Start your week by navigating through Melbourne’s labyrinth of narrow laneways and historic arcades. Capturing the city’s cultural identity thoroughfares including Degraves Street and Centre Place, which are packed with alfresco cafes and charming boutiques. Meanwhile, Hosier Lane and AC/DC Lane are renowned for their ever-changing street art murals. For nineteenth century opulence, wander through Block Arcade and Royal Arcade and peruse through gift shops, tea rooms and chocolate shops.
Take a road trip down Victoria’s scenic Great Ocean Road, a 234 kilometer stretch of asphalt between Torquay and Allansford. Only an hour and a half south-west of Melbourne, the drive is peppered with picturesque sights including Split Point Lighthouse in Airey’s Inlet, The Twelve Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge and London Arch. Depending on how much time you spend at each attraction, it may be a good idea to stay the night at Warrnambool, where you can spot whales between June and September.
There are three major zoos in Melbourne and an aquarium, all which are worth a visit. If you’d like to stay central, then dive into Sea Life on Finders Street, which features 12 themed zones and is home to 10,000 extraordinary sea creatures. Only four kilometers from the CBD, Melbourne Zoo is Australia’s oldest zoo and features a range of exhibits, including the magnificent Trails of Elephants and the Tropical Butterfly House. Further out is Healesville Sanctuary, where you can meet Australia’s native wildlife and Werribee Open Range Zoo, which takes visitors on an African safari.
Melbourne has a wealth of artifacts and art pieces on display across many museums and galleries that seek to educate and inspire. Visit Melbourne Museum, the largest museum in the Southern Hemisphere and discover Victoria’s rich history. Step into the Immigration Museum which explores Melbourne’s multicultural identity or immerse yourself in film and digital culture at The Australian Centre for the Moving Image. If you prefer art galleries, don’t miss The National Gallery of Victoria, the oldest and most visited art gallery in Australia and houses more than 73,000 works.
Your second day trip should be to the magnificent Dandenong Ranges, which are located an hour east of Melbourne. Ride the historic Puffing Billy Railway and dangle your legs over the side of the carriage as you journey through Sherbrooke Forest and over Trestle Bridge. Roam through William Ricketts Sanctuary, which features almost one hundred sculptures, take in the incredible vista from Dandenong’s SkyHigh and spend your afternoon exploring the quaint villages of Sassafras, Olinda, and Sherbrooke.
After a busy few days, it’s time to explore at a slower pace and visit the most tranquil parts of the city. Hidden in the heart of Melbourne, the Royal Botanic Gardens is sprawling 94 acre oasis with a collection of 10,000 plant species, 11 lawns, an ornamental lake, cafes and a 3.8 kilometer walking track. Nearby, is the Shrine of Remembrance which honours Australians who served during World War I. On the other side of the Yarra River within Fitzroy Gardens is Captain Cook’s Cottage, the oldest building in Australia. Finish the day off with a cruise on the Yarra River.
On Sunday, take the tram to the seaside suburb of St Kilda, which is six kilometers from the CBD and stroll through St Kilda’s Esplanade Market, where you’re sure to find the perfect souvenir. Afterwards, visit Luna Park which has been delighting Melbournians since 1912 and take a rattling ride on the Scenic Railway roller-coaster. If you’re feeling hungry, grab a bite at one of the many restaurants and cafes on the bustling Acland Street.