Top 10 'Off The Beaten Path' Things to Do in Melbourne This Summer

Ah, Melby. That's what I like to call my beautiful home-town in the south of the planet. When people ask me what there's to do in Melbourne, I shrug. It's quite a tough question to answer. I mean, there's food and coffee, that's for sure. But other than that, most of the touristic things are actually quite boring.

Melbourne culture is very much about chilling out. We like to skip breakfast and go straight to brunch, we will not accept a mediocre coffee, we spend warm days in the sun on a plane of grass with our mates, warmer ones in the ocean – both with a cold beer in hand – and take it as it comes. A true Melbournian truly encapsulates the 'she'll be right' attitude. So excuse our unaccommodating tourist ways.

After travelling in Europe and being asked time-and-time-again, what's there to do in Melbourne? I took it upon myself to figure it out the things that aren't technically in the travel guides. The things that I would want to experience if I were exploring Melbourne for the first time.

Here are my top 10 'off the beaten path' things to do in Melbourne this summer.

Eat all the Foods!

Ok, where would a Melbourne guide be without food! Depending on where you're staying, my favourite cafe's all around are...

CBD – Manchester Press: 8 Rankins Lane, Melbourne
West – Common Gelaxia: 3/130 Victoria St, Seddon
North – Wide Open Road: 274 Barkly St, Brunswick
ast – Monk Bodhi Dharma: 202 Carlisle St, Balaclava

Absolute favourite – Auction Rooms: 103-107 Errol St, North Melbourne

Werribee Zoo

Melbourne Zoo is worth the visit, but if you're looking for some animal fun with a twist, head 20 minutes west from the CBD to Werribee Open Range Zoo. And yes, that means you've got animals running around like they would in the wild. It's a fantastic experience, and well worth the somewhat pricy entry fee. Which leads me to the next point...

'Rhythm of Africa'

Seeing as the Werribee Zoo is on the list, I couldn't forget the zoo's summer event, Rhythm of Africa. With traditional African music, dancing and food, safari tours and special events, if your time in Melbourne falls on a Saturday between 9 January to 27 February, book tickets!

Old Melbourne Gaol Ghost Tour

If ghost tours are totally your thing, then the Old Melbourne Gaol will be calling your name. The gaol where infamous Ned Kelly was held and executed, has some pretty dark tales to tell.

Great Ocean Road

Technically not in Melbourne, but well worth the drive! There's so much to see and do along the Great Ocean Road, especially in summer. Go rent a car, and spend a few days exploring Victoria at it's most glorious. Check out my guide to a roadtrip down the Great Ocean Road

Have a picnic in the Royal Botanical Gardens

On a stinking hot day, you can escape the heat by packing a picnic and heading to the Royal Botanical Gardens in the city. Be sure to walk into the gardens where it becomes a serene paradise of lush greenery and lakes. Just keep walking, and you'll find your sanctuary. 


Not many people make the time to visit Williamstown. In fact, most people don't realise that Williamstown is one of Melbourne's oldest suburbs. Williamstown was Melbourne's first seaport, dating back to 1860. So you'll find plenty of beautiful architecture, historic ports, and pubs on every corner (what else were the seamen supposed to do while docked?). Spend the day in Willi (that's what the locals call it), and walk around learning a bit about where Melbourne started. If it's warm (very likely in summer!), don't forget to head to Williamstown Beach for a dip – one of Melbourne's best kept secrets in my eyes.

Ride the North

Melbourne's history really began in the north, well, Fitzroy to be exact. You'll find tree-lined streets with beautiful old townhouses, huge brick factories turned trendy cafes, and delicious food and coffee on every corner. You may as well do as the locals do, and ride.

Rooftop Cinema

Rooftop Bar speaks for itself. It's located on top of an old building, in the heart of the CBD – beware, if you don't hold the secret code to the lift, you'll be walking those stairs. During the summer months, the bar rolls out a large projection screen and plays old and new cinema classics.

What are your favourite things to do in summer?