Most of our readers will know how much we love Melbourne, after living here for 9 months we consider it our second home and home to settle down there in the future. It’s such an energetic, historic and diverse city that has everything from amazing food, gold rush era architecture, world class street art and peaceful gardens as well as being surrounded by amazing coastlines and breathtaking National Parks. Of course, we recommend spending as long as you can in this incredible city, but many people taking a trip to Australia only have a few days in each area to make the most of them. So with that in mind we’ve compiled the ultimate Melbourne 5 day itinerary so you can be sure to take in the best places to visit in Melbourne as well as some day trips on your visit.
Melbourne 5 day itinerary: Where to Stay
When you’re short on time it’s always best to stay as central as you can, though Melbourne can be expensive! Think about staying either within the CBD or if you do head out to the suburbs for either somewhere cheaper or more peaceful. Be sure to stay somewhere close to a tram or train station to make the most if your 5 days in Melbourne. One of our favourite areas of the city to stay is Flinders Lane as it offers an ideal base from which to explore and make the most of your Melbourne trip.
Melbourne 5 day itinerary: Getting Around the City:
Melbourne is a great city to get around using public transport as it has a well developed system of Metro Trains, Trams and buses as well as the CBD being very walkable. All the main methods of transport can be used on the one MYKI card which can be topped up online, at train/ tram stops and when boarding the bus. Using public transport is the perfect way to make the most of a Melbourne 5 day itinerary.
Some places like The Grampians and The Great Ocean Road will need either a car or an organised tour so you should also factor that into your Melbourne 5 day itinerary and plan ahead. They are easy day trips from Melbourne but do require a bit of organisation beforehand. Driving in the CBD isn’t recommended and isn’t necessary at all.
Use the Public Transport Victoria website to plan your Melbourne itinerary 5 days.
Melbourne 5 day itinerary:
Day 1: Explore the buzzing heart of Melbourne in the CBD with the laneways and street art
Straight away you want to get into the swing of things and see what the city is all about to start your Melbourne 5 day itinerary. So head straight to Flinders Street Station and the heart of the CBD. Be sure not to overlook the incredible station you’ve just arrived in. Built in 1909 the Art Nouveau style is a cultural icon of the city and a true Melbourne landmark. “Meet me under the clock” is a real Melburnian saying and refers to the rows of clocks and timetables above the beautiful main entrance, it’s an ideal introduction to any Melbourne itinerary.
After walking out of the main entrance to Flinders Street Station you’ve be hit right in the face by the hustle and bustle of Melbourne. Cross right over head down to Hosier Lane, one of the city’s most famous laneways made so by the ever changing display of street art that covers almost every possible space! It’s one of the best places to visit in Melbourne if you love street art and culture. Sure, it’s busy down here but it also creates a buzzing atmosphere with many artists usually plying their trade down here each day too, doing a laneway tour is a must do when you spend 5 days in Melbourne.
Laneways are another Melbourne icon and there are many to explore offering different experiences. Around the corner from Hosier Lane is the epicly named AC DC Lane. Down here the artwork is less changeable but instead usually consists of incredible long term music inspired murals reflecting the Aussie rockers the lane is named after. The next laneway to explore is Union Lane just off the main shopping high street of Bourke St. Union Lane is a long and narrow laneway once again covered entirely in incredible street art. Despite its central location it has a much grimier and grittier feel. Popping out at the other end and taking in the atmosphere as well as shopping on Bourke St is such a change in scenery and a worthwhile stopping off point for both the architecture and liveliness. Be sure to walk back down Swanston Street towards your next stop, taking in the magnificent Melbourne Town Hall and Manchester Unity Building.
Finish off your laneway tour down Centre Place and grab some lunch on this trendy and photogenic area of the city. With a combination of lively bars, restaurants and a happening cafe scene as well as a healthy splattering of street art makes it typically Melbourne. Be sure to sample one of the city’s famous coffees over a sandwich or cake before calling in at one of the local boutiques. This is also a great place to head to on a walking tour as it’s also a very historic part of the city!
Next up it’s time to cross back over towards Flinders Street Station and go for a trip on the historic and FREE Circle Line Tram. The heritage line includes running commentary as it winds its way around the city taking in some of Melbourne’s most important and impressive buildings. Be sure to stop off at the Victorian Parliament Building and Old Treasury Building for an insight into Melbourne’s history. Alternatively you could do a hop on hop off bus tour which will take you around most of the heritage buildings in the city.
To finish the day head back once again to Flinders Street Station and cross over Prince’s Bridge for some of the best views of the Melbourne Skyline as you cross the Yarra River. Built in 1888 the bridge itself is an example of typical Melbourne architecture and how similar it is to that of our hometown of Manchester. After crossing over the bridge turn down South Bank for a stroll along the Yarra and yet more impressive views of the Melbourne skyline and Flinders Street Station from another angle. From here you can head up to the top of the 297.3m Eureka Tower for an unforgettable view over this remarkable city. Be sure to book your tickets in advance to get the best deal and be sure to reserve a spot as it can get busy.
