Top 10 Things to do in Melbourne

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  • Top 10 Things to do in Melbourne

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    Victoria's capital is full of culture and quirks, with a strong sense of artistry and home to some of thebest food, dining and live music in the country. It's home to a number of great attractions bothnatural and man-made, and with plenty of appealing surrounding destinations within easy reach of aday trip too, there's something to keep everyone happy when visiting Melbourne.

    But with such a wide variety of experiences on offer in the city and its surrounds, what is the first-time visitor to Melbourne best off doing with their time here? And if you've got multiple days on youritinerary, what opportunities are there for exploration outside the city's boundaries?

    From art, to attractions, to architecture and more, here, we look at the top 10 things to do inMelbourne.

    10.Eureka Skydeck

  • Location: Riverside Quay, Southbank, Melbourne

    If you're looking to begin your visit to Melbourne by getting an idea of the city's layout - includingthe location of a number of other landmarks listed on this list - there are few better places than theEureka Skydeck.

    Start your journey with awe inspiring views from the Southern Hemisphere's highest viewingplatform that boasts not only a central location overlooking the city and beyond, but a greatbeginning point for any trip to Melbourne as it will allow you to get your bearings and determinewhere you'd like to go while also providing some great scenery to boot. For those that dare to takethe views a step further, you'll be able to experience Skydeck's "The Edge" - an activity that will seeyou taken over the edge in a glass box, with views directly down into the cityscape.

    "Start your journey with awe inspiring views from the Southern Hemisphere's highest viewingplatform that boasts not only a central location overlooking the city and beyond, but a greatbeginning point for any trip to Melbourne."

    Ticket prices are reasonable and on par with most other major cities' "towers", and there is also theoption to purchase a "sun and stars" ticket that provides 2 entries in a single day so that you'll beable to see Melbourne at both day and night - each of which provides a wholly different atmosphere.

    Most believe that sunset is probably the best time of day for a viewing, with the colouring of the skymaking for a wonderful contrast with the gradual transition from day to night as the city lights turnon one by one. Alternatively, you could begin your journey with another great viewpoint at...

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    9.The Shrine of Remembrance

  • Location: Kings Domain Parkland, St. Kilda Road, Melbourne

    This impressive feat of construction serves as both a fitting tribute to our veterans from warsthroughout our history as well an ideal starting point for your adventures in Melbourne, for a varietyof reasons: its central location serves as a great "lay of the land" spot from which to get yourbearings in the city, it offers visitors great views from the top that provide an overview ofMelbourne's Paris-style layout, and it's an impressive piece of architecture in its own right.

    Situated on a hill that provides a solid vantage point alongside other Melbournian highlights such asthe Botanical Gardens and Government House, the Shrine of Remembrance is easily accessible via ashort walk from the city's free City Circle Tram service and thus - along with Eureka Skydek - canserve as Item No. 1 on everyone's itinerary. As an added bonus, the Shrine's views come free ofcharge.

    "It offers visitors great views from the top that provide an overview of Melbourne's Paris-stylelayout, and it's an impressive piece of architecture in its own right."

    Of course, the Shrine itself is worthy of spending some time there, not only for the views but thesolemn beauty of its surrounds. The Shrine is one of the focal points for annual ANZAC ceremoniesin Australia and sits amongst some immaculately-kept gardens, while the daily ceremonial takingdown of the flags at 5:00pm is well worth attending if you're in the area at that time.

    With a facade that mirrors that of ancient Greece and a great lookout accessibly for free just byclimbing a few flights of stairs, the Shrine of Remembrance is the perfect way to kick off yourMelbourne adventure - just remember to remove your hat upon entering (a mandatory sign ofrespect).

    8.Go Hot Air Ballooning

  • Location: Flights available over Melbourne CBD and Yarra Valley

    Those with a bit of extra coin to spare and who are wanting some unforgettable views will want totake a hot air balloon ride over Melbourne, as it's one of the few cities in the world that allow suchan experience directly over its skyline.

    Take in the beauty of the city as the sun rises and enjoy a bird's eye view of all that you surveyamidst the pure calm and serene skies.

