If you have 24 hours off the plane and are wondering where to go in Melbourne, here’s how you can explore some of the city’s vibrant art displays, culinary delights and obscure but exciting laneways and arcades – all in one day.
Start your day with Melbourne’s best offerings: coffee and brunch! Catch the train to Flinders Street Station and take a short walk to Degraves Street where you can sample a true Melburnian breakfast at some of the best cafes in town. Cup of Truth is a true gem and a favourite of many, so don’t be surprised if there’s a queue to grab that cuppa – but it will be worth it.
Next, head to Federation Square. While there, take advantage of the free Wi-Fi – select the ‘Metro Wi-Fi network’ – and download a travel app to help you navigate your way around the city. We recommend City Maps 2Go (available on iOS and Android).
Federation Square is home to the Ian Potter Centre, which houses the Australian art collection of the National Gallery of Victoria, as well as the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. These two fascinating art institutions, along with the nearby St Paul’s Cathedral and the ever-changing graffiti on the walls of Hosier Lane, present some great photography opportunities. Complete your morning with a stroll along the Yarra River and hop on a sightseeing cruise if you have time.
Travel secret: The Free Tram Zone within Melbourne’s CBD means you can travel for free to attractions such as Parliament House (Spring Street, East Melbourne) and the State Library (328 Swanston Street).
Lose yourself in Melbourne’s network of charming laneways and arcades, starting with the Block Arcade (282 Collins Street), with its soaring dome and mosaic floor, which then leads to the Royal Arcade (335 Bourke Street) and Bourke Street Mall. Along the way, browse boutique shops or check out the latest deals at David Jones, Myer, H&M and Emporium.
Take tram 96 towards St Kilda and stop at South Melbourne Market (Coventry Street and Cecil Street) for lunch. Here you’ll find some of the freshest seafood available, with over 10 types of oysters, freshly cooked tiger prawns and sashimi-grade salmon to sample.
Finish off your afternoon meal with a chai latte at Tea Drop, located within the South Melbourne Market, and be sure to try the matcha-infused croissants and cruffin (a croissant-muffin hybrid) at Agathé Pâtisserie. The local produce, organic soaps, accessories and souvenir shops should be enough to keep you hooked for hours.
End the day at St Kilda Beach to catch the mesmerising sunset views. Take a stroll to St Kilda Pier (Pier Road, St Kilda) to see the fairy penguins returning to their nest or discover the cafes, bars and boutiques at the buzzing Acland Street.
At night, return to the city and dine at an authentic Asian restaurant in Chinatown and complete your evening back in the city centre with a late-night cocktail at Crown Melbourne (8 Whiteman Street) or the riverside Arbory Bar and Eatery (Flinders Street Station).