If you have not been to Australia yet I hope my Melbourne itinerary for 5 days inspires you to start planning your trip.
If you have already been, and like me are already planning another trip to explore more of Australia I hope this puts a little more heat into those plans to get you out exploring Melbourne CBD and surrounding areas.
The city itself is beautiful with so much to do but also offers a great opportunity to take so many day tours and day trips from Melbourne to explore Great Ocean Road, Philip Island, Yarra Wine Valley and more.
You also have great access to jump off to nearby places like Barrier Reef and New Zealand via a quick flight.
So how many days in Melbourne does one need? I would suggest a the very least 3 days but 5 days in Melbourne allows you to pace yourself and explore not only Melbourne but do day trips without feeling like you are cramming in too much in a short timeba.
To supplement this Australia itinerary of 5 days in Melbourne, I will also be shortly sharing a 7 day Melbourne itinerary with additional options for those with more time in Melbourne.
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Melbourne Itinerary At Glance
- Day 1: Exploring Melbourne CBD – Street Art, Federation Square & Botanical Gardens…
- Day 2: Great Oceans Road Day Trip
- Day3: Melbourne Brunch & St Kilda Penguin parade
- Day4: Day trip options – Grampians or Puffing Billy Railway
- Day5: Melbourne Markets and/or Yarra Valley Winery
Perfect Melbourne Itinerary For 5 Days
Let’s face it, Australia is pretty far and even when you are prepared you may experience a little jet lag. With that in mind, this Melbourne itinerary 5 days blog post takes that into account and makes the first day easy and laid back as you explore Melbourne city sights and also plan where you need to be for the day tours you will be taking from Melbourne.
If you are really short on time and a Melbourne itinerary of 2 days or Melbourne 3 days itinerary this blog post allows you to trim a few areas.
So you can opt to do one day in Melbourne and one day Great Ocean Road tour which is a must for anyone visiting Melbourne.
If you have more time to do say Melbourne itinerary for 10 days then my next post with 7 days itinerary might be one to check out as with 10 days you can also take proper rest days in between day trips and day tours which really can be tiring as you return late in the evening.
Day 1 – Explore Melbourne CBD
Your first day in Melbourne is all about leisurely exploring. So head to Melbourne CBD and wander around. Check out Federation Square, a place filled with bars, cool buildings and where a lot of events are held.
Events like the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival in March, Melbourne International Comedy Festival in April and Melbourne Festival in October and plenty of performances, pop-up exhibitions and free workshops.
This is also an intersection where you will find Flinders Street and around the corner is Hosier Lane. Melbourne is renowned as one of the world’s street art capitals, and residents are encouraged to participate in creative expression.
Hosier and Rutledge lanes and Centre Place are among the most colourful spots, creating some of the city’s best open-air galleries. You can explore Hosier Lane on your own but I would highly recommend taking a guided street art tour as they walk you through the stories behind the art.
Once you have check out Fed Sq, have a quick look at National Gallery of Victoria then continue walking towards St Kilda Road and head for the Shrine of Remembrancee, this then leads you to Melbournes Botanical Gardens.
This places is chilled out and you can explore at leisure. There is a cafe where you can grab some food and chill in the cafe or on the green surrounding the area.
From the Botanical Gardens, you can head out and walk along the River Yarra and take in the sights leading you back to Fed Square and head to Southbank.
Southbank draws a sophisticated crowd to its cultural venues. Here you will also find the Malthouse theater, based in a restored brewery, and the state-of-the-art Melbourne Recital Centre which hosts classical concerts.
Southbank is also where you will find clubs, food courts and designer shops in the sprawling Crown Casino complex. The lively riverside promenades features al fresco fine dining and cargo sheds housing craft-beer bars. There are plenty of rooftop bars, one which we sampled during the day before checking out the Botanical Gardens.
Melbourne Day 1 Itinerary Summary Of Places To Visit In Melbourne
- Melbourne CBD
- Flinders Street
- Hosier Lane
- ACMI – Australia Centre For Moving Image
- Remembrance Shrine
- Botanical Gardens
- Yarra Riverside
- Southbank Area of Melbourne
There is a tourist office on Federation Square in the centre of town and easy to find. They are very helpful with information on getting around, Mapa of Melbourne, tours, and tricks as well as where to stay. For tips on tours to maximise your exploration of Melbourne, check these out.
Day 2 – Great Oceans Road Tour
If you are visiting Melbourne this tour is a must! Exploring the historical Ocean Road, not only taking on beautiful coastal towns but Australia’s amazing beaches is a road trip not to pass up.
While I would recommend doing at least 2 days with only 5 days in Melbourne, I suggest doing a day trip from Melbourne to Great Ocean Road.
A drive to the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne includes a superb coastal view over the sea dashing against some of the majestic reefs and cliffs.
This is the world’s biggest memorial as it pays homage to servicemen lost in World War 1 and 3000 returned soldiers who carved the 243km route from rocky cliffs to this stunning coastal road.
There are several tour options from those that show you the highlights to those that also include dining experiences checking out some of Australia’s famous foods to those that include the rich history of the Aboriginal people who have belonged to these lands for more than 40000 years.
