Exploring a new city and being adjacent to all of its daily hubbub can be an excellent way to decompress and unwind from your own hectic schedule. But it’s safe to want a little relief from the drab aspects of everyday life when you’re away on holiday too. That’s precisely why a holiday in Melbourne could be just what the doctor ordered.

Despite being one of Australia’s most densely populated city centres, Melbourne is equipped with a rich cultural milieu and many exciting and enriching places to visit and experiences to be had. But what is there to see and do in Melbourne that makes this urban destination unique from other Australian cities? 

This helpful article will share how you can experience Australia’s vibrant cultural capital. So as you get ready to book your Melbourne accommodation, peruse our little urban travel guide to discover what you can experience in this gorgeous city.

Book a Luxury Hotel for Your Stay

As we mentioned, your first step will be to find a place to stay in Melbourne. This will be your home base and somewhere you can return to each night to unwind and plan the next day’s activities. Thankfully, the Melbourne CBD is chock full of five-star accommodation options that can help you stay centrally located and ready to jump into all the action at a moment’s notice.

Staying in a luxury hotel during your trip can provide a myriad of additional benefits to ensuring you can see all that the city has to offer. Many Melbourne hotels have luxury amenities on-site so you can enjoy a spa bath, pop a bottle of bubbles and unwind in sumptuous style. The Crown Metropol Melbourne is an ideal choice for a hotel where you can relax in comfort and style. 

Experience the Fed Square and NGV Art Galleries

Visiting the iconic Federation Square and the National Gallery of Victoria (or ‘NGV’) is considered to be a quintessential day out in Melbourne for many tourists and visitors to the city. A perfect cultural adventure, this day out typically involves heading into the city via train, embarking at Flinders Street Station, and then crossing the road over to the wide stairs of Fed Square, designed to be a perfect vantage point of the heart of Melbourne as well as a convenient meeting point for seasoned Melburnians. 

And it’s just a quick walk to the NGV from Fed Square, or you could even browse the art galleries that dot Fed Square itself before making your way down to Melbourne’s Arts District. There are free entry options at both, with paid special exhibitions also scheduled throughout the calendar year. If you plan your trip accordingly, you may be able to take in a specially curated exhibit during your time in the city. But even if you don’t have plans to attend a paid exhibition, you can still enjoy an eclectic array of art for free, spanning from Romantic European portraits to East Asian tapestries, and even some contemporary creations by local and international artists.

Go on a Yarra River Cruise

The Yarra River runs through Melbourne, separating the CBD from Southbank and the Docklands area. You can actually take a boat cruise along the Yarra River during the day, or even enjoy a dinner on the water in the evening, thanks in part to innovative boat hire services that are on offer by riverside restaurants and pubs. 

Whether you’re on a dinner boat or on a ferry with some other travelling folk, an evening cruise is also an excellent option, and you can witness Melbourne come to life as the lights of a million rooms flick on. You could even charter a private boat for a romantic experience if you’re on a couples retreat in the city. Just be sure to place your bookings nice and early as these boating experiences are usually in high demand.

Enjoy a Relaxing Picnic at the Royal Botanical Gardens

Depending on the weather, a picnic in the Royal Botanical Gardens is definitely a worthwhile activity for all during their time in Melbourne. And as another attraction that’s totally free to experience, travellers on a budget will find spending a day traipsing through the Gardens’ greenery to be just as enriching as exploring Melbourne’s many malls and arcades. 

Simply pack a grazing lunch of cheese, cold cuts, dip, crackers and fruit, spread out your trusty picnic blanket on a wide open lawn, and relax in the sun. And if you’re visiting Melbourne in the summer, anticipate extra long daylight hours that could see your picnic lunch easily turn into a picnic dinner! Just be sure to pack plenty of sunscreen too, because the Garden does get full sun during the summer months.

Visit St Kilda

Veering away from the CBD now and heading to Melbourne’s vibrant southern seaside region will take you to another popular tourist destination: the suburb of St Kilda. St Kilda is a classic Melbourne destination full of excellent places to eat, great coffee, some cosy bars and clubs, refreshing drinks, and to top it all off, a beautiful beach to walk along. There is also a penguin colony where tiny fairy penguins can be seen after sunset if you’re lucky.

And if you’re travelling with kids, then you’ll be happy to hear that St Kilda is also the location of Melbourne’s own Luna Park, a beloved theme park with plenty of fun carnival rides, including a rollercoaster that’s been in operation for over a hundred years! Rest assured, it’s totally safe, albeit a little less thrilling than the coasters you can expect to see at the Gold Coast.

Go Shopping at the Queen Victoria Market

Located at the end of the CBD, the Queen Victoria Market is worth a visit for some retail therapy. You can find something for everyone at this vibrant marketplace, with various stalls selling different locally sourced and produced goods. Whether you’re after homemade cosmetics, crafted items, leather goods, shoes, jackets or scarves, or all of the above and much much more, you can expect to walk away with full shopping bags. 

Queen Victoria Market is also renowned for its local produce and seafood stalls, making it a great first stop when preparing for a dinner party. If you visit friends in Melbourne, you could also pick up some fresh produce to bring to them. And during the winter months, the market hosts a night market, with food trucks boasting delicious cuisine – a perfect evening activity.

A Melbourne Cultural Conclusion

This helpful article has shared how you can experience the city of Melbourne – Australia’s cultural capital. You should keep relatively busy during your visit with these ideas, but the city is large and offers far more than what is listed here. So spend time researching places to visit, or wander and get lost in the city and see what you can find.

Image: Supplied.

This is a sponsored article produced in partnership with Digital Next.

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