Melbourne Itinerary: 7 Days in the City
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Voted ‘most liveable city’ time and time again, it’s no wonder that tourists flock to Melbourne, Australia. Nearly everyone will find their perfect attractions and adventures in this dynamic city that truly keeps on giving; it’s a one-of-a-kind place. If it’s your first time in Melbourne, you might be wondering what the heck it is that makes this city so renowned. To see all of the best attractions on your Melbourne itinerary 7 days is the ideal amount of time – so we’ve put together this week-long itinerary to showcase some of the best things to do and see in Victoria’s state capital.
Melbourne Itinerary 7 Days – see the best of the city
Day 1 – Feel the Essence of Melbourne
Explore the Arcades
Nestled between busy streets are enclosed alleyways of boutique shops, quirky art galleries, and plenty of places to stop for a bite to eat. After indulging in your preferred activity, whether that be art, shopping, or aimless wandering, choose from many coffee shop options for an iconic Melbourne flat white and get your morning fix of caffeine.
The Melbourne lifestyle embraces a cafe culture, perfect for allowing busy explorers to rest and sit down throughout their day. The laneways throughout the CBD are a great way to spend an afternoon familiarising yourself with your surroundings. Best of all, wandering the arcades are completely free so you’ll only spend as much as you wish!
Visit the State Library of Victoria
Possibly most well known for its iconic La Trobe reading room, the State Library of Victoria is a grand building that is well worthy of an hour’s exploration. As well as snapping a photo of the beautiful interior of the reading room, you can see various exhibits that demonstrate Victoria’s history, as well as various displays about literature. The coffee in neighbouring Mr Tonks is awesome as well!
Catch the view at Kings Domain
There’s plenty of open space as well as hidden gems, monuments, and carefully kept gardens in this expanse of greenery. For a reflective spot full of history as well as breathtaking views of the cityscape, head to the Shrine of Remembrance and visit the viewing platform at the top. This free (donations accepted) option means you won’t be fighting the crowds at other viewpoints and can enjoy the views and surroundings for as long as you choose between the opening hours of 10am – 5pm. Below in the crypt of the shrine is a museum detailing the role Melburnians played in the World Wars where visitors can take a guided tour for $34.
Day 2 – See Why Melbourne is So Liveable!
The Melbourne Museum
A great way to find your feet in the city, this museum details permanent and temporary exhibitions telling the story of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia and the world. From the evolution of life in Victoria to a tear-jerking WWII exhibition, this is the place to go to learn about the history of the state – and browse some other intriguing exhibits.
Wander the Gardens
With plenty of unique green spaces scattered throughout the city, the multiple gardens around Melbourne are the perfect chance to see a broad variety of areas each with a distinct personality and atmosphere and allow you to take as little or as much time as you choose to explore.
Visit the Royal Exhibition Building in Carlton Gardens for somewhere unique in Melbourne – it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the oldest existing exhibition buildings in the world. The building hosts various exhibitions and events in all areas of interest, of which price for each will vary so check out what’s on before visiting. Regardless, a simple walk around the outside provides a moment to admire the restoration work on this wonderful building!
Fitzroy Gardens is also home to another historical Melbourne attraction. Cook’s Cottage is open daily for visitors between 9am – 5pm at a price of $6.50. The visit offers the chance to see the antique furnishing and style of the famous voyager’s family home for a little slice of charming history within the city. The visit shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours, and so visiting several of the city’s gardens can be done easily within a morning or longer if you’re wrapped up in a particular exhibition.
Soak up the Southbank
The Southbank of many cities is often the cultural hub of life, and Melbourne’s Southbank is no exception. Spend an afternoon wandering along the Yarra River and meander across the many bridges, complete with various artworks. One such installations on Sandridge Bridge displays metal statues titled ‘The Travellers’ – a fitting title for a tourists’ day out!
In the summer months the Southbank is buzzing with street performers and a sensory overload of music and entertainment. As you enter into the evening, grab a bite to eat at one of the food courts and wander along the Yarra Promenade. Pause at the Crown Complex to catch the impressive fire display light from concrete towers in a majestic dance display. The show occurs every hour between 9 and 12pm between the warmer months of December and March.
Day 3 – Experience Contemporary Melbourne
Federation Square & ACMI
Right in the heart of the city is Federation Square. The pedestrianised square is the location of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image; a fascinating and informative space focussed on film and photography across Australia.
Admission to ACMI is free to explore and check out their permanent exhibitions, however some temporary events, special exhibitions, or movie screenings may charge a small entry fee. As always, check ahead before visiting!
Once inside you’ll be immersed in an interactive digital world, taking you through the history and transformation the Big Screen has had on Australia. There’s certainly a lot to see and do at ACMI, so one can easily spend a couple of hours enjoying the chance to learn about the cultural significance of Australian cinema here.
