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Australia’s second largest city, Melbourne is one of the world’s most liveable cities, and draws visitors from all over the globe with its elegant European feel, convenient and reliable public transportation, rich culinary heritage, and wealth of exciting attractions.

With year round festivals and events, there is always something happening in Melbourne. Whether you fancy watching sports, enjoying entertainment, or simply want to relax in beautiful gardens, Melbourne makes for the perfect holiday no matter what your personality is.

Though how do you know if Melbourne is the destination for you? Even though it’s a pretty safe bet in terms of an incredible vacation, what kind of travelers does the city suit?

5 Types of Travelers Who Visit Melbourne … Is This You?

Sports Spectators

Sport is a crucial part of the social fabric in Melbourne, and if you’re a fan of the spectator atmosphere, you certainly won’t be bored.

Melbourne’s sporting calendar is packed with electrifying events, with big ticket events like international cricket, the Melbourne Cup, the Australian Formula One Grand Prix , and Australian Tennis Open. But one sport which takes one  particularly religious aspect here is the Australian Football League (AFL).

Aussie rules football is the largest spectator sport in the country. Seaon runs roughly from March – September each year, and you can catch a game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). And, if you find yourself in Melbourne on the last Saturday in September, and the city takes on a completely different atmosphere.

Hundreds of thousands of football fanatics crowd the streets on a pilgrimage through the city to the AFL Grand Final. The streets are flooded with colors, scarfs and flags, and the age old buildings literally shake, the energy surrounding the stadium flooding out to the city at large.

Photo credits from top: Yu-Jheng Fang / Jimmy Harris

Nature Enthusiasts

Melbourne may be Australia’s second largest city, but just outside the city (and even within) you’ll find incredible natural attractions where you can witness a wide range of nature and wildlife.

Just outside Melbourne’s CBD you’ll find some of Australia’s finest sanctuaries for authentic wildlife encounters, home to both Australian and international species. And within the city, there are an incredible range of attractions, including the zoo, the aquarium, and many nature parks prolific with native wildlife.

Phillip Island Nature Parks is a popular day trip from Melbourne, where you can experience the thrill of seeing penguins return to shore at sunset via the Penguin Parade Experience, and see koalas in their natural habitat with a visit to the Koala Conservation Centre.

For up close and personal encounters with koalas.


Home to 8 universities that teach close to 300,000 students, Melbourne comfortably Australia’s biggest university city, and one of the biggest study abroad destinations globally.

The city has a very hip, youthful vibe, and lively university culture that offers both a spirited, urban nightlife scene and plenty of opportunities for employment. And the prestige of Melbourne’s universities, including the University of Melbourne, Monash University, RMIT University and La Trobe University, actually tops Sydney.

Rated as Australia’s most livable city, the quality of life for students in Melbourne is a point of pride, and numerous groups and clubs exist to keep students active and socialising. You will find many student discounts offered throughout the city, so be sure to have an international student card with you.

Top 10 things to do in Melbourne

The Culture Obsessed

Melbourne is Australia’s style setter; an arty city, both scenic and cosmopolitan, with diverse, dynamic inhabitants that proudly claim their title as Australia’s cultural capital.

It’s progressive, multicultural, gritty-chic, food-obsessed, and has a non stop events calendar which is always packed with arts festivals, live music, exhibitions, blockbuster theater shows, sport and activities for kids.

Visit Old Melbourne Gaol and walk the halls of which held Australia’s most notable criminals including the much loved and despised Ned Kelly. It is here where Ned Kelly would eventually be hanged along with well over 100 others from the gaols operation from 1842 to 1929.

Or take to the city’s alleyways for one of Australia’s greatest street art scenes (the most notable being Hosier Lane). Street art covers almost every nook and cranny of Melbourne, and the city is home to some incredible worldwide talent. It is truly a creative, colourful city, with street murals, and spray painted laneways from Fitzroy, through to the CBD.

The Foodie

Travelers hit up Melbourne for it’s sports and culture scene, though most leave with an insatiable craving for more of the city’s fine food, wine, and coffee.

The food scene in Melbourne is exciting, cultural, vibrant, and has a fantastic diversity of restaurants. You will find multi cultural foods and fresh Australian produce served across a huge range of gourmet restaurants, traditional historic pubs, boutique cafes, cool rooftop bars, and exceptional coffee shops.

