MELBOURNE 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 long-time 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 to see and do
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
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.
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.
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.
Its 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
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
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.
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.
Puffing Billy runs every day.
Cost: tickets vary depending on distance and return journey.
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.
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
That’s my 10 unique Melbourne activities for you to check out. I even included some free ones for you. You’re welcome.
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