Discover Melbourne’s Street Art
Once you leave Fed Square you’ll be close by one of the city’s most popular attractions. Melbourne is famed for its culture and the street art decorating buildings across the whole city is a prime example. Wander along Flinders Street and if you’re a keen-eyed camera enthusiast, capture a snap of the iconic yellow archway of Flinders Street Station before heading down the sidestreets.
Some of the most famous Melburnian street art is right in the city centre, making for an easily accessed attraction. Within a small surface area you’ll have the chance to see humorous and beautiful artworks in the city. The key hit list to spot art includes:
- Hosier Lane
- Rutledge Lane
- AC/DC Lane
- Duckboard Place
- Centre Place
- Flinders Court
- Union Lane
- Presgrave Place
These are only a few of the most popular street art destinations, however just walking along Melbourne’s streets and side alleys is sure to take you to some impressive works. As a free and city-wide activity, it’s the perfect way to spend an afternoon admiring the contemporary art alongside historical buildings around the city – for as long as your legs can take you!
Day 4 – Museums and Galleries
Visit the National Gallery of Victoria
If the street art around the city isn’t enough to satisfy your cultural needs, head to the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). The international building is situated right in the Southbank area at the top of St Kilda Road. It’s a short walk from the main station, Fed Square, and the CBD by crossing over Princes Bridge. NGV Australia is on Federation Square, right behind ACMI.
General admission to the gallery is free, meaning you can enter the ongoing permanent exhibitions such as the NGV collection without paying a cent. The larger visiting exhibitions can sometimes take a fee to enter, but as mentioned, check before you go!
Visiting the gallery is a treat for all art lovers, and the large building and range of works to view means one can easily spend several hours at Australia’s largest and most popular art gallery.
A fascinating exploration into how Australia has been shaped by migrants, this museums tells the story of people who have travelled across the world and ended up in the cosmopolitan city of Melbourne. It’s an engaging and refreshing set of exhibitions that give you insights about Australia’s multicultural backgrounds.
Day 5 – Browse Melbourne’s Suburbs
Prahran Market & Chapel Street
Catch the tram from the CBD to one of the many fashionable suburbs of Melbourne for a taste of suburban life. Prahran is a popular favourite with the locals for its bustling market and many hipster cafes, bars, and restaurants.
Taking tram route 6 from Federation Square/Swanston Street, it’s just a 20 minute tram ride down St Kilda Road to reach the High Street of Prahran, from where you can walk a couple of minutes to the market. Alternatively, you can catch a metro train from Flinders Street Station for just a 10 minute journey right to Prahran station and walk a short distance from there.
Explore the market and sample the tasty treats on offer before taking an afternoon to rest at one of the many watering holes of Chapel Street. It’s a great chance to people watch the eclectic mix of characters in the area, and sample another delicious flat white (or something stronger) before heading back from one of the many tram stops in Prahran, South Yarra, or Windsor. Trams run regularly so it’s easy to find your way back to the CBD!
Day 6 – Trip to Brighton
Enjoy a day away from the city by soaking up the Aussie sunshine at Brighton Beach. A short 25 minute train (in the Sandringham direction) from Flinders Street Station, hop off at Middle Brighton or Brighton Beach station and walk to one of the beaches.
The golden sands of Dendy Street Beach are lined by the famous beach boxes and with views stretching over towards the cityscape in the distance, it’s certainly one of the most popular beaches. Beautiful clear waters make for a relaxing swim and one can easily spend the day enjoying the relaxed atmosphere in this affluent suburb.
Day 7 – Explore St Kilda
St Kilda is another favourite suburb for visitors and locals alike. Like most places in Melbourne, it can be accessed by train or tram. The easiest way to see the main attractions is to take any route via St Kilda (such as 3 or 16) and hop off at Luna Park/The Esplanade.
Luna Park is an amusement park offering family fun with rides and games. Entry to the park itself is just $2, or unlimited ride tickets are $49.95 for those over 13 years. If you’re looking to save a little but still enjoy a ride, a single ride ticket costs just $10.95.
After a roller coaster adrenaline rush, walk along The Esplanade and dip your toes in the waters by the beach or walk up the pier to enjoy views over the ocean and city. If your 7 day Melbourne itinerary ends on a Thursday, there is a weekly drum circle to enjoy in St Kilda – and every evening you can walk down the pier to see a penguin colony settle for the night. To round off your day, enjoy browsing the hip stores and sample foodie heaven on Acland Street.
Tours in Melbourne
If you have some spare time during your 7 day Melbourne itinerary, or if you fancy seeing a different side to the city, check out these urban tours to see the very best of Melbourne.
Essentials for Melbourne
- Sunscreen – In the heat of summer the sun can be incredibly strong!
- Water – Stay hydrated for walking around, there are also fountains around the city to top up.
- Myki card – Travel on the trams, trains, or buses around the city or to the outer suburbs with a Myki card for easy top up and the best price. All journeys in this guide are in Zone 1 or the free tram zone. Zone 1 daily fares cost $8.60 with Myki Money or a Myki pass for 7 days in Zones 1 & 2 costs $43.
