10 Places to Visit in Melbourne

I had the chance to visit Melbourne in late 2010 when hubby announced excitedly that Metallica would be performing there and in Sydney. This was his first time seeing his favourite band "Live" and the first of five concerts to follow in various parts of the world! I got excited about being able to see my two good friends (Sha and Jen) who now reside there with their families. Hubby arranged for the concert and cheapest flight tickets and we went with a university friend of his, his wife and baby.

With the guide of my two friends, (who were so sweet to take some days off to bring us around), we visited some of the best attraction sites in Melbourne.

We stayed at the Formule One hotel (now known as Ibis) which was located in the very central part of the city and about 20 minutes drive to my friend's apartment. The hotel room was clean and comfortable with a hot shower. The staff working there were nice too.

Our first day there (after trying to shake off our jetlag) was spent getting to know the city. We explored the Docklands by foot and ended our walk by the Yarra River.

1 DOCKLANDS

Docklands is situated immediately west of Melbourne's central business district and fronts the Yarra River and Victoria Harbour.

Originally used by container ships but abandoned during the 1970s with the advent of modern shipping practices further downstream, the area is being redeveloped into a modern residential, leisure, sporting and dining precinct.

The proximity of Docklands to Melbourne's CBD (walking distance or a short tram ride) and the several kilometres of Yarra River and Victoria Harbour water frontage that it enjoys, make Docklands a central and attractive place for visitors and residents.

Docklands has created an extensive waterfront aspect for the heart of Melbourne. Wide promenades beside the harbour and river are lined with apartment buildings, restaurants, retail outlets and areas of open space which also serve as outdoor art galleries with sculptures, figurines and other forms of creative contemporary artwork on display. Notable landmarks within Docklands include the Bolte Bridge and towers to the west, the large stadium overlooking Victoria Harbour (Etihad Stadium), and Southern Cross Station which is the hub of the state's regional rail network.

The first thing that hit us when we started walking around Melbourne was that the density of people is so low compared to Malaysia where you see hundreds of people on the streets, anywhere you go.

Also, walking around Melbourne was refreshing with interesting art installations such as the Cow up a Tree seen at the Docklands.

Cow up a tree by John Kelly is a wonderful public sculpture located at Melbourne's Docklands.

Cow up a Tree is a sculpture that has been exhibited on a famous Parisian boulevard, at a world-renowned Arts festival, in a distinguished French museum and permanently in the newly developed Melbourne Docklands.

John Kelly sculpture is the conjunction of two Australian histories – Australian floods and Dobell's cows.




Our next visit was to the Great Otway National Park which saw us renting a vehicle (Sha's husband offered to drive us). We were advised to purchase travel sickness pills as the drive on the Great Ocean Road isn't easy on some stomachs. We did as told and enjoyed the drive with the gorgeous scenery.

2 THE GREAT OTWAY NATIONAL PARK
Top Left: Meadows en route to Great Ocean Road
Top right and bottom left- I loved the view from the treetop bridge and tower
Middle Row: What a thick tree trunk!
Middle Row Most Right- Dinosaur replicas are strategically placed within trees
Bottom Right- That's not a snake (thank goodness!)
Overview
The Great Otway National Park stretches from Torquay through to Princetown and up through the Otways hinterland towards Colac. The park features rugged coastlines, sandy beaches, rock platforms and windswept heathland. In the north, the park features tall forests, ferny gullies, magnificent waterfalls and tranquil lakes.

Walking 
The Great Ocean Walk, stretches 91 kms from the idyllic resort town of Apollo Bay to Glenample Homestead (adjacent to the 12 Apostles). It passes through the National Park and overlooks the Marine National Park. The walk has been designed so that walkers can 'step on and step off' the trail at a number of places, completing short, day or overnight hikes.

Horse riding and mountain biking 
Experience and enjoy the natural environment on horse back or on a mountain bike. A permit is required for horse riders to ride in the National Park and Parks Victoria staff can assist you with this. The formed roads and tracks provide ideal trails for these active endeavours.

Picnicking and camping 
Picnic opportunities abound, with lovely settings at many of the waterfalls as well as Blanket Leaf, Sheoak, Distillery Creek, Moggs Creek, Paradise, Melba Gully, Shelly Beach, Triplet Falls and Blanket Bay to name a few.

There are excellent camping opportunities throughout the Parks. Whether you are looking for a family friendly place to park your caravan or a solitary night under the stars there's something to cater to every need.