If your budget stretches, then why not have a meal up here as the sun sets on your first day. If you’re on a tight budget, then head back over to Swanston Street and to Om Vegetarian if you’re a fan of Indian Food for an all you can eat Thali for only $7.50!
Melbourne 5 day itinerary:
Day 2: Take a day trip out to the Grampians National Park
After the busyness of your first day it’s time to get out of the city and head out to the Grampians National Park to take in some of Country Victoria’s most spectacular scenery on one of the best day trips around Melbourne. It’s the ideal way to spend the second day of your Melbourne 5 day itinerary.
If you can hire a car and take the trip self guided then be sure to plan out the day to make the most of your time. The drive to the small town of Halls Gap where you can explore the area from takes around 3 hours, if you’re planning Melbourne road trip itinerary then it’s a must do.
Another idea is to take an organised tour that leaves early from the CBD, with such a short time in the area it might be best to let someone else show you all the not to be missed lookouts and views! In fact, we’ve done it both ways and in terms of short visits we feel if you are short on time and just want to see the highlights then a tour really does take the stress out of the day and means you can just sit back and take it all in.
Some of the must see spots include stopping off at the historic Eureka Stockade memorial along the way in Ballarat where the gold miners rebelled against their British rulers, it’s an interesting addition to any Melbourne itinerary.
Once you’ve arrived in The Grampians a visit to the Silverband Falls and MacKenzies Falls are not to be missed with the latter being one of the most impressive in Victoria. A short walk through the aptly named Grand Canyon provides an up close look at the unique geology of this region with banded fault lines carved out over thousands of years. Continuing on to The Pinnacle viewpoint is highly recommended if you have time and is unlikely to be on most organised tours.
A visit to The Grampians wouldn’t be complete without taking in its grandeur from above and the most famous vantage points are Reeds Lookout and Boroka Lookout that provide panoramic vistas out over this stunning landscape. Finally, before heading back to Melbourne be sure to have a wander around the township of Halls Gap and in particular the oval where its usual to see kangaroos gathering in the late afternoon and evening. The roos here are pretty tame given how used to tourists they are so it’s a nice way to see some local animals up close (don’t get too close!) without going to a zoo and is a cool experience during your 5 days in Melbourne.
Melbourne 5 day itinerary:
Day 3: Back in the CBD to Visit Some of the Gardens and Galleries Before Venturing out to Fitzroy.
Ok, so after your adventure outside of the city its right back at it but this time it’s a change of pace and we are all set to explore some of the beautiful gardens, parks and museums of Melbourne on the third day of your Melbourne 5 day itinerary.
Once again you will start your day off at Flinders Street Station and head again over Princes Bridge, this time though you will continue on along St Kilda Road. You can take a tram down here but we recommend walking one way and taking the tram back to the city. Along the way your first port of call will be the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia’s oldest and most visited art museum. The gallery actually sits on several different campuses including one in Federation Square. The gallery hosts a wide range of Australian and international work that covers a variety of mediums, eras and styles which includes aboriginal art and pieces by Picasso, Dali, Monet, Rembrandt and more.
Continuing along St Kilda Road you should cross over and explore the beautiful Victoria Gardens with its many period statues and monuments before finding yourself at the Shrine of Remembrance. This war memorial is dedicated to those lost in the First World War and is one of the largest in Australia. Whilst visiting you can go inside the memorial and up to the roof for amazing views back over the city. There is also a museum underneath dedicated to the ANZAC war efforts over the years. The Shrine is also set in the outer reaches of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens, if you have the time then it’s well worth a wander.
Take a tram back down into the city and then head to Fitzroy Gardens behind the Parliament building. These peaceful gardens are not only a beautiful place to escape the chaos of the city but they are also home to the oldest building in Australia; Cooks Cottage. Constructed in 1755 in a village in Yorkshire it was the home where Captain Cook grew up. In 1934 it was taken down and transported to Melbourne before being reconstructed brick by brick in the park. Now it is a museum dedicated to the explorer and is laid out as it would have been in the mid 1700s. Other places to see in Fitzroy gardens are the Victorian Era conservatory, aboriginal scarred tree and the ornamental lake.
Now it’s time to head across town to the beautiful Carlton Gardens and the UNESCO listed Royal Exhibition Building and Melbourne Museum. Built in 1880 the Royal Exhibition Building has to be one of the most elegant and beautiful buildings in the city and with its ornamental fountains in the gardens around it it’s a wonderful spot to soak in Melbourne’s history. The nearby modern Melbourne Museum is a fun place to explore to take in both Melbourne’s history as well as having exhibitions on evolution and the body!
