Melbourne is the second largest city in Australia, after Sydney, and is essential to visit on any Australian trip.
Sydney may be the prettier city, with its iconic harbour and beautiful skyline, but Melbourne is cool, hip and more fun. It has something for everyone; from amazing nightlife, cool independent bars hidden away in alley ways, casinos, a whole host of sports stadiums, beautiful gardens, and outstanding natural beauty. Melbourne is not to be missed.
Here are some of my personal highlights from spending a week in the city.
Great Ocean Road
If there’s one thing you must do in Melbourne it’s this. The Great Ocean Road stretches over 240km along the coast line and is Australia’s most scenic drive. If you’re like me and love the great outdoors then it’s not to be missed. There’s plenty to see along the drive including coastal beaches, sheer cliff drops, forests filled with Koala Bears (which you can get really close to) and even the light house from the classic TV kids program “Going Round the Twist”. But the real highlight is the Twelve Apostles, which are huge rocks that rise up from the Southern Ocean to make for a dramatic view. Get your cameras at the ready, it’s the perfect picture opportunity. If you can drive, I would recommend hiring a car or camper van and taking your time, but if not then there’s plenty of day tours you can take, which start and end in Melbourne.
A day tour to Phillip Island offers a true Oz experience that involves getting up close and personal with Koalas, feeding Kangaroos and holding snakes if you’re brave enough. The highlight of the tour, and the reason why people visit Philip Island, is the Penguin Parade. Every evening at sunset, dozens of Fairy Penguins emerge from the ocean and make their way up the sand banks to their nesting grounds. The daily event draws quite a crowd as these adorable penguins walk feet away from you! A must see for any penguin lover.
Eureka Sky Deck
The Eureka Sky Deck boasts the title of the ‘Southern Hemisphere’s Highest Viewing Platform,’ offering amazing views across the city. If that’s not enough there’s ‘The Edge,’ a glass box that sticks out of the side of the 88th floor story building, like a Willy Wonka style elevator, not one if you’re afraid of heights! Don’t look down!
This is in the centre of Melbourne and right opposite the impressive Flinders St Station. It’s an entertainment and cultural centre which has a great atmosphere. With its spacious outdoor seating areas, it’s the perfect place to relax and take in the city vibe; you can guarantee some free entertainment here. The Tourist Welcome Centre offers all the information you need on the city and is the place to go to book any excursions, such as The Great Ocean Road and Philip Island.
Melbourne is full of cool, quirky bars! If you want a bar with a view you need to go to The Lui Bar. This is situated on the 55th floor of Rialto Towers and offers stunning views across the city. Nothing beats fine dining with a view. If its entertainment you’re after, head straight over to Draculas (especially if you like vampires!) It’s a vampire themed cabaret restaurant, where all the staff are dressed as Vampires and don’t break character. The evening involves a 3 course meal, table service and a 2-hour show, which includes everything from magic tricks, live music, puppetry and special effects! The show is hilarious and highly entertaining. I enjoyed it so much that I even went to the other Dracula show on the Gold Coast!
And the Rest
If you’re a Neighbours fan (this will probably only apply to UK readers!) you obviously need to go on the Ramsey Street tour. Or better yet, the Neighbours’ Trivia Quiz. It’s a Neighbours’ fan quiz held in a small pub in St Kilda, where you get to meet some of the stars. I don’t really watch Neighbours, so didn’t know who many of them were, but I did know the legend that is Carl Kennedy who sang with his band! Carl Kennedy rocked it and all in all it was a great night.
Casinos your thing? Then you need to go to the Crown Casino! It’s Australia’s biggest casino and can rival those in Vegas.
And finally don’t forget to make the most of the FREE TRAM that circles the city!
Follow more of my travels over on Beach Cow!