If you’re heading to Australia, you’ll probably be spending some time in Melbourne (Narrm). If not – why on earth not?! This 7 day Melbourne itinerary will help you decide what to do during your time in the city.
You may have heard that Melbourne (pronounced Mel-bin-bun-ben in ‘Stralian – never Mel-bourn, with the Indigenous name of Narrm) was the recipient of the world’s most liveable city award for 7 years in a row.
There’s a reason for this – it truly is a fantastic city to experience, as both a tourist and a resident.
I second this, as I’ve lived in Melbourne for many years and have no plans to move anywhere else.
This Melbourne itinerary is rife with insider knowledge and will give you a good idea of:
- which tourist attractions are worth checking out
- where the locals tend to go for fun and frivolity.
This Melbourne itinerary will cover:
Your One Week Melbourne Itinerary
Here is a loose itinerary you can play around with. It will work as a seven day itinerary, or you can cut it down to four or five days. It’s up to you.
Consider throwing some of these options into the mix, or alternatively, stick to the Melbourne itinerary provided.
- Day 1: Get acquainted with the city’s Central Business District (CBD)
- Day 2: Explore the sights south of the city
- Day 3 Take a day trip to the coast
- Day 4: See some icons of Melbourne
- Day 5: Check out some popular urban areas
- Day 6: Live like a local
- Day 7: Head to the mountains or the valley
|Melbourne Trip Tip: Consider grabbing a Klook Melbourne pass, which will give you discounted entry to many attractions on this itinerary. Depending on what you plan on doing, this could save you a heck-tonne of cash. You can use the pass to bundle 2, 3, 5 or 7 attractions.|
How many days is enough in Melbourne?
You’ll need at least five days to properly experience Melbourne, but 7-10 days is ideal.
Three days will be enough to see the sights of the city. Part of Melbourne’s appeal is the distinct vibe of its neighbourhoods, along with the wonderful attractions surrounding the city.
There’s so much to do in Melbourne and always new shows to see, restaurants and cafes to eat at, bars popping up and exhibitions to attend.
Even as a resident, it’s near impossible to keep your finger on the pulse and see all there is to see.
It’s that good of a city.
Is it better to visit Melbourne or Sydney?
If you’ve never visited Australia before and can only dedicate time to one of its two big cities, Sydney might seem like the better choice.
After all, its got the sights. Sydney Harbour Bridge and the Opera House don’t really compare to say, Flinders Street Station or Federation Square.
As you’ll discover in this guide, Melbourne still packs a punch against its flashier cousin.
If you need a little bit more help deciding, I’ve written a detailed guide on where Sydney or Melbourne is a better city to visit.
Melbourne: Some need-know information
Time your trip to Melbourne with an event
Melbourne is the culture capital of Australia and its calendar is jam-packed.
Why not plan your Melbourne itinerary around one of the city’s fabulous events?
Choose from the following:
- Australian Open (January)
- Melbourne International Comedy Festival (late March–April)
- Formula 1® Australian Grand Prix (April)
- RISING (June)
- Melbourne International Film Festival (August)
- Melbourne Writers Festival (late August–September)
- AFL Finals Series (September)
There is also a certain famous horse race that takes place in November, but as a sustainable travel blog, it would be remiss to promote an event like that on here.
Where to stay in Melbourne on your trip
With all the logistics out of the way, let’s get on with the fun part – planning your Melbourne itinerary.
So. What exactly should you do if you’re spending a week in Melbourne?
Day 1 – Get acquainted with the city’s Central Business District (CBD)
We’ll start in the centre of the city itself.
Melbourne’s CBD is quite compact and easy to navigate around, as it was planned within a handy grid system.
A such, this area is known as “The Grid”, really easy to remember.
One of the nicer aspects of this part of the city, is that the trams are completely free.
You don’t need to tap your Myki card on, unless you leave the Free Tram Zone. An announcement will be made, so you’ll know when this is happening.
Basically, if you’ve gone south of the Yarra River, you’ll have to pay.
I thoroughly recommend jumping onto the browny/burgundy coloured City Circle Tram.
There’s running commentary onboard and it’s an easy way to quickly get acquainted to the layout of the land.