Before you go
Conditions can change in parks for many reasons. For the latest information on changes to local conditions, please visit the relevant park page on the Parks Victoria website.

Be bushfire ready in the great outdoors. Refer to the Bushfire Safety section on the Parks Victoria website for tips on how to stay safe.

Content: Parks Victoria

3 THE TWELVE APOSTLES

Witness the rugged splendour of the famous 12 Apostles, magnificent rock stacks that rise up majestically from the Southern Ocean on Victoria's dramatic coastline.

Limestone cliffs
Created by constant erosion of the limestone cliffs of the mainland beginning 10-20 million years ago, the stormy Southern Ocean and blasting winds gradually eroded the softer limestone, forming caves in the cliffs.

The caves eventually became arches and when they collapsed rock stacks up to 45 metres high were left isolated from the shore. View the 12 Apostles at sunrise and sunset as they change colour from dark and foreboding in shadow to brilliant sandy yellow under a full sun.

How to get there
The 12 Apostles are located 275 kilometres west of Melbourne, approximately a four-hour drive along the Great Ocean Road.

4 BRIGHTON


Jen managed to get a day off work and she brought hubby and me to Brighton beach, famous for their multi-coloured bathing boxes. We didn't stay long, though, as the winter breeze was getting to our bones.

Brighton is one of Melbourne's most exclusive suburbs, located south of the city between Elwood and Hampton and fronting Port Phillip with its stretches of beautiful sandy beaches.

Brighton is well serviced with a diverse selection of separate shopping precincts. The major centre of Brighton is situated along Church Street and offers supermarkets, a cinema at the Dendy Plaza Shopping Centre and a selection of high-end fashion and beauty establishments. Bay Street in North Brighton is a historic shopping strip where cafes and restaurants blend in with fashion and gift shops. Near the Gardenvale station is Martin Street where there's a mix of gourmet food outlets and contemporary retailers. And finally, the coastal thoroughfare of The Esplanade is dotted with a selection of hotels and a small commercial hub opposite the Middle Brighton Baths.

With almost 6 kilometres of coastline within Brighton's suburban boundary, there is a diverse range of attractions and activities for all. A pedestrian and bicycle path runs along much of the foreshore, lined with palm trees, gardens and open lawns. The Middle Brighton Pier leads to a large marina facility and adjacent to that are the Middle Brighton Baths. These historic sea baths have been enjoyed by visitors since 1881 and the complex includes a cafe, restaurant, gymnasium and function facilities. Designated areas of Brighton's beaches are used by windsurfers and water skiers.

The most famous spot on Brighton's coastline is the Dendy Street Beach. The colourful bathing boxes which line this stretch of coast are a well-known Melbourne icon and reflect a bygone era where swimmers and visitors to the beach had private changing and storage facilities. Good views of the bathing boxes and Melbourne's skyline can be enjoyed from the gardens at Green Point.

Source: http://www.travelvictoria.com.au/


After Brighton, Jen brought us to the Melbourne Market to shop for fresh seafood, strawberries for dinner. Jen is my friend who cooks and plates superbly.

5 CAMBERWELL SUNDAY MARKET
Camberwell Sunday Market
For those who love shopping, you must check out Camberwell Market and St Kilda Market. Sha and her hubby brought us to Camberwell Market. This is where you can get  pretty pre-loved dresses for as low as RM20!

Camberwell Sunday Market is a popular trash and treasure market held every Sunday by the Rotary Club of Balwyn, in the carpark at the rear of Burke and Riversdale roads, Camberwell.

Only second hand goods, or hand-crafted goods, specifically made by the stallholder, excluding food is sold at the market so its great for vintage clothing, crockery and books as well as unusual things like photo albums, typewriters and ornaments.

You never know what you'll find there and with a bit of luck and digging you might uncover that hidden vintage gem. Some stall owners are happy to haggle so you might be able to save a few dollars.

It's easy to spend the whole morning wandering through the markets in time for lunch at one of the many cafes and restaurants on Burke Road.

The Camberwell Sunday Market raises funds for a wide range of charities raising over $9m for the community.

Source: http://www.onlymelbourne.com.au/

Sha drove hubby and me around the city where we saw pretty houses,
beautiful landscapes and Melbourne city from a distance

Melbourne at night

6 ST KILDA MARKET


St Kilda is famous for its vibrant markets and on market days locals and visitors alike make a beeline to them to spend a few hours browsing among the arts and crafts, vintage clothing, fashion, jewellery and all manner of unusual gifts, or to stock up on fabulous fresh local produce.