    Balloon flights typically depart very early in the morning to take advantage of the calm morning air,so you'll get the added benefit of seeing Melbourne illuminated by the glow of the sunrise whichmakes for a particularly scenic experience. From high above, you'll be able to see many of the majorlandmarks and city highlights of Melbourne from a vantage point few others get to experience -regional attractions such as the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Rod Laver Arena, FlemingtonRaceway, Albert Park Racetrack and much more take on an entirely different life when viewed fromon high.

    "Balloon flights typically depart very early in the morning to take advantage of the calm morning air,so you'll get the added benefit of seeing Melbourne illuminated by the glow of the sunrise whichmakes for a particularly scenic experience."

    Balloon flights are also offered from destinations outside Melbourne that provide an alternative viewif cityscapes aren't your thing; the Yarra Valley is especially popular, as the beautiful greenery androlling vineyards below make for an entirely different spectacle. Alternatively, if your time's limited,a helicopter flight over Melbourne is the perfect choice for those wanting an aerial view of the citywithout the desire for the early morning wakeup call that a ballooning experience requires.

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    7.See St. Paul's Cathedral / Flinders St Station

  • Location: Flinders and Swanson Streets, Melbourne CBD

    Despite its modern and cosmopolitan reputation, Melbourne is home to numerous examples ofimpressive older architecture - two of the most impressive of which lie within short walking distanceof one another.

    Perhaps the most prominent and impressive of these is St. Paul's Cathedral. A truly stunningbuilding constructed in typical Gothic style, the cathedral sits just across the road from Melbourne'shistoric Flinder's Street Station, and the two combine to make for a small "hub" district that feels aworld away from Australia's second-largest city despite being located right in its heart.

    "Despite its modern and cosmopolitan reputation, Melbourne is home to numerous examples ofimpressive older architecture - two of the most impressive of which lie within short walking distanceof one another."

    St. Paul's Cathedral is just as impressive inside as out; the interior boasts impressive craftsmanshipas a lot of passion and work obviously went into its construction; from the wooden pews to thecarvings on the walls and stained glass which emanates an array of colours from on high, theinterior is both an impressive and tranquil place. One does not have to be a particularly religious orspiritual person to appreciate their time here, as the church serves as a pleasant and peaceful havenfrom the traffic and general city noise taking place just outside, and it's the ideal spot to duck in andenjoy on either a hot and steamy or rainy Melbourne day.

    Flinder's Street Station, meanwhile, is just across the road and a respectable piece of architectureitself - the station serves as a great central hub that accurately reflects the atmosphere ofMelbourne in general: slightly alternative, a strong cultural influence and a functional work of art.Flinder's Street Station is surrounded by various shops, coffees, and cafes while also serving as agateway to the various other parts of Melbourne and its outlying suburbs, and if you're a fan ofcoffee there are plenty of spots both within and around to sample a cup of Melbourne's most famousbrew.

    6.The Dandenong Ranges

  • Location: Approx. 1 hours' drive east of Melbourne CBD

    Those looking for a dose of nature while getting out of the city for a day or two can look inland andhead towards the lush reaches of the greater Melbourne region's Dandenong Ranges, an area that'sboth scenic and provides several unique activities of its own.

    The majestic mountain range is famed for its towering Mountain Ash trees and features a blend ofwonderful scenery, spots to get fantastic local food, charming little villages and small stores offeringvarious hand-crafted goods. Options for exploring the ranges are numerous; ride on Australia's mostnotable narrow gauge railway through the breathtaking Blue Dandenong Ranges, visit the area bycoach, join a smaller tour for the full Dandenong Ranges experience, or have the best of both worldswith a combined city and Dandenong Ranges tour.

    "The majestic mountain range is famed for its towering Mountain Ash trees and features a blend ofwonderful scenery, spots to get fantastic local food, charming little villages and small stores offeringvarious hand-crafted goods."

    You'll likely want to go to the Dandenongs outside winter, as it gets cold enough for snow during thecoolest parts of the year, and it's during the greener times of year the flora truly comes to life.During these seasons, it's highly recommended to join a wildlife coach tour to discover the BlueDandenong Ranges, Yarra Valley and visit Healesville Sanctuary, or upgrade to include the PuffingBilly railway.

    An overall pleasant getaway that puts the focus on nature that the kids are also likely to enjoy, theDandenong Ranges are a great place to unwind and in which you'll want to spend multiple days ifyou want to get the most out of their offerings without rushing.

