Melbourne Victoria during the day
Melbourne CBD

Melbourne has it all and more  

Written by Kathie Baker

Melbourne was hit hard by Covid and the streets were deserted during lockdowns. Now the life of Melbourne is back, with restaurants buzzing.

Melbourne, the capital of Victoria sleeps no longer!

Melbourne Food and General Stuff

When I say Melbourne – for those who are not familiar with the area, I am referring to Melbourne CBD and within a 5 k radius of central Melbourne.  The central CBD has choices laid on for food.  A favourite of mine is of course Chinatown with its authentic dishes on offer.  Like most cities, Melbourne’s Chinatown bustles with people (when not in Covid lockdown) and there’s food available from many of the popular regional cities of China.

However, if we break it down by country – I can’t think of one country that is not represented their food in Melbourne.  Melbourne has always been a melting pot of cultures attracting both the immigrants of the country along with the food.

As a Melbourne girl I have seen the city expand and thrive.  English is the official language in Australia, however with so much diversity and so many immigrants having settled in Melbourne you could be forgiven for thinking you were in another part of the world.  Let’s have a quick tour around Melbourne, with the focus on the CBD area.

Blackcountry Melbourne
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All these places are within walking distance if you are settling yourself for your visit within the CBD – and I mean it is great place to be.  From a price perspective there’s many options on accommodation and AirBnB  connects the dots for affordable choices and price points.

What are the best things to do in Melbourne?

Old Melbourne Goal/Magistrates Court/Watchhouse

This goal definitely has a history – having been home to many of our criminals, including the infamous Ned Kelly.

Melbourne Goal was closed in 1929, but it had already seen many brutalities, including 133 hangings – Oh – and Ned Kelly was one of those.

At the present time of writing this blog, the goal is closed due to Covid restrictions, but it is so worth visiting when Melbourne comes alive again.

Do you believe in ghosts?

Hangman’s Night Tour


Queen Victoria Market

Link to Queen Victoria Market

As a little girl I would go to the Vic Market with my parents, with the first scramble being trying to find a car park.  This was around 50 years ago and back then it bustled with shoppers and the smells of spices and many smells I could not recognise at that time.  The market back then was not the cleanest, but these days it is a whole different story.

The Melbourne City Council has made sure the Victoria Market is vibrant, offers the highest quality food and attracts YOU.  Whether you are a local looking for great food or a tourist wanting to experience Melbourne’s version of Seattle’s market you will not be wasting your time by spending some time at the Vic Market.

Go to the Victoria market and then catch a tram to the zoo.  Buy a picnic lunch at the Queen Victoria market and head to the zoo, have lunch and enjoy the animals…The Melbourne Council has turned the Victoria Market into a tourist attraction.  They even have night markets and different days will determine the types of goods available.  The weekend brings traders from cottage industries selling their wares.  However, the range of fresh produce and meat – delicacies from the delicatessens, bakeries, sweets, cakes represent a pocket of Melbourne most Melburnians are very proud of.  This is a must see, experience it for yourself.

Melbourne Zoo

Directions and some other great information about the Melbourne zoo.

The zoo has no boundaries when it comes to age.  I can’t name one person who doesn’t still get a kick out of going to  the Melbourne Zoo.  Unlike some of the zoos I have been to overseas, Melbourne Zoo is well laid out with room for the animals to roam.  This doesn’t mean the lions are left to roam the zoo and catch you as their meal, but as far as an environment of captivity these animals are well looked after.

Whilst the zoo is not in the CBD of Melbourne, it is worth making the extra effort.

State Library

State Library link

Until recently the State Library had never entered my mind as a possible tourist destination.  However, it is really high on the bucket list of Chinese visitors to Melbourne.  So, I decided to check it out myself.  The building is a tale of its own, with the front a great place for you to prop yourself and watch the world go by. The manicured lawns are just the place.

The building is worth admiration – as it stands majestically on Swanston Street.  Originally opened in the late 1800’s it amazes me with the detail of the building.  The library is of the modern day, in terms of delivery of service, with events and programs changing to meet the needs of today.

If you have little ones, then there is a section set up just for them – I think a few hours at the library is worth every minute.

Federation Square

Federation Square is a public space right in the middle of the CBD area.  In fact, it is directly across the road from Flinders Street Station.  The space is really unique because it brings together a very different design in terms of architecture offering different spaces within spaces to host events both inside and outside.

Head to the website – and find out what is on at Federation Square.  The Tourist Information Centre is also located there.

Flinders Street Station

Now this station is once again a must see.  It has been told that this station was actually meant to end up in India, but somehow the plans were mixed, and Australia ended up with Flinders Street design. and India ended up with what was supposed to come to Melbourne.  The architecture is grand and a complete contrast to Federation Square, but it works.  The station is a “meeting place” for many, as all Melbourne locals know where it is.  It has recently undergone some cosmetic renovations to ensure it doesn’t begin to fall apart.  The clocks are a much spoken about feature of the outside of the station.

