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Melbourne Attractions

Places to visit, points of interest and top things to see in Melbourne

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Federation Square

Opened in 2002 to commemorate 100 years of federation in Australia, Federation Square lies in the very heart of Melbourne, adjacent to the Flinders Street railway station and St. Paul’s Cathedral. Its ultra-modern design stands juxtaposed against the surrounding Victorian architecture and is comprised of open spaces, museums and cultural institutions. Regular events and concerts are held here throughout the year, with a giant screen that broadcasts major sporting events and public announcements. Federation Square is also the largest site of free Wi-Fi anywhere in Australia.

Federation Square is home to the Ian Pottery Gallery that houses the Australian art collection of the National Gallery of Victoria. There are more than 20,000 artworks covering media ranging from paintings and sculpture to fashion, textiles and photography, with notable works by Frederick McCubbin, Tom Roberts and Sidney Nolan... read more arrow

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Royal Botanic Gardens

Established in 1846, the Royal Botanic Gardens sprawl across 40 hectares to the south of the Yarra River and are considered one of the finest of their kind in the world. The gardens include more than 10,000 different species, including many rare varieties of both native and exotic species.

The Royal Botanic Gardens is divided into numerous themed sections, including a Herb Garden, Arid Garden, Fern Gully and Rose Garden, as well as numerous different lawned areas. There are impressive collections of New Zealand plant species and those from New Caledonia, as well as a Southern China collection and a California Garden.

The Water Conservation Garden promotes the efficient use of water resources, while the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden has been designed to encourage a love of gardening from an early age. For those interested in Australia’s indigenous culture, don’t miss the Aboriginal Heritage Walk which features plant species that have been utilized for centuries... read more arrow

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Melbourne Cricket Ground

Known to locals simply as “The G”, the Melbourne Cricket Ground is considered Australia’s most legendary sports stadium and the country’s largest. It was here that the 1956 Olympic Games and 2006 Commonwealth Games were showcased and it is considered the spiritual home of Test Cricket and Australian Rules Football.

The MCG was built in 1853 and hosted the first cricket Test match to be played between Australia and England in 1877. It was also here that the first One Day International was played between the two countries in 1971. Today its biggest event of the year is the annual Australian Rules Football grand final that takes place each September and sees the stadium filled to capacity.

The MCG is home to the National Sports Museum, which celebrates Australia’s sporting achievements, and has been listed on the Australian National Heritage Register... read more arrow

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Southbank

Stretching along the Yarra River just a short stroll from the city center, Southbank is a vibrant area of restaurants, cafes, cultural institutions and shops. It is a major hub of live entertainment, with venues such as Hamer Hall, the State Theatre and the Playhouse situated within the Arts Centre, as well as being home to the famous Crown Casino.

Southbank was once a largely dilapidated industrial area that was reinvigorated to become one of Melbourne’s cultural hot spots. It’s dotted with outdoor art sculptures and is always frequented by street performers and live musicians. By day there are beautiful views across the Yarra River towards the city skyscrapers, while at night the promenade is illuminated by twinkling lights.

Architectural landmarks in Southbank include the iconic Melbourne Convention And Exhibition Centre, which has won numerous awards for its design, and the Eureka Tower that boasts the Southern Hemisphere’s highest viewing platform... read more arrow

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National Gallery of Victoria

Australia’s oldest public art museum is the National Gallery of Victoria, which is set across two locations in Melbourne. It was founded in 1861 and has grown to become one of Australia’s largest institutions dedicated to art, with the NGV International collection on St. Kilda Road and its Australian works in Federation Square’s Ian Pottery Centre.

