Make it a Melbourne holiday on your next trip to this sporting capital and cultural centre. The city's bars and restaurants number are among the world's best and the coffee's not bad either. So visit or vacation in style with these top Melbourne experiences.
1. See sporting greats
Relive legendary sporting victories and discover inspiring stories at the redeveloped Australian Sports Museum. The interactive, multimedia museum is home to an incredible collection of Aussie sports memorabilia. Pay your respects in the cricket gallery, or branch out into other codes before creating your own gold medal moments in the interactive Game On.
Book ahead for an MCG tour for a behind-the-scenes visit to the hallowed ground, including a visit to the media centre and a peek into the players' change rooms – check the timetable as tours will not run on event days.
2. River adventures
Image: Yarra Botanica
Gather a group and be the captain of your own electric boat cruise along the Yarra River with GoBoat Melbourne. Head upriver past the MCG or downriver past Crown Casino. Pack some picnic goodies and enjoy on the water in the summer sun.
For further fun by the Yarra, dine waterside at Arbory, or jump aboard Arbory Afloat. Raise a toast at Ponyfish Island in the middle of the river and settle in for a meal of local Victorian produce at floating eatery Yarra Botanica.
3. Connect with culture
Learn about Victorian Aboriginal experiences and the rich history of the world's longest continuous living culture at the Koorie Heritage Trust. See the latest exhibitions and join a Birrarung Wilam (River Camp) walking tour, learning more about the history of Birrarung Marr (River of Mists – Yarra River).
Get to know native plants and learn about connection to Country on an Aboriginal Heritage Walk through the Royal Botanic Gardens.
4. Head for a hike
Bring a day pack for some scenic walking trails, a short drive or train trip from Melbourne. Delve deep into forest trails in the Dandenong Ranges National Park. Walk among lush ferns and discover gurgling streams and gushing waterfalls. Zip down to Phillip Island for rugged Bass Strait coastline and salt-whipped breezes on the George Bass Coastal Walk.
Stick closer to the city within Melbourne's Yarra Bend Park, where stunning trails wind alongside the Merri Creek and the Yarra River.
5. Craft breweries
Image: Mountain Goat Beer
Head a few short stops into Collingwood on the 86 tram for a hopping good time. A bunch of craft and microbreweries have set up shop, making it easy to sample diverse flavours in a few short blocks. Get taste-testing at Fixation Brewing Company, Molly Rose and The Mill Brewery. Head a little further with our self-guided Urban Brewery Trail, or let the experts show you around on a pre-booked Craft Beer Lovers' Tour.
6. Local flavours
Victoria's exceptional local produce is best tasted at the city's top tables. Make a beeline for Federation Square to Victoria by Farmer's Daughters. Sample the finest flavours from our growers and producers, and enjoy your meal on the terrace overlooking the Yarra.
Narrow the regions at the original Farmer's Daughters on Collins Street, where the flavours of Gippsland vie for MVP. Other star players include Big Esso by Mabu Mabu, Hero and Collingwood's hatted vegan eatery Smith and Daughters.
7. Bird's-eye views
Image: Melbourne Skydeck
Get to know Melbourne from a different point of view. Zip up to the Southern Hemisphere's highest observation deck at Melbourne Skydeck in Southbank. Gaze at the expansive city views, step out onto The Edge – a transparent glass cube – and enter a 6D immersive sensory experience in the Voyager Theatre.
Head to Vue de Monde's Lui Bar on the 55th floor of the Rialto Building for a winning combo: sophisticated cocktails mixed with breathtaking city views.
8. Friendly watering holes
Prop up the bar at some of Melbourne's welcoming neighbourhood pubs. See what sport is playing on the small screen, catch some live music, and maybe bag a 'parma and pint' special. Meet fellow sports lovers at The Rose Fitzroy or go for an elegant pub meal at The Builders Arms. Down in St Kilda, enjoy a bevvy with sparkling bay views at the Hotel Esplanade, known as the Espy.
If whisky's your thing, sip a single malt or two at Whisky Den and Whisky and Alement, both in the city.
9. Art afternoons
Image: NGV International
Sports and arts go hand in hand in Melbourne. You'll find many locals who are big fans of both. Get up to speed with the latest exhibitions while you're in town. The Australian collection at The Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia at Federation Square is an undoubted highlight, and free to enter. Understand Australia's visual history, from Indigenous art pieces through to Australian modernists and beyond.
See the latest global exhibitions at the NGV International and enjoy drinks and entertainment at NGV Friday Nights throughout the year, or soak it up, literally, in the immersive digital art space LUME.
10. Cycle the city
Set out to explore the city by bike. Follow the Capital City Trail from Southbank along the grassy banks of the Yarra River past the Victorian Arts Centre, Royal Botanic Gardens, the MCG and Melbourne Park. Stop in at Abbotsford Convent to wander through open green space, art galleries and take in the grandeur of the site's historic buildings. Worked up an appetite? The Farm Cafe at Collingwood Children's Farm has sweet treats and savoury classics aplenty.