The Melbourne Cricket Ground, or the “MCG” or even just “the G”, is Australia’s largest sporting stadium. It is also the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, a phrase that you’ll hear a lot when you’re in Australia (we love talking ourselves up, and generally, don’t have much competition in the Southern Hemisphere). But it’s not just about the size of it, the G also has a lot of history - it was the main stadium for the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, and the first international cricket Test match was also played there back in 1877.
Both cricket and Australian Football (Aussie rules) games are played regularly at the G, with cricket played during summer and the Australian Football League (AFL) season running from March to August. Watching a game at the G is one of the most iconic Australian activities you could do, so check out the schedules for AFL and cricket to see if you can line up a game. Having a meat pie during the game is not optional ;)
If you’re not familiar with Aussie rules or cricket, I recommend doing some reading or watching of videos in advance, as the games can be hard to follow - or just boring in the case of cricket, at least for many people. For a very funny take on cricket, I absolutely love reading this excerpt from Bill Bryson’s “A Sunburnt Country”. For Aussie rules, the AFL has put together this helpful 5-minute video introduction for non-Australians. For pure entertainment value, watch this video of some of the best “speccies” (spectacular marks or catches) of all time, and this video for the best hits (tackles) in Aussie rules.
If you can’t watch a game, or you want to learn even more about the MCG, there are daily guided tours you can join. Tours take approximately 75 minutes and take you behind the scenes, with expert guides telling lots of stories about the stadium and the history of cricket and AFL.
Melbourne is famous for its street art, with Hosier Lane being the most popular spot to check out the ever-changing work of local artists. For something a bit more interactive, I highly recommend joining a tour with Hands On Street Art, run by locals Nick and Lucas, both artists themselves. I bought this tour as a gift for my brother and he loved the experience - book it via Airbnb Experiences or directly here.
Free walking tour. “I’m Free" walking tour. I did this a couple of years ago and found it gave a great introduction to Melbourne
If you’re travelling on your own, there is nothing better than a coffee and a good book. And Melbourne has no shortage of either of those, with the city being home to over 170 bookshops and Australia’s only UNESCO-declared “City of Literature”. The Paperback Bookshop and Hill of Content Bookshop are two of the oldest bookshops and are located on either side of Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar.
Bar Americano, Rooftop, Siglo - best view in Melbourne.
North Melbourne for live music
Beneath Driver Lane. The best secret cocktail bar I could find on my last trip to Melbourne. A little bit pricey but excellent drinks.
Gertrude St Fitzroy/Collingwood
Go shopping or visit cafes and bars along Brunswick St and Smith St in Fitzroy and Collingwood.
The Great Ocean Road is Australia’s most famous coastal drive and an easy day trip from Melbourne (albeit a long one). The Grampians are amazing for hiking, rock climbing and indigenous art. It is possible to combine these two destinations into one 2-day tour, with an overnight at Halls Gap in the Grampians.
2 or 3 Day Great Ocean Road and Grampians Tour with Wildlife Tours Australia: https://aussieyou.com.au/products/great-ocean-road-grampians-2-day-adventure
If you don’t have enough time to do both, you can do a 1 day Great Ocean Road day trip with Wildlife Tours Australia: https://aussieyou.com.au/products/great-ocean-road-day-trip-wildlife-tours
Healesville for a day trip, great for food and wine, also the Healesville Sanctuary is supposed to be amazing, all Aussie wildlife and gin tasting at Four Pillars is really good.
Craig’s Yarra Valley wine trip: https://yarravalleytouring.com.au/yarra-valley-day-tour/ or a more youth-focused day trip with Andrew from Teepee Tours: https://aussieyou.com.au/products/yarra-valley-wine-ciders-cheese-music
Phillip Island, again hiking and watching surfies at Cape Woolie.
Small-group day tour with “The Little Penguin Bus”: https://aussieyou.com.au/products/phillip-island-small-group-penguin-express
Food markets: South Melbourne market, Queen Victoria market. All bustling on the weekend and will be a good chance to feel what life in Melbourne feels like.
Visit the NGV, Melb Museum, Ian Potter Gallery, Heidi
Ed: number of smaller art galleries about the city/collingwood/richmond (there is heaps but it takes a keen interest to locate them all and organise a route)