A boat trip on the Yarra River is a relaxing way to see the city. Melbourne River Cruises depart daily from Southgate (opposite Flinders Street Station) every 30 minutes. There are three different routes that take between one and two and a half hours. Tickets are available at the Melbourne River Cruises Kiosk (Mooring 5), Southgate.
Phone: (03) 86 10 26 00
A number of private providers organize city tours and excursions in and around Melbourne. During the approximately four-hour, commented city tour with Melbourne’s Best Tours (www.melbournetours.com.au) you can familiarize yourself with many of the most important sights.
Phone: (03) 93 97 49 11; 1300 13 05 50
The Melbourne Greeter Service operates the Melbourne Visitor Center in Federation Square. This service is available in 20 languages and acts as an intermediary between visitors and volunteer locals who offer free, 30-minute orientation tours of the city. You should book at least three days in advance.
With the help of the city maps of the Heritage Walking Tours you can explore the city on foot on precisely described routes. They are available from the visitor center and tourist information offices throughout the city
Tel: (03) 96 58 96 58
This enormous open-air museum tells the story of life in Ballarat during the gold rush. On the streets you meet people in costumes of that time who do their daily work in shops, hotels and schools. Visitors can still try panning for gold.
The museum is 110 km from Melbourne and is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It is accessible from the Ballarat station. You should plan at least one day for all sights.
Phone: (03) 53 37 11 00
Dandenong Ranges and Healesville Sanctuary
The mountains of the Dandenong chain east of Melbourne are covered with ferns, flowers and typical Australian rubber trees.
The Dandenongs can be reached by car in about an hour.
The journey by train to Belgrave station by local train (terminus of the route) and the Puffing-Billy steam train (Tel: (03) 97 54 68 00. Internet: www.puffingbilly.com.au) also takes an hour. through forests and green fern-covered valleys to Emerald Lake Park.
A car is required to visit the Healesville Conservation Area (tel: (03) 59 57 28 00. Internet: www.zoo.org.au), where you can see Australian, sometimes orphaned and salvaged animals in their natural habitat .
Tel: (03) 96 58 96 58
A one and a half hour drive south leads to Phillip Island (Tel: 1300 36 64 22. Internet: www.visitphillipisland.com) with a nature park and various sights.
One of the highlights is the penguin parade, which takes place every evening at sunset. The smallest penguins in the world then come out of the sea and waddle into their small caves, where they spend the night.
The Koala Conservation Center is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and the Nobbies Center, home to Australia’s largest fur seal colony, is also open daily.
There is a visitor pass for three parks – that of the seals, that of the Koalas and Churchill Island with its historic homestead.
Information about all attractions is available at Phillip Island Nature Park (Tel: (03) 59 51 28 00. Internet: www.penguins.org.au).
Phillip Island can be reached by car via the Princes Highway (M1) southeast of Melbourne, further via the South Gippsland Highway (M420) and finally via the A420 to San Remo and over the Phillip Island Bridge.
Phone: (03) 59 51 28 00
Great Ocean Road
The Great Ocean Road is a spectacular stretch along the coast to Adelaide that begins 72 km west of Melbourne in Geelong. Most of the route you drive directly along the rocky coast and has a wonderful view of fantastic surfing beaches. You pass the Otway and Port Campbell National Parks and the breathtaking rock formations of the so-called Twelve Apostles (one collapsed in 2005, leaving only eight Apostles left).
Phone: (03) 96 58 96 58