Melbourne is the coastal capital of Australia’s southeasterly state of Victoria. It’s a bustling city with cultural influences from both Asia and Europe, while maintaining a more low-key vibe than its sister city of Sydney. With dozens of landmarks scattered across the city, there’s so much to do, from visiting the attractions to exploring the busy laneways. Sip on a real Aussie flat white while you explore. With so much to see, it can be hard to figure out the best possible Melbourne itinerary.
Highlights of Melbourne include the city’s modern Federation Square development. Sitting next to the iconic golden Flinders Street Station, you’ll find plenty of chic bars, restaurants, and plazas all alongside Melbourne’s Yarra River. Don’t miss the monumental Crown Casino, with its huge floorplan of top restaurants, bars, and of course gambling. The neighborhood of St Kilda is renowned for its beach, and of course the family friendly Luna Park. Hosier Lane with its impressive display of street art is an edgy attraction, as is nearby ACDC lane. If you fancy venturing further out, make sure to take a trip along the Great Ocean Road to see the incredible Twelve Apostles. For a little more culture, Old Melbourne Gaol provides an interesting perspective on nineteenth century prison life. Soap fans can enjoy a Neighbours Quiz or Tour around Ramsay Street, and sport fans shouldn’t miss a game at the impressive Melbourne Cricket Ground.
There are so many things to do in Melbourne, and this guide to Melbourne including a complete itinerary should help you to plan your three days in this incredible city. A Melbourne itinerary has something for everyone, from driving along the Great Ocean Road to seeing the colourful murals of Hosier Lane, to picking up fresh goods at Queen Victoria Market.
Table of Contents
Top Things to Do in Melbourne
- Crown Casino
- Hosier Lane
- Great Ocean Road
- Neighbors Tour
- Federation Square
- Flinders Street Station
- Melbourne Cricket Ground
- Queen Victoria Market
- St Kilda
- Old Melbourne Gaol
A 3 Day Itinerary to Melbourne
Day 1 in Melbourne: Central Business District (CBD)
Morning: Federation Square
- Begin your day at the interesting geometric Federation Square. It’s the home to a number of attractions, from world-class events to experiences. A pedestrianised square, you can also come here to visit the National Gallery of Victoria’s Australian collection, and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI). Address: Swanston St & Flinders St, Melbourne VIC 3000.
- Don’t miss one of Melbourne’s most iconic attractions, Flinders Street Station. Dating back to 1854, it’s Australia’s first ever train station. An unforgettable yellow shade, the clocks under the station are one of the city’s most famous meeting points. Address: Flinders St, Melbourne VIC 3000.
- Go for brunch and coffee at Cento Mani Cafe, just along the way from Flinders Street Station. It’s a Colombian cafe serving up delicious brunch dishes from traditional Colombia arepa to chocolo pancakes. In true Melburnian fashion, the coffee is delicious. Address: 140 Flinders St, Melbourne VIC 3000.
Afternoon: The Laneways and Queen Victoria Market
- Pass by Melbourne’s street art. Much of the most famous art and murals are in the Central Business District, making them easy to find. Head to iconic Hosier Lane, an alleyway plastered in colourful street art. Other nearby streets to check out include Rutledge Lane and AC/DC Lane. Address: Hosier Lane, Melbourne, VIC 3000.
- Grab a classic Melbourne flat white from the many laneways. The Melbourne lifestyle is all about cafe culture, where you can relax among the CBD in between the busy streets. Manchester Press is famous for some of the best coffee in the city, and its bagels. Address: 8 Rankins Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000.
- Explore the Arcades on your way round the CBD. There are a scattering between the busy streets. Each are enclosed alleyways of boutique shops, cafes, and art galleries. Don’t miss the Royal Arcade, Australia’s oldest surviving arcade. It’s beautiful, dating back to 1870, with an elegant interior throughout. Don’t miss the equally stunning Hopetoun Tearooms, with its extensive selection of beautiful cakes. Address: 335 Bourke St, Melbourne VIC 3000.
- Wander around historic Queen Victoria Market. In operation since 1878, it offers great shopping in a National Heritage building. An open air market, it’s home to hundreds of businesses selling fresh produce, coffee, amazing food, gifts, and art. It’s perfect for picking up some snacks along the way. Address: Queen St, Melbourne VIC 3000.
