Melbourne is a fantastic city and if you get a chance to visit, you definitely should spend more than three days there. However, if you’re short on time, I’ve rounded up the highlights from my five day trip to Melbourne to create the perfect three day itinerary.
On your first day, spend time in the central part of the city. It’s wonderfully easy to get around as trams are abundant (Melbourne’s tram network at 250 kilometers in length is the largest of anywhere in the world) and tram rides within the center are free. Start by admiring the street art or popping into one of the many shops and restaurants that line the famous Laneways of Melbourne, most notably Degraves Street, Hosier Lane, Postal Lane, Hardware Lane and ACDC Lane. Also make sure to wander through the Block and Royal Arcades where you are sure to find some delicious treats.
Next, step into the impressive State Victoria Library where I actually spent a rainy afternoon and then hop on one of the lovely old trams of the 35 City Circle Line which runs right along the edge of the city center offering commentary about the places it passes.
Hop off somewhere along the south side of the route, near the Yarra River, and make your way to Eureka Skydeck 88 for sunset. You can buy drinks and snacks at the top and I spent hours there watching the city light up.
After sunset, head to some of the hidden bars of Melbourne – Beneath Driver Lane and Murmur Piano Bar being my personal recommendations. When you get hungry, wander along Flinders Lane to Chin Chin for dinner. It’s a hugely popular restaurant so you may want to book in advance. Alternatively, go to the bar next door which also serves dishes from the Chin Chin menu.
On your second day in Melbourne, explore the more northern and quirkier eastern side of the city. Start your day by grabbing a bite to eat at the Queen Victoria Market. Wander towards and through the Canton Gardens and, if you see an exhibition you’re interested in, consider popping into the Royal Exhibition Building or Melbourne Museum. While I was there, there was an exhibition about cats or something, needless to say, I didn’t pop in!
Continue on to Fitzroy and explore the quirky little shops along Brunswick Street. When you get hungry, head to Grub for lunch.
After lunch walk south towards the Parliament Gardens and St Patrick’s Cathedral and once you’re done exploring, head to Loop Roof for a drink and then to Rice Paper Scissors on Liverpool Street for dinner.
On your final day in Melbourne, explore the areas south of the Yarra River. Start by picking up something to eat at the South Melbourne Market and then head to the Shrine of Remembrance, which, even if you are not interested in Australian military history, offers lovely views of the city from the roof. Make sure to stroll through the beautiful Royal Botanic Garden before heading for lunch at The Kettle Black.
In the evening, go to St Kilda Pier for sunset and then to Acland Street for a bite to eat. But, be warned, the cake shops along Acland Street are out of this world so you may be tempted to have cake for dinner!
Finally, if you do have a few extra days in Melbourne, head to Yarra Valley for a sunrise hot air balloon ride. It was the first time I had ascended into the sky in a hot air balloon and although a bit cold and tired from the early start, it truly was a magical experience gliding over the vineyards, troops of kangaroos, lakes and rivers in the still morning air and watching the sun light up the city in the background.