The Canberra Times

10 Must visit places in Melbourne 2024

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Here are the most visited places in Melbourne to add to your bucket list in 2024. Picture Shutterstock
Here are the most visited places in Melbourne to add to your bucket list in 2024. Picture Shutterstock

Whenever I visit Melbourne, my itinerary always includes indulging in their renowned food and café culture. But over time, Melbourne has blossomed into a global hotspot with so much more to explore. That's why, in this post, I'm sharing with you some of my favourite hang-out spots in the Garden City.

From my wanderings around the city, here are the most visited places in Melbourne to add to your bucket list in 2024:

  1. Chadstone - The Fashion Capital
  2. Melbourne Museum
  3. China Town
  4. City Circle Tram
  5. Melbourne Zoo
  6. Melbourne Skydeck
  7. MCG
  8. SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium
  9. Old Melbourne Gaol
  10. Yarra River
Chadstone. Picture supplied
Chadstone. Picture supplied

Chadstone - The Fashion Capital

Just a short, 30-minute drive from Melbourne CBD, Chadstone Shopping Centre never fails to impress me.

Known as The Fashion Capital, it's the largest shopping centre in Australia, and it really lives up to its name. I find everything from high-end brands to unique boutiques here.

Dining at Chadstone is always a treat, too. They have everything from quick bites to upscale restaurants. And it's not just about shopping - there are plenty of activities too. I've spent afternoons playing mini-golf, bowling, and even zooming around in dodgem cars at The Social Quarter. The interactive rides and 4D cinema at the LEGOLAND® Discovery Centre are a hit with the kids, too.

Of course, my visits aren't complete without taking advantage of Chadstone's Tourist Shopping Passport. It's available for visitors residing more than 50km from Chadstone and offers fantastic discounts at various retailers and dining outlets throughout the centre. It really maximises my shopping and dining experiences every time I visit.

Plus, if I'm looking for a longer stay, Hotel Chadstone is within a few minutes walking distance.

With close to 26 million visitors a year, Chadstone is the perfect place for a day packed with shopping, dining, and entertainment for the whole family.

Melbourne Museum. Picture supplied
Melbourne Museum. Picture supplied

Melbourne Museum

A stone's throw from the State Library Victoria and Fitzroy Gardens, I found myself at the Melbourne Museum in Carlton, an incredible spot near the city centre where I could dive deep into Melbourne and Australian history, as well as indigenous culture. Every visit here sparks my curiosity and wonder, offering new experiences each day. The museum hosts special exhibitions and events that vividly bring past events to life, allowing me to experience history in extraordinary detail.

China Town. Picture supplied
China Town. Picture supplied

China Town

Melbourne's Chinatown always gives me a burst of excitement whenever I visit. Nestled in the heart of the city, it's a vibrant hub of culture and history. Walking through its bustling streets, I'm always impressed by the array of authentic Chinese restaurants. Whether it's dim sum for brunch or hot pot for dinner, the choices are endless and delicious.

Apart from dining, Chinatown is also famous for its annual events like the Chinese New Year festival. The streets come alive with dragon dances, live music, and market stalls. It's a spectacular sight that I recommend everyone to see at least once.

City Circle tram. Picture supplied
City Circle tram. Picture supplied

City Circle Tram

Riding the City Circle Tram in Melbourne is always a highlight of my trips around the city. This iconic tram offers free rides around the central business district. It's perfect for visitors who want to see the city without the hassle of navigating traffic or parking.

I love how the vintage trams add a charming touch to my journey. They pass by major attractions like the Federation Square, the Old Treasury Building, and the Parliament House. I usually hop off at several stops to take in the architecture and snap some photos.

So, for anyone new to Melbourne or those who enjoy a leisurely ride with a dash of history, the City Circle Tram is a must-do. It's a convenient and fun way to see the city's core, and best of all, it's completely free!

Melbourne Zoo. Picture supplied
Melbourne Zoo. Picture supplied

Melbourne Zoo

Since I was a child, I've always loved visiting Melbourne Zoo and it's just a short distance from the CBD at Parkville. As a not-for-profit, the zoo works with local communities and conservationists to connect people with wildlife. I've gotten up close with kangaroos, koalas, wombats, and animals from across the globe.