Apart from the sensational food, there’s also the booming wine industry. Less than an hour drive from Melbourne, the Yarra Valley is a popular destination among locals for a weekend break. The region is known for its flagship chardonnay, pinot noir and sparkling wines, though it is also known for its local breweries and artisan cider producers.


Lonely Planet Pocket Melbourne

Lonely Planet Melbourne & Victoria

Fodor’s Australia



Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.



  1. I love Australia and Australian wines. Hope next time I visit Melbourne

    • Awesome Jai – the Yarra Valley is an incredible place to visit from Melbourne if you’re a wine connoisseur :)

    • Would love to visit! Looks amazing!

  2. I’ll find out. Going in the fall.

    • You’ll have such a fabulous time! Enjoy your trip :)

  3. nature and culture – those two are where i fit in currently.. while i am a foodie, i am also a vegetarian so need to look into that :)thank you for your informative posts always

    • Some of Melbourne’s best restaurants are vegetarian, so you shouldn’t have any problem finding great food :) Glad you enjoyed the post Vidya!

  4. We are looking forward to visiting Melbourne in August and buying tickets to watch a game of AFL. Any teams we should support?

    • You’ll have a fabulous time! The atmosphere at the MCG is always electric :) Personally I barrack for Collingwood, and they’re a Melbourne team with MCG as their home ground.

      Have a wonderful trip!

  5. Literally flying to Australia with the only goal of cuddling a koala. Will definitely be planning a visit to the Koala Conservation Centre. Thankyou!

    • Hi Carly, it sounds like you’re quite wildlife obsessed! Melbourne is a great base for you then – you can’t actually cuddle a koala at the conservation center, but you can walk around the boardwalk and see them interacting in their natural habitat.

      Melbourne Zoo offers close up encounters with koalas, I don’t know if you can hold them anymore, but it’s $12 extra to be let into their enclosure and get right up close to snap a photo with them.

      Hope that helps! Have an amazing trip :)

  6. Best Italian food here: Grossi Florentino. Seriously, make a reservation next time you visit. You’re welcome.

  7. I’m nature, culture & food. I’ve heard a lot about Melbourne’s street art scene, and how the general vibe is more of the grungy, hipster city a opposed to the glamour and ‘try too hard’ of Sydney. True?

  8. thanks for sharing!
    I definitely want to visit this city! It is on my bucket list!

    • You’re welcome Amanda, I’m glad you enjoyed the post :)

  9. I did a student exchange in Melbourne in 2005 and it was the best year of my life. You’re right that it’ an incredible university city. I only wish I could have spent more time.

    • How fabulous Lisa! So glad you had a great time in Melbourne – I totally agree, you could easily spend a lifetime!

  10. Surprised (pleasantly) to hear that there’s a big focus on nature and responsible wildlife experiences, even if it’s outside of the city itself. I have friends who just came back from Victoria and just raved about the penguins on Philip Island – they didn’t mention anything about the koalas though so maybe they missed that. I’m also planning on driving the Great Ocean Road when we visit, eventually, which I plan to do starting in Melbourne. Not generally a big city person, but I’ll spend a couple of days before aiming for more rural / remote nature experiences.

    • Absolutely Walker – check out our post on the best wildlife and nature experiences in Melbourne too –

      There are some of Australia’s finest sanctuaries for authentic wildlife encounters really close to the city, and many of the nature parks prolific with native wildlife. When you do the Great Ocean Road, make sure you make a stop at Kennett River, as there’s a great population of wild koalas here and we got some great photo opportunities.

      Have an amazing trip!

  11. I have never been to Australia but my friend lived in Perth for a couple of years and I really wanted to go see her. It just didn’t work out. One of these days I look forward to going to Sydney and seeing the Opera House. Thanks for sharing.

    • Hopefully you’ll have the opportunity to visit at some point soon :)

  12. I’m in Melbourne every month for work. Sometime more. Sydney is still king ???

    • Haha that good ol rivalry :D I’m in the Melbourne corner myself :D

  13. Melbourne has lovely gardens and walks, but it’s also very try-hard. If you can avoid the hipsters, it’s a nice city to explore.

    • We’re personally more into the nature and wildlife opportunities than the hipster scene, but the nice thing about Melbourne is that there’s something for everyone and you can avoid the parts you don’t need :)

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