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20 Unmissable Attractions in Melbourne

Picture of Monique La Terra
Updated: 3 August 2017

The six-time world’s most livable city is also one of the best to visit, as it offers a diverse range of attractions. A giant observation wheel, sacred sports ground, museums, historical prisons and the oldest building in Australia are just some of the 20 must-see attractions in Melbourne. 


Eureka Skydeck 88

At 297.3 meters, Eureka Tower is the tallest building in Melbourne and the second highest in Australia. After being launched to the 88th floor via a 38-second elevator ride, visitors can take in the 360-degree view on the Eureka Skydeck. Thrill seekers can also step out onto ‘The Edge’— a three-meter glass cube which suspends the bravest souls 300 meters above ground.

7 Riverside Quay, Southbank VIC Australia +61 03 9693 8888


MCG

Established by the Melbourne Cricket Club in 1853, the MCG or the ‘G as it’s known to locals is the home of Australian sport and considered hallowed ground for AFL fans. With a seating capacity of 100,024 the MCG is the largest sporting facility in the southern hemisphere and every year it hosts the AFL The Grand Final. The MCG also houses The National Sports Museum which celebrates Australian sport.

MCG99 | © PaddyBriggs/WikiCommons

Brunton Ave, Richmond VIC Australia +61 03 9657 8888


Old Melbourne Gaol
History Museum
Old Melbourne Gaol

Old Melbourne Gaol | © Mertie / Flickr

Old Melbourne Gaol

Victoria’s most notorious criminals including bushranger Ned Kelly and Jack the Ripper suspect Frederick Bailey Deeming were among those imprisoned and executed at the Old Melbourne Gaol. Today, the complex operates as a museum with memorabilia including death masks and Kelly gang weapons on display. Visitors can also take ghostly night tours through the building which is said to be haunted.

377 Russell St, Melbourne VIC Australia

More Info
Mon - Sun:
9:30 am - 5:00 pm

Services & Activities:

Guided Tours, Entrance Fee

Atmosphere:

Indoors, Historical Landmark

Melbourne Museum
History Museum
Melbourne Museum

Melbourne Museum | © Johntorcasio / WikiCommons

Melbourne Museum

Located in the Carlton Gardens, the Melbourne Museum is the largest museum in the southern hemisphere. Roam beneath towering dinosaurs, discover the Melbourne story, see indigenous artifacts at the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, stroll through the living Forest Gallery and come face to face with Phar Lap. Additionally, the museum features IMAX Melbourne.

11 Nicholson St, Carlton VIC Australia +61 03 8341 7777

More Info
Mon - Sun:
10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Accessibility & Audience:

Family Friendly

Services & Activities:

Guided Tours

Atmosphere:

Indoors, Touristy

St Paul’s Cathedral

Prominently positioned opposite Federation Square and diagonally across from Flinders Street Station, St Paul’s Cathedral was consecrated in 1891 and rests on site where the first Christian service in Melbourne took place in 1836. Designed by William Butterfield, the Gothic style Anglican Cathedral was visited by Pope John Paul II on the 28th of November 1986.

Flinders Ln & Swanston St, Melbourne VIC Australia +61 03 9653 4333


Captain Cook’s Cottage

Situated in the Fitzroy Gardens Cook’s Cottage is the oldest building in Australia and once belonged to the parents of explorer Captain James Cook, the man who discovered the south-eastern coast of Australia. Deconstructed and shipped over from England, the cottage was reassembled brick by brick in 1934. These days, the building allows visitors to step back into the 18th century and connect with the history of Captain James Cook.

230-298 Wellington Parade, East Melbourne VIC Australia +61 03 9658 9658


NGV

Home to a collection of more than 73,000 works of art the National Gallery of Victoria is the oldest and most visited art gallery in Australia. See masters such as Cézanne, Picasso and Rembrandt, as well as celebrated Australian pieces such as Tom Roberts‘ Shearing the Rams. NGV also holds exhibitions such as Melbourne Winter Masterpieces and events including NGV on Friday nights.

National Gallery of Victoria, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, +61 3 8620 2222


Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria, Melbourne Gardens

Obscured by Melbourne’s urban jungle, Melbourne Gardens is a 94-acre sanctuary comprising of 10,000 native and exotic plant species, selected for their value, rarity and diversity. Among the plants, are 11 picturesque lawns, three lakes, and two cafes to rest at after gallivanting around the vegetation.

Royal Botanic Gardens, Birdwood Ave, South Yarra, VIC, Australia, +61 3 9252 2300


Federation Square
Building
Federation Square

Federation Square | © EGuide Travel / Flickr

Federation Square

Since opening in 2002, Federation Square has become the heart and soul of Melbourne. The multi-use piazza features three public spaces including a big screen, 19 restaurants and bars and theatre and event spaces, as well ACMI, the Ian Potter Centre and the SBS Television and Radio Headquarters.