It’s a great way to meet local artists and artisans and a highly entertaining way to shop for something special in St Kilda.

7 ST KILDA BREAKWATER

The panoramic views of Melbourne city and Port Phillip has made St Kilda Pier a Melbourne landmark and a popular place to stroll and fish since the 1950s.  Featuring the historic St Kilda Pier Kiosk, first built in 1904 and rebuilt after it was destroyed by fire in 2003, and with barbeques, picnic areas and playground nearby, day and night St Kilda Pier symbolises the seaside fun, relaxation and romance of St Kilda.

The St Kilda breakwater was constructed in the mid-1950s primarily to host yachting events for the 1956 Olympic Games.

One of its best kept secrets is a colony of about 1,000 Little Penguins which has made its home there since 1974.  This remarkable Melbourne home, unique to St Kilda, is the only confirmed breeding site for Little Penguins that is directly attached to the Australian mainland.  Leaving their burrows before sunrise and returning after sunset, our Little Penguins spend their days in the bay feeding on small fish like pilchard and anchovies.

Native Water Rats (Rakali) are also local residents and can sometimes be seen among the rocks or swimming nearby.

Both are protected native species, so please observe the “house rules” when visiting – do not handle, use flash photography, take dogs or leave rubbish – and help our littlest locals thrive.

Visit Parks Victoria for more information:

http://parkweb.vic.gov.au/explore/bays-rivers-and-ports/port-phillip/things-to-do/st-kilda-pier-and-breakwater

Sha and Man stay in Geelong so it's only natural to visit her city. Plus they are fantastic cooks as well! We were treated to the best ribs I've ever tasted. The memory lasts to this day!

8 GEELONG


Geelong has all the benefits of a sizeable city but with the relaxed atmosphere of coastal country. Facing north on Corio Bay, Geelong boasts a glorious waterfront precinct, sophisticated dining options and all kinds of entertainment on tap. There is a lively calendar of events and the region is perhaps the Australian wine industry's best-kept secret.

The charming nearby towns and villages of the Bellarine offer a huge range of things to do. The Bellarine Peninsula faces Port Phillip Bay on its northern and eastern shores and Bass Strait on the south, so water activities abound, ranging from gentle bay beaches that are great for families and fishing to sensational surf beaches and world-class scuba diving sites.

The Bellarine has been building a reputation as a food and wine destination and The Bellarine Taste Trail brings together many of the gourmet offerings of the region including wineries, restaurants and cafes and producers of beer, fresh produce, goats cheese, olive oil and seafood.

Source: http://www.visitgeelongbellarine.com.au/

9 BRUNSWICK STREET


Image: http://getaway.ninemsn.com.au/

If you love quirky and quaint little boutiques like me, you will love Brunswick Street which has shops consisting of clothing and accessories by local designers. If you earn in Aussie Dollars, you will find that most of the items here are affordable.

Brunch and bar hopping on Brunswick Street
Grab an all-day breakfast, an outdoor lunch and hang around until evening to make merry in Brunswick Street's bars and pubs.

Ring the doorbell for the privilege of classic cocktails at The Attic, listen to vinyl crackle at Black Cat or go frou frou at Polly. Prop up the bar alongside old-timers and bearded musos at Sullivans-style pubs like Labour In Vain, the Standard, the Napier or Marquis of Lorne.

Fossicking Fitzroy
Browse quaint and quirky shops selling vintage wares and locally designed goodies. Try Vintage Sole, Somebuddy Loves You, The Untitled Shop, FAT 4, Hunter Gatherer and in.cube8r. Flick though cult classics at alternative bookstore Polyester Books or rifle through records at the music shop sibling. Do your one-stop independent design shopping on Saturdays at the Rose Street Artists' Market.

Tour d'Art
Get snapping the local street art and commissioned murals, and check out studios, galleries and workshops like Brunswick Street Gallery, Alcaston Gallery, Sutton Gallery, Window99, PanelPop and Centre for Contemporary Photography.

East to Smith Street
Get your dancing shoes on and head to Smith Street. Pick up the appropriate footwear at the outlets along the strip, or at one of the growing number of stores stocking local designer wares. Check out the bands and DJs at Yah Yah's, Panama, Kent Street and Collingwood World.

How to get there
By tram: Number 112 from Collins Street or Number 86 from Bourke Street.
By bus: From the city take Route 200 towards Bulleen, 201 towards Doncaster or 207 towards Donvale.

Source: http://www.visitmelbourne.com/

10 QUEEN VICTORIA MARKET


Queen Victoria Market is much more than the city’s fresh-food shopping mecca – it’s a historic landmark, a tourist attraction and a Melbourne institution.

Spread over several city blocks, with more than 600 retailers, Vic Market is a true reflection of Melbourne's cosmopolitan makeup. Shoppers can find everything from fruit and vegetables to local and imported gourmet foods, fashion and general merchandise.

The market is made up of the Deli Hall, for artisan cheeses, dressed meats and takeaway food; the Meat Hall; Fruit & Veg, with seasonal produce throughout the year; and Organics, specialising in organic fresh produce, meat, coffee and wine. Shops and stalls selling souvenirs, fashion and crafts can be found in Victoria and Elizabeth streets, the F Shed laneway and String Bean Alley.

The market is open five days a week, with Sunday taking on a carnival atmosphere as entertainers delight the crowds. Guided tours highlight the market’s food, heritage and culture, shopping and history.

I liked some of the arty stuff found here but found the crowd and the stalls a bit overwhelming. It's best to be mentally prepared to spend at least 3 hours here.

Source: http://www.thatsmelbourne.com.au/

DINING IN MELBOURNE
Halal food is quite difficult to come by so we mostly ate at places that served seafood or at Subway and Kebab shops.

All photo collages marked with Little Clouds of Thought are my own.

Comments

  1. Amazing how can still write about a trip four years after it happened. I still have hope with my travel blog backlog! :-) I've only been to Sydney and Gold Coast in Australia. I see here now that Melbourne is also a must-see, also for the Australian Open Tennis tournament.

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    1. The photos help jog the memory :( I've never been to Sydney or the Gold Coast. Can't wait to see you write about it!

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  2. amazing photos., these put melbourne on my must see destination in the world / kaycee

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  3. I was in Sydney a few years ago. I should have spent a few days in Melbourne so I could have visited the different attractions there.

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  4. oh man, all the places look so fun! visited melbourne last yr and i only went victoria market and st kilda! looks like i gotta revisit!

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    1. You went to St Kilda which is defintely a must-go place. Now you've got an excuse to visit Melbourne again!

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  5. Great post..loved reading about all the places you mentioned. I will definitely revisit this post when I play a trip to Australia

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  6. Melbourne seems like a pretty artistic place to visit. I never thought of this city as a cradle of art but judging by your photos it is indeed a free-spirited unique place of colors and positive vibrations!

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    1. I think because I love art, I tend to see the more arty side of things!

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  7. I went to Melbourne few years ago. Some places I have been visiting last time. I will definitely pay a visit again!

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    1. Yes! They have many beautiful places to see :)

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  8. Wow!those photos are great.I visited sydney several years ago.

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    1. Thanks, Michelle! I've never been to Sydney. Now's your turn to write about it :)

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  9. This is a useful list for anyone who wants to travel in Melbourne! But how many days will it take to finish this list?

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    1. Thanks, Tiffany! 8 days should be just nice to visit these places. Some markets only open weekends so you need to plan the trip well

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  10. Amazing photos!! You just sparked my wanderlust like you could not believe!! Must. Travel! Haha! :D

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  11. You gave the whole places in one article. The photos are awesome and it seems I was there before.

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  12. Someday I will visit Australia and discover Melbourne city!! But untul now, I'm still afraid of snakes everywhere in Australia.. Really.

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  13. i definitely will be taking notes! its on my to visit list :D thanks

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  14. Wow Hanniz you did a superb job in detailing all the must see places in Melbourne and to think you visited 4 years ago! I've been to Melbourne once to visit relatives but this happened 15 years ago, I only remember visiting 2 of the 10. Queen Victoria Market and St. Kilda. And St. Kilda had so much impact on me that when I returned home to the Philippines, I started a business with that name!

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  15. Hi Hanniz! Great list! I'm living in Melbourne now and these are perfect for people who are here for holiday. It will give them the right amount of culture that this place offers.

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  16. Melbourne is surely will be on my bucket list. I hope I win a free ticket this year lol

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  17. I guess you did not forget anything here about Melbourne. You have described the place so well and the pictures you shared let me feel like I've been there too. - KarenT

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  18. My favorites in this post are Brighton and Brunswick Street. I love how colorful the bath houses are in Brighton, while the houses along Brunswick have this quirky charm.

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  19. I'd really love to visit melbourne after my sydney and ryde trip!~ Melbourne, wait for me ya..

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