year. Even if your itinerary is packed, this drive should not be missed when in Melbourne!
Address: Great Ocean RdVictoriaAustralia
10. Relive Your Guilty Pleasure Moment, Cinderella Style
For the ladies, riding on a horse carriage is a modern day guilty pleasure. Some may say it’s lame, but deep down we all secretly want to. As for the men, if your special someone is into these sort of things, this is it. The Melbourne Horse and Carriage Tour is the ultimate romantic sightseeing experience that brings you pass Melbourne’s key city attractions. With adept coach drivers, and majestic horses, the experience with your perfect love will be the moment to remember.The pricing can be a little steep, but if you are celebrating a special occasion, the rare splurge is sure to please your special one. I definitely do recommend to take the night time slots – riding in a carriage is much more romantic at night.
Address: Federation Square Corner Swanston St & Flinders St Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
Be Filled With Wanderlust
Hope you are as inspired as I was back when I was doing my research. Melbourne is indeed the destination to be for a getaway Down Under.
Until next time!