Swanston St & Flinders St, Melbourne VIC Australia +61 03 9655 1900

More Info

Atmosphere:

Touristy, Architectural Landmark, Photo Opportunity

Queen Victoria Market

As the largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere, the Queen Victoria Market has a lot to offer shoppers. Wander through the historic sheds and discover fresh produce, hot donuts, souvenirs, homewares and more. QVM also host Wednesday night markets where the historic sheds come alive with food stalls and live music.

Queen Victoria Market, 513 Elizabeth St, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, +61 3 9320 5822


Southbank

Stretching along the Yarra River you’ll find an assortment of restaurants, hotels and bars as well as Southgate, Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex, Melbourne Exhibition Centre and the Sunday market. Take a stroll or a boat ride and enjoy views of Melbourne’s skyline and see the remarkable Gas Brigades, which send fireballs into the sky every night.

Southbank, Melbourne, VIC, Australia


Melbourne Star

Described as “the Southern Hemisphere’s only giant observation wheel,” the Melbourne Star is 120 meters high and has 21 cabins all of which offer ever-changing panoramas. During the 30 minute rotation passengers will see the city, Port Phillip Bay, Mount Macedon and Arthur’s Seat.

101 Waterfront Way, Docklands VIC Australia +61 3 8688 9688


State Library of Victoria

Famous for being Australia’s oldest public library and one of the world’s first free public libraries, the State Library of Victoria has a collection of over 2 million books. While there are seven reading rooms, the most magnificent is the octagonal La Trobe Reading Room. The library also holds the diaries of Melbourne founders John Batman and John Pascoe Fawkner, and the original armour worn by Ned Kelly

328 Swanston St, Melbourne VIC Australia +61 3 8664 7000


Luna Park

Enter through Mr. Moon’s gaping mouth and you’ll arrive at a theme park which has been delighting Melbournians since 1912. St Kilda’s Luna Park features the Scenic Railway, which dates back to the park’s opening and is the oldest continually operating rollercoaster in the world. Luna Park also offers a myriad of fun rides for the whole family including The Ghost Train and The Pharaoh’s Curse.

18 Lower Esplanade, St Kilda VIC Australia +61 03 9525 5033

Arcades and Laneways

Brimming with character, the narrow laneways and arcades in Melbourne feature al fresco dining, boutiques and cosy cafes. Explore the oldest surviving arcade in Australia, the Royal Arcade and the heritage listed Block Arcade, as well as the charming Centre Place and Degraves Street.


Melbourne Zoo

Modelled after the London Zoo, Melbourne Zoo is Australia’s oldest zoo and is located only four kilometres from the city centre. The menagerie is home to over 320 different animal species, both native and exotic. Among the best exhibits are the magnificent Trails of Elephants and the Tropical Butterfly House. Today, the zoo is dedicated to the conservation of animals.

Elliott Ave, Parkville VIC Australia + 61 1300 966 784


ACMI

Situated in Federation Square, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image is ‘Australia’s only national museum of film, video games, digital culture and art.’ ACMI features two cinemas and two exhibition galleries, as well as the permanent interactive exhibition Screen Worlds, which explores the story of the moving image. The exhibition includes hundreds of costumes and props, as well as Cate Blanchett’s Oscar Award.

ACMI Screen Worlds, Federation Square, Flinders St, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, +61 3 8663


Shrine of Remembrance

Built to honour the Victorians who served during World War I, the Shrine of Remembrance has since become a memorial to all Australians who have served in war. Open daily, the Shrine is a place for solitude and reverence, and exhibitions including Galleries of Remembrance offers a glimpse into the Australian military service.

Shrine of Remembrance, Birdwood Ave, Melbourne, VIC, Australia, +61 3 9661 8100


Scienceworks
Science Museum
Think Ahead Exhibition at Scienceworks

Think Ahead exhibition at Scienceworks | © Scienceworks

Scienceworks

Geared towards curious young minds, Scienceworks offers immersive presentations and exhibitions that seek to explain the mysteries of the universe. Opened in 1992, the purpose-built museum features a Planetarium, Tesla coil Lightning Room, a historical Pumping Station and Sportswood, which looks at the science behind movement.

Think Ahead Exhibition, Scienceworks. Children exploring the “Life in Space” installation. White panels, space ship like interior. | Courtesy Scienceworks | © Scienceworks

2 Booker St, Spotswood VIC Australia + 61 03 9392 4800

More Info
Mon - Sun:
10:00 am - 4:30 pm

Accessibility & Audience:

Kid Friendly

Atmosphere:

Indoors

City Circle Tram

Famous for its trams, no trip to Melbourne would be complete without riding the City Circle Tram. The free service allows passengers to travel through the city on the historic burgundy W-class tram, hopping on and off as they wish. The entire journey takes an hour to complete and passes many places of interest around the city.