If this is your first visit to Melbourne, get ready for funky boutiques in the GPO Building, waterfront dining in the Docklands, and hidden-away drinking dens throughout the city centre. On return visits, browse fine art in Melbourne's many art galleries like the National Gallery of Victoria or explore inner-city areas such as Fitzroy, Carlton and St Kilda. Take time out in the leafy Royal Botanic Gardens.
Melbourne's neat grid of city-centre streets hasn't changed much since it was laid out in 1837. You'll find the mix of small laneways (narrow streets) and larger streets gives Melbourne much of its charm today. People-watch at Melbourne's meeting place, Federation Square, or cross the Yarra River to the arts, shopping and restaurant precinct at Southgate by the Southbank riverside promenade. In the south of the city, you'll find the renovated Docklands alive with restaurants, public art and leisure spaces.
Start your day at buzzing Federation Square, the city's cultural precinct, and enjoy a coffee while watching rowers sculling up and down the Yarra River. Drop into the National Gallery of Victoria's Australia collection here for a quick history of Australian art and take a look at the wide-ranging Aboriginal collection. Continue the cultural theme further along St Kilda Road at the NGV International for an international showcase of art. Or dive into Melbourne's network of streets and laneways leading away from Federation Square. Stroll through the marble and glass 19th-century Block Arcade and visit designer speciality stores in the elegantly restored 19th-century GPO Building. As the sun sets, head to Melbourne's Chinatown on Little Bourke Street for Chinese cuisine, or opt for harbourside dining in the Docklands.
Admire Melbourne's many Victorian-era buildings as you make your way to the bustling Queen Victoria Market to stock up on gourmet cheeses and organic produce. Explore Melbourne's many parks and gardens, starting with English-style elm-lined walkways in the Fitzroy and Treasury Gardens. Cross the Yarra River to lose yourself between the huge Royal Botanic Gardens' lakes, lawns and tropical trees. Then see what concert or play is being staged at the nearby Victorian Arts Centre. Hop on a tram to visit Melbourne's lively inner-city suburbs. You'll enjoy eating at Carlton's Little Italy pizzerias and restaurants, shopping for offbeat clothing in bohemian Fitzroy or indulging in seaside St Kilda's hedonistic cafe culture.