The Great Ocean Road delivers one postcard-worthy view after another. There are a number of ways to explore this 150-mile (243-km) route on a single- or multi-day trip—to help you choose, here are your options.
Things to do in Melbourne
Welcome to Melbourne
Long in competition with Sydney for the title of Australia’s cultural capital, Melbourne is often the people’s choice, consistently topping the list of the world’s most livable cities. There’s a lot to love, from its melting pot of inhabitants and distinctly European ambience, to its brunch scene, art galleries, and nightlife. Global audiences fill coveted seats at the Arts Centre Melbourne and sporting temples like Melbourne Cricket Ground and Etihad Stadium. But it’s not just about arts and sports. The very essence of Melbourne lies in its neighborhoods. Discover the city’s coolest bars and eateries tucked away in the CBD’s narrow laneways; shop in flashy South Yarra or along Fitzroy’s hipster Brunswick Street; or stroll the sandy beaches of St. Kilda, just a few miles outside the city. And only a day trip away are the Yarra Valley wine region, Mornington Peninsula, and Great Ocean Road.
Top 10 attractions in Melbourne
The Yarra River flows west for more than 240 km (148 miles) from its source in the Yarra Ranges, through rural and suburban Melbourne to the city center and Docklands, where it empties into Port Phillip Bay. Transport and pedestrian bridges cross the river, and you’ll find some of Melbourne’s most popular golf courses and parklands along its length. Melbourne was established on the banks of the Yarra River in 1835, and it was a vital source of water and transport for the city's settlers. Today the Yarra River flows past the pedestrian Yarra Promenade and Flinders Street Station in the heart of Melbourne. Rowers stroke past from the nearby Royal Botanic Gardens, and pleasure boats cruise up and down the river. Cycling and walking trails also mirror its path, and there are popular picnic grounds on the suburban fringe at Yarra Bend and Warrandyte....
St Paul's Cathedral stands right in the heart Melbourne, opposite the cultural precinct Federation Square and diagonally across from Flinders Street Station, the city’s central transport hub. A metropolitical and cathedral church, it was built on the site of Melbourne’s first public Christian service that took place in 1835. Built in sandstone in the Gothic Transitional style, the Cathedral has the second tallest Anglican spire in the world and a magnificent organ that is believed to be the finest surviving work of British organ builder T.C. Lewis. Visitors are welcome to explore and worship at the Cathedral, and join the daily Evensong and other services. Sights of interest within its walls include the Moorhouse Tower Lantern, the processional doors, the Persian tile and the pentacles or five-pointed star. A range of gifts and religious items are on sale in the Cathedral Shop (10am-3pm) located inside the Cathedral....
If you didn't know that Melbourne is a sport-loving city, learn all about it at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). A Melbourne landmark, and one of the seven wonders of the sporting world, no visit to Melbourne is complete without witnessing a summertime cricket match or winter game of Australian Rules football at the MCG. Backstage tours on non-event days take visitors onto the hallowed turf and into the changing rooms of Australia’s largest stadium. A visit to the National Sporting Museum here reveals the MCG’s history as an Olympic Games venue, and particular sports are highlighted in several exhibits, including the alarmingly realistic Shane Warne Hologram. Exhibition spaces display the MCG’s historic collection of sports memorabilia. The cricket season launches at the MCG with the famous Boxing Day Test match. The most important fixture on the football calendar is held here on the last Saturday in September – the AFL Grand Final....
Australia’s second largest city, Melbourne is also its cultural capital, with a plethora of museums, galleries and theaters, as well as expansive parklands and attractive Victorian-era buildings. Home to the Australian Open tennis tournament and the Melbourne Cup horse race, the city is also a jumping off point to visit the Great Ocean Road or the penguin colonies on Phillip Island....
Fill up at Melbourne's marketplace, the historic, fun and friendly Queen Victoria Market! Operating since 1878, Queen Victoria Market is the finest place in town to shop for fresh fruit and veg, gourmet meats and cheeses, condiments, seafood – you name it, and you’ll find it. Melbourne is a city that loves food, and Queen Victoria Market is where gourmets, chefs, office workers, families and just about everyone who eats come to do their shopping. The atmosphere is particularly busy and vibrant on Saturday mornings, especially if a feast like Christmas or Easter is just around the corner. On Wednesday evenings in summer, a Night Market with food and entertainment lights up the marketplace. A souvenir and trash and treasure market operates on Sundays, with children's rides and outdoor cafes....
Animals from Australia and around the world have called the Melbourne Zoo home since 1862, making it Australia's oldest zoo. Surrounded by landscaped gardens, the zoo is a popular location for picnics and evening concerts during the summer. Star attractions at Melbourne Zoo include the colorful inhabitants of the Butterfly House, families of gorillas at play in the Gorilla Rainforest, and native animals like kangaroos, wombats and koalas in the Amazing Australians exhibits. Most famous of all is the Trail of the Elephants, the Asian village home of the zoo's five elephants, including recent addition baby Mali. Orangutans are viewed from elevated boardwalks, and penguins and seals swim in the Wild Sea display. Don’t miss feeding time and Meet the Keeper presentations....
Bold, brash and open 24 hours, Crown Casino is the beating heart of Melbourne's Southbank entertainment complex. The crown-emblazoned tower is a Melbourne landmark, and the casino is just one piece in a massive jigsaw of leisure, arts and recreation facilities on Southbank known as the Crown Entertainment Complex. Dominating the bustling Southbank promenade, the casino welcomes visitors with dramatic jets of fire, water features and brilliant laser shows. In the casino, games include blackjack, poker and roulette, along with poker machines and VIP gaming rooms. The glossy shopping mall leading to the gaming tables features the biggest names in fashion, from Prada to Louis Vuitton. You'll also find upmarket hotels, ballrooms, concert venues, cinemas, nightclubs, games arcades, food courts, bars and some of Melbourne's finest restaurants, including Nobu, Rockpool and Bistro Guillaume....
The lovely landscaped grounds of Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens spread for almost 100 acres south of the city center, providing Melbourne with the much-appreciated foliage of more than 50,000 plants. The gardens were established in 1846, and over the years they've become recognised as one of the finest examples of Victorian-era landscaping in the world. The mix of native and introduced species provides inspiration for would-be gardeners, and the manicured lawns are a popular spot for picnics and parties. You'll find tranquil ornamental lakes dotted with waterbirds, a herbarium and an observatory, plus conservatories and glasshouses filled with exotic blooms. Follow winding pathways past fern gullies and eucalyptus, or join Melbourne's joggers running rings around The Tan, the gardens' running track....
With its 30,000 square meters of open space and a bold approach to modern architecture fused with green design, the Melbourne Convention and Exhibit Center is an engineering marvel. Nearly everyone who visits these enormous buildings is here for a large convention, as the exhibition center is the largest of its kind in the entire southern hemisphere. At the center’s famous Plenary hall, public shows such as ballets and theater are also open to the public. The room can accommodate up to 5,500 people, or can also be divided into three different rooms of approximately 1,500 people. Aside from the shows and conventions themselves, the buildings are lauded for their innovative advances in modern green design, and it’s the world’s only venue to ever receive a 6 star Green Star environmental rating....
Top activities in Melbourne
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Discover the top things to do in Melbourne.
- Great Ocean Road Small-Group Ecotour from Melbourne
- Great Ocean Road Reverse Itinerary Tour
- Yarra Valley Wine and Winery Tour from Melbourne
- Phillip Island Penguin, Brighton Beach, Moonlit Sanctuary from Melbourne
- Yarra Valley Balloon Flight at Sunrise
Discover the top things to do in Melbourne.
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Things to do near Melbourne
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