One unforgettable experience I've had was camping out overnight right in the zoo. We slept under the stars while listening to the sounds of nocturnal animals. It's simply magical and adds a whole new dimension to a typical zoo visit.

Melbourne Skydeck. Picture supplied
Melbourne Skydeck. Picture supplied

Melbourne Skydeck

I recently visited the Melbourne Skydeck at Eureka Tower, known for being the world's tallest residential skyscraper. And I knew right away that it deserves a spot on this list.

Standing 300 metres above the ground, it offers stunning views of Melbourne that you just can't get anywhere else. They offer a range of ticket options that include access to the Edge, VR Plank, and Voyager Theatre. But the highlight for me was walking on the Edge, a glass cube that projects out from the Skydeck on the 88th floor, providing a thrilling perspective of the city far below.

So whether you're feeling adventurous or just want to take in the cityscape, Melbourne Skydeck is the place to see Melbourne from a whole new angle.

MCG. Picture supplied
MCG. Picture supplied

Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)

Melbourne is widely recognised as the sporting capital of Australia, and for a sports fan like me, the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is the crown jewel. This historic icon has stood since the Melbourne Cricket Club was established in 1838. That's why visiting the MCG for me feels like a rite of passage, and whenever possible, I schedule my visits to coincide with international cricket or a gladiatorial AFL contest. Located close to the city centre and easy to reach, making a day trip to the MCG is an absolute must whenever you're in Melbourne.

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium. Picture supplied
SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium. Picture supplied

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium

Aside from the Melbourne Zoo, one place that I love returning to is the SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium. From the mesmerising jellyfish to the giant crocodiles, it's a fantastic place to see marine life up close. The Penguin Playground is a personal favourite. Watching the playful penguins dart through the water never fails to bring a smile to my face.

The aquarium also features interactive experiences like the Shark Dive Xtreme. For those brave enough for an unforgettable adventure, you can swim alongside sharks. But if you don't want to risk your limbs, you can also walk under the Oceanarium tunnel while incredible sea creatures glide overhead.

Old Melbourne Gaol. Picture supplied
Old Melbourne Gaol. Picture supplied

Old Melbourne Gaol

Having housed some of Australia's most notorious criminals, my visit to the Melbourne Gaol was an unforgettable experience. The atmosphere is so eerie, almost like you can feel the past around you. That's why I always recommend it to someone visiting Melbourne.

One of the highlights was the night tour. It's spooky but incredibly fascinating. You learn about the prisoners and their harsh conditions. Another must-do is the watch house experience. You're 'arrested' and briefly locked up, which really gives a sense of what it was like back then.

So, whether you're into old cells and gallows or want to learn more about Australia's darker history, the Melbourne Gaol should be on your itinerary.

Yarra River. Picture supplied
Yarra River. Picture supplied

Yarra River

The Yarra River truly defines Melbourne for me, and I always recommend it to anyone visiting.

One of my favourite ways to enjoy the river is by taking a cruise from Southbank, where you can really appreciate its beauty from a unique perspective. I've also spent countless hours following the Capital City Trail by bike and on foot and even kayaking through the urban and regional parks that line its 240-kilometre stretch.

At the end of a day filled with activity, there's nothing better than a scenic sunset picnic on the riverbanks. The Yarra isn't just for quiet evenings, though. It's the heart of numerous Melbourne festivals. I've experienced the vibrant Moomba Festival, watched exciting regattas and rowing races, and even cheered at the Dragon Boat Festival. No matter what your interests are, the Yarra River has something to offer.

Why Melbourne should be your next stop

Melbourne has a way of making every visit feel like the first. Whenever I'm there, it's like there's always something new around every corner. The endless dining options, from cosy cafes to high-end restaurants, mean I'm never short of choices. And the coffee here? Simply the best. I've spent countless mornings exploring different cafes. And when I need a nature escape, the stunning landscapes like the Dandenong Ranges and the Great Ocean Road are just a short drive away.

Honestly, Melbourne has something for everyone. It's not just a place to visit. It's a place to experience. So, why make it your next stop? Because whether you're here for the culture, the food, or just the good vibes, Melbourne won't disappoint.