Melbourne is easily one of the most striking multicultural cities in the world. It is a destination where you will encounter hidden gems at every corner, making it a favourite among tourists from the world over.
One of the most beautiful things about Melbourne is that there’s so much to see and do, even for a brief visit. You will be surrounded by delicious food and splendid art, and immersed in culture.
Here is your guide to exploring the best of Melbourne in 72 hours.
Day 1: City highlights, cafe culture, and art
During your first day in Melbourne, waste no time and dive right into exploring the city’s highlights. Take one of those popular morning city tours that will introduce you to the city’s stunning architecture, laneways, and arcades. Admire beautiful buildings such as Windsor Hotel, Princess Theatre, the Melbourne Museum, the Old Treasury Buildings and State Offices, as well as St. Patrick’s Cathedral, a fine example of Gothic Revival Architecture.
Next, it is time for you to sample Melbourne’s dynamic cafe culture. Lygon Street’s “Little Italy” is where you should be. Find out why Melbourne is called Australia’s coffee capital by getting your caffeine fix at any of the charming cafes and eateries. Try the Italian espresso or if you want something less acidic, a cup of cold brew, and enjoy it with a delightful serving of pasta or tiramisu.
Recharged, get to know Melbourne by exploring Australian art. Head to the Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Federation Square. It houses one of the oldest and most popular art collections in the country. With over 20,000 artworks to discover, it is easy to lose track of time in the art gallery. To experience the city’s world-famous urban street art, you’ll find the best pieces along Hosier Lane, Centre Place, and AC/DC Lane.
A trip to Melbourne is never complete without visiting its most popular laneways and alleyways, particularly Degraves Street, Centre Place, Centre Way, Block Arcade, and the Royal Arcade. Browse the elegant shops and check out the stunning ceiling designs and the colourful floors especially Royal Arcade and Block Arcade. Aside from the seemingly endless shopping options, these areas also show off Melbourne’s incredible food scene.
At sunset, you can go up Eureka Skydeck 88 to enjoy awe-inspiring 360-degree views of the city. For dinner, you would want to go to Flinders Lane on the city’s east side, a culinary destination teeming with specialty restaurants.
End your perfect day by visiting a classic Australian pub or one of the bars along the Yarra River. Sample Melbourne’s finest local wines, cocktails, and beers as you bask in the relaxing atmosphere and million-dollar views.
To cover more ground during your limited time in Melbourne, take the Melbourne Morning City Tour and spend 4 hours exploring more than 20 of the city’s top attractions. And don’t forget to purchase Melbourne Eureka Skydeck 88 entry tickets in advance to enjoy the best views of Melbourne. You can also try The Edge for the ultimate white-knuckle experience!
Day 2: Fitzroy Gardens, Queen Victoria Market, St. Kilda, and the Brighton Boxes
After a speedy breakfast of Melburnian coffee and mouthwatering pastry at any of Melbourne’s breakfast spots, visit Fitzroy Gardens, a peaceful oasis on the southeastern edge of the CBD. Walk the tree-lined pathways, admire the ornamental lake, fountains, and sculptures, and see the historic Captain’s Cook Cottage.
Next is a foodie tour at an attraction where tourists flock to find a good bargain on tasty treats – the Queen Victoria Market. Have your fill of fresh doughnuts and local delicacies as you meet the energetic vendors and gain insight on the local culture.
After Queen Vic, proceed to St. Kilda, one of Melbourne’s trendiest suburbs. Meander along Acland Street and check out its eclectic mix of bars, dining places, and shops.
Head to Brighton to see the 82 colourful Victorian-era bathing boxes lining the beachfront area. The Brighton Boxes are an iconic attraction in Melbourne so bring your camera with you and don’t miss out on the wonderful photo opportunity!
Another must-visit is Melbourne’s Chinatown where you’ll find a wide selection of restaurants and eateries offering authentic Chinese cuisine. Centred on Little Bourke Street, the ethnic enclave is famous for restaurants like Hu Tong Dumpling Bar, Shark Fin House Restaurant, Supper Inn, and Crystal Jade Restaurant.
The Melbourne Highlights Tour is one of the best tours to take if you want to spend a whole afternoon exploring the inner suburbs of Brighton, Elwood, and St. Kilda, plus a few extra stops. You will see the postcard-pretty bathing boxes in Brighton Beach and have ample time browsing through the hip and trendy establishments lining Acland and Fitzroy Streets in addition to many other landmark attractions in Melbourne.
Day 3: Yarra Valley , Phillip Island, or the Great Ocean Road
Your last day in Melbourne should be spent engaging in unique adventures. For your final day in this popular destination, you can have a full day tour to Yarra Valley, Phillip Island, or the Great Ocean Road.
By visiting Yarra Valley, you will explore premium wineries, and sample the spirits, juices, and artisanal food from the region’s top gourmet food producers. Must-visits in Yarra Valley are Yering Station, De Bortoli Wines, Rochford Wines, Yarra Valley Dairy, and Yarra Valley Chocolaterie. And if you are brave enough, you can even take a hot air balloon ride over the lush wine-producing region.
A tour of Phillip Island is what you should choose if you want to be up close Australia’s fascinating wildlife, from kangaroos to Tasmanian devils, koalas, and the world’s smallest penguins. You’ll also get to see unique rock formations called the ‘Nobbies’.
You will have a wide range of experiences in the island but the highlight of your trip will be the Penguin Parade. Watching the adorable Little Penguins will waddle back to shore to return to their burrows as the sun sets is an experience that’s one for the books.
The Great Ocean Road is one of the most beautiful coastal drives in the world and is definitely one of Australia’s top attractions. A road trip along the 151-mile stretch of road will let you see iconic tourist spots like the Shipwreck Coast, 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, Great Otway Ranges, and the Gibson Step. You can even take to the skies and soar over the breathtaking 12 Apostles and Shipwreck Coast on an exhilarating helicopter ride.
Yarra Valley, the Great Ocean Road, and Phillip Island area a must-see for tourists who can’t get enough of Australia’s food and wine culture, nature attractions, and wildlife, respectively. Take the Yarra Valley Tour to visit the region’s award-winning wineries, the Great Ocean Road Tour to experience what could be the most scenic coastal drives in the world, and the Phillip Island Day Tour to be up close Australian wildlife and witness the magical Penguin Parade.