As the second largest city in Australia, Melbourne boasts endless views and activities which can be overwhelming to some of its visitors.
While its impossible to see it all, its easy to see the highlights of the city and get the true “Melbourne” experience within just 2 days!
If you are planning a short break or weekend to Melbourne for the first time our guide will help you to maximise your time in this incredible city
Check out our tips and itinerary for the best things to do in Melbourne with limited time.
Getting to Melbourne City Centre
Before booking your flight I recommend checking to make sure you are flying into Melbourne airport. There is another airport in Avalon that is an hour bus ride away from the actual city. While it can be cheaper to fly into Avalon, the hour bus ride can be a major time waster depending on the bus schedule.
Where to Stay
After your busy day you are going to want a clean and comfortable place to stay. Melbourne Metro YHA and Europa hostel are both highly recommended and centrally located to Downtown Melbourne.
48 Hours in Melbourne
Here's what to do.
9 AM: Queen Victoria Market:
This is an absolute staple of Melbourne. Queen Victoria Market is the largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere.
It is a unique mix of produce, clothing, jewelry, Australian goods, coffee shops and more. Grab a coffee at market lane Coffee and wander around the market till your heart's content.
You can take the free city circle tram #35 around the entire city, there is a stop at Queen Victoria Market that you can hop on and take into the city to continue your adventure!
11 AM: Hosier lane:
Hosier lane is another must see in Melbourne. It is 3 blocks of breathtaking street art lining Melbourne's iconic architecture. Hosier lane is only a short walk from the Flinders Station stop of the free trolley.
1 PM: Lunch at Bowery to Williamsburg:
This brunch/lunch spot is located walking distance from hosier lane and is the perfect spot to recharge after a busy morning. It is a charming little spot in a bustling alleyway with an eclectic menu to please everyone.
2 PM: Explore Melbourne’s Riverfront:
Just a quick walk away from lunch is Melbourne's stunning riverfront. Enjoy the scenery and take in a view of the skyline over the water.
2:30 PM Parliament House:
The free trolley is located near the riverfront so all you need to do is hope on the 35 again and get off at the parliament house stop. There are free tours of Parliament house offered daily. The Parliament house is a historic Melbourne landmark and is a must see.
3:00 PM Old treasury building:
The next stop at the trolley is the old treasury building and I would highly recommend visiting this landmark. You can take a free tour of the building as well as the old gold vaults.
4:00 PM Take an Opal tour:
Opals are one of Australians trademark gem’s and the City of Melbourne is full of opal stores and museums. Take the trolley from the Old Treasury Building and get off at central Melbourne station to Lighting Ridge opal museum. There you will get a free demonstration of how opals are made as well as interact with some wildlife.
5:00 PM Visit Royal botanic garden:
This is a beautiful place to watch the sunset and unwind. The garden is another stop on the free trolly.
7:00 PM Dinner at Tip 00:
This is a cozy casual Italian restaurant located in the heart of Melbourne CBD. It has a sophisticated and classic feel with a large menu.
9:00 PM Explore Melbourne nightlife:
There is no shortage of late night clubs and bars in Melbourne to keep your jam-packed day in Melbourne going. Some of the staples are Spice Market, Billboards and The Millhouse Club all located near each other by China town in the CBD.
10 AM: Coffee at Dukes Coffee Roasters
Coffee is one of Melbourne’s trademarks so make sure to stop by this popular spot. Wherever you decided to stay you can hope on the 35 trolley and take it to flinders station to get there.
11: AM Federation Square
Have a walk around this lively area, Federation square is home to many events, concerts and, art fairs in the CBD so go and have a look at what's happening. You never know what kind of exciting event may be taking place that weekend.
You are going to need to purchase a Mikiy card for the train, $10 on the card is enough to get you to Brighton and back and you can purchase them at the train station
12: AM Head to Brighton Beach:
Take a 40-minute train ride from Flinders station to Middle Brighton station to see the famous Brighton bathing boxes.
Have lunch in the town right outside the train station before walking to the bathing boxes. It is about a 20-minute walk to the beach and there are no restaurants by the bathing boxes themselves.
1 PM: Lunch at The Pantry in Brighton
Once you hop off the station at middle Brighton grab lunch at this beachy cafe. You are going to want to fuel up before the walk to the boxes.
2 PM: Head to the Brighton Bathing Boxes
Simply follow the signs from the town to the boxes on the 20-minute walk to the beach. The boxes are extremely popular and it can take a while to get a picture with them so be prepared to wait in some small lines. Hang out on the beautiful Brighton beach after grabbing photos with your favorite boxes.
3 PM: Head back to the CBD on the 40-minute train ride
4 PM: Explore China town + Surrounding Shops on Collin Street
This charming neighborhood is another staple of the CBD and is a short walk from Flinders station. Melbourne is also filled with unique stores, Collins Street is the perfect place for some shopping.
6 PM: Dinner at Cookie
Cookie is a modern, upscale Thai restaurant with a massive menu. This restaurant is ideal for large groups since the menu is arranged with small medium and large plates perfect for sharing.
8 PM: Eureka Sky Deck
Finish off your day with a majestic view of the entire city skyline and take it all in. The sky deck is located right by the Flinders street stop of the trolley.
Plan a Trip to Melbourne
If you are planning a Australia tour, or keen to work in Australia, you really do need to visit Melbourne. Hopefully, this 48 hour itinerary will help you make the most of your time in this diverse and amazing city!
If you have more time there are lots of amazing places to check out in the surrounding areas of Melbourne too, including a road trip on the Great Ocean Road or going on an epic trip of the Australian east coast.
By Payton Sassano