10 Unique Melbourne Activities

melbourne mcg

RECOMMENDED BY A LOCAL

Have you been to Melbourne and done all the touristy stuff? Want to know what else there is to do? Then you need to check out this list of unique Melbourne activities to do in and around this fabulous Australian city, recommended by me, as a local. These are 10 of the best places to visit, some which are not well known, others which are, but all quite unique and special.

unique things in Melbourne

1. Moonlight Cinema

Located at: Central Lawn, in Royal Botanic Gardens

One of the fun things to do in Summer for many locals is going to the Moonlight Cinema. It’s a fabulous way to combine movies and the beautiful outdoors with family or friends. Enjoy the large open-air cinema screen in the city’s gorgeous Botanic Gardens watching iconic and popular films.

This activity runs through the months December to March.

Bring a picnic with you, a blanket for the grass, or chairs if you prefer. You can also purchase food from the catering trucks there and drinks from the bar.

You can even hire a bean bed, go for gold grass, or have the platinum experience.

Check website for movies, dates and times.

Cost: from A$20

moonlight cinema
Melbourne Moonlight Cinema – photo credit

2. Old Melbourne Gaol

Located at: 377 Russell Street, Melbourne

You may enjoy seeing the more creepy side of the city. Visit Australia’s oldest prison, the Old Melbourne Gaol. Wander around and experience the cells where notorious Australian criminals like Ned Kelly and Squizzy Taylor were imprisoned. Many prisoners died here, some by hanging, up until 1924 when it closed. Later it became a museum. People claim there are ghosts and voices of old inmates that haunt the jail.

You can take a tour, even at night, if you dare! Check website for details.

Cost: A$28 per adult.

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Inside Old Melbourne Gaol – photo credit

3. Scienceworks Museum & Planetarium

Located at: 2 Booker Street, Spotswood

Scienceworks is the perfect place for budding scientists and curious minds. There is so much to see and do here, with demonstrations on how things work, experiments and interactive exhibitions. There is also a Planetarium for a fully immersive astrological experience. Scienceworks is perfect for families.

Open everyday.

Cost: A$15 per adult

4. ArtVo Art Gallery

Located at: The District Docklands

Just 5 minutes drive from the Central Business District of Melbourne is ArtVo. Check out this gallery with a difference.

Artvo is a trick art gallery of optical illusions where you immerse yourself in the artwork, literally. Yes, you actually become part of the beautiful art displayed here, in a magical 3D experience. You can take selfies, or the staff can take photos for you.

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It’s heaps of fun and a unique activity to do in Melbourne, that everyone can enjoy.

Cost: A$28 per adult

5. Melbourne Cricket Ground

Located at: Brunton Ave, Richmond

This is one of the most unique Melbourne activities because a big part of Melbourne is sport. Locals love watching, and competing in a range of sports, including football, soccer, tennis, cricket, basketball, horse racing, swimming and many others that they are passionate about. So get along to a sporting event if you can, or take a tour of one of the biggest sporting arenas in the world, here at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

This iconic Melbourne sporting stadium is a huge part of the city’s culture. Learn all about the history, see the facilities and walk the hallowed turf of the MCG. I have been to various events here over the years, including concerts and the Commonwealth Games.

Cost: A$25 per adult

mcg sports arena melbourne
MCG – photo credit

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Melbourne Cricket Ground in the centre

6. Heidi Modern Art Museum, in Heidelberg

Located at: Templestowe Road, Bulleen

The Heide is an innovative contemporary art museum, sculpture park and beautiful garden, set on 15 acres. It is open to the public all year round. I love coming here to enjoy the landscape and artwork.

Museum Cost: A$15 per adult

Gardens & sculpture park Cost: free

unique Melbourne activities - Heide art sculpture
Rings of Saturn sculpture – photo credit

7. Warburton Redwood Forest

Located at: Cement Creek Road, East Warburton

A comfortable 1.5 hours drive from Melbourne, in the countryside and off the beaten track is the amazing and unique Redwood Forest. The area is a plantation of about 1500 Californian Redwood trees dating from 1930. The trees were planted in a close grid formation, giving the forest a very striking appearance. Some of the trees reach a height of 55 metres.

