Learn more about the city at Melbourne Museum
Shop until you drop
Melbourne is Australia’s shopping capital. There are outdoor shopping areas, like Chapel Street and Bourke Street Mall. But head to one of the city’s indoor shopping centres when the weather turns bad. Chadstone Shopping Centre is Australia’s largest shopping centre by area, and claims to be the biggest in the Southern Hemisphere as well. More than 20 million people visit the 530 stores annually, which include Myer, David Jones, H&M, Sephora, and Uniqlo. In the city, head to Melbourne Central, which is home to shops, vintage boutiques, a bowling alley, a cinema, and a large food court.
Relax inside the State Library Victoria
Hide from the rain in the city and relax inside State Library Victoria. Not only is it Australia’s oldest public library, but it was one of the world’s first free public libraries too. Aside from its stack of books, the library is also home to a large collection of historical artefacts. Don’t miss taking a photo of the spectacular reading room. State Library Victoria is also home to Mr Tulk Cafe, which is named after Melbourne’s first chief librarian. It’s a great place for studying, and catching up with friends over brunch.
Spend the day inside the Crown Complex
Cliffhanger Climbing Gym
For those who want an adventurous indoor activity in Melbourne, check out Cliffhanger Climbing Gym. Known as the best indoor rock climbing centre in Australia, the walls at Cliffhanger are the highest in the Southern Hemisphere. They reach 20 metres (66 ft). Cliffhanger offers a diverse range of graded climbing walls, and has a juniors program, so it’s a perfect activity for all ages.
Do as the locals do and brunch
Going for brunch is a very popular pastime for many Melbourne residents. But which cafe do you choose? You could head to Fitzroy, which may be the unofficial brunch capital of Melbourne. Industry Beans is a local favourite, Bentwood Fitzroy does delicious panna cotta, and Belle’s Hot Chicken has chicken and waffles for brunch on weekends. There are plenty of places that do innovative brunch dishes too. Collective Espresso does ‘gravity waffles,’ Kettle Black has the prettiest pancakes, and Common Galaxia is known for its Ferrero Rocher waffles.
Visit SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium
The whole family will enjoy a visit to SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium. Spread over four floors, some of the animals you’ll spot at the aquarium include tropical reef fish at the Coral Caves, grey nurse and reef sharks in the Mermaid Garden, penguins, a crocodile in the Croc Lair, rays, and seahorse and sea stars. SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium’s conservation efforts include rehabilitating sea turtles, and a grey nurse shark breeding program. The aquarium is also home to the world’s first IVF shark — a brown-banded bamboo shark.
Catch a movie
But don’t just watch a film in any old cinema. Lido Cinemas in Hawthorn first opened in 1912, and shows a diverse program of films. Cinema Nova is one of the Southern Hemisphere’s biggest independent cinemas with 16 theatres. It not only does the best choc top ice creams in Melbourne, but it also screens stage productions from the Met Opera and London’s National Theatre. Then there is Yarraville’s Sun Theatre, an art deco dream that first opened in 1938.