Flinders Street Railway Station Melbourne
Flinders St Station

National Art Gallery

Link to gallery

The NVG is opposite the Botanical Gardens (well nearly).  Are you beginning to understand just how convenient us Melburnians have tried to make it for those visiting our city?  The Gallery commissions art pieces from across the globe.  There is always something going on at the Gallery so check out the website and find out what is happening when you are visiting Melbourne.

Botanical Gardens


The Royal Botanic Gardens is a great place to chill.  Melbourne is by no means short on parks and gardens; however, these gardens are the pinnacle, in my humble opinion.  If you are in the CBD, you can walk along the Yarra and from there head into the Botanical Gardens.  There are numerous entrance points, with a running track around the perimeter of the Gardens, known as the Tan.

Once again, many years ago, when I lived in town, I would run the Tan every day.  There’s some really fascinating historical leftovers, such as a horse trough.   The gardens and the Tan have grown over time and provide a recreational outlet for many.  Take your camera and enjoy the space and the peace and quiet.  The Melbourne cityscape is a great backdrop and it is difficult to imagine something so beautiful being bang in the middle of town almost.

The Mounted Police Stables are not far from the gardens and the mounted police horses are often seen patrolling the area…..around the perimeter and within the grounds themselves.

Oh, and if I forgot to mention – the gardens often have events designed to draw people into the venue, so it is worth checking their website to see what is on at the time of your visit.

The Yarra River

The Yarra is Melbourne’s River and flows right through the CBD.  Now this is a bonus because it means those who are visiting Melbourne get to experience walks along the Yarra, picnics and bbq’s (well when it isn’t cold and raining).

The Yarra begins its journey up in the Baw Baw’s (the snow) and the water at its source is clean, but as it meanders on its way to Melbourne things change.  Over the last 20 years the water has been cleaned up – but I would still not advise you to swim in the Yarra at the point we are talking about.  It does provide opportunity for the local schools to row and many rowing clubs are dotted along this section of the river.

Rowing Crew on the Yarra River Melbourne
Rowing on the Yarra River

There’s also some exciting trips on some of the boats and ferries that have set up local businesses.

Melbourne Aquarium

This centre is always a draw card for Melbourne.  Once again it is within walking distance of the CBD, in fact just down the road from Flinders Street Station.  Filled with marine life it is basically a water zoo.  Loads of fun for the little ones.

Crown Casino/Southbank

The Crown

When I say Crown Casino, I mean “the crown”.  The Casino is not just about gambling, but the restaurants and the shops and the convenience of location.  Right near the Yarra River you can visit the Crown and then continue your journey along SouthBank.

Gas Lights

At night this area comes alive and at different times of the year you can enjoy the gas fire displays, that really can’t be described.  These are dotted along Southbank right next to the Yarra River.

Melbourne Inner city tram 

Melbourne has trams and they still service the people of Melbourne wanting to travel around the inner-city suburbs.  The Melbourne Loop is around the CBD and it is free travel.  You can jump on and off the Melbourne trams and as long as you stay within the loop then it is free.  They are fun – so jump on a tram and explore Melbourne.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Laneways and Arcades

Melbourne’s hidden treasures.

Melbourne also has loads of little arcades and laneways that are worthy of a visit.   The grid of Melbourne CBD is really easy to navigate, but if you head off the main streets and roads into the back lanes and alleys and arcades, you will be entering a whole new world.

  • Speciality shops,
  • street art,
  • cafes and restaurants.

Street Performances

There are street performances dotted all around the CBD, where you can stop and watch, listen and be entertained for free by so many of the world’s greatest.

Street Art – this art is real art, and not graffiti that degrades the walls….check it out for yourself. Refer to link above Melbourne’s hidden treasures for more information on the street art.

Ferry Trips

Find the ferries

I only recently tapped into the ferry experience.  Ferry by night or day – the choice is yours.  Melbourne lights up at night, so a trip along the Yarra River at night is really special.

There’s also ferries that you can jump on between Melbourne CBD and Williamstown.

This trip is one of my favorites.

Williamstown has history and beauty and on a beautiful Melbourne day, catching the ferry from the Melbourne CBD and getting off the ferry at Williamstown is just another special trip to make whilst visiting Melbourne.


Find out about Williamstown Melbourne

A great day trip is to catch the ferry from Melbourne CBD to Williamstown.  Williamstown has a tourist information centre, right near where you jump off the ferry, so make a quick trip there and get their advice on what to see and do.  It will be dependent on the weather of course, whether you head to the beach, café, sit on the bay area or seep up the history the suburb.

Ask about the water fountain The Wilkinson Memorial Drinking Fountain

There are some very spooky stories about this fountain – true or false, the fountain is a part of Williamstown and the ghost stories just make it a little more intriguing.

After you have had your fill of Williamstown, it is walking distance to the local train station which will take you back to Flinders Street Station.

To Sum it up on Melbourne

Now if this blog hasn’t given you enough reason to come and visit Melbourne, then you are a hard audience.

Camping grounds close to Melbourne – Yes there are, but this is another blog.

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