There are interesting giant nest-like creations here that have been made by a local artist which give the woods a fun and quirky feature, perfect for photos. Kids love it!

There are also hiking trails and a little creek flowing too. Stroll around and you will enjoy the tranquility and zen of this gorgeous location. I love looking up and admiring the filtered sunlight through the treetops.

It’s not usually too busy, being a fairly well-kept secret. Definitely worth the drive out here. Bring a picnic to make a day of it if you wish.

Cost: free

8. Puffing Billy Train Ride

Located at: Belgrave, approximately 1 hour from Melbourne

One of the favourite places for families to visit is Puffing Billy, a gorgeous heritage railway with steam train rides through the beautiful Dandenong Ranges. Enjoy the mountainous landscape, forest and ferns in the area, as you ride the iconic open carriages. This has been a popular place for locals and visitors for a century. It’s perfect for day trips, with picnic grounds and walks in the area. I’m sure you will love it as much as my family and I have.

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Puffing Billy runs every day.

Cost: tickets vary depending on distance and return journey.

Puffing billy in action 2003 Snazzy Trips
Puffing Billy – photo credit

9. 1000 Steps

Located at: Upper Ferntree Gully in the Dandenong Ranges National Park

Not far from Puffing Billy you will find the 1000 Steps walking trail. A reasonable fitness level is required to make it all the way up the 1000 Steps. It is part of the Kokoda Track Memorial Walk. Along the way you can read plaques about Australian soldiers who walked the real Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea during WWII.

Since the early 1900’s, locals have been testing their fitness here, whilst enjoying the native bushlands and scenic views. It takes about 30 minutes to get to the top at a leisurely pace.

Cost: free

unique Melbourne activities
1000 steps trail at Kokoda Track Memorial Walk – photo credit

Unique Melbourne Activities
View from 1000 Steps – photo credit

ferns and trees around road
Dandenong Ranges National Park – photo credit

10. Phillip Island Penguin Parade

Located at: Summerland Beach, Phillip Island

This is truly one of the most unique Melbourne activities and one of the most popular attractions in Victoria for locals and tourists alike. Just 1.5 hours drive from Melbourne people flock to Phillip Island Nature Park to see the cute little fairy penguins parade on the beach at dusk. I have been here many times as a child, and with my own children too.

It’s best to get here before sunset to watch them coming out of the sea, waddling up the sand to find their burrows. You will view them from the beach stands, then follow the little penguins along the boardwalk.

Please be aware you are not allowed any photography during the penguin parade.

There is no free viewing area, so you must buy a ticket.

Cost: from A$26 per adult

little penguin
Phillip Island penguin – photo credit

sea with rocks and boardwalk
Boardwalk at Phillip Island – photo credit

That’s my 10 unique Melbourne activities for you to check out.

I always appreciate comments, which you can leave in the section below.

See ya later.

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14 thoughts on “10 Unique Melbourne Activities

  1. Catherine says:

    1000s steps looks incredible and definitely something I’d love to do with my family – also the forest. I think my kids will love Melbourne. Thanks for sharing such a great list of activities.

  2. josypheen says:

    Ooooh penguins! That would have to be my first stop as it’d be awesome to meet those little dudes!

    I love the look of all the outdoor options, the Heidi Modern Art Museum, the 1000 steps and the Redwood forest. Its always so cool to get out into nature when you’re visiting a new part of the world. 😀

  3. Carly-jo Rosselli says:

    I love the look of Warburton Redwood Forest and 1000 steps walking trail, I think it’s always amazing to try and find free out door activities in and around cities, Lots of people tend to overlook these when visiting city areas!

  4. saltymorena says:

    ahhh really wanted to stay in melbourne not just because of its beautiful places but also the arts❤️

  5. Chelsea says:

    I am a Melbournian currently living in Canada.

    I have done 6 of these 10 (not a bad effort)

    If someone were to visit the MCG I would definitely recommending doing the tour. I have done it twice. You get to go totally behind the scenes, into all the change rooms, member boxes and lounges and on on the field. It is amazing.

    I have done the thousand steps twice (couldn’t walk after it!!)

    Also I LOVE Phillip island. When I went home at Christmas I spent a few days there; it is so beautiful.

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