See also: Best Things to Do in Melbourne
Though not the largest, the Central Business District is one that speaks the character of Melbourne, the loudest. Enclosed by Flinders, Spring Street, Spencer and Victoria, Central Business District, which is in the heart of the city is heavily laden with attractions that go back centuries, all well hidden in mazes of laneways. Regardless of time and season, there is no end to what you can do in this small section of Australia. The district is rich both in futuristic structures as well as classical buildings that have seen the past walk by. Visit some of the spots that have earned the trust and respect of millions and get engrossed in a variety of adventures.
Start your day with a flight in a hot air balloon
Rise up in the sky, in a hot air balloon, as the sun wakes from its sleep, to start a new day. Though the flights depend much on the direction of the wind, you will see pretty sights of the city, in all its tranquillity, with just the chirping of birds in the backdrop and no hustle-bustle of human activities.
Listen to some of the stories of immigrants at the Immigration Museum
The Immigration Museum in Flinders Street is one of the most visited museums. As implied by its name, the museum stores pieces of information and facts of Australia’s immigration history. You can listen to some of the most poignant stories of people who have immigrated to Australia and have found a home in it. While some left their homeland in pursuit of jobs and better lives, some reluctantly came to Australia just for survival. You can hear all such stories via various digital mediums.
Check out what The Federation Square is up to
Federation Square is one of the rare places in Melbourne, where something is always happening. It is one of the tourist hotspots, which comes as no surprise, given the fact that more than 2000 events are hosted every year. Home to the National Gallery of Victoria’s Australian Collection and a museum, the place also holds exhibitions, which are open every day. To see the best version of the Federation Square, you should plan ahead of time and let your visit clash with events and festivals. You can also take a stroll along the Yarra River for a whiff of fresh air or step in for a drink at one of the cafes or bars, scattered around.
Shop at Queen Victoria Market
Queen Victoria Market is the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere. With over 600 independent businesses, which are segregated into sections, it is a great place to shop for fresh veggies and meat, everyday commodities, fashion items, handmade stuff, souvenirs, etc. It is one of the liveliest markets around the world, with its vibrant atmosphere, festivals and events. Every Wednesday night, the market takes unusual avatars, quite different from its usual look with night markets showcasing scrumptious street food from around the world, live music, speciality bars, etc.
Brighten up your day with pleasing sights at the Royal Botanical Gardens
Manicured to perfection, the Royal Botanical Gardens see over 1900000 visitors in a year. Though it is just minutes away from the busy streets of Melbourne, it is one of the most serene areas, which is quite difficult to fathom, considering its proximity to the bustling city. It is home to diverse flora such as rainforests, perennials, Californian species, succulents, etc. There is a children’s cafe where little ones can endlessly delight themselves, in a series of adventures. They can crawl through the plant tunnels, climb rocks, play hide and seek in the bamboo forest, etc. The beautiful Royal Victoria Gardens brighten up the most, during the summer months, with outdoor cinema, theatre performances and various exhibitions. You can enjoy one last view of the gardens as you treat yourself to a drink, at one of the cafes. The souvenirs available here are botanical-inspired, most carefully curated to suit the overall temperament of the place and should not be missed out.
Go for a drink at the Duke of Wellington Hotel
With a glance at the name, we can infer that the hotel was named after the Duke of Wellington. It was used as a lodge, for three years, after its completion in 1850. From then onwards, it continued as a pub. It has been cited as the oldest running pub in Melbourne city and has gained a place amongst the heritage sites around the world. It continues to reign, to the present day, and is gradually becoming one of the favourite hangouts of tourists. The building has three different levels, each with a different ambience and uniqueness of its own. At the bottom floor, you can spend a pleasant evening, in the accompaniment of live music. Take the flight of stairs up to the second floor, if your wallet can afford a spread of lavish dining. However, the creme de la creme is the rooftop bar with the liveliest DJ.
Explore a miniature of Asia in Melbourne Chinatown
The Melbourne Chinatown, which is just 10 minutes away from the Flinders Train Station, had its genesis in the 1850s, when hundreds of Chinese flocked to Australia in search of gold, during the Victorian gold rush. It is reputed to be the oldest in the Southern Hemisphere and the most diverse of all Chinatowns. Though a Chinatown, its focal point is not only Chinese but the whole of Asia, which is what sets it apart from the rest. Go beyond the grand red gate, which is itself a reflection of the vibrancy, of the world beyond it and let the welcoming laneway take you to a systematic assemblage of boutiques, restaurants, bars, karaoke, cultural venues, sacred places of worship, etc.
The town is slyly scattered with restaurants, serving various cuisines such as Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Indian, Malaysian, Vietnamese, etc., tempting visitors with aromatic smells. Everything looks welcoming and delectable, and you will have a hard time deciding on a place to gorge on. If your trip to the place falls during the Chinese New Year, consider yourself lucky, because that is when the place is most China-like, with the dance of the dragons and bewitchingly beautiful fireworks. The Melbourne Chinatown is also home to the Chinese Museum.
