As Australia’s second largest city, Melbourne has plenty of sites and activities to keep you busy. From great food, shopping, to cultural experiences, and picturesque nature trips, Melbourne has it all. Three days may not seem like enough, but if you are only in town for a short visit we have built this itinerary for you to make your next Melbourne trip a breeze.
The first thing you will want to do is pick up a Myki card for public transport. Though the trams in the CBD are all free, the Myki card is essential should you need to travel outside the city. Myki cards can be purchased at 7/11s and at Metro machines at railways stations and cost just $6.
- City Tour
To get a feel of the city, the best thing to do is hop on board a city bus tour. We recommend the Hop-On Hop-Off Tour from City Sightseeing as it allows you to explore Melbourne with ease. Select the Red Line to explore the best the city has to offer! Highlights of the Red Line includes the Eureka Skydeck (for great views over Melbourne), the Melbourne Star, Chinatown, Fitzroy Gardens, and the Melbourne Cricket Ground. The best thing about these tours is if anything takes your fancy, you simply jump off, explore at your own pace, and get back on when the next bus comes around! Buses depart from Federation Square, beginning at 9:30am and concluding at 5:10pm. Adult prices start at $29.50 for a 24 hour pass.
- Royal Botanic Gardens
After concluding your bus tour at Federation Square, it is time to escape the craziness of the city and take in some tranquillity. A visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens is the perfect retreat. The gardens are located on the southern bank of the Yarra River, so take a short 10 minute walk from Federation Square and cross the Princes Bridge to reach it. The gardens are home to thousands of native and exotic plants, a rainforest boardwalk, tranquil lakes, and beautiful flower displays. After visiting the Shrine of Remembrance and the Government House, wander the paths at your own pace and enjoy the Aboriginal Heritage walk, or take a guided tour. For a snack or two, you can choose from 2 cafes on site: The Terrace or Jardin Tan.
- Crown Precinct
After a jam packed day, it is time to unwind in style! While you are on the southern bank follow the river boardwalk until you reach the Crown Precinct. This glitzy entertainment precinct has it all, riverside fine dining, casual eats, day spas, luxury shopping, live music, and a dazzling casino. Be sure to be in the precinct at night, as a fire show takes place every hour on the giant pillars located along the river promenade. After grabbing dinner, stop for an ice-cream and go for a wander along the boardwalk and enjoy the view of the city.
Day 2: Great Ocean Road Day Trip
Your second day is all about escaping to nature and the best way to do so is to take a day trip to the Great Ocean Road. This road stretches across 234 kilometres of the most scenic coastline in Australia, and although the start of the route is a 90 minute drive from Melbourne CBD, the drive is well worth it.
- Seaside Towns
During your visit you will encounter several coastal towns dotted throughout the route, including Lorne, Anglesea, and Apollo Bay. Stop for a bite to eat at a café, go for a dip or surf at the local beaches, conquer a bush walk, or simply wander about and take in the charm of these small towns.
- Otway National Park
After town hopping, head to Otway National Park. The Otways provide some of the most beautiful rainforest scenery in Australia and are not to be missed. Take a bushwalk through lush fern valleys, ancient eucalypt and beech trees, spot unique wildlife, and discover picturesque waterfalls. Several of these falls are located a short drive from Lorne, including Erskine Falls, Sheoak Falls, and Triplet Falls. If you take the 10 minute drive north from Triplet Falls, you will come across the Otway Fly Treetops rainforest walk. This walk is set high amongst the tree top canopy and is a great opportunity to view the forest from above. The more adventurous can also take a zipline tour, which will have you soaring 30 metres above the forest floor from tree to tree. To conclude your visit to the Otways, also be sure to visit Melba Gully, as this is home to colonies of glittering glow worm caves.
- 12 Apostles
To conclude your journey along the Great Ocean Road, pull in to the most visited site along the route: the 12 Apostles. Take in the incredible views of these limestone structures and the dramatic cliff faces rising up from the shore. After admiring the views, take the short 1 kilometre walk to the Gibson Steps. These steps were carved in to the cliff face and descend on to the beach, allowing you to take in the sheer magnitude of the 70 metre tall cliffs and the limestone stacks located just offshore. Located further along the route is the Loch Ard Gorge with its impressive limestone formations and blowholes.
Your last day in Melbourne is a chance to appreciate the city’s food and shopping scene. For food you simply can’t miss the laneways. These branch out mostly along Collins St and Burke St in the CBD and are super fun to stumble across. Enjoy breakfast at the Espresso Bar in Degraves St or dumplings and crepes offered along Centre Place. For an art experience, head to Hosier Lane and AC/DC lane and take in the gritty colourful street art.
After breakfast, it is time for some retail therapy, first stop: Bourke St Mall. Located between Elizabeth St and Swanston St, this pedestrian mall is Melbourne’s main shopping street. You will find department stores like David Jones and Myer, Australian and international retailers, and popular mid-range retailers. The architecture along the street adds an historic charm to the area, so it is great to admire even if you are not there to do any shopping. Trams run through the street as well so be sure to keep an eye out. For a more luxe experience, Collins St is your go-to. The street boasts luxury designer labels including Dior, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton housed in heritage buildings, and 5 star hotels and exclusive clubs.
After discovering the ins and outs of the city, head out to St Kilda and soak up some sunshine in this seaside neighborhood. A tram ride departing from Federation Square takes about 25 minutes. Take a dip at the beach, surf, grab a coffee at the nearby cafes, or cycle along the foreshore. If you are in the area on a weekend make a stop by one of the local markets. The St Kilda Esplanade Market operates every Sunday, and you can find all sorts of goodies here from vintage fashion, quirky artwork, and street foods. St Kilda is known for its eclectic boutiques, so even if you miss the markets, there are several boutiques selling a diverse mix of jewelry, fashion, and accessories.
St Kilda is also home to a colony of Little Penguins and seeing them is a must. The colony is located at the end of the pier and you can see these little guys scrambling back to their nests typically half an hour after sunset. After your penguin viewing, conclude your visit with a relaxed dinner at one of the many restaurants and bars along Fitzroy St and Acland St. You will find an assortment of casual eateries, pizza, Indian, fine dining, wine bars, and atmospheric local pubs.
With so much to do in Melbourne, you can easily spend more than 3 days in this great city. We hope this itinerary has inspired you to book your next trip! For more fun and exciting activities to do in Melbourne, be sure to check out this Melbourne trip planner for some great suggestions. Either follow our itinerary or swap out a few for a trip that is more tailored to your personal preferences.