Evening: Crown Casino
- Melbourne’s Southbank is a real hub, and in the evening it really comes to life. Stroll along the Yarra River along the Promenade. You’ll soon reach the Crown Complex, the perfect place to spend an evening. The Crown Casino is a resort that opened in 1997, and the largest casino in the southern hemisphere. Go for a flutter or enjoy some drinks with a view across the Yarra River. Address: 8 Whiteman St, Southbank VIC 3006.
- There are dozens of restaurants within the complex – try Rockpool for delicious wood-fired steaks and seafood. Ging Thai is also delicious, with authentic Thai food like red duck curry and and kingfish ceviche. Either way, you won’t regret dining in this fabulous resort.
- Afterwards, catch the impressive fire display from towers outside the Crown Complex. Every day on the hour between 9pm and 12am throughout the summer, the concrete towers provide a dramatic dance display. It’s one not to forget on your Melbourne itinerary.
Day 2 in Melbourne: Great Ocean Road
Morning: Bells Beach and Lorne
- The Great Ocean Road should be top of anyone’s Melbourne itinerary, as one of the best drives in the world. You can either choose to hire a car and self-tour, or go on a guided tour. I chose the latter when I went, going with A Tour With a Difference, who I’d really recommend. Set off from Melbourne early, bring some snacks, and experience some of the most amazing sights.
- Make your first stop along the Great Ocean Road Bells Beach. It’s one of the world’s best surfing beaches, and each year sees a major surfing competition. Have a snack while you watch the dramatic waves roll in. Address: Jarosite Road, Bells Beach, Victoria, 3228.
- Continue on to the small town of Lorne, passing dozens of gorgeous oceanfront properties en route. A popular tourist spot, it’s a must on a Melbourne itinerary thanks to its great surfing, fishing, swimming, and camping.
Afternoon: Twelve Apostles and London Bridge
- Stop off at the Apollo Bay Hotel en route from Lorne for a tasty lunch. The bistro is a great place for grabbing a tasty bite by the sea. Their menu has traditional pub grub – tuck into chicken parmigiana, fresh pastas, and burgers. Address: 95 Great Ocean Rd, Apollo Bay VIC 3233.
- Along the way to the next stop, keep your eyes peeled for some wonderful wildlife. On my journey, we passed koalas and all kinds of colourful birds that you can feed seed to. There are tons of gorgeous views you may want to stop off to see too – the photo opportunities are endless. Mait’s Rest Rainforest is a great place for a walk to get up close and personal with some true Aussie wildlife. Address: Great Ocean Rd, Cape Otway VIC 3233.
- Next stop: Twelve Apostles Beach. At last you get to see the iconic limestones stacks themselves, a true image of Australia. Although they’re now actually the Eight Apostles due to erosion, it’s amazing to walk on the beach alongside them. You can also get a great aerial view of them which is perfect for photos. Address: Great Ocean Rd, Princetown VIC 3269.
- Another great stop along the Great Ocean Road is Loch Ard Gorge. With a turbulent history that dates back to a shipwreck with only two survivors, the two cliffs are named Tom and Eva in homage. The gorge is a beautiful example of the landscape of the Great Ocean Road. Address: Great Ocean Road Port, Campbell VIC 3269.
- The final stop along the Great Ocean Road is a good one – London Bridge. There’s an interesting story behind this place. Once a bridge, two tourists were said to have walked towards the end of the arch only for the bridge to crumble into the ocean. Keep your eyes peeled for some adorable penguins. If you have time on your Melbourne trip, I can’t recommend Phillip Island enough for pure penguin spotting. Address: Great Ocean Rd, Peterborough VIC 3270.
Evening: Collins Street
- Much of the evening will be spent driving back to Melbourne’s CBD along the Great Ocean Road. This takes around two and a half in good traffic. It’s also extremely beautiful and you may see some different sights on your return.
- Head for a late dinner along leafy Collins Street. It’s a lovely part of Melbourne’s Central Business District, and has a real European feel to it. Busy with suits during the day, you can expect a classy dinner on Collins Street. Check out Meatmaiden for delicious wood burner smoked cuts of meat, or Tipo 00 for tasty Italian cuisine in a laneway locale. The riso carnaroli is to die for.
