Things to Do & Must-See Attractions in Victoria
The Yarra River winds its way through Melbourne’s Central Business District (CBD) plus a number of suburbs. In the city, bars, restaurants, and parks thrive along its banks, bringing locals and tourists together. Numerous festivals and sporting events take place on the Yarra, including the famous Moomba Festival and rowing regattas.
The Melbourne Zoo has been open since 1862, making it Australia's oldest zoo. Modeled after the London Zoo, the Melbourne Zoo houses more than 300 species from around the world, from elephants and lions to Aussie natives like kangaroos and koalas. The zoo is also a conservation center dedicated to fighting wildlife extinction.
One of the world's most famous driving routes, Victoria's Great Ocean Road offers scenic surprises at every fork in the road. In signature Australian style, endless stretches of white sandy beaches are flanked by dense pockets of rain forest, charming coastal towns, and canopies populated by koalas.
Australia might be famous for its kangaroos and koalas, but the Werribee Open Range Zoo offers all the excitement of an African safari on Aussie shores. Lions, rhinoceros, giraffes, and gorillas all roam freely in the park’s 494-acre (200-hectare) grasslands, affording visitors some incredible wildlife-watching opportunities.
Situated right at the end of Victoria’s Great Ocean Road, the Twelve Apostles are a set of eight rock formations—there used to be twelve—jutting out of the Southern Ocean. These limestone pillars were once connected to the nearby cliffs but have been eroded away into caves, pillars, and arches from the harsh conditions of the ocean.
The largest stadium in the Southern Hemisphere and one of the most famous sporting venues in Australia, Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is more than a Melbourne landmark. The legendary stadium has hosted the Olympic Games, the Commonwealth Games, the annual Boxing Day Test Match, and Australian Football League (AFL) Grand Final.
Boasting a prime location on the banks of the Yarra River, Melbourne Southgate is a shopping, eating, and entertainment complex. As well as offering one of the most diverse shopping experiences in the city, Melbourne Southgate is just a few minutes walk from Flinders Street Station and Arts Centre Melbourne.
Phillip Island is brimming with memorable wildlife experiences, but its headline act is the nightly Penguin Parade. Each night at dusk, thousands of little penguins—the largest colony in Australia of the world’s smallest penguin breed—can be seen along the shores of Summerland Beach, waddling back to their beachside burrows after a day at sea.
Federation Square, just across from Flinders Street Station, is Melbourne's beating heart and favorite meeting spot. Numerous city events take place here throughout the year, making it a must-visit attraction for all travelers. The square is surrounded by many bars and restaurants, and is home to the Ian Potter Centre, an Australian art museum.
First opened in 1912, Luna Park Melbourne is a slice of theme park history. Enter through the mouth of Mr. Moon and ride historic attractions, including the Great Scenic Railway wooden roller coaster. Old-time favorites, such as a ghost train and hall of mirrors, offer thrills to kids, as do bumper cars, carousels, and modern rides.
More Things to Do in Victoria
Get away from Melbourne’s bustling city center without actually leaving town at the Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria. This 89-acre (36-hectare) park is home to more than 8,500 plant species, tranquil lakes, and lush lawns. Join guided walking tours, workshops, or presentations, or feel free to walk around the flourishing oasis on your own.
Located in the heart of Melbourne, St. Paul’s Cathedral is the only neo-Gothic building among a sea of modern structures in Federation Square. Built between 1880 and 1931 to commemorate the location of Melbourne’s first Christian service back in 1836, St. Paul’s features the 2nd-tallest Anglican spire in the world.
The Great Ocean Road is one Victoria’s most naturally stunning sights, and Loch Ard Gorge is a dramatic highlight of an already dramatic journey. It was at this spot in 1878 where a ship carrying settlers from England to Melbourne was tragically wrecked on the rocks. Of the 54 passengers aboard the ship only two of the passengers survived—a teenage boy who heroically rescued a fellow teenage girl. After spending the night in a coastal sea cave, the duo found help with local settlers after scaling the rugged cliffs. Today those cliffs have a set of stairs that lead to the golden sands, where a protected beach is tucked beneath the towering, time-sculpted bluffs. Though the weather can be spectacularly stormy in winter, summer days are an invitation for picnicking, swimming, and sunbathing, and the striated cliffs form a natural amphitheater of coastal beauty around you. The gorge is located just a ten minute drive from the famous Twelve Apostles, which are arguably the most popular and visited site on Australia’s Great Ocean Road. At the top of the cliffs above the gorge, a modest cemetery has a memorial dedicated to the victims of the Loch Ard shipwreck—just one of an estimated 700 ships that have sank off this southern coast.
A ride on the Arthurs Seat Eagle gondola whisks visitors to the 1,030-foot (314-meter) summit of Arthurs Seat—the highest point in the Mornington Peninsula. Spectacular views are guaranteed both during the climb and from the hilltop viewpoint, from which you can see Port Philips Bay and Melbourne on a clear day.
A signature Melbourne experience, Eureka Skydeck 88 is a 360-degree viewing platform set atop the 974-foot (274-meter) Eureka Tower. For the daring there’s the Edge, a cantilevered glass cube that slides out from the building, leaving you suspended above the city streets. Vertigo, a green-screen set-up, simulates falling from the building.
