How to spend one day in Melbourne: the ultimate Melbourne 1-day itinerary

Pauline

06 September 2020

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How to spend one day in Melbourne: the ultimate Melbourne 1-day itinerary

When it comes to amazing cities in Australia, Melbourne sets the standard! If you are stopping by and wondering how to spend one day in Melbourne, you’ve come to the right place!

 

Melbourne is the capital of the state of Victoria. It’s also known as the cultural capital of Australia! There is so much you can do in Melbourne and although one day is a bit short, let’s make the best of it!

 

In this article, you will discover exactly what to do in Melbourne in one day but also where to eat and what to wear! We will mainly focus on Melbourne CBD and surrounding suburbs as you won’t want to spend the day in public transport.

 

itinerary 1 day in melbourne

 

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning I get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through my links, at no extra cost for you!

 

Melbourne 1-day itinerary Map

 

Here is the map of all the places you will visit in Melbourne (as indicated in the itinerary below)

 

Morning: Walking tour of Melbourne CBD (guided or self-guided)

 

If you love guided walking tours, this one is for you! If you don’t, feel free to opt for the self-guided version of this walking tour. Details a bit below.

 

The reason why I highly recommend going on a walking tour is that you are only in Melbourne for one day! You need to see as much as possible, as efficiently as possible.

 

south bank melbourne

 

If you opt for a walking tour, you will not only get to see the most famous sites in Melbourne but also learn about the history and local culture.

 

On this walking tour, you will be starting in Gordon Reserve. The park is located between Flinders Street Station and Carlton. From there, you can access everything on foot, which is very practical.

 

During the tour, you will get to see:

  • Flinders Street Station
  • The arcades
  • Hosier Lane
  • Yarra River banks
  • And plenty more!

 

The guide will also bring you to a local cafe and bar where you can try a typical Melbourne coffee and some delicious Aussie food and beer.

 

Melbourne is Australia’s coffee capital and if there is one thing you must do there, it’s drinking coffee!

 

hosier lane in melbourne cbd

 

The guided tour is a great way to experience the city. The guide will also give you plenty of insider tips which always comes in handy. It’s a small group so you can talk and won’t feel lost. It starts at 11 am.

 

Click here to see the latest prices.

 

If you are on a budget and don’t mind being in a big group, you can opt for a free walking tour of Melbourne. Don’t forget you still need to tip the guide, so it’s not exactly free, but it’s a good budget option!

 

If you wish to do that on your own, here is the itinerary:

 

  • Start at Flinders Street Station
  • Cross the Princes bridge
  • Walk down the Yarra River banks
  • Cross the Evan walker bridge and walk back to Federation Square
  • Head straight to St Paul cathedral
  • Keep going until you reach Hosier Lane (on your left). This street is extremely famous for its street art!
  • Walk up Russell Street and turn right on Chinatown
  • Keep going until you reach the Parliament House
  • Head to Carlton Gardens
  • Walk down to old Carlton and Lygon Street

 

Lunch in Carlton

 

Carlton is Melbourne’s Italian quarter. It’s also known as the birthplace of the coffee culture in the city and is one of the best places to grab a bite to eat!

 

I particularly recommend Tiamo. They serve amazing Italian food and the staff is very friendly!

 

It’s one of the oldest restaurants on Lygon Street and it won’t disappoint. They also serve food until quite late which will come in handy, especially if you went on the walking tour.

 

You can see the menu on their official website.

 

Afternoon: Botanical gardens and amazing views of Melbourne

 

After your lunch in Carlton, hop on the tramway 1 or 6 from Lygon St down to Arts Precinct/St Kilda Rd. From there, you will walk 10 minutes to the Royal Botanic Gardens.

 

Melbourne Royal Botanic Gardens

 

royal botanic gardens in melbourne

 

The botanical gardens are a great place to go for a peaceful walk, away from the crowds!

 

It’s so nice to wander around and look at the beautiful plants.

 

And the entrance is free, which is always a nice thing!

 

Shrine of Remembrance

 

shrine of remembrance in melbourne australia

 

After your visit, head to the Shrine of Remembrance. It was built as a war memorial and has a strong significance.

 

The building itself, although interesting, is not the main attraction there.

 

The best thing about the Shrine is that you will get to enjoy amazing views of the Melbourne skyline!

 

It’s also a great photo spot!

 

Once you reach the top, you will see exactly what I mean!

 

Eureka Tower

 

The Eureka Tower is a skyscraper located in the South bank of Melbourne. It’s the second tallest building in the city and is well known for featuring amazing views of Melbourne.

 

eureka tower melbourne

 

From the Shrine, you only need to walk 10 minutes.

 

I particularly recommend going at the end of the day so you get to enjoy the sunset as well.