Things to do on day 1 of your Melbourne itinerary
Immediately have a coffee
If there’s one thing Melbourne (actually, much of Australia) does well, it’s coffee.
Melburnians are obsessed with the stuff and so there are coffee places and cafés absolutely everywhere (remember to bring your reusable coffee cup with you to save on waste).
Artisan coffee is so popular that even Starbucks failed to launch the first time it tried to get a hold on the Australian market.
In its second attempt, it’s found itself catering largely to increasing tourists, rather than locals.
The CBD (the entire city, really) is crammed full of coffee shops, but if you need a little bit of direction, then here are some to start with:
- Higher Ground 650 Little Bourke St
- Brick Lane 33 Guildford Ln
- Manchester Press 8 Rankins Ln
- Liminal 161 Collins Street
Visit the Melbourne Museum
Melbourne’s got some great museums, but the eponymous Melbourne Museum is one of the best.
The permanent exhibition is quite cool (lots of taxidermy) and the very reasonable entry fee of $15 will get you into Bunjilaka, the Aboriginal Cultural Museum.
There are always interesting exhibitions going on too.
The Museum is also home to Melbourne’s IMAX, quite possibly the biggest in Australia since Sydney’s was torn down for some rubbish like luxury apartments.
This IMAX regularly screens feature action films, such as classic The Mummy, with 90’s/00’s heartthrob Brendan Fraser (who I often like to google, because he is pretty, then and now).
Stroll around the Fitzroy Gardens
Melbourne is full of gorgeous parks (and Victoria is known as the garden state), but the heritage listed Fitzroy Gardens are my favourite after the Botanic, which we’ll get to later on.
Not only is it a very nice park in general, there are some quite interesting sights to see there.
ColoniserExplorer Captain Cook’s Cottage, which was built in Yorkshire, England in 1755 and transported to Melbourne in 1934, to be rebuilt.
- Ola Cohn’s Fairies Tree, covered with delightful carvings of magical creatures and Australian fauna.
- A miniature Mock Tudor Village, presented to the City of Melbourne by the City of Lambeth, England, to say thanks to Melbourne for sending food to Britain during the Second World War.
There are many more, but I’ll leave them for you to discover.
Check out Flinders Street and Federation Square
Flinders Street is to Melbourne what the Sydney Opera House is to Sydney, except not as world-famous.
It’s Melbourne’s beautifully ornate central station, a hub for transport and for those exploring the city or who call it home.
Right across the street from Flinders is Federation Square, a collection of museums and galleries, bars, cafes and restaurants.
You’ll also find the Koorie Heritage Trust, which you can drop into to discover more about Victoria’s Aboriginal history. I thoroughly recommend popping into Big Esso next door for food, drinks or both (they do a mean green ant martini)
There is often markets or festivals held in the square and a giant screen is suspended and used to televise sporting events such as the Australian Open and Soccer World Cup.
Poke around the Laneways and Arcades
Melbourne is famous for the many laneways which can be found throughout the city, featuring colourful urban art, cafes, restaurants, coffee stops, boutique shops and bars.
The following are some of the better known laneways, but you could stroll into most and find something interesting:
- Hosier Lane – best for continuously-updated art
- Rutledge Lane – see above above
- AC/DC Lane – named after the famous Aussie band
- Degraves Street – great for cafes and restaurants
- Hardware Lane – as above.
You could spend a whole day exploring Melbourne’s laneways, either by yourself or as part of a guided tour.
Have dinner in Chinatown
Melbourne’s Chinatown has been around since the 1850’s, takes up two blocks and is fantastic to stroll down, with plenty of interesting laneways, bars and restaurants lining its streets.
If you feel so inclined, you can jump on a dumpling tour, which lasts for three hours and will leave you feeling immensely satisfied.
Go bar hopping
Melbourne’s got the best nightlife of probably anywhere in Australia and some of its hot spots are pretty unreal. There are bars littered across the city, probably rivalling the number of cafes.
Here are a few of my favourites, some of which are themed, some are secret and all are particularly pleasant if you enjoy cocktails.
