Guest blogger Anita Dykstra is a travel writer from New Zealand. You can read her great blog on her website.
Melbourne is a trendy and happening city. If you have a short layover and only have 24 hours to see as much as possible, then not to worry because you can easily see the best stuff within that time frame. We do recommend coming back here for longer next time because we can promise that you will fall in love with this beautiful city! Here is what you can get up to in just 24 hours.
Melbourne is known for amazing coffee so it only seems right to start the day with one. Make your way to Mister Close in the Midtown Plaza. Not only do they have fantastic coffee, but also a delicious seasonal menu so it’s a great place to start the day. After you have energised yourself with an outstanding breakfast, now it’s time to put those walking shoes to good use.
One of the most famous sights in Melbourne by far is the graffiti art. Located not far from the coffee shop is Hosier Lane, which is filled with creativity on every wall. On just about every surface is a piece of art that graffiti artists have stamped on the city. Take your time and walk around admiring and taking photos. Don’t forget to get the classic ‘chilling on a wall’ pose! There’s also a fantastic collection down Union Lane, too, which is only a 10-minute walk from Hosier Lane back towards Mister Close, but be careful—if you’re not looking hard enough you may miss the lane!
Next, it’s time to take the circle tourist tram around the city to take in the sights. It’s a great option if you don’t have a lot of time but still want to get the vibe of the city. You will be able to recognize which one is the tourist tram because it’s beautifully old-fashioned, unlike the other city trams. It comes every 12 minutes and takes around 48 minutes to complete the loop. You will be able to see famous sights such as the Princess Theatre, Old Treasury Building and Parliament House. The tram sometimes stops for a couple of minutes for you to get photo opportunities, too.
After all that, I bet you’re hungry! Now it’s time to visit the South Melbourne Market. Here you’ll be spoilt for choice and variety in terms of delicious street food, making it the perfect place to grab some lunch. There are over 145 stalls selling anything from street food and meats to fashion, flowers and pets! The market is open every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 8am until 4pm except on Friday when it’s open until 5pm. It’s been selling goods since 1867, making it the oldest permanent market in Melbourne.
The best way to get around the suburbs is by bike so grab one from one of the bike share stands located around the city. You can get a subscription for the day for just $3, making it the cheapest and the best way to take in the natural sights. Take a lesson from the Dutch and start peddling!
Head towards the Royal Botanic Gardens. It’s an absolutely beautiful garden which is not to be missed. Not far from the gardens and within the park is the Shrine of Remembrance which commemorates the men and woman who served in World War I. It was built in 1934 and is a remarkable piece of architecture. Inside, there are over 800 artworks, historical artefacts and chilling real-life stories so definitely take a look.
After you have had a wander around the Shrine, it’s now time to bike towards Albert Park, where you will get a fantastic view of the city. Ride around the lake, taking in the views, and then bike toward St Kilda which is one of the trendiest neighbourhoods in Melbourne. On Acland Street, you can find the most beautifully presented cakes and slices. Makes sure you treat yourself; there are plenty of stores to choose from!
If you have searched ‘Melbourne’ on Instagram you’re bound to have seen a picture of Luna Park. Make sure you grab your chance for a similar photo opportunity outside—it’s a must-do! Take a nice stroll down St Kilda’s beach. If you haven’t already fallen in love with Melbourne ye, you will now! Walk towards the pier where at sunset, you can see the penguins come home to relax. Make sure you respect their home though and don’t use flashing cameras or torches.
There are plenty of good restaurants in St Kilda to choose from. Try Claypots which is ideal on a warm summer’s night because they have a fantastic garden and live music. It also has (what we think is) the best seafood in Australia! You could also go to Fitzrovia which is also highly recommended. There’s plenty of quality takeaway restaurants too if you’re looking for something more casual.
Into the wee hours
If you want a nightcap to finish off your sightseeing in Melbourne you could go to The George Public Bar to dance the night away. It’s a great basement bar which caters for the St Kilda drinking crowd. If you’re looking for more of a club scene, then head into Southbank to Therapy nightclub or Co club where you can easily dance into the wee hours of the morning!
Where to stay?
In the CBD you’ll find great rooftop views, free events, pub crawls and free Wi-Fi at Melbourne Metro YHA. Nearby you’ll also find Space Hotel, an ultra-modern, clean hostel with big private rooms and spacious dorms. Over in St Kilda is Habitat HQ, just a short walk from the beach. They serve free breakfast and have free Wi-Fi, free parking and air conditioning. Still looking? Get thee to The Nunnery, where 19th-century charm meets modern Melbourne, with free breakfast, BBQs, pub crawls and gorgeous décor.
Thanks to Rene Cunningham, Katherine Lim, SalTheColourGeek, Rae Allen, Ari Bakker, Eva Powell, David Jackmanson, Serg C and Mister Close for use of their great images under the Creative Commons license.