Whether you’re embarking on one of the cruises from Melbourne that calls the city a home port, or your Australia cruise itinerary includes a stop in Melbourne, you’re in for a fabulous stay in this iconic city. Located in the Victoria state of Australia along the southeast coast of the continent, Melbourne is a melting pot of cultures, with a thriving economy, dynamic food scene, and an array of fun, artistic, and historic activities.
The Royal Botanic Gardens sprawl across 74 acres and are home to a number of rare trees, plus a myriad of flowers and plants. Stroll along one of the many scenic walking trails to become acquainted with the Victorian vibe of the gardens. The open lawn overlooking a peaceful pond is a popular place for picnics and enjoying a cup of coffee.
Even if you’re not planning on taking a train ride anywhere before leaving on one of the cruises from Melbourne, you’ll still want to stop in Flinders Street Station, which first opened in 1910. This beautiful railway station is an architectural icon that’s earned its place on the Victorian Heritage Register and is well worth a visit.
Federation Square, located across from Flinders Street Station, is the main hub of Melbourne culture. With a focus on arts and music, Federation Square serves as a performance venue and is home to art galleries, restaurants and bars, public art demonstrations, and a weekly book market. It’s also home to the visually striking Australian Centre for the Moving Image, which features a contemporary exterior in a myriad of patterns jutting off the side of the structure. Step inside the museum if you’re interested in screen content, including cinema, television, gaming, and digital culture.
Melbourne is often called one of the street art capitals of the world. So important is the artistic endeavor that the Melbourne City Council even designated certain streets acceptable for street art, giving artists full reign to express their creativity. For a more in-depth approach to the street art of Melbourne, sign up for a guided tour.
Today, it’s a museum you can tour, but in the mid-1800s, the Old Melbourne Gaol was a prison housing criminals, the mentally ill, and homeless people. The prison closed in 1929, but its structure and imposing exterior still draw people in who want to discover what it was like to be an inmate there in the 19th and early 20th century.
Enjoy a scenic boat ride down the Yarra River that cuts through the city to take in skyline and wilderness views along the riverbanks. You can also book an excursion into the Yarra Valley surrounding the river to visit one of the area’s excellent wineries located amongst beautiful vineyards.
If you want to learn more about one of Australia’s favorite pastimes and sports before embarking on cruises from Melbourne, visit the Melbourne Cricket Ground. You’ll discover more about the sport of cricket and the team that plays on this field, plus the reason why the Melbourne Cricket Ground is one of the most important cricket stadiums in the world.
Melbourne is a dream city for foodies. You can find just about any type of cuisine and dish that you’re craving here, ranging from delectable budget eats to exquisite fine dining. Those on Melbourne cruises head to Lygon street for Italian cuisine. Vegans will appreciate the Organic Food & Wine Deli. If you’re craving Asian food, visit Melbourne’s Chinatown or go to the South Melbourne Market (especially famous for its dim sims). For views, you’ll find a number of restaurants and cafes along Acland Street in the waterfront neighborhood of St. Kilda, and Greek food in the aptly named Greek Precinct. It’s also where you’ll find some of Melbourne’s famous cake shops, which are as tasty as they sound and perfect for a dessert. Grab a slice (or a whole cake) and a few forks to enjoy on the beach before heading back to your ship.
You can’t skip out on having a cup of coffee in Melbourne, which is often said to have the best coffee in the world. The baristas who create these decadent coffee and espresso drinks treat their coffee-making skills like a true craft of art, both in taste and presentation.
Melbourne was founded in 1835, making it a fairly new city by world standards, especially since it’s so populated and plays such a key role in the economy of the Australian state of Victoria. The roots of the current city makeup of Melbourne were formed when businessmen from the nearby island of Tasmania were looking to start a port settlement and lost out on a bid to do so in Port Phillip. Even before it was proclaimed a settled city, the land of Melbourne was inhabited by the Kulin Nation, which the city of Melbourne respectfully recognizes as being the traditional land of this indigenous culture. The Kulin Nation still views Melbourne as a place of significant importance where its people can gather, work, and socialize, just as they did before British colonists settled the land. Today, Melbourne is known as a melting pot of cultures, rich in restaurants and international cuisine and a thriving art scene.
Cruise ships will dock at Station Pier in Port Melbourne, which is a short walk away from public transportation that will take you into the city center. Most people head straight into the city, but there are also some souvenir shops and eateries within walking distance of the pier.
Melbourne has a convenient tram system that connects the pier with the city center and other sights around the city. In addition, Melbourne has an extensive bus system. Taxis are available to hire by the pier or at one of the taxi ranks around the city center. Trains that connect with other towns and cities in Australia can be boarded at Flinders Street Station or Southern Cross Station.
The attractive Bourke Street Mall boasts great shopping along a pedestrian-only street. Wander down the picturesque street and duck into the stores housing popular brand names. Another great place for shopping that you can get to from the port for Melbourne cruises is the Melbourne Emporium, which is a fairly new complex that offers popular shops in a modern setting.
The currency used in Melbourne is the Australian dollar. You’ll find ATMs located around the city dispensing Australian dollars. In addition, most businesses accept credit cards. It’s common in Melbourne and the rest of Australia to leave a tip, but it may be a smaller amount than what you’re used to at home. Tipping 10% of the total bill at a restaurant is the usual amount expected, while most people just round up to the nearest whole dollar amount for taxi service or a drink at cafes and bars.