While Melbourne has much to offer, sometimes you don’t have the time to see it all.
But, when you only have 36 hours in Melbourne, where do you begin?
No worries mate, we’ve got you covered.
Itinerary for 36 Hours in Melbourne
For those with only a short time to spend in the city, here is an itinerary for 36 hours in Melbourne.
Firstly, where to stay…
Where to stay in Melbourne for 36 hours
A great option for backpackers is the Space Hotel. This luxury hostel/budget hotel features amenities like a gym, movie theater, bar & restaurant, free tea and coffee, a lounge and kitchen. Moreover, it’s centrally located in the Central Business District.
For those looking to splurge, Sofitel is dripping in French luxury. Located in the city’s “Paris end,” the property is within walking distance to major attractions, although is so comfortable you may not want to leave your room. Opt for the Club Sofitel for a more exclusive experience including upgraded accommodation, turn down service, express pressing and a lavish buffet breakfasts and hot menu options of anything you could possibly want.
Now onto the Melbourne itinerary:
Wake up early to partake in a sunrise hot air balloon ride. Their big-basket balloons will allow you to see the entire city as the sun is coming up, illuminating the abstract buildings and skyscrapers in a golden orange glow.
Explore Melbourne’s hidden lanes. You can grab breakfast in Centre Place, a bohemian lane all about breakfast and lunch. The artisanal cafes and shops are all about breakfast and lunch, and you can find everything from soups to tacos to pastas to sushi. For a great deal, Cafe et patisserie offers $4 baguettes and $2 coffee. The other lanes and arcades are also worth checking out, as each has its own personality and offerings.
Down Degreaves Lane, you’ll find artisanal and record-holding shops, like Clementine’s, the only shop you’ll find in Victoria selling Victorian-made goods where you can also enjoy a free sample of local honeys. At Little Cupcakes you can sample sweets from the city’s first cupcake shop and The Little Book Room, the oldest children’s bookshop in the world.
For an outdoor art gallery, head down Union Lane for an alley saturated in beautiful graffiti art. If you’re looking for some upscale boutique shopping, Little Collins and Manchester Lane are your best bets. For the best overview of Melbourne’s lanes and hidden secrets, opt for a tour with Hidden Secrets Tours. Their guides are extremely knowledgeable and can show you all the places you probably wouldn’t find on your own.
Check out some of the other Melbourne tours discover the hidden corners of the city:
For a quirky lunch, head to Meatball & Wine Bar. Like many venues in Melbourne, the unassuming outside makes way to an ambient restaurant and bar. It’s more than just beef, as fish, pork, chicken and vegetarian are also options for your meatballs. Don’t be taken off guard when your server asks what you want on your balls, or what you want your balls to sit in, as they’re just trying to add your sauces and toppings. The venue also offers local and international wines as well as delicious charcuterie.
Head to the Koorie Heritage Trust to take in Aboriginal art. Through artifacts, photography, instruments, paintings and documentary material, visitors can get to know an important part of Australia history and culture.
For a thrill, check out the Eureka Skydeck and experience “The Edge“. You’ll enter a glass box located on the 88 floor of a skyscraper. At first it’s dark, until suddenly the box goes translucent and you’re standing 985 feet from the ground with nothing but a thin strip of sheer glass underneath you. Once your stomach settles, take in sweeping views of Melbourne and beyond.
Walk along the water past all the trendy cafes and bars toward Federation Square for dinner at Taxi Restaurant. The contemporary eatery awards impressive views of the Yarra River and Flinders Street Railway Station, as well as a menu influenced by seasonal freshness, sustainability, modern Australia and Japan. Some noteworthy options include Cone Bay barramundi with butter pached Marron & Curry sauce, Greenvale Farm’s chargrilled pork scotch with red chilli dressing and Stockyards Wagyu porterhouse. After dinner, head downstairs to Transit, their onsite cocktail lounge.
Now onto day 2…
For an underground coffee experience, head to Cup of Truth below Flinder’s Street Station. This tiny cafe has a cult following and serves only quality coffee, teas and cookies. The operation is based on the honesty system, and customers put their money in a cup and take their own change.
To see more, consider biking the city or taking a Melbourne bike tour. Murray is a knowledgeable and fun guide who will teach you all about the city’s sports culture, Italian influence, history, melting pot areas and restaurants. You’ll hike over the William Barak bridge, a bridge created in honor of an Aboriginal artist with built-in speakers playing Aboriginal music.
After touring the different sports complex’s and Olympic memorials, visit Fitzroy Gardens to see Captain Cook’s Cottage, a living remnant of what Melbourne used to be like. Originally built in 1755 in England, the property was moved to Melbourne in 1934 after it was purchased by Sir Russell Grimwade as a centenary gift to the people of Victoria. Then make your way to the area around Brunswick and Fitzroy for an eclectic mix of global cuisines, eclectic shops and quirky businesses.
Grab tea and cakes at Brunetti, Melbourne’s most famous Italian bakery. They employ 20+ pastry chefs from Italy, allowing for authentic gelatos, biscotti, cannoli, rum baba, panzerotti, tarts and more.
For a variety of meal options and some history, Queen Victoria market has been around since the 1870s and has over 1,000 stalls? You can get everything from crocodile and emu meat to fresh seafood to cheese, fruit and wine. A local favorite is Boreks, which sells Turkish flatbreads with hot fillings like spiced lamb, spinach and cheese and vegetable. 3:00 pm:
Check out the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. The free museum focuses on “film, television and digital culture”. Visitors can explore exhibitions, talks and workshops like “Digital Storytelling”, “Make A Scary Movie”, and “Digital Portraits”.
Enjoy dinner at Coda, which is designed in an abandoned alleyway theme with cracked painted walls and hanging wire lights. Artfully done, it’s upscale urban at its best. The venue is known for its tapas, some of which include roasted scallops with pearl tapioca and salmon caviar, Spanner crab with galangal, roast chilli and betel leaf and blackened quail with daikon and shiso salad.
On weekends, seating times are at 6:00 PM and 8:00 pm. Afterward, have a drink with Melbourne’s most iconic resident, Chloe. At the Young and Jackson Pub, you can head upstairs to have a drink with the nude painting of the famous prostitute. The painting has been hanging since 1909, and has been the focus of male adoration ever since. Sadly, Chloe committed suicide at 21 never knowing what an impact she made on soldiers coming here to relax during WWI. The city is currently planning to do an exhibition using the love letters these soldiers and other men would write her, not knowing she was no longer alive.
And that’s it for your 36 hours in Melbourne! You’re going to be busy, but you’ll leave the city feeling like you truly experienced the best of Melbourne.
Here’s a few more posts about Melbourne to check out:
Tips for Seeing Melbourne on a Budget
Driving in Melbourne