2-Day Melbourne Itinerary – Best Things to Do and See in 2 Days
This post was written by Cathy – a Melbourne local
The beautiful capital of Victoria, Melbourne, has a lot to offer to its visitors. It is one of the most exciting places in Australia and if you plan to visit this beautiful city yourself, this post can help you create a perfect 2-day Melbourne itinerary. Find out about the best things to do in Melbourne in 2 days – places to visit, the best activities and more travel tips for your 2-day trip to Victoria´s capital.
Melbourne Travel Tips
Melbourne is the capital of the state of Victoria in Australia with a population of approximately 4.8 million. I have lived in Melbourne my whole life and each time I return from traveling I’m reminded how much there is to love.
As I live six kilometers from the CBD it’s my go-to place for shopping, gardens, the arts, museums, dinner, and drinks. Melbourne was voted to the most liveable city for seven years and there is a lot to do in Melbourne for visitors, too. So, this post for anyone who is wondering what to do in Melbourne and how to spend two days in Melbourne.
Melbourne Travel Information
The best way to get around Melbourne is to walk; taking in the streets and lanes. Melbourne is based on a grid making it easy to find your way. Melbourne has an extensive tram and train system. My favorite form of public transport are the trams as there are many stops and it is free to travel within the CBD. If you want to go beyond the CBD you need to buy a Myki Card. They can be bought throughout the city.
The Circle Tram is Melbourne’s tourist tram taking you around the border of the CBD providing information on landmarks. You can get on or off at each of the stops. I have taken the Circle Tram a couple of times. It is fun enjoying my own city together with tourists.
A hop-on-hop-off bus is available. I haven’t tried the Melbourne one but have taken many in other cities. A great way to learn about a city easily. And yes, they are double-decker.
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Best Time to Visit
If you are basing your decision on weather then I think the best time to travel is spring (September, October, November) with average temperatures ranging from a high of 17 degrees Celsius (63 degrees Fahrenheit) to 22 degrees Celsius (72 degrees Fahrenheit) and average low temperatures ranging from 9 degrees Celsius (48 degrees Fahrenheit) to 12 degrees Celsius (54 degrees Fahrenheit).
With the flowers coming into bloom, the days getting longer and the air warmer it is a lovely time to explore the many gardens on the edges of the CBD. Daylight saving commences in mid-October.
If you’re a sport lover you might like to visit in Summer to attend the five day test cricket match at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) beginning on Boxing Day, the Australian Open tennis at Rod Laver Arena from mid to the end of January and the Spring Racing Carnival with the Melbourne Cup during the first week in November.
If you want to experience Australian Rules Football the grand final is at the end of September. Note: it is a good idea to book for all of these sporting events.
The weather in Melbourne is often described as ‘having four seasons in one day’. Make sure you bring something for sun, heat, rain and cold winds; no matter what time of the year.
The Traditional Owners of the land on which Melbourne stands are the Boon Wurrung and Woiwurrung peoples of the Kulin Nation. There are many opportunities to learn about the First Peoples with an Aboriginal Yarra River Walk, Aboriginal Heritage Walk, A visitor’s guide to Aboriginal Melbourne and much more.
The City of Melbourne is home to around 140 cultures from around the world. It is described as one of the world’s most harmonious and culturally diverse communities.
The people of Melbourne are friendly and are happy to give advice on what to see and do, how to catch the right tram and much more. During peak times there are volunteers to answer your questions and provide advice on Melbourne.
Where to Stay in Melbourne
There are many places to stay in Melbourne. I’m sharing two where I have stayed. They are in different locations and each hotel provides a different type of experience.
The Windsor Melbourne
A four and a half star hotel located at 111 Spring Street The Windsor is in a great location for visiting Parliament House, Melbourne Museum, Little Italy, China Town, Theatres and more. It was built in 1883 and has maintained its historic charm. The Windsor Hotel is famous for Afternoon Tea and its restaurant is open for breakfast and dinner. Make sure to wander through this grand hotel.
A five-star hotel located at 1 Southgate Avenue it is in a great location to explore the promenade along the Yarra River, restaurants and bars, the Arts Precinct, Federation Square and so much more. The Langham has everything you would expect of five-star accommodation. You can visit the Melba Restaurant for afternoon tea, lunch, and dinner. Find out about rates for the Langham Hotel here.
Best Melbourne 2-Day Itinerary
This 2-day Melbourne itinerary covers much throughout each day. In creating it I am assuming that you will spend a couple of hours in one place, possibly doing a tour, and then wander to visit others. Enjoy my city!
Day 1 in Melbourne
Day 1 of this Melbourne Itinerary is based on catching the Bourke Street trams: numbers 86 or 96.
Melbourne Museum, Exhibition Buildings, and Carlton Gardens
The Melbourne Museum is the largest museum in the southern hemisphere. It is a natural and cultural museum. Make sure to visit the First Peoples: Bunjilaka exhibition created in partnership with Museum Victoria and the Victorian Aboriginal community. On my last visit, I spent most of my time at this exhibition. The museum is open between 10.00am – 5.00pm
Located next to the Melbourne Museum are the Royal Exhibition Buildings. A world heritage site completed in 1880. Tours can be taken mainly on weekdays when there are no major exhibitions. You can walk around this historic building enjoying the Carlton Gardens.
Location: 11 Nicholson Street Carlton – take either the 96 tram (to East Brunswick) or the 86 tram (to RMIT and Bundoora). The free tram service stops at the corner of Victoria and Nicholson Streets. If you don’t have a Myki card get off here and walk through the Carlton Gardens to the Melbourne Museum and Exhibition Buildings.