Learn about the past and present of Greece in the Hellenic Museum
The Hellenic Museum or the Nafsika Stamoulis Hellenic Museum Limited was incorporated to promote “the celebration, understanding and preservation of the artistic and cultural heritage of ancient and modern Greece”. History buffs will have capital time here studying the journey that ancient Greece undertook to reach the Greece of today. The museum is a platform for various exhibitions. You can easily spend a couple of hours going through antique pieces and information, many of which are more than 8000 years old. The museum also offers classes on the Golden Age of Athens and eminent ancient philosophers. There is a small garden cafe where you can relish on a cup of coffee and light snacks amidst explorations. The museum is open throughout the week, and you can drop in, anytime between 10 AM to 4 PM.
Fly like a bird in the glass cube at the Eureka Tower
When in Melbourne, stay loyal to Melbourne and seek sights that sing the glory of the land. For unobstructed, extraordinary views of Melbourne, get to the Eureka Tower, a skyscraper with a height of 975 ft. It is recorded to have the fastest lift in the Southern Hemisphere that travels 88 floors in less than a minute. Make sure not to skip the Edge, the glass cube projected 9.8 ft. from the building and suspended 900+ ft. above the ground. You will have the most thrilling experience inside the cube. The cube appears opaque when you step inside it, but you will notice that as it moves slowly out of the building, the opaque cube gives way for a transparent box, through which you can view the city in all its delight. The best time to visit the tower is in the evening, as you will be wrapped with amazing vistas of sunset and lights lit up in every corner of the city. The name of the tower, as well as its design, have much to do with the rebellion, Eureka Stockade, which took place during the notable gold rush of the Victorian days.
Visit the State Library of Victoria
‘Time invested in libraries is time wasted well.’ No statement can be truer than this. But have you ever imagined a library that serves as a museum too? Though incredible, the State Library of Victoria falls in that category. Established in 1856, it is not only the central library of Victoria but Australia’s oldest public library and one of the world’s first free libraries. Under the umbrella of the State Library comes 23 buildings, built in the classical style and a massive reading hall. The library cum museum stores a collection of 2 million books, 350000 photographs, manuscripts, artefacts and many more. There is so much that you can do within the complex. Not only can you spend your day browsing through books but you can also spend hours gazing and admiring the architecture because the structure itself is quite a stunner, especially the dome, which has been the spotlight of the structure for ages. There are coffee shops and gift corners at the entrance, as well as other areas. A giant chess board sits outside, its knights, bishops and others waiting for commands to make moves. Kids can also participate in a variety of activities. If you want every minute to be worthwhile, grab a map of the place on your way in because the place is massive.
Visit the Shrine of Remembrance, the place that celebrates the purest form of love
The classical piece of architecture is inspired by renowned monuments, such as the Parthenon and the Tomb of Mausoleum. The Shrine of Remembrance or the National War Memorial of Victoria was originally constructed as a tribute to the heroic souls, who died for Victoria in WWII. However, in the present day, the structure stands tall as a tribute to all patriotic Australians who died for their motherland. You can see what happened in the past at the Gallery of Remembrance, which showcases more than 800 artefacts and artworks. Inside the shrine is inscribed “Greater love hath no man”, on a stone, which is fondly referred to as the Stone of Remembrance. At 11 AM of very Remembrance Day, i.e., 11th November, a ray of light shines through an aperture in the roof to light up the word 'Love' in the inscription.
Play peek-a-boo with the sea creatures at Sea Life Melbourne
One million animal species live and die in the ocean, which is home to the most mysterious of creatures. Though we cannot easily plan a trip to the ocean, we can certainly plan one to Sea Life Melbourne. It shelters more than 10,000 underwater creatures, if not all that resides in the ocean. Some showstoppers at the aquarium include different types of sharks, penguins, crocodiles, etc. The Mermaid’s Garden, the gigantic oceanarium is indeed a sight to behold, with nurse sharks, stingrays, etc. You can peep and play nosy as the creatures go on with their daily businesses. Be it nap time, or playtime, you can catch glimpses of them, in their ugliest and most beautiful state. Touch sea stars and shark eggs at the Discovery Rock Pools and go scuba diving alongside the sharks.
Test your thinking ability at the Melbourne Adventure Rooms
Gather your comrades for an hour of nerve-racking adventure at the Melbourne Adventure Rooms, which has at present 3 extremely fishy and spooky rooms, namely the Gaol Break, the Black Queen and the Mad Scientist. Let your creativity, imagination, and problem-solving skills run wild as you hunt for minute details and clues to flee from the place and save yourself from doom. The door of the Gaol Room is guarded by a warden who will not let you off the hook easily, which means you have to be on your toes, every second and wreck your brain into pieces, to find a way out of the room. The Black Queen of the spooky castle is no better, with a queen, who will come after you if time gets the better of you. Brace yourself to perform crazy experiments in the Mad Scientist. Whichever room you choose, be on your guard and waste not a second, for you cannot afford to.