- Concession card – Many paid attractions will offer discounted rates for students, seniors, and carers.
- Umbrella – they weren’t lying when they said ‘four seasons in one day’ – the weather can change in the blink of an eye here in Melbourne. Pack a brolly and you’ll stay dry!
- Waterproof Jacket and Daypack – for the exact same reason!
Where to stay in Melbourne
As one of Australia’s busiest cities, and indeed labelled the world’s most liveable city, there are plenty of choices when it comes to accommodation. For a budget-friendly option, hostels are usually the way to go. If you’re travelling in a group, check out Airbnb (use this link for money off your first booking!) and if you’re seeking some comfort, there are a range of hotels to suit all budgets. And if you want to experience Melbourne as the locals do and save on accomodation, you could try Couchsurfing.
Budget pick – Urban Central Hostel
Located in south Melbourne, this hostel offers spacious, clean dorms, all of which are 4 bed, as well as a large common area and kitchen, cheap nightly meals and free rice, pasta, coffee and tea. There’s a travel shop on site, and the attached bar is a great place to meet other backpackers. But if you’re after a good night’s sleep, don’t fret – each bunk is kitted with its own individual light and the building’s height means that there is barely any street noise. Each bunk has its own individual charging socket as well – meaning that you won’t have a problem waking up for that early morning alarm! Check prices and book here.
Mid-Range pick – Rendezvous Hotel
This highly rated hotel offers affordable luxury – with comfortable bedrooms featuring all the amenities you could need: free WiFi, a bar and fitness centre. The building dates back from 1913; it has been refurbished yet still retains some of its original features, giving a night at Rendezvous Hotel a classy and sophisticated feel. It is located near to Federation Square and Flinders Street Station, so is a great location for exploring Melbourne. With rates beginning as low as $100 per night for a queen room, Rendezvous Hotel is one of the best value accomodations you will find in Melbourne. Check prices and book here.
Luxury pick -The Langham
The Langham Melbourne is all you could want in a hotel. With ornately decorated rooms all featuring flat screen TVs, bathroom with bath, bathrobes, free toiletries and a minibar, and some looking out onto beautiful urban vistas, you’ll spend a night in absolute luxury here. On site is a spa, gym, pool, restaurant and bar – so you really don’t have to go far to have a night in ultimate comfort. The Langham is located in the heart of the city, a short walk from Bourke Street Mall. Check prices and reserve here.
Day Trips from Melbourne
Depending on your available time frame for a visit to Melbourne, there are some wonderful day trips that are easily accessible from a number of reputable tour companies, or through self-drive options. If you want to see some of these sights during your Melbourne itinerary 10 days is a great amount of time to spend in the area.
Some of the best day trips from Melbourne are:
- Phillip Island – Enjoy a day in the rural countryside of Victoria and see the Aussie wildlife at its best from koala conservation sanctuaries to witnessing the adorable Penguin Parade at sunset.
- Great Ocean Road – A bucket list must-do, driving the Great Ocean road takes you along a stunning coastal route via dreamy beaches, historical sites, and into Port Campbell National Park. Revel in the sight of the 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, and The Razorback as they tower above the sandy beaches of the coastline.
- Ballarat – one of Australia’s most historic cities, Ballarat is one of the key sites in Australia’s largest gold rush. Visitors to the town can marvel at historic buildings, stroll around its lakes and parks and see Sovereign Hill, an impressive living open-air museum.
- Wilsons Promontory – this national park is about a 3 hour drive from Melbourne, and has impressive coastal views with extraordinary sweeping vistas over the ocean and parkland. It’s a great spot for hiking, wildlife spotting or finding your own private beach.
- Yarra Valley – head to Victoria’s premier wine region for wine tasting and vineyard exploring!
- The Grampians – a little further afield, but doable in a day, The Grampians National Park is an extraordinary place to visit within Victoria. Highlights include The Pinnacle hike, Mackenzie Falls and the Brambuk Cultural centre. If you have time, there’s lots of accomodation, from campsites to hotels, in Halls Gap – the town within The Grampians.
Don’t have a car?
Here are some of the best tours leaving from Melbourne to all of the day trip destinations mentioned above.
The Perfect 7 Days in Melbourne
While this itinerary crams a lot into a short space of time, it merely touch on the many things to do in Melbourne. The flexibility and varied activities across Melbourne means one can choose to spend as little or as much time at many of these fabulous attractions. It’s safe to say that Melbourne is a city to cater to history buffs, outdoorsy wanderers, and culture fans alike.
This is a guest post by Suzy – who loves to tell a story. Travelling part time in between her job as a social media manager in London, she loves to explore the landscapes and sights around Europe and takes the trip to her favourite country, New Zealand, as often as possible. With a passion for philosophy, culture, food, and photography, there’s always a story to share within these areas that can be found around the world. Follow her adventures at Suzy Stories.