Melbourne Bound? Here's What To Do In The City In 48 Hours

From savouring the iconic Australian flat white in independent cafes to learning about Aboriginal history, there's something for everyone
Melbourne is the coastal capital of the southeastern Australian state of Victoria
Melbourne is the coastal capital of the southeastern Australian state of VictoriaShutterstock

The Australian Grand Prix is roaring into Melbourne from 22-24 March, and the spectacle will be unmissable. Last year's GP attracted a record-breaking four-day attendance figure of 4,44,631 people at Albert Park, breaking the previous record of 4,19,114 visitors in 2022. Even if it looks like Max Verstappen will run away with the title this year (again), there is plenty of on-track action behind him to make this event a thrilling experience. Can the Mercedes get closer to Ferrari and Red Bull for the second and third podium steps? You'll have to watch to find out.

While most tickets have already been snapped up, the city of Melbourne is a treat to visit and has many events in the run-up to and during the grand prix. Here's what to do if you have 48 hours in the city, which frequently features in the top 10 most liveable cities and took the top spot for seven straight years from 2011-2017.

Taste The City's Cafe Culture

Try the iconic Australian flat white
Try the iconic Australian flat whiteCopyright: Shutterstock

Start your day by stepping into one of Melbourne's independent cafes and savour the iconic Australian flat white, or choose from the regular offerings of latte, cappuccino and mocha. Pellegrini's Espresso Bar and Marios are just two beloved icons of the scene, but ask any Melbournian about their favourite cafes and you will have a long list in no time.

Learn About Aboriginal Melbourne

Street art by an unidentified artist
Street art by an unidentified artistCopyright: Shutterstock

Melbourne is located on the lands of the Bunurong and Wurundjeri people of the Kulin nation. Learning about the history of the land you're on will show you a side of Melbourne that few visitors get to witness. Book an Aboriginal Heritage Walk at the Royal Botanic Gardens to learn about the history of Indigenous people living sustainably off the land, visit the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre at the Melbourne Museum for an interactive self-guided tour and check out the Koorie Heritage Trust’s walking tour which takes visitors from Federation Square to the Birrarung Wilam Aboriginal art installations to learn the history of Birrarung Marr and the Kulin Nation.

Lunch At The Queen Victoria Market

Queen Vic Market houses over 600 small businesses
Queen Vic Market houses over 600 small businesses Copyright: Shutterstock

If all that walking has left you famished then head over to the National Heritage-listed Queen Vic Market for a bite to eat. It houses over 600 small businesses where locals and visitors can buy fresh and specialty produce, hand-made and unique products, great coffee and food, souvenirs and clothing. The banter with the traders is a wholesome experience, and there are plenty of special events taking place at any given time.

The Arts Precinct Is A Draw

The entrance to the National Gallery of Victoria
The entrance to the National Gallery of VictoriaCopyright: Shutterstock

The Melbourne Arts Precinct is an area dedicated to galleries and performing arts venues located in the Southbank district. It includes well-known venues like the Arts Centre Melbourne, the National Gallery of Victoria, the Southbank Theatre, the Melbourne Recital Centre, the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, Coopers Malthouse and the Sidney Myer Music Bowl, to name a few. You will leave exhibitions and events feeling way more cultured than when you went in.

Rest In The Gardens And Parks

Relax in the Royal Botanic Gardens
Relax in the Royal Botanic GardensCopyright: Shutterstock

Melbourne has many parks and gardens that offer a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of the charming city. The Royal Botanic Gardens, Edinburgh Gardens, Flagstaff Gardens, the Collingwood Children's Farm and the Fitzroy Gardens, to name a few, are gorgeous places where the natural ecosystem is a treat for the eyes and spirit. Run, cycle, walk or lie down on the grass and look up at the canopy and blue skies for a relaxing hour, weather permitting.

Head to St Kilda Beach

The Little Penguins of St Kilda Beach
The Little Penguins of St Kilda BeachCopyright: Shutterstock

While Victoria has dozens of amazing beaches, most of them are not as iconic as St Kilda. Its boardwalk and jetty invite visitors to take a stroll and enjoy picture-perfect sea views. You can even check out the colony of Little Penguins on the pier at dusk. Then there's Luna Park: the renowned amusement park for families which offers nostalgic rides and carnival games. The nearby The Palais Theatre hosts live performances such as concerts, plays and comedy shows throughout the year, while the St Kilda Esplanade Market is where you can purchase high-quality Australian art and crafts.

Soak Up The City's Night Offerings

View from the Eureka Skydeck
View from the Eureka SkydeckCopyright: Shutterstock

Go on a guided tour of the historic Old Melbourne Gaol, take in the views of the city from above by purchasing a Skydeck ticket, book a moonlit kayaking tour, watch a movie at Cinema Nova or ACMI or take a dinner cruise on the Yarra. The options are truly endless.

Watch An AFL, Cricket Or Soccer Match

The Australian women's team is popularly known as The Matildas but tickets to their games are hard to come by
The Australian women's team is popularly known as The Matildas but tickets to their games are hard to come byCopyright: Shutterstock

Australian Rules Football, commonly known as Aussie Rules, is akin to a religion in Melbourne. The city is a sporting hub and the Melbourne Cricket Ground, Rod Laver Arena and AAMI Park are just some of the city's notable sporting venues. Rugby, cricket, soccer, AFL matches and, of course, Formula One means the city is a dream for a sports-loving fan. Tickets will be hard to come by, but try your luck to watch a soccer game featuring the Australian women's team, popularly known as The Matildas, when you're in town.

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