 

The entrance costs $25 and should be booked in advance. It’s a pretty popular place and if you want to make sure you can go, especially for sunset, you should consider booking your ticket online. Click here for prices and availability.

 

Dinner in Chinatown

 

Melbourne’s Chinatown is an institution! It’s the second oldest Chinatown in the world! If you followed this Melbourne 1-day itinerary, you should have already walked around Chinatown in the morning.

 

But it would be a shame to leave without trying the food!

 

 

After visiting the Eureka Tower, head to Little Bourke street. Walk under the arches that mark the beginning of Chinatown and discover the restaurants!

 

There are so many of them and to be honest, you can’t really get it wrong! I would recommend just picking the one that appeals the most to you.

 

That having been said, I appreciate that there are so many of them that it can get a bit overwhelming.

 

If you don’t know which one to choose, head to Shanghai Village. They serve delicious dumplings and the prices are very good! It’s also BYO so if you are after a cheap and delicious meal, that will be the perfect place for you!

 

Drinks at Berlin bar

 

Melbourne is known for its nightlife and secret bars! Located only 1 minute walk from Little Bourke Street, Berlin bar is a great place to grab drinks.

 

This bar features a very unique theme: Germany during the cold war. They serve amazing cocktails and prices are very reasonable. Cocktails cost about $12, which is pretty good for Melbourne CBD.

 

It’s a great place to enjoy your evening and discover a hidden gem in Melbourne!

 

And this is it for our Melbourne 1 day itinerary! As you can see, St Kilda is not included there. It takes quite a bit of time to get there by public transport and there is so much to see in the CBD that it’s better to focus on that when you only have a day in Melbourne.

 

If you wanted to see St Kilda and other hidden gems, feel free to check our 2-day or 3-day itineraries.

 

Now that you know what to do in Melbourne in 24 hours, here is some practical information about the city.

 

Where to stay in Melbourne CBD

 

If you are only here for a day, you may not need a place to stay but in case you do, here are some great options.

 

Budget accommodation: The Mansion Melbourne. Located on the edge of the CBD, near Carlton Gardens, the Mansion is one of the best hostels in the city. Prices and availability here.

 

Mid-range accommodation: The Victoria Hotel. Ideally located in the heart of Melbourne CBD, it’s a great option for couples and travellers looking for a bit more comfort and privacy than a backpacker. Click here to see the latest prices.

 

Luxury accommodation: QT Melbourne. Situated on Russell Street, this is pretty much as good as it can get in terms of location and features. Click here to see the latest prices and availability.

 

Public transport in Melbourne

 

From the airport to Melbourne CBD: The best way to get from the airport to the city is by taking the Skybus. It costs about $19.75 one way, $36.50 return. I appreciate that it’s not cheap but it’s also only 20-30 min long and way more affordable than a taxi (unless you are 4 people). It can be booked in advance here.

 

Trams in the city: You normally need a Miki card to take the tram in Melbourne however, if you are only staying in the CBD, you will be within the free tram zone. This means you can hop on and off the tram and won’t have to pay for it. Make sure you don’t go any further than the free zone though.

 

If you do (in Carlton for example), make sure you get a Miki card in a 7 Eleven. It costs $5 and you should top it up with $5 dollars. At the end of the day, bring it back to a 7 Eleven and they will give you the 5 bucks back.

 

What to wear in Melbourne for one day

 

As a general thing, make sure you are wearing comfortable shoes. I personally liked wearing converses in Melbourne.

 

In summer, it will be quite hot so shorts and t-shirts will be perfect. With a jeans jacket for the evening.

 

In winter, it will be cold! Colder than you expect! Make sure you are wearing a coat or a good jacket, a pair of jeans and warm shoes.

 

All of that having been said, Melbourne is known for its changing weather. Melbournians always say they get the 4 seasons in one day. This is ABSOLUTELY true! It can be super hot in the morning, rainy at lunchtime and cold in the afternoon.

 

My best recommendation is to check the weather forecast for the whole day (hour per hour) and pack accordingly. A light rain jacket is always a good thing to have in your bag.

 

Here we go, now you know everything about how to spend 24 hours in Melbourne! Have fun!

 

You may also be interested in:

Day trip from Melbourne to Brighton Bathing Boxes

Day Trips from Melbourne

Sydney to Melbourne Road Trip Itineraries

Australia Travel Guide

 

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1 day in melbourne itinerary

 

how to spend 1 day in melbourne

About me

 

breakaways coober pedy SA

 

Hi! I’m Pauline, a French expat in the UK!

 

I’ve lived in several countries and travelled around Australia for a year!

 

Now I’m sharing all my travel tips and cultural facts with you!