The NGV International first opened in 1968 and was later redeveloped by Mario Bellini, now being listed on the Victorian Heritage Register. It is renowned for its Great Hall where visitors are encouraged to lay on the floor and admire the colorful stained-glass ceiling. The collection here includes European paintings, photography and textiles, Asian decorative arts, Pacific and Mesoamerican works, as well as global antiquities. It’s particularly noted for its Egyptian artifacts and Greek vases, together with works by Rodin, Degas, Monet, Picasso and Rembrandt... read more arrow

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Eureka Tower

Named after the 1854 Eureka Stockade rebellion of Victorian goldfield prospectors, the Eureka Tower has become one of Melbourne’s most recognizable landmarks. Its gold-plated windows and crown glisten in the sun’s light as it soars 297 meters over the Southbank entertainment precinct. The Eureka Tower’s 88th floor Skydeck is the highest public viewing area in the Southern Hemisphere, with a glass cube known as The Edge sliding out from the building for a vertigo-inducing experience.

The Eureka Tower was designed by Melbourne architectural firm Fender Katsalidis and was the tallest residential tower in the world when it was completed in 2006. Its gold crown is to represent the gold rush, with a red stripe symbolic of the blood that was spilled during the rebellion and blue glass for the background on the Eureka Stockade’s flag... read more arrow

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Melbourne Museum and Royal Exhibition Building

If you want to gain a more comprehensive insight into the history of Melbourne, make the short tram ride from the CBD to the Melbourne Museum and Royal Exhibition Building. It follows the development of society and cultures in the city from its indigenous Aboriginal communities to modern-day settlements and has recently been awarded the title of “Best Tourist Attraction”.

Don’t miss a visit to the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Centre and the dedicated children’s museum, with plenty of hands-on activities to keep young visitors entertained. The Melbourne Museum also features a free Discovery Centre and an IMAX theatre that shows movies and documentary films in 3D.

The Melbourne Museum is surrounded by the beautiful Carlton Gardens and stands adjacent to the Royal Exhibition Building, which was constructed in 1880 to host Melbourne’s International Exhibition... read more arrow

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Melbourne Zoo

Officially known as the Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens, the Melbourne Zoo is located a short tram ride north of the city center and survives as Australia’s oldest zoo. It was modeled on the London Zoo and first opened to the public on 6 October 1862 on a 55-acre parcel of land at Royal Park. While its initial function was to help animals acclimatize after being transported to Australia, it developed into a zoo in its own right with animals acquired for public display.

The Melbourne zoo is set across numerous themed bioclimatic zones, including the African rainforest section where gorillas and pygmy hippos can be seen and the Asian rainforest which features tigers. An Australian bush area enables visitors to get up close to native wildlife such as kangaroos, koalas and hairy nose wombats and there’s a flight aviary filled with different bird species... read more arrow

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Cottage of Captain Cook

Brought all the way from Yorkshire, England to Melbourne’s Fitzroy Gardens, Captain Cook’s Cottage is the former home of one of the most influential explorers to enter Australian waters. It provides a unique insight into the life and times of this British captain who made the first European contact with Australia’s east coast, as well as being the first recorded as having circumnavigated New Zealand.

The cottage was originally constructed in the village of Great Ayton in 1755 by the parents of Captain James Cook and there remains disagreement as to whether he actually lived for any extensive period in the house. When the owner of the cottage decided to sell it in 1933, she requested that it remain in England, although she was persuaded to change this request to “Empire” and accepted a substantial bid from Australian Russell Grimwade.

The cottage was deconstructed brick by brick to board the Port Dunedin in Hull where it was transported in cases and barrels across the seas to Australia... read more arrow

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Queen Victoria Market

If you want to pick up fresh produce and artisan goods in Melbourne, there’s no better place than at the historic Queen Victoria Market. It’s the only surviving 19th-century market left in Melbourne’s CBD and is the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere. It has been serving consumers since 1878 and is now listed on the Victorian Heritage Register. The market isn’t actually named after Queen Victoria, but rather due to its location at the corner of Queen and Victoria streets.

The Queen Victoria Market has had a storied history, with the site on which it now stands once part of the Old Melbourne Cemetery. More than 900 bodies had to be exhumed and reburied in other Melbourne cemeteries when the market was expanded in 1917, while around 9,000 bodies still remain buried beneath the market’s car park... read more arrow

* Regular pre-pandemic touristic activity level.

You can also rate and vote for your favorite Melbourne sightseeing places, famous historical landmarks, and best things to do in Melbourne by visiting the individual Melbourne attraction pages.