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    5.The Queen Victoria Market

  • Location: Corner of Victoria Street and Elizabeth Street, Melbourne

    Those with a need for knick-knacks will be in their element with a visit to Melbourne's QueenVictoria Markets, a bustling outdoor hub with an item, souvenir or meal to suit pretty much everytaste. This is the Queen of all markets and the vibrant, exciting mix of cultures and ethnicities ofMelbourne can be discovered here, with a variety of foods and souvenirs from all corners of theEarth on offer.

    The markets also serve as a great place for breakfast or lunch, and you'll likely be able to grabyourself a meal from some far-reaching country for an entirely reasonable price that makes for anice change of pace from the typical "dine-in cafe" experience that is most popular in Melbourne.

    "This is the Queen of all markets and the vibrant, exciting mix of cultures, cuisines and ethnicities ofMelbourne can be discovered here."

    You don't have to be a visitor to the city to enjoy the markets, either; local Melbournians love themarket as its a great place to pick up fresh fruit and groceries which you can stock up on if you areplanning to stay in the city for several days. The only downside is that, due to its popularity, you'llhave to be comfortable fighting crowds - if you can put up with this minor quibble, the markets make

  • for an essential visit while in Melbourne.

    The Queen Victoria Markets operate on the Corner of Elizabeth and Victoria Streets, on Tuesday andThursday (6am-2pm), Friday (6am-4pm), Saturday (6am-3pm), Sunday (9am-4pm) each week.

    4.Experience the Great Ocean Road

    Location: Starts approx. 1 hour, 15 minutes' drive to the south west of Melbourne at Torquay

    Often acclaimed as the most stunning drive in Australia - and one of the best in the world - no trip toMelbourne that lasts a decent amount of time would be complete without setting foot (or wheel?) onThe Great Ocean Road, one of Australia's most scenic vantage points. Stretching over an expanse of243km along the Victorian Coast, the sheer array of vistas and views on offer with a trip along theGreat Ocean Road is staggering - enough that it's been voted as one of Australia's Top 10Destinations to Experience 2013 as well as having one of Australia's Top 10 Sunsets.

    "Often acclaimed as the most stunning drive in Australia - and one of the best in the world - no tripto Melbourne that lasts a decent amount of time would be complete without setting foot (or wheel?)on The Great Ocean Road."

    For those who are road savvy, the best option is often to rent a car, allowing you to take your time toexplore the area, stopping at your leisure. If you're wanting to take the hassle out of the trip orensure you don't miss any essential highlights, a coach tour is perfect for first timers or perhaps asmall group tour is preferred. Regardless of your choice of transport options, you'll undoubtedlywant to stop and take some photographs of the iconic Twelve Apostles rock formation - one of themost impressive geological highlights outside of Ayers Rock / Uluru that Australia has to offer.

    There's a reason why this stretch of coastline is one of the most photographed parts of the country;the combined marine-and-rock-formation aspect is rare in Australia, and the numerous stops andviewing points along the way assure that those with a camera will come away with at least a fewimpressive mementos of their time exploring this natural Victorian treasure.

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    3.Travel to Phillip Island

    Location: Just under 2 hours' drive south of Melbourne

    One of the most popular natural destinations that's reachable within a reasonable distance outsideMelbourne, Phillip Island is especially famous for one reason: its penguins. With a trip to PhillipIsland, you'll be able to watch thousands of Little Penguins make their way to shore every night atthe home of the world's largest Little Penguin colony, an occurrence which is known as the "PenguinParade".

    There's plenty of other things to do on Phillip Island, as well: be sure to visit the nearby KoalaConservation Centre which will let you see dozens of these cute Aussie icons up close, and check outthe geographical highlights offered by Churchill Island (home to a throwback working farmenvironment that reflects Victoria's heritage) and The Nobbies (a stunning stretch of headlandfeaturing a range of scenery-rich wooden boardwalks). For entry into all Phillip Island attractions,choose the 3 Park Pass, or combine with your choice of Melbourne attractions with the Melbourne 5in 1 Pack. Get unlimited entry into Melbourne's best attractions - including those on Phillip Island -for 2, 3 or 7 days with a See Melbourne Beyond Attraction Pass.

  • "With a trip to Phillip Island, you'll be able to watch thousands of Little Penguins make their way toshore every night at the home of the world's largest Little Penguin colony, an occurrence which isknown as...