Day 3 in Melbourne: St Kilda and Brighton Beach
Morning: St Kilda
- It wouldn’t be a Melbourne itinerary without a few more beaches! St Kilda is a wonderful beachfront suburb that’s extremely popular with both locals and visitors. It’s easy enough to hop on a tram from Melbourne’s CBD to get there. Address:
- Walk along the Esplanade and take a dip in the ocean. Every visitor should walk along the pier for amazing views across the city of Melbourne and the ocean. There’s a weekly drum circle held on the beach each and every Thursday.
- Grab some brunch from the foodie hotspot of Acland Street. Here, you’ll find cake and delicious Melbourne coffee, as well as top quality street food and vegan restaurants. There’s pretty much all kinds of global cuisine, from Thai to Mexican. La Roche dishes up mouthwatering Aussie brunch dishes, from eggs benny to chilli eggs. Address: Acland Street, St Kilda, Port Phillip, Victoria 3182.
- For a little post-brunch fun, head over to Luna Park. It’s an amusement park (there’s also one in Sydney), with fun family rides and entertainment. Entry is just a couple of dollars, and you then pay for ride tickets on top. It’s a great way to spend a few hours. Address: 18 Lower Esplanade, St Kilda VIC 3182.
Afternoon: Brighton Beach
- A little further south on the coast is Brighton Beach. Just a short train ride from St Kilda, it’s another lovely Melburnian suburb to explore.
- Head to Dendy Street Beach for a beautiful, scenic beach. Here, you can catch the iconic image of Brighton’s beach boxes lined along the sands. Dating back to the 1900s, they’re a colourful display. From the beach, you also get amazing views across to the Melbourne skyline, making it one of the city’s most popular beaches for good reason. Address: The Bay Trail, Brighton VIC 3186.
- Go for a dip to cool off from the hot sun in the clear waters, and sunbathe in this affluent suburb of the city.
Evening: Neighbours Trivia Night
- Head back up to St Kilda via the tram for an evening quite like no other. Melbourne is, of course, the home to acclaimed soap opera Neighbours. If you’re a fan and fancy meeting some of the crew, you can book onto an Official Neighbours Trivia Night. This is something I did during my visit and it was so much fun. You can meet Neighbours actors, win prizes, and listen to live music. The nights are held every Monday from 7pm at the Elephant & Wheelbarrow pub. You can also grab dinner and drinks from the pub. Address: 169 Fitzroy St, St Kilda VIC 3182.
When to Go to Melbourne
The shoulder season is often considered the best time to visit Melbourne. This is both between March and May, and September to November, making for a lovely spring or autumn visit. During these times, you’ll either see pretty pink blossoms across the city, or golden foliage and excellent wine tasting. During the spring, excellent festivals like the Melbourne Fringe and Melbourne Festival are on. In peak summer between December and February, you’ll find perfect beach weather and exciting cricket matches. The Australian Grand Slam Open and the Australian Grand Prix will also be in full flow this season. The city will, however, usually be busier with tourists as a result. If winter works better for you, Melbourne will be at its quietest. You can even fit in some skiing on Mount Hotham or Mount Buller.
It’s often said that Melbourne experiences all four seasons in one day, so it’s important to come prepared for just that. In the summer months, temperatures reach around 20-26°C (70-80°F). The weather can get pretty humid in the summer months, and Melbourne has even been known to have power cuts because of the extreme heat. It is, however, a lovely time of year to get out and enjoy the beautiful city. During the winter, the temperature won’t typically go below 5°C (40°F). The city also gets a little grey and miserable, but the city is typically quieter. Spring and autumn weather can change rather dramatically, from hot to cooler. While autumn is a little drier than spring, it’s best to come prepared for all weathers.
Getting to Melbourne
Naturally, this depends on where you’re coming from, but Melbourne is one of the southern hemisphere’s most prolific cities. Melbourne’s Tullamarine Airport is serviced by over thirty international airlines, and is just a short distance from the city’s Central Business District. Passengers can fly directly to Melbourne from London in 21.5 hours, or from North America. The travel time here depends on where you’re coming from, but via Los Angeles it takes 15 hours, and slightly longer at 20 hours from New York or Toronto.
If you’re travelling from a location a little closer, naturally your flight times will be a lot less. Flying from New Zealand via Auckland takes just 3.5 hours. Reaching Melbourne domestically from elsewhere in Australia is much easier. Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar, and Tigerair all operate regular services to Melbourne from other major Australian cities.
That’s my three day Melbourne itinerary! Is there anything else you’d add in for a trip to Melbourne?