Set your eyes on The 12 Apostles from above as you take in the views a helicopter ride. You can read about my experience doing the helicopter tour of 12 Apostles on GOR on the blog.
The Loch Ard Gorge is also included in many of the tours as well as Otway Rainforest and many more tourist spots.
If you are here for longer you can also add underwater adventures and exploring the corals and snorkeling as well as surfing lessons.
Melbourne Day 2 Itinerary Summary of Things To Do On Great Ocean Road
- Great Ocean Road Arch
- Belles Beach
- Coastal Towns like Torquay
- History of GOR
- GOR Lighthouse
- Limestone stacks of The 12 Apostles
- Loch Ard Gorge and the tragic shipwreck
- Razorback remains of London Bridge
- Stop For Koalas
- Great Otway National Park
I have also linked above to some of the posts where I cover GOR in more detail. If you do one of the GOR day trip tours make sure you check out where they leave from the day before so that you know where they leave from as they start really early at 6 am mostly.
This saves them having to wait for you and possibly leave you behind. Also means you can bit the traffic and get on the road before major congestion starts in Melbourne.
Also note that there are tours that combine a tour of Great Ocean Road and the Grampians as part of one 2-3 day tour.
The other option is renting a car in Melbourne and instead of trying to do everything just do GOR so that you can really take your time with road trip stops along the road.
My friend rented a car for our road trip around Yarra Valley
Day 3 – Melbourne Brunch & St Kits Beach Or Philip Island Tour
After a day on the road all day the day before and exploring the sights on Great Ocean Road this is a day to take things easy a little bit.
With that in mind, start the day checking out Melbourne’s amazing brunch spots. Melbournians love their coffee and quality here matters as do cool brunches.
If you need inspiration on the best places to check out I have a post on Melbourne Brunches on the blog.
After brunch head over and explore The Royal Exhibition Building, a World Heritage Site-listed building in Melbourne, Australia.
The grand Royal Exhibition Building is the world’s only surviving Great Hall, constructed as an exhibition space and still used for that purpose. Now also serves as a museum and well worth adding to your Melbourne itinerary.
You also have some time to chill if you want to squeeze in anything else in your itinerary before the evening’s suggestions.
Once it gets dark you have a choice of heading to St Kilda’s beach to see the Penguin Parade for free. We went slightly early and had dinner close to the pier and waiting for the sun to set.
When it gets dark the little penguins return to the shores. You are allowed to take pictures but no flash is allowed. This is one of the cheapest ways to see the little guys.
If you have more time and want to really see a bigger colony with a combination of a boat cruise, make sure you check out the Philip Island tour.
Melbourne Day 3 Itinerary Summary Of Places To Visit In Melbourne
- Melbourne Brunch
- Royal Exhibition Building Museum
- Free Afternoon
- St Kilda Beach For The Penguin Parade or Philips Island Tour
Day 4 – Grampians National Park Day Trip Or Puffing Billy Railway
Escape Melbourne for a day of exploring at truly stunning part of Victoria. The Grampians national park is rich in spectacular views and scenery and its fair share of history as well.
Learn about the Aboriginals in the Aboriginal Cultural Centre and learn the stories of the early settlers in the area.
Walk to Boroka lookout and explore the quaint little town of Halls Gap. Visit the Balconies/Jaws of death and Reeds lookout and marvel at the amazing views from this spot.
Trek down the gorgeous track to Mackenzie Falls and view the beautiful waterfall before making your way back to Melbourne.
Melbourne Day 4 Itinerary Summary Of Places To Visit in The Grampian National Park
- Aboriginal Cultural Centre
- Boroka lookout point
- Halls Gap
- Reeds lookout point
- Mackenzie Falls
Day 5 – Markets and last day Shopping (Optional Yarra Valley Tour)
So, day 5 in Melbourne is going to be another chill out day. If you are leaving Melbourne today then one option is an easy day where you pretty much explore as you please.
If can also be a free day where you repeat any of the places you have already visited in Melbourne or visit places you may have missed out on in the city.
If like me your life leaves Melbourne late in the night then you might have a full day to explore. You can either check out the markets in Melbourne or do another day tour.
My friend took me on a road trip exploring Gunnamatta beach as well as Arthur’s Seat which has stunning views of Melbourne from high up in the mountains.
We also checked out Yarra Valley. If you are a lover of wine a day tour to Yarra Valley’s wine region is a must. For a selection of Yarra Valley tours click here.
Degraves Street – Just across Flinders Lane from Centre Place, Degraves has become famous for its alfresco dining options and because it epitomises Melbourne’s famous coffee culture and street art scene. For these reasons, it has also become a popular tourist destination.
Melbourne Day 4 Itinerary Summary Of Places To Visit
- Melbourne Markets
- Yarra Valley
Where To Stay In Melbourne
I had the luxury of having a studio of my own staying at my friends in Melbourne. If you want to stay locally in CBD I would recommend the Sofitel on Collin Street in Melbourne CBD, which I also visited during my visit in Melbourne.
You also have IBIS Melbourne CBD Budget hotel as well as the Bradys Hotel in Melbourne Central. For a full list of Melbourne hotels and apartment, options click here. Many offering great accommodation and free wifi as well as tips on explore and assistance in booking tours.
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