Once forgotten but now an integral part of Melbourne’s cultural scene, Hosier Lane is home to some of the city’s best street art. The laneway, which cuts between Flinders Street and Flinders Lane, exhibits regularly changing graffiti alongside a series of light boxes that exhibit the work of up and coming contemporary artists.
Flinders Street Station is Melbourne’s most historic train station and a major transportation hub. Built in 1854, the station still features remnants of the past like the large clock on the facade, stained glass windows, and old-school flip displays for train departures. The station allows travelers to shuttle between the outer suburbs and the heart of Melbourne with ease.
Put yourself in the picture at ArtVo, the first immersive art gallery, or “trick art” gallery, in Australia. Spanning 21,528 square feet (2,000 square meters), the Melbourne gallery displays more than 100 interactive, large-scale paintings on walls and floors that allow you to become part of the art through photos.
This world-class destination, 100 percent owned and operated by Australia’s Aboriginal people, is nestled into the scenic backdrop of the continent’s own unique indigenous flora and fauna. Visitors agree that the incredible architecture, pristine grounds and knowledgeable staff make Brambuk – the National Park & Cultural Centre one of Victoria’s top destinations.
Travelers can tour ancient rock art while they learn about the traditions of one of Australian’s oldest people. Interesting exhibits explore the chronological history of native cultures and the boomerang training ground, where families can test out their newly purchased toys, provides visitors with a truly memorable experience.
Amid the sweeping coastal vistas and jagged sea cliffs of the Great Ocean Road, the Great Otway National Park serves up some of the most spectacular natural scenery along the famous drive. Stretching over 100,000 hectares along the southwest coast from Torquay to Princetown, the park encompasses a startling variety of scenery, from lush rainforest, waterfalls and lakes, to rocky bays, dramatic headlands and golden sand beaches.
The park makes a popular spot for hiking, mountain biking or horseback riding, with a network of waymarked trails and the 91km Great Ocean Walk running through the heart of the park. It’s also a hotspot for spotting native Australian wildlife, with key destinations including the Cape Otway Lighthouse, a prime spot for watching whales and dolphins along the coast; the Melba Gully, renowned for its glowworms; and the Otway Fly, where adventurous travelers can see the rainforest up close on the world’s longest treetop walk or a thrilling zip-line course.
One of Victoria’s most significant landscapes, Point Nepean National Park spans more than 1,000 acres (560 hectares) on the pristine Mornington Peninsula. Visitors can immerse themselves in the coastal views and native grasslands while exploring the rich history of the park. What began as indigenous land became one of the earliest European settlements in Victoria during 1845, then a quarantine station before the site turned into a military center. In addition to its rich culture, the park is host to a world of marine life, including emerald-colored sea shrubs and invertebrates.
Discover Victorian landmarks, such as the park’s highest point, Cheviot Hill, overlooking the jetty where Prime Minister Harold Holt disappeared in 1967. History buffs can visit Fort Nepean for panoramic views and explore military fortifications used in both World Wars. Numerous hiking trails and beach walks of varied length start in the park. To get the most out of your trip, visit the park’s information center for a self-guided walk brochure or audio tour equipment.
Queen Victoria Market is Melbourne’s premier farmers market. It’s filled with fresh fruit and vegetables from local farmers, regional meats and cheeses, gourmet items, handicrafts, and much more. Since 1878, the market has been a gathering place for locals and tourists to peruse the stalls and relish delicious treats from stallholders.
Melbourne Museum provides a great experience for adults and children alike. A series of permanent exhibitions relating to the culture, history and the environment of Melbourne and Victoria are housed in several galleries including a lush Forest Gallery, an Aboriginal gallery and a Children’s area.
Exhibitions include Science and Life, Melbourne Story, Evolution, Mind and Body, and many more. Get to see bones and displays of Australia’s mega fauna (giant animals), experience the Dinosaur Walk, Bugs Alive!, Amazing Animals and The Human Body.
Temporary exhibitions run about twice a year and cover a variety of themes.The Museum also houses a good café, an IMAX center and – the museum’s most popular object – a taxidermy original of Australia’s most famous racehorse, Phar Lap.
Housed in a striking building with a huge glass façade, Melbourne Museum is not immediately visible if you approach from the CBD as it stands behind the impressive Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens.
Stark and solemn, the Shrine of Remembrance is Melbourne’s memorial for all Australians who fought in a war.
The Shrine was originally built to remember those who fought in World War One and is now open to the public for commemoration and education about all Australian victims of war. Permanent exhibitions show medals awarded to soldiers and records of service men and women. Temporary exhibitions and free daily tours at 11am and 2pm also allow visitors a chance to expand their understanding of Australia’s involvement in international conflicts.
The unique shrine is easily recognised by the two identical porticoes supported by eight Doric columns and topped with a pyramidal roof inspired by an ancient Mausoleum. The result of combining the Athenian and Turkish architectural designs in a bold white structure is nothing short of stunning.
- Things to do in Melbourne
- Things to do in Yarra Valley
- Things to do in Ballarat
- Things to do in Tasmania
- Things to do in South Australia
- Things to do in New South Wales
- Things to do in Hobart
- Things to do in Adelaide
- Things to do in Sydney
- Things to do in Hunter Valley
- Things to do in Queensland
- Things to do in South Island
- Things to do in Northern Territory
- Things to do in North Island
- Things to do in Western Australia