published: 3/16/23 | March 16, 2023
Known for its restaurant and coffee scene, Melbourne is popular with the backpacker crowd (which is why I stalk it so much!). It has charming and funky neighborhoods, streets lined with inspiring shops and cafes. Take advantage of its amazing nightlife, from a quiet evening at the wine bar to dancing until sunrise at one of the cool clubs. It’s also near the wine-centric Yarra Valley. There is a lot to see and do here.
Melbourne is considered the ‘cultural capital’ of the country and the best way to see why is to take a walking tour.
I love walking tours. You’ll be able to see the highlights and connect with a local guide who can answer all your questions. There are tours for every place too, so no matter your interests (or budget), you’ll be able to have fun and learn a lot about the city.
Here is a list of the best walking tours in Melbourne.
Best public tour
MELTours Laneways Tour
This tour gives you a great overview of Melbourne, including a comprehensive history of the city and a better understanding of how it developed into the thriving yet laid-back Australian metropolis it is today. You’ll also discover back alleys, hidden passages, and secrets that lie beneath the streets. On this two-and-a-half-hour tour, you’ll visit specialty shops and quirky cafés as you explore off-the-beaten-track and lesser-known avenues.
Tours start at $99 AUD.
Best free tour
I free tours
If you’re on a budget, I’m Free organizes free walking tours of Melbourne. You can choose between a morning public walking tour that covers the main attractions and the stories behind them, or an afternoon tour called “Capital of Culture,” which focuses on art and culture and takes visitors through less-travelled lanes and arcades. Make sure to tip you at the end!
While these may be the best paid and free tours in the city, Melbourne has a lot to offer, no matter your interests. Here are eight more insightful and educational tours:
1. Melbourne Street Tours
Street art has become a global phenomenon in the past decade or so. Every big city on the planet has great street art and murals to admire – and Melbourne is no exception. In addition to dropping you off at some of the lesser-known alleyways, this tour ends at the artist’s studio warehouse, so you can see how these amazing works were created.
Tours start at $49 AUD.
2. Depot Adventures Hidden Bar Tour
Melbourne is full of small, sometimes hidden laneways that house some of the lesser-known establishments. This of course includes bars. This three-hour tour takes you into the backstreets to discover four hidden pubs. An expert local guide will not only give you tales of Melbourne’s bar scene, but also tell you about the history of the city. Just make sure you’re thirsty!
Tours start at $58 AUD.
3. Melbourne Walks
For more than three decades, Melbourne Woolex has been leading the tours. Whatever your interests, there’s likely to be an engaging tour: There’s a crime-focused tour, for example, a jaunt down the back lanes and arcades, and tours that focus on topics like architecture, literature, social justice, historic pubs, and individual historical figures. If you’re looking