15 Things to do in Melbourne, Australia - Photo Diary
Video was shot using the iPhoneX + DJI Osmo Mobile 2 for stabilization. Edited with Adobe Premiere Pro CC 2018 and Adobe After Effects CC 2018.
When people think of Australia, the first thought that often comes to their minds is probably the iconic Opera House in Sydney (and maybe kangaroos and koalas). I knew Sydney was a place I needed to check off my Australian bucket list, but Melbourne was another city that intrigued me. If Sydney was the mainstream, beautiful blonde bombshell, I envisioned Melbourne to be her brunette, alternative, artsy sister. While Sydney is known for its beaches and famous landmarks like the Opera House and Harbour Bridge, Melbourne is more renowned for its coffee, street art, and its neighboring adventures on the Great Ocean Road.
Take a look at the map I curated to see all the places below in context.
I arrived in Melbourne after about 20 hours of traveling, first from San Francisco to Sydney, and then after a delayed flight from Sydney to Melbourne. It was tough a 20 hours, so when I arrived, I knew I needed to treat myself to a flat white in the coffee capital on Australia.
1. Have a flat white in the coffee laneways
Melbourne is famous for its laneways, which are tiny pedestrian-only streets filled with hole-in-the-wall shops, cafes, and small restaurants. I chose to explore Centre Place, which is one of the most popular laneways that has graffiti spilling into it and loads of coffee spilling out.
Beware of all the bloggers here asking their “Instagram husbands” to take about a million photos for them.
Bikini: Kendall and Kylie via Revolve
Duster Coat: Ba&Sh via Rent the Runway | Shirt: J.Crew | Jeans: Anthropologie | Sneakers: H&M
The NGV (National Gallery of Victoria) is a definite must-do here in Melbourne. It’s Australia’s oldest art museum and holds art ranging from the 19th century to the 21st century. Its collection ranges from Asian to European art, and works by Monet to works by Julian Opie. It was probably one of the most intriguing art museums I’ve ever gone to, and I was in love with the mix of the old and the new. Did I also mention it’s free?
On my third day in Melbourne, I decided to venture out of the city to explore the Great Ocean Road. Instead of going on a regular bus tour, I opted in for an Airbnb Experience with Pete, which was, in my opinion, thousands of times better than going on traditional bus tour. Pete drove our group of five in his mini van along the Great Ocean Road to visit some of its major sights, stopping for meals and coffee along the way.
What set Pete apart the most was how he truly tried to create bonds between the people traveling through his conversations. He would tell us personal anecdotes along the journey and not skimp out on the textbook information for each destination either. I would highly recommend booking a tour with him either on Airbnb or through his Facebook page. You can also check out a video one of his guests made for one of his experiences.
We learned that there are actually 8 apostles, not 12. They decided to lie to all of us and name it the “12 apostles” just because it had a better ring to it.
I would say Loch Ard Gorge(ous) was my favorite (pictured above).
We stopped along Torquay, Lorne, Gibson Steps, 12 Apostles, Loch Ard Gorge, and London Bridge. We also got to see a few Koalas out in the wild and have lunch at some local cafes.
Did you know the oldest Chinatown in the Western world is located right here in Melbourne? The restaurants here are amazingly authentic—none of that chop suey, general tso’s chicken crap that Chinese Americans had to create to appeal to western palettes so they could survive in America. We ended up having hot pot at a place called Dainty Sichuan.
10. Explore Southbank at night
Walk across Melbourne’s many bridges across the Yarra river and visit Southbank to watch hoards of locals eat, drink, and party on a night out.
Have some delicious revamped Asian-inspired dishes at Supernormal. Though the price can be quite steep, the flavors here are the best around. The waiters are so nice to the point where they will give you free dessert because they feel sorry for making you wait so long for the food.
13. Visit the State Library of Victoria and then have a snack at the Queen Victoria Market
Unfortunately, on the day I visited, the dome of the library was closed off for a special event. However, I found other parts of the library equally picturesque. The library is walking distance from Queen Victoria Market, which sells fresh produce, meat, and seafood, and is full of stalls selling street food, cheeses, and jams.
When you want to do some more unique, local shopping, head to the Royal Arcade, which originally opened in 1870. This light-filled building houses local chocolatiers, toy shops, as well as cafes and bakeries.
Melbourne was coined the world’s most livable city for 7 years in a row (before finally being defeated this year by Vienna, Austria). After experiencing Melbourne’s amazing food from its melting pot of different cultures and interacting with its friendly and upbeat people, I can see why it’s reigned on top for so long. It seems like everyone in Melbourne is accepting of everyone else’s unique backgrounds, and I think that’s why incredible art, food, and culture continue to emit from this city.