In Categories, Holidays, Travel & Adventure

What to do in Melbourne for a day

Melbourne. The first port of call on our amazing 104 day around the world tour with Princess Cruises, and what a wonderful city in which to start to start our adventure.

Here’s a short video …

It’s a wonderful blend of architectural heritage, vibrant cafes, cosmopolitan restaurants, fabulous street art, quaint laneways in between tall buildings, green parklands and beautiful waterways, offering a smorgasbord of things to do in a day.

What to do in Melbourne for a day

It’s touted as one of the most livable cities in the world, and it’s also really easy to acces from a cruise ship.

All you need to do is purchase your MyKi ticket at the cruise terminal (we actually got ours right by the tram) and then hop on the 109 Tram which will whisk you into the heart of Melbourne in around 15 minutes.

Also good to know – there’s a free city circle tram and an excellent visitor’s centre at Federation Square just across from Flinders Street Station (clocks entrance).

We love the buzz of Melbourne. The bustling streets are alive with the rumbling of  trams and there’s plenty of shopping if you so choose. The city has a cosmopolitan feel, and you get the feeling of a working city up for business.

There’s masses to do if you’re stopping over for a day, and here are our favourites, along with some other suggestions if you have time.

What to do in Melbourne for a day

Immigration Museum, 400 Flinders Street.

We’ve wanted to visit this museum for quite some time and never had the chance before.

Apparently more than 9 million people have migrated to Australia since 1788. Discover what it feels like to leave your home behind and move to another country. The Immigration Museum is a celebration and explanation of Australia’s diversity where you can find out the reasons people have made these journeys; a search either for a better life or to escape wars and disasters.

Open Top Double Decker Bus

Buy a ticket for this bus and you can hop on and hop off at many major attractions in the city including the popular beachside suburb of St Kilda. This is a great way to see Melbourne and what’s great is that there’s a commentary too.

What to do in Melbourne for a day

There are two routes; city and beach. Each journey takes about 90 minutes (if you don’t get off).

The city route takes you from Federation Square to China Town, Lygon Street precinct, Harbour Town, Docklands, The Art Precinct, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne Museum and Carlton Gardens and Queen Victoria Market.

Purchase your tickets at the bus departing from Federation Square.

What to do in Melbourne for a day

Walk along the Yarra River on the Southbank

It’s beautiful walking along the  Yarra River, and there’s so much going on. You’ll see river boats, rowers, skate boarders and bicyclists,

Watch the ferries pass by, or even take a river cruise. Stop off for a snack or drink at one of the numerous waterside restaurants,  bistros or cafes. Walk over the bridges …we loved walking across the Sandridge Bridge a historic former railway bridge over the Yarra River. It was redeveloped in 2006 as a new pedestrian and cycle path featuring interesting public art.

What to do in Melbourne for a day

As you walk across you’ll see 10 abstract sculptures titled The Travellers which represent the different types of immigrants who traditionally arrived by train over the bridge from Station Pier. There was the Aboriginal period, convict period (1788 – 1868), the gold rushes (1850 – 1890), assisted migration (1830 – 1930), displaced persons (1947 – 1953), European migration (1947 – 1983), refugees (1856 – 2001) Asian and Middle East migration (1975 – 2005), students and professionals (1975 – 2005), the last of The Travellers is the Walking Sun which represents Australian multiculturalism.

What to do in Melbourne for a day

The bridge also houses 128 glass screens. Each screen represents indigenous peoples and immigrant arrivals to Australia by country of origin since 1788.

Queen Victoria Market

The Queen Victoria market is the only surviving 19th Century Market in the Melbourne CBD, and at 7 hectares is the largest open air market in the southern hemisphere.

If you’re on the hop on hop off bus make sure you get off here. There’s fabulous street art in nearby alleyways, and the market offers  gourmet produce, lots of fresh local produce, gifts, goods and lots of souvenirs – don’t forget it’s closed on Mondays and Wednesdays.

What to do in Melbourne for a day

Watch out for fabulous photo opportunities. This is the Melbourne Arts’ Centre tower

The Laneways

Melbourne is famous for its laneways where you can just walk and watch or sit and have a cup of coffee and let the world go by. Check out the buskers and street performers, have some lunch … honestly, they are such cool places to hang out.

Melbourne Tips

If you’re splitting up to do different things and need a good meeting place then meet up on the steps at Flinders Station, under the clocks. The exotic and very visible Flinders Station was purportedly built to the Bombay (Indian) Station specifications by mistake! You can’t miss it.

What to do in Melbourne for a day

If you catch the hop on hop off bus and get off at St Kilda take your swimmers with you to have a dip at the beach, followed by a cup of coffee perhaps at a beachside cafe.

Keep an eye out for stunning street art in tucked away corners. You might be lucky enough to watch artists armed with paint spray cans engaged in creating the murals. Some of them are HUGE!

What to do in Melbourne for a day

9 more things you might not want to miss in Melbourne

  1. Love Italian fare? Head to Lygon Street – the aroma of Italian cooking will accost your senses before you even get there.
  2. Love Chinese food – head to Chinatown.
  3. Eureka Tower
  4. Fitzroy Gardens including Cooks Cottage, model Tudor Village, and the historic Conservatory.
  5. Shrine of Remembrance
  6. St Kilda Beach
  7. Docklands
  8. The Greek quarter – try baklava or spanakopita.
  9. Dining on a vintage tram

What to do in Melbourne for a day

Awesome Day

There’s so much to do in Melbourne and the regions, and this is just a taste of what’s on offer. I’m sure you’ll want to come back and do more.

But what an awesome day we had for our first 0ur first port of call.

However, writing this it is really nice to be back on The Sea Princess and a little bit later this afternoon we’ll be sailing out of the Port of Melbourne and heading to our next exciting destination … Adelaide.

We’re just deciding what to do – we’re thinking of going to the Barossa Valley 🙂

But I’d love your suggestions for Adelaide. What should we do for the day?

I’m travelling as a guest of Princess Cruises but all opinions are my own.

You can find out more about Princess Cruises adventures and cruises Here

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Showing 6 comments
  • Kim

    Hi Jo. So enjoying looking out for your next post – exciting to feel as if we’re (almost!) going along with you!

    • Johanna

      Hi Kim, thanks so much! Glad to have you ‘along’ for the ride! See you in Dover, I hope?

  • Maria P

    Went to Melbourne a few weeks ago. Loved the Immigration Museum. Also a bus tour of the Yarra Valley wineries is a must if you have time. I was only there for a few days. Next time it will be a longer stay! Have fun on your cruise.

  • Seana Smith

    Hello there, you packed in a lot in that fabulous city. I do love Melbourne, and I must do more sightseeing (and less business) when there next.

    In Adelaide, the Market is just marvellous… you could spend half a day there, it really is good. I love wandering the streets and walking by the river, it reminds me of Edinburgh.

  • budget jan

    I love grabbing a snack of Borek at the Queen Victoria Market. It has a great atmosphere and as I’m eating my Borek, the taste takes me to the other side of the world.

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