Sovereign Hill, Ballarat, Victoria
Dress up in period costumes, float above vineyards, sip on amazing coffee, walk through beautiful laneways; all in Melbourne!
By Sarah Merchant
It’s not for nothing that Melbourne is called the most liveable city in the world. With its artsy vibes, beautiful surrounds, interesting laneways, world-class sporting events, and amazing coffee and food scene, Melbourne aims straight for the heart. Here are some fun activities we absolutely recommend in and around Melbourne!
Dress up in a period costume at Sovereign Hill
Australia’s very own time machine, Sovereign Hill is tucked away in Ballarat just an hour and a half drive away from Melbourne. Designed to recreate the 1850s, Australia’s great gold rush years, this award-winning museum turns back time with its impeccable details. From the hustle and bustle of the main street where costumed ladies and gents parade their new-found wealth, to the excitement of the Red Hill Gully Diggings, it’s all perfectly captured. Here, you can dress up in a period costume, go shopping the 1850s way and even stay in a hotel from that era! That’s not it, visitors also get a chance to pan for gold (the real one) and keep it if they get lucky.
Witness the world’s smallest parade at Phillip Island
Surrounded by some of the best surf beaches in Victoria and with seaside villages to explore, Phillip Island has rightly earned its reputation as a family-friendly coastal getaway. Here, you can meet penguins, seals and koalas, explore heritage and natural attractions and soak-up the stunning coastline. However, the island’s main draw is an absolutely adorable event, the Penguin Parade! Dubbed as the world’s smallest parade, this event allows visitors to catch a glimpse of the smallest species of penguins in their natural habitat. These penguins make for a cute sight as they waddle up to the beach and into their burrows after a day of fishing at the sea. And believe it or not, these penguins are as small as a 1 litre bottle.
Say cheers to life in the Yarra Valley
With its patchwork of green hills and manicured vineyards peppered with picturesque country villages, Yarra Valley is Melbourne’s favourite weekend break. Located just 50 minutes from Melbourne, this region boasts of world renowned wineries and over 50 cellar doors that will make any wine lover's heart sing. But sampling wine is not the only thing you can do here! Our favourite picks include hot air ballooning over Yarra Valley’s gorgeous landscape, cruising down the country lanes in a classic convertible, enjoying a relaxed luncheon in the wineries’ restaurants and meeting Aussie icons at Healesville Sanctuary. Alternatively, you can combine a visit to Yarra Valley with a ride on the famous Puffing Billy steam train that takes you through the magnificent Dandenong Ranges.
Cruise the Great Ocean Road
Starting an hour outside of Melbourne, the Great Ocean Road is probably one of the most recognised routes in the world. The road spans across Victoria’s epic, wave-crashing coastline all the way to the spectacular rocky outcrops of the 12 Apostles. Along the route, you can enjoy expansive views of golden beaches, jagged cliffs, and temperate rainforests, spot animals and birds in the wild, watch pro surfers in action, relax in pretty coastal towns, savour gourmet treats, and even discover some indigenous cultural sites. The Great Ocean Road is as much about a spectacular journey as it is the destination.
Sip on some amazing coffee
Coffee lovers you are in for a treat at Melbourne! Voted as the ‘coffee capital of the world’, the term ‘bad coffee’ just doesn’t exist in this city. Melbourne’s coffee entrepreneurs trawl the world's great coffee regions in search of single origin coffees to tantalise their customers’ tastebuds. The result? Some really, really amazing-tasting coffee! With over 2000 cafés and coffee shops, you are spoilt for choice and no matter where you choose to go, a good cuppa is guaranteed!
Visit the Mecca of Australian Cricket
The holy grail of cricket, the Melbourne Cricket Ground is where legends and records were made. Originally built in 1853, the ‘G’ is the largest stadium in Australia and the 10th largest in the world. Book a spot on the stadium’s guided tour and explore the inner sanctum of the MCG including the player’s changing room and viewing room and walk on the hallowed arena with an expert guide who will give you a download on the stadium’s rich sporting history. You can also visit the famous museum where the portrait of Sir Donald Bradman and Sachin Tendulkar is housed!
Explore Melbourne’s laneways
‘What to do in Melbourne’ is never a question because the city's laneways and alleys are filled with tonnes of options and happy surprises for visitors. From an entire lane decorated with colourful street art to cobbled laneways bustling with outdoor cafes and street artists, there's something for everyone in Melbourne's laneways. Our picks include Hosier and ACDC lane for some insane street art and the Degraves street for its epic outdoor cafes. We also recommend a visit to the Federation square for its quirky architectural design and the fun live events hosted there.
Head to Mornington Peninsula
Undulating vineyards, farmland, ocean and bay beaches, all of it can be found on the Mornington Peninsula, just an hour’s drive from Melbourne. Here, you can enjoy lunches at winery restaurants, swim with dolphins and seals in Port Phillip Bay, visit a wildlife sanctuary, ride horses along beaches and across vineyards, visit cheesemakers and distillers, go bushwalking and pose against Victoria’s famous colourful bathing boxes. Mornington Peninsula blends together the best of Europe’s coastal living and the traditional Aussie charm to give you the perfect getaway.
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