Royal Botanic Gardens
Visit the Turf Bar for a leisurely lunch before walking in the Melbourne Botanic Garden
In the heart of green parkland extending south of the Yarra River, about two kilometers from the CBD, the Royal Botanic Gardens are among the finest of their kind in the world. Visiting the gardens is one of the best free things to do in Melbourne. In summer, live theater is a highlight of the gardens, and a moonlight cinema is set up under the stars. This is also a popular spot for a picnic by the lake or a traditional high tea at The Terrace cafe.
Named in recognition of The Eureka Stockade, the 1854 rebellion of prospectors in the Victorian goldfields, the Eureka Tower stands 91 stories above ground in the heart of Southbank. The skyscraper’s gold crown and gold-plated windows add to the theme and literally sparkle when the sun catches the top of the building.
Skydeck, on the 88th floor, affords the highest public view in any building in the Southern Hemisphere. Adding to the experience is The Edge, a glass cube that slides out three meters from the building for vertigo-free visitors.
Yarra River Cruise
A river boat cruise is not only the perfect way to see the sights, it’s also an insight into the history of the Yarra River. Many cruise companies can be found along Southbank, and it’s a relaxing and fun way to get your bearings before you set out to explore the city on foot. While you’re gliding down the river, keep an eye out for Birrarung Marr, originally called “Birrarung,” meaning “river of mists and shadows,” a waterfront parkland celebrating Aboriginal ties with the Yarra River.
Docklands is Melbourne’s newest waterfront entertainment precinct. With the highest concentration of green-star rated buildings in the Southern Hemisphere, the satellite village is filled with cafés, restaurants, tourist attractions, and parklands. The view from the giant observation wheel, Melbourne Star, is spectacular, and the area is also home to Etihad Stadium; the Junior Wonderland amusement park; and the Icehouse, a world-class ice sports venue.
Queen Victoria Market
A popular place with locals and tourists, this historic icon has been at the center of fresh produce shopping since 1878. In addition to the magnificent food halls, market stalls sell everything from clothing, art, and toys to that hard-to-find unique souvenir, five days a week. Tours are available, and special events such as night markets, music concerts, and other functions are often held during summer.
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