From Carlton Gardens you are in a perfect place to head on up to Brunswick Street and into the hipster neighbourhood of Fitzroy that should be on any Melbourne itinerary. This trendy area is one to spend a while in weaving in and out of the laneways and streets taking in the cool vibe of street art, boutiques, coffee shops and wide range of restaurants, many with a focus on vegan and international cuisine. The main streets we suggest visiting are Brunswick Street, George Street, Gertrude Street and Smith Street. If you’re on the look out for a unique souvenir then this is the place to pick one up! Be sure to grab some food around here, you will be spoilt for choice! It’s also a great place to take a street art walking tour and much more chilled out than those in the CBD!
Melbourne 5 day itinerary:
Day 4: Take a day trip to The Great Ocean Road
Another one of the many Melbourne day trips you could take this time you will be heading down the incredible Great Ocean Road which is a real must do! Once again here you can choose to do a self guided visit with a car rental or take an organised day trip. The drive from Melbourne to 12 apostles via Great Ocean Road takes 4 hrs one way, and that’s without stopping, so it’s a full day adventure but it’s a must do on any Melbourne 5 day itinerary. There are however some short trips from Melbourne to the beginning of the road you can take if you don’t want to tackle the whole thing.
Getting an early start you should head down towards Geelong and stop first at the surfer town of Torquay where you can take in the world famous Bells Beach, home to the Rip Curl Pro. Heard of “Round the Twist” we grew up watching the Aussie kids show so visiting the lighthouse at Aireys Inlet is a worthwhile quick stop off! If you’re after just some short drives from Melbourne then you could just visit this area of the coast.
Continuing along the road the next stop is the sleepy town of Lorne, be sure to head on up to Teddys Lookout for some of the most spectacular views of The Great Ocean Road. This is one of our favourite spots along the road and one of the most scenic drives Melbourne has to offer. The Melbourne to lorne section takes around 2 hours.
If you’re on the lookout for wildlife then a stop at Kennett River is the ideal place to spot a dozing Koala in the swaying gum trees. In fact, every time we’ve been here we’ve seen several so it’s a really cool place to stop on your Great Ocean Road day trip from Melbourne.
Continuing on through the enchanting Otway National Park to the far end of the Great Ocean Road the real magic of this incredible place makes itself apparent and it why it’s one of the best road trips from Melbourne.
First up is Gibson’s Steps, a precursor to the majesty just around the corner. This sea stack is accessible via a set of steps down to the beach. Just down the road is the real star of the show and the main sight along the Great Ocean Road, The 12 Apostles, which is a must do on any Melbourne trip. The towering limestone stacks, of which there are only 8 left, are one of the real iconic sights of Victoria and well worth the drive! If you can get here early to miss the crowds, when we’ve planned our day drives from Melbourne down here we’ve usually done starting here first and worked our way back.
Along the shipwreck coast there are many other incredible places to stop including London Bridge an amazing stone arch way and then our favourite stop along the road, Loch Ard Gorge a magnificent bay made up of towering yellow cliff faces and lapping turquoise water. It will be a highlight of your 5 days in Melbourne for sure and one of the best places to visit in Melbourne.
Melbourne 5 day Itinerary:
Day 5: Spend your Last Day Relaxing on the Beaches of St. Kilda and Brighton
On your last day in Melbourne it’s time to take in yet another side to the city to finish off the perfect Melbourne 5 day itinerary.
Firstly take the train from Flinders Street to the upmarket suburb of Brighton. It’s as easy as hopping on the Sandringham line and getting off at Middle Brighton, though the beach is a 1.3km walk from Brighton Station if you get off there.
Here you can explore the colourful, and expensive, traditional bathing boxes that line the beach. Each one is painted in a unique style and it really is fun to see all the different designs the locals have come up with. If you venture down here in summer then it makes a perfect spot to go swimming, though many of the boxes might be open. So, a winter visit isn’t always a bad idea as its usually quieter and with the boxes shut you can really appreciate their charm. The bathing boxes too have an interesting history having sat here for over 100 years and usually either passed down through the generations or sold at incredibly inflated prices for what is essentially a shed on the beach with no water or electricity!
The next place to explore is the trendy beachside suburb of St Kilda. Getting here from Brighton means getting back on the train towards the city and getting off at Balaclava from here you can nip on the number 16 tram towards Luna Park or walk which is 22 min/ 1.7km. Visiting the historic amusement park of Luna Park is a must when you visit St Kilda, as it indulging in one of the cakes from the main bakeries the area is famous for. After grabbing a bite or two to eat it’s time to head down St Kilda pier for sunset to see the local little penguin colony come home to the breakwater. Such a cute and unbelievable sight given how close they are to the city!
Have You Been to Visited, What Would You Include In a Melbourne 5 Day Itinerary and What Do You Think Are the best Places to Visit in Melbourne?
See some of our other Melbourne travel blog guides:
How many days in Melbourne? Well of course we’d recommend as many as you can! So if you happen to stick around for longer here are some other ideas for your visit!
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