Melbourne.. with its eclectic mix of city vibes, culinary finds, street art and coastal beauty, there is so much to do and explore. Here’s a quick list of 10 things to do for the first-timers.
#1: Brunch and coffee
In the land of hipster cafes, where every few steps lead you to a decent coffee place. It is hard to resist the temptation to have brunch and coffee everyday… with some delectable cakes in between. Gluten-free and vegan options are often available. Avocado toasts too.
We typically rely on reviews on Zomato or Google to decide the cafés or restaurants to visit around the area. Throughout the trip, we did not encounter any crappy brunch place!
#2: Take a walk in the Melbourne CBD
Most of the sights are within CBD so a half day or a day walking tour in the area is necessary. We followed the Lonely Planet walking tour which started from Campbell Arcade to Degraves Street, through Block Arcade, Royal Arcade, Union Lane, Manchester Unity Arcade and then through the graffiti streets at Duckboard Place and Hosier Lane.
#3: DIY the Great Ocean Road drive
Set aside at least 2 days for the Great Ocean Road! We made our night stop at Port Campbell, which allowed us to visit the Twelve Apostles twice – on the evening of the first day of the drive and in the morning on the second day!
#4: Keep a lookout for wild animals while on the Great Ocean Road
We spotted wild koalas on the way to Cape Otway and two wild kangaroos hopped past when we were in the forest detour from the Great Ocean Road.
If you do not intend to visit a zoo during your trip, do keep your eyes peeled for Aussie wildlife along the drive.
#5: Visit the bathing boxes
We visited the ones at Brighton Beach and took a stroll along the stretch of bathing boxes. It is a very instagrammable area, so do dress up for the photo opp!
Alternatively, there are also bathing boxes along the beach at Mornington Penisula, which might less crowded than Brighton.
#6: Visit the State Library of Victoria
The State Library of Victoria is right smacked in the heart of CBD and is a distinctive old European building opened since 1856.
You have to pay a visit to the La Trobe Reading Room, which looks impressive! The State Library space is more than just a conventional library, but also a museum and art gallery.
#7: Explore Art Deco buildings
There are a number of Art Deco buildings in the CBD, with the Manchester Unity Building being the most notable. While it is currently largely an office building with some retail shops at the ground floor, the façade and golden exterior remain intact.
Another Art Deco building that we discovered was the Nicholas Building but sadly part to the building is blocked and not accessible.
Check out this list of Art Deco buildings in Melbourne!
#8: Get all graffiti-ed out
Melbourne city has various spaces for artistic expression and it’s not hard to come across a wall full of graffiti. Hosier Lane is one of the more prominent area for some graffiti action. Other lanes include Union Lane, Duckboard Place (which is then connected to AC/DC Lane). All these graffiti wall provide good backdrop for photos!
#9: Make time for the Markets
The Queen Victoria Market is a must-go on tourists’ itinerary for food and shopping. Aside from that, do check out seasonal pop-up markets or outdoor food festival happening in Melbourne! My trip coincided with the Big Design Market and I managed to visit this pop-up market set in the Royal Exhibition Building. The market was a very large showcase of all things hipster, boasting a very wide variety of merchandises that were well designed and trendy.
#10: Explore the forests at The Dandenong Ranges
The Dandenong Ranges is a forested area with scenic routes and loads of hiking trails. It seem to be rarely visited unless you take the Puffy Billy steam trains.
I would highly recommend a visit to the William Rickett’s Sanctuary, hidden away in the transquil Mount Dandenong area. The location used to be a house of a sculptor, who set up 92 sculptures inspired by the aboriginal people dotted around the forest. It was an interesting experience taking a walk in the dense greenery and crossing path with a few sculptures in between. This place definitely makes a good Instagram spot too!