Melbourne: 24-hour itinerary

Melbourne Insider
Explore the city's street-art hub in Hosier Lane. (Photo: Phil Weymouth / Lonely Planet Images)
Explore the city's street-art hub in Hosier Lane
If you've just got a day in Melbourne, our Insider has put together the perfect itinerary just for you. Don't miss a thing!

A morning cuppa

Good coffee isn't in short supply in Melbourne but you can't beat the science lab kookyness and extreme dedication to caffeine at Sensory Lab. They'll graciously serve you a standard mellow, chocolaty latte, but are happiest when walking with you on the coffee wild side: single origin beans and siphon extraction methods.

Culture clash

Get ready for the great culture clash: time to choose between gallery hopping or tip-toeing the hallowed turf of the MCG. If art's your thing, wind your way to Federation Square to the Ian Potter Centre NGV Australia.

Art smart

At NGV, you'll find work from the colonial to the contemporary, and an impressive, often moving, permanent collection of Aboriginal works. The gallery's architecture is also stunning; glass shards cut through its concrete exterior to give you glimpses of the city, river and parkland beyond. Next door is the Australian Centre for the Moving Image<, better known as ACMI. Just across Flinders Street, you'll find the city's street-art hub in Hosier Lane.

Sporting heritage

Sports fans can opt for the National Sports Museum and MCG tour. The museum brings Australia's long sporting heritage to life, and has halls of fame dedicated to both cricket and AFL.

Go gourmet

Head to Birrarung Marr for an impromptu gourmet picnic; Queen Victoria Market. Then hop on the free Circle Tram and loop the city, including Docklands. It's a good way to get your bearings, do some passive sightseeing and ride a beloved vintage tram. Jump off at Flinders Street Station and explore the shops of Degraves Street, Centre Place, the Block Arcade and Little Collins Street. The Royal Arcade's Koko Black will relieve shopping fatigue with its Belgian hot chocolate, or grab an espresso at Melbourne's other cult coffee spot, Brother Baba Budan.

Fashion for all

Continue to the GPO, about as elegant as a shopping centre can hope to be, as are the reinvented laneways of QVB. Fashion-forward types should pop down to Flinders Lane as well.

Beer o'clock yet?

If it's a steamy night head to the Yarra-side Riverland for something fizzy under the bluestone arches, then to Greg Malouf's MoMo for headily glamorous Mod Middle Eastern dining. Chilly? Get cosy with a wine evergreen City Wine Shop before yakatori and the glam basement bustle of Izakaya Den.

After dinner

After dinner, Curtin House gives you three venues in one. Smart beer hall Cookie (Level 1, Curtin House, 252 Swanston Street, phone 03 9663 7660) has an excellent wine selection and weekend DJs. Smouldering Toff in Town is a civilised live music venue that's also known for its cocktails. Or take a peek at Melbourne's mini-Manhattan skyline while downing a cleansing ale at the often raucous Rooftop Bar (Level 7, Curtin House, 252 Swanston Street, phone 03 9654 5394).

"The Tan" does the trick

If early morning head clearing is in order, a turn around "the Tan" should do the trick. Fit Melbourne's favourite running track skirts the stately Botanical Gardens just across the river in South Yarra.

Have you tried any of the places on this itinerary? Got any ideas we haven't thought of? Have your say using the comments form below.

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User comments
This quaint deli at 33 Hornby St, Windsor in Melbourne is run by a friendly young couple, Kat and Al. When you enter for your early morning coffee your instantly aware of something fresh being baked in the oven with that homecooked smell wafting from the kitchen. Windsor Deli offer a good variety of breakfast choices but my favourite is the No 2 scrambled eggs with potato, caramalised onion, bacon and cheese. Their double choc chip brownie is one of the best I have tried and their gluten free Amaretto cake is also really good even if you are not gluten intolerant. They have a good selection of biscuits and cakes all made on the premises, along with a great choice of sandwiches for the more health conscious. Why not try some of their take home meals which are handly for those lazy nights and the homemade jams and chutneys. Give this little shop on the corner a go and I think you will be pleasantly surprised and will enjoy the experience.
god, how boring is this itinerary. im from melbourne, and none of this made me interested in wanting to do anything, its like a 'thank god we are only in this place for 24 hours'. so what to do instead, ok, coffee in degraves st. then head over to the eureka tower to look over the city, i like the polly woodside idea, head over to docklands for lunch and shopping. go to the zoo, or aquarium, or the museum, do a walking tour of the city, check out the town hall, or parliament there are some lovely old buildings in the city.. the arts centre, go for a walk through the fitzroy gardens, or the botanical gardens. the library, go for a boat cruise down the yarra, those are some ideas, better then just checking out places to eat at.
Melbourne has a lot of atractions for everyone, i'm sure that one day is not enough for this amazing city. I reckom that to go to a footy match (Aussie Rules) would be awsome experience, try some meat pies, walk around the MCG and Rod Lover Arena Melbourne, go around St.Kilda and have a dinner in the South Bank woul be a very nice day to enjoy Melbourne.
Being an ex victorian i had to have a say... Surely you can do better than this? Firstly their are a number of great caf'es in the laneways off Flinders st for that early morning starter. Then a stroll along the boardwalk at Southbank to the Polly Woodside. Afterwards catch a tram to the Vic markets and spend a good morning there with lunch on site. Then head to any of the great shopping areas around collins St. Check out Federation Square and a trip up the rialo building is a must for city views. Night time go anywere for dinner and drinks, melborne has heaps or grab a cab and head to Carlton for some great italian..... Back to southbank to chcck out the display at the crowne casino and hit a nightclub...
So now we're saying SPORTS instead of SPORT. Every day we become more American. And anyway, not every drongo in this world wants to spend their whole day doing football-related things. This is a pretty terrible itinerary. I'd much rather spend time in St Kilda than do most of this stuff.