Recently, wonderful Spanish magazine Caos asked Babyccino if we could compile a list of the 10 top things to do when visiting the city of Melbourne. We were very excited to oblige! Here is the list written up which was of course then translated into Spanish (and which, most will agree, makes everything sound just so much more wonderful).
Hailed as one of the world’s most liveable cities, it doesn’t take long for visitors to see why this is so! Melbourne is lively and dynamic with style and soul and so much to do and see — not to mention a dearth of hidden treasures! And, with its extensive transport network, it is so easy to get around. Here is my ‘must do’ top 10 things to do and see in Melbourne:
Explore the Yarra Promenade:
Grab some coffee from one of the fabulous cafes along the riverfront (you’ll be spoilt for choice) and linger on! Watch people wandering by, the cyclists on their way home, groups of kids doing their thing, buskers, street artists and families walking their dogs. You’ll discover some great boutiques, some of Melbourne’s best restaurants and incredible architecture and art. And as you do, you’ll be treated to the most beautiful views in Melbourne, especially if you ‘hang around’ until sunset. www.thatsmelbourne.com.au
Go Beachside in St Kilda:
St Kilda is Melbourne’s beachside hub — beaches, cafes, shops, pubs, live music and nightlife. A bit bohemian, a bit shabby around the edges but with sleek and sophisticated elements too! Treat yourself to a slice or two of cake with a perfect coffee brew from one of the many continental cake shops along Acland Street, Melbourne’s most historic café strip. Think big city bustle, village style! But whatever the weather (and it is notoriously unpredictable in Melbourne) a walk along the historic St Kilda pier is a must. The views are like no other.
Wander the city’s laneways:
Getting lost was never so much fun! Narrow cobbled alleys and dead-end streets hide graffiti and street art, galleries, gorgeous boutiques, quiet café’s and really cool bars. Take note — the best bars are found down the dark alleys, past the bins and through the little doorways! Sometimes it can be a bit of a climb up the old wooden stairways, but the bars are so worth it!
The Royal Botanic Gardens:
Fill a hamper and head to Melbourne’s biggest and best park, the Botanical Gardens. Established in 1846 it is home to about 12,000 plant species from all over the world. Discover the Ornamental Lake or the Australian Rainforest Walk. To explore the indigenous history take a guided tour! During the summer the gardens hosts the ‘Moonlight Cinema’ — an outdoor cinema with twilight screenings of classic and cult movies. Perfect for a summer picnic! Don’t forget the Children’s Garden if you are with the kids – they will have a ball! www.rbg.vic.gov.au
Ride a rattling tram:
Whether it’s one of the classic old green rattlers, trundling through Melbourne streets since the 1930s or a slick streamlined newer model – a tram is the best way of seeing the different faces of Melbourne as well as for rubbing shoulders with the locals. There is even a restaurant tram that glides down to the beach and back up to the city a few times a night. Be sure to look out for the burgundy-coloured City Circle tram – these ones are free and stop at all the major city attractions.
Cheer at an AFL (Australian Football League) game:
You may need help deciphering the rules of this uniquely Australian football code (hey, even I do and I’m a local) but the atmosphere at the MCG or Etihad Stadium is nothing short of ‘electric’. Melbournians are passionate about their footy. Best plan is to adopt a team quick smart! And don’t forget to have a hot meat pie at the footy – it’s a Melbourne tradition!
Head to the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria) Galleries:
The Ian Potter Centre, (NGV) Australia at Federation Square: Dedicated purely to Australian art, showcasing works from colonial times to the present day, as well as indigenous art. This one is not to be missed. After this, cross the road and check out the international big names of art at the The National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) International. The building itself is a masterpiece! Take note, lying flat on your back on the floor is not only accepted but it is the best way to view the wonderful stained glass ceiling in the Great Hall, created by Melbourne artist Leonard French! www.ngv.vic.gov.au
Walk or jog ‘the Tan’:
In my opinion one of the best things to do in Melbourne is to lace up your shoes and hit the ‘tan’. This 3.8km path runs around Melbourne’s Royal Botanic Gardens – it loops around the perimeter of the gardens and is a popular haunt for joggers, dog-walkers, sports professionals and parents with prams. A beautiful way to see Melbourne. When you are done, stop for another coffee – after all, you are in the coffee capital of Australia!
Gain some altitude at the Eureka Skydeck 88:
One of the best views in Melbourne is not for the faint hearted! From 285m above ground (that’s 88 storeys) you get a 360 –degree view of the city. And if you really are game, step onto ‘The Edge’, a huge moving glass cube that will carry you out over the tower’s east side! www.eurekatower.com.au
Experience the old Melbourne Gaol:
A spooky collection of death masks, a gallows, clanging cell doors – hey, what’s not to love about this creepy place?! This is where infamous bushranger Ned Kelly was hanged. You can get locked up in the former City Watch House next door, or take part in a mock court in the old Magistrates’ Court! Great for both kids and adults! www.oldmelbournegaol.com.au