Parliament House, The Windsor, and Little Italy
Parliament House of Victoria was built in 1855. It is open to the public on weekdays. When facing Parliament House walk to the right to visit the old Treasury Building and to take a stroll through Treasury Gardens.
The Windsor is an iconic hotel in Melbourne built in 1883 and whether you are staying or not it’s worth taking a look inside. Afternoon tea is available daily and there is a restaurant.
Nearby is Little Italy or Bourke Hill. Walk down Bourke Street from Parliament House to enjoy a coffee. Melbourne is known as ‘the coffee capital of Australia’ and this is where you will find some of the best. And if you are ready for lunch and want an authentic Italian meal there are well-known restaurants to choose from. All with delicious Italian food.
Melbourne is known for street art in the many lanes. To get a taste take a look at Meyers Place; a short walk from Parliament House down Bourke Street.
Take the 86 or 96 tram to the Elizabeth Street stop to experience the heart of shopping in Melbourne. Did you know the top tourist activity in Melbourne as identified by Business Victoria is shopping?
Myer, David Jones, and the Royal Arcade are located in Bourke Street Mall. This is where you can enjoy Melbourne’s iconic department stores, stop for a glass of champagne and take in some of the famous architecture of Melbourne. Make sure you look up! And if you are into street art look for the long narrow lane with art on each side (hidden between the Royal Arcade and David Jones).
Return to the tram continuing east until you arrive at Southern Cross Station for Spencer Outlet Centre. Take a look at our new modern Southern Cross Station. This station is where you catch trains to regional Victoria and interstate.
End Your Day
Return to the stop you arrived at and take the 86 tram to Docklands. After a day of sightseeing and taking in what Melbourne has to offer visit the Docklands for restaurants and bars. You could take a dinner cruise from here.
And to take in the sights of Melbourne at night, from high, you might like to visit the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel. Located in the Docklands District it is a 15-minute walk.
Read more: Find out what to do in Sydney in 2 days.
Day 2 in Melbourne
This itinerary takes you on day 2 along Flinders and Swanston Street tram lines; taking tram 70.
Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)
The Melbourne Cricket Ground is the home of sport; established in 1853. It was the central stadium for the Olympic Games held in Melbourne in 1956 and the Commonwealth Games in 2006. It was the birthplace of test and one-day international cricket. It is the stadium where the Australian Football League (AFL) Grand Final is held each year. Attending an event at the MCG with the crowds, the thrills and excitement is a great way to get involved in sport in Melbourne.
To learn more take a guided tour of the MCG and visit the Nationals Sports Museum. Enter through Gate 3 to experience the National Museum, opened daily from 10.00am – 5.00pm and/or take a tour of the MCG between 10.00am and 3.00pm; taking approximately 75 minutes.
Fitzroy Gardens and Hosier Lane
Catch tram 70 or walk through the Fitzroy and Treasuring Gardens to make your way to Hosier Lane and Federation Square. In the Fitzroy Gardens you can visit Captain Cook’s Cottage, the Fairy Tree and Conservatory. The garden has many trees for shade and a cafe.
Hosier Lane is famous for street art created by locals with the Melbourne urban art scene known throughout the world. To find Hosier Lane walk along Flinders Street and it is to your right past Russell Street.
Federation Square is one of the newest destinations in Melbourne CBD described as a modern piazza. You will find restaurants and bars with great views, specialty stores, and cultural attractions and exhibitions. There are daily tours from 11.00am.
Flinders Street Station
Flinders Street Railway Station established in 1854 is on the corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets and is the central rail system for metropolitan Melbourne. It is common for people to say ‘meet me under the clocks at Flinders Street Station’. At the rear of the Railway Station is a bar with views of the Yarra River and South Bank.
Cross the famous Princes Bridge walking over the Yarra River. This will lead you to the Arts Precinct.
Art Centre Melbourne
With the spire on top, the Art Centre is Melbourne’s flagship performing arts venue with opera, theatre, and music. You can visit the Playhouse with Aboriginal artworks in the foyer and Hamer Hall.
National Gallery of Victoria
The gallery is open daily between 10.00am and 5.00pm. Admission is free with an opportunity to visit many of the exhibits. There is a charge for major exhibits. The National Gallery of Victoria is open on Friday nights from early December to early April. Enjoy arts, bars, dining, and DJs in the garden.
The Botanic Gardens founded in 1854 can be accessed by crossing Swanston Street/St Kilda Road from the National Gallery of Victoria. There are beautiful parts to explore and to relax with an area of 36 hectares of lakes, lawns and living plant exhibitions.
End Your Day
South Bank / South Gate has food courts, restaurants, bars, specialty shops, and the Crown Casino along the promenade of the Yarra River.
Or take a short walk to Federation Square for dinner and sites of Melbourne. Both are a great place to eat and maybe return to the Arts Precinct for theatre or music.
As you can see, Melbourne is the perfect destination for a fun weekend getaway in Australia. Hopefully, this 2-day itinerary for Melbourne has helped you to find out what to do in Melbourne in 2 days – have a great time and enjoy Melbourne!
About the Author
This post was written by Cathy of Cathy Travelling sharing her home city of Melbourne. Cathy has traveled to many destinations in Europe, Canada, USA, Thailand and throughout Australia. She writes in a story style with photos and provides great tips on the places she has visited.