- 1806 169 Exhibition St
- Byrdi 221 La Trobe St
- Berlin Bar 2/16 Corrs Ln
- House of Correction Denyers Building, Level 4/264 Swanston St
- Societe 27 King St
And roll into bed whenever you want, to complete the first of your 7 day Melbourne itinerary!
Day 2 – Explore the sights south of the city
Today we will journey south of the river, where there is plenty to do and see.
Don’t forget to touch on your myki card, as we’ll be leaving the Tram Free Zone!
Things to do on Day Two of your Melbourne Itinerary
Check out the South Melbourne Market
This fabulous market is open Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday.
If day two of your Melbourne itinerary falls on one of these days, it’ll be an ideal place to grab some brekky, get a coffee and wander around.
The market is full of fresh produce, dairy and meat shops, interesting little food stalls, bookstores, florists… you can find a wide array of items here.
Walk around the Royal Botanic Gardens
These are my favourite gardens in Victoria, not only because they are lovely to walk around, but there’s always heaps to do.
Or, just take your own picnic, relax and enjoy the serenity.
Visit the Shrine of Remembrance
Next, head east to the Shrine of Remembrance, the biggest and I would say grandest war memorial in Oz.
This building honours all Australian people and animals who have been affected by war, whether they gave their time or their lives to support the cause.
There are many interesting aspects to The Shrine, as it is known in amongst locals.
The Eternal Flame, a permanent gas flame, burns outside its entrance.
Once a year, on the 11th November (Remembrance Day) at 11am, when Australians around the country are holding a minutes of silence in memorial, a ray of sunlight shines through an aperture in the roof to light up the word “Love” in an inscription inside the Shrine, which reads “Greater love hath no man”.
You can also climb up the roof, which offers fantastic views of the city, from the south looking in (one of the best free things to do in Melbourne).
Take a cruise along the Yarra
Seeing a city from the water is always a fun experience and Melbourne’s certainly a city of sights.
There are river cruises that leave the city and travel along to the port suburb of Williamstown, which is a really lovely trip to take.
Check out the National Gallery of Victoria
The NGV is the best art gallery in the country and attracts world class exhibitionss – everything from the works of Van Gogh, to Dior’s haute couture.
Some exhibits have an entry fee, but not all of them.
Check their website to see what’s on.
In any case, the permanent exhibit is free to enter, so there’s not ever any lines for that.
|Melbourne Trip Tip: If there is an exhibition you want to see, book tickets in advance online. The booking fee is worth avoiding the usually massive wait to get in!|
Gaze out across the city from Melbourne Skydeck
Eureka Skydeck 88 is currently the highest point from which you can ogle Melbourne.
For the more daring, there is the experience known as “The Edge”, where you’ll stand out on glass cubes to take it all in… and yes, that includes a glass floor! Eek.
One part of Skydeck that I quite like is the fact that it’s home to the highest post box in Australia – a fun fact to scribble on the back of any card posted from there.
See a show
Melbourne’s the place for shows in Australia.
Discover which musicals are showing in the city at the moment (such as Harry Potter and the Cursed Child).
Melbourne’s main theatres are:
- The Princess Theatre
- Comedy Theatre
- Regent Theatre
- Her Majesty’s Theatre Theatre
Alternatively, check out the Arts Centre program to see if there’s anything playing that tickles your fancy.
|Melbourne Trip Tip: Arts Centre Melbourne set aside at least 20 tickets every night, priced at $30. This is a massive saving and something worth considering. To get involved with tixatsix, make sure you line up at the theatre box office before 6pm and see what’s on offer for the night.|
Day 3 – Take a day trip to the coast
On day three of your 7 day Melbourne itinerary, we’re going to get out of the city and head to a popular and very beautiful tourist destination – The Great Ocean Road.
The Great Ocean Road is a coastal road which will take you around dramatic cliffs, past bushland and through gorgeous seaside towns.
Stretching 243 kilometres in length, it starts at a town called Torquay and ends at Allansford, just outside of Warrnambool.
You have two options. You can self-drive the Great Ocean Road, or take an organised tour.
If you plan to drive, rent a car in the city and drive out on the day. You don’t have to go there and back along the coast, as there’s a much quicker option that will take you back to the city centre via a highway.
A couple of things to consider – we drive on the left hand side in Australia and you may need an international licence – easy enough to check.
Alternatively and to save the hassle, book onto a day tour that will take you to many of the sights along the Great Ocean Road.
Things to do on Day Three of your Melbourne Itinerary
Here are some of the sights can can expect to see along the Great Ocean Road.
- Great Ocean Road Arch – This arch pays homage to the workers who constructed the road and marks its beginning.
- Towns of Torquay and Lorne – Two popular and very pretty towns along the GOR.
- Limestone stacks of The 12 Apostles – Probably the best known sight, a bunch of limestone stacks, left over from cliff erosion.
- Loch Ard Gorge – Gorge named after the Loch Ard which was shipwrecked here in 1878. Lots of great coastal walks around here.
- London Arch – Also known as London Bridge, it ironically collapsed in 1990, leaving two tourists stranded.
- Great Otway National Park – Beautiful national park full of waterfalls and a cool lighthouse.
- Aussie Wildlife – Here’s your chance to see some Aussie fauna, particularly our cute koalas.
After a full day of sightseeing, head back to the city and relax!
Here are some other options for day trips from Melbourne, if you’re after more inspiration.
Day 4 – See some icons of Melbourne
Day four of your 7 day Melbourne itinerary will take you to some other coastal sights – notably the famous beach boxes of Brighton and a visit to see Melbourne’s smallest and cutest residents – the Little Penguins.
Things to do on Day Four of your Melbourne Itinerary
Have a lazy brunch in the city
Let’s start with a time-honoured Australian tradition – brunch.
We love this meal, because it combines all the things that Aussies hold dear. Good conversation, good food and good coffee.
Here are some places to consider.
Visit the iconic Brighton beach boxes
After you’re fed, you’re going to head to Brighton Beach to check out its very colourful beach boxes.
These popular boxes are considered to be the ultimate social icon, fetching staggering prices when they hit the market – the last one sold fetched $330,000 AUD in March 2019.
In order to own one, you have to be a local ratepayer, but as Brighton is considered to be one of the most affluent suburbs of Melbourne, clearly the residents here can afford such an expense.
|Melbourne Trip Tip: To get Brighton by public transport, catch a train on the Sandringham line from Flinders Street to Brighton Beach Railway Station. It’s a short stroll from there to the bathing boxes. If you’re coming by car, it takes around 20 minutes to get to the beach from the city, traffic dependent.|
Visit Phillip Island to see the Fairy/Little Penguins
Phillip Island is a destination of its own accord. It’s the place where the Formula One Grand Prix is held and an excellent option for a day trip from Melbourne.
However, we’re hitting the island for one thing and one thing alone – the little Fairy Penguins that inhabit it.
These little fellas return to the island after a hard day’s fishing to curl up and sleep.
Visitors are allowed to watch them return from Penguin Parade, as they try not faint from all the cuteness before them.
Phillip Island is around a ninety minute drive from the city and is incredibly popular, so be sure to book ticket in advance.
Here are some means of getting to Phillip Island.
Day 5 – Explore some popular urban areas
We’re going to get out of the city again today, but we’re not going to go far.
Rather, we’re going to make a quick journey to some of the inner suburbs, surrounding the CBD – Collingwood and Fitzroy.
Both are extremely easy to navigate to (by tram or train) and have a range of things to do or see.
There’s old, historic buildings, plenty of street art, good food and shopping – what more could you ask for?
Things to do on Day Five of your Melbourne Itinerary
Grab a world-renowned pastry
Start the day with a pastry from Lune Croissant.
They’re one of the best in the world. Even the New York Times thinks so.
So you’re warned in advance, these baked goods are immensely popular. Don’t be surprised if there’s a queue.
Visit the Abbotsford Convent
The convent spreads over 16 acres and is Oz’s largest multi-arts precinct. Here you’ll find studios, galleries, a school, a radio station, restaurants and cafes.
Right next to the convent is the Collingwood Children’s Farm, an urban farm in the city.
It contains horses, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens guinea pigs and is great for all ages – particularly as you can get up close to many of the animals there.
Grab a bev at the Stomping Ground
Melburnians love their craft beer and Collingwood is an excellent destination to get acquainted with Australia’s finest hops.
Head to the Stomping Ground Brewery for a bevvie, whether your poison of choice be beer or cider (or soft drink… or water!).
It’s a lovely indoor beer hall, very popular in the area.
Dine in a train on top of a building
Starting to feel a bit peckish?
Why not take the opportunity to dine in a train, at Easey’s.
Yep, this restaurant is a renovated train, elevated onto a rooftop in Collingwood and sells burgers, hotdogs, milkshakes and cocktails.
Head to Brunswick Street in Fitzroy or Smith Street in Collingwood for Shopping
Now that you’re fed and watered, it’s time to partake in one of the joys of Melbourne – shopping.
Melbourne is Australia’s premier shopping destination and people around the country congregate in this city for a bit of retail therapy.
Brunswick Street has an excellent range of shops, from op (opportunity, our version of charity/thrift shops) shops and high end boutique stores, selling the most beautiful clothes.
If it’s the weekend, take some time to check out the Rose Street Artist’s Market for locally made artwork, jewellery and such.
Watch the sun go down from Naked Upstairs
Brunswick Street has a pretty good nightlife, so if you’ve got another late night in you, I say go for it.
Day 6 – Live like a local
Here’s another ‘choose your own adventure’ option for your Melbourne itinerary.
On day 6, you’ll get to choose which Melbourne neighbourhood to head to, to experience life as a local.
If you plan well, you’ll probably be able to squeeze more than one in.
If you’re super keen, you could experience all three.
Things to do on Day Six of your Melbourne Itinerary
Go to Brunswick
Brunswick is an inner suburb, north of the city, known for its trendy, grungy vibe. Here are a few things you can do there.
Have a high tea at Mary Eats Cake
There are some fabulous places for High Tea in Melbourne and one such destination is Mary Eats Cake in Brunswick.
Their High Teas are held from 10am every weekend and they cater for dietary requirements.
Buy some gorgeous knitwear at Otto and Spike
Otto and Spike make their knitwear in Brunswick.
Their wares are top quality, very colourful and warm.
Their Melbourne tram socks in particular will make a great souvenir for you, or a present to bring home to a loved one.
Check out the local street art
Brunswick’s street art is pretty unique, so have a wander around and take it all in. There’s plenty to be found around Sydney Rd and Lygon Street.
Grab a drink where Beyonce too has drunk
When in Australia in 2013, Beyonce travelled to Brunswick, to take a picture out the front of a random house, then grab a drink at the Retreat Hotel.
So, head to this pub on Sydney Road if you fancy doing as Bey once did.
Go to Northcote
Northcote is north of the city (as the name may suggest) and has a wide range of things to do, alongside some gorgeous urban art.
Check out All Nations Park
All Nations Park is a public space, built on an old landfill.
There’s children’s play equipment, a duck pond and plenty of public art to check out.
Have lunch at Welcome to Thornbury
Welcome to Thornbury is Melbourne’s leading beer garden, with food trucks, an indoor and outdoor drinking area and games arcade.
See live music at the Northcote Social Club
The Northcote Social Club is a pub and restaurant with live music seven days a week. See if anything strikes your fancy while you’re in the area!
Day 7 – Head to the mountains or the valley
You’ll spend the last day of your Melbourne Itinerary seeing some of the surrounding sights of Melbourne and immersing yourself in spectacular nature.
Things to do on Day Seven of your Melbourne Itinerary
There are plenty of places in Victoria that you could travel to in a day trip from Melbourne, as it’s a pretty compact state.
I’m going to give you tips for two of the more popular ones – the Dandenong Ranges (referred to as simply “the Dandenongs”) and the Yarra Valley.
What to do at the Dandenong Ranges
The Dandenongs are around a 45-55 minutes drive from Melbourne’s CBD (dependent on traffic) and so are the best option if you don’t want to drive too far.
There are plenty of things to do in the Dandenongs. Here are some of the most best activities.
Check out a flower festival
Tesselaar Tulip Festival is held every spring, from mid-September to mid-October and if you’re into flowers and colours, it’s worth checking out.
The same venue holds a flower festival in April (our Autumn), known as Kabloom.
If you do go to see the flowers, please keep to the paths and don’t climb over the signs to go frolicking amongst the flowers, something they specifically ask not to do, just for likes on social media.
You’re better than that.
Look for native wildlife at the Dandenong Ranges Botanic Gardens
Also known as the National Rhododendron Gardens are lovely any time of the year (I’ve visited in the dead of winter and still had a great time).
Watch out for lyrebirds – native Australian birds that can mimic the sounds around them.
They’re more likely to make an appearance during the warmer months.
You can also catch sight of other critters – plenty of birds and once I saw an echidna, waddling its way along the path.
Grab a cuppa at Olinda Tea House
It can get mighty cold up in the mountains and you’d be best to pop into a tea shop, to warm yourself up.
My favourite is the Olinda Tea house.
The setting is gorgeous, they have wonderful teas and very tasty custard buns!
Watch the sunset from Sky High Mt Dandenong
If you’re after a vantage point from which to watch the sunset, head to Sky High.
Along with the view, there’s a café and restaurant, a maze, bush walks, gardens to explore and a possum tree!
There is an entry fee of $7 per car, but if you visit in August, on Monday through to Friday and show them this voucher, you’ll get in for free.
Take a ride on Puffing Billy
Steam train Puffing Billy has been rolling through the Dandenongs for over a century now, travelling over the rather iconic Monbulk Creek Trestle Bridge.
You can journey aboard the train, opt to book a lunch within the first class carriages or book onto the Steam and Cuisine luncheon.
You can even bring your dog onboard.
There’s even an annual Train Race, where runners compete against the steam train – although at its age, it’s probably not too hard to beat!
What to do in the Yarra Valley
The Yarra Valley is around an hour and twenty minutes from Melbourne’s CBD by car.
There are also plenty of day tours you can take from Melbourne to the Yarra Valley, if you don’t want to drive.
Stuff yourself full at the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie
If you’re into sweets, the Chocolaterie is a must visit.
They sell delicious chocolate and ice cream, as well as chocolate scented products and have free samples for tasting. The Chocolaterie too offers up lovely views of the surrounding valley.
The main reason people tend to visit the Yarra Valley, is for the wine.
There are plenty of well-known wine producers operating out of this area, such as Rochford Wines, Oakridge Wines – even Chandon grows grapes out here.
If you’re self-driving to the Yarra Valley, I highly recommend keeping off the main drag of the Maroondah Highway and exploring the backstreets for smaller vineyards, who still make extraordinary wines and won’t charge you for tastings.
Wine not your thing?
Check out Four Pillars, a small distillery in the very picturesque town of Healesville.
Visit Healesville Sanctuary
Healesville Sanctuary is one of Melbourne’s three main zoos.
The difference here is that this zoo focuses on the conservation of native Australian animals.
So, if you want to get your fill of kangaroos, echidnas, platypus, dingos and emus, you’d best head here.
The zoo offers up additional add-ons, where you can get up close to a friendly wombat or feed the echidnas some mushy dinner, great for kids big and small.
Take a hot air balloon over the valley
The Yarra Valley is undeniably beautiful and it sure is something to see it from the air!
Fortunately, there are opportunities to take hot air balloon rides over the valley, early in the morning – followed by a champagne breakfast, nonetheless!
Have dinner at Innocent Bystander
Innocent Bystander is a vineyard with a cellar door and restaurant in Healesville.
Their wines are delicious and they make a darn good pizza, to boot.
If you’re after a lighter option, I highly recommend the pies at the Beechworth Bakery right next door.
Hopefully now you have a good idea of how to spend a week in Melbourne.
It truly is a magnificent city that has something for everyone.
The worst thing about it, is you may never want to leave. I know the feeling well – it’s the reason I now live in Melbourne.
Last tidbits of information
Please note: All prices are in AUD.
Most of these experiences take place on the lands of the Wurundjeri and Bunurong Peoples of the Kulin Nation. We acknowledge them as Traditional Owners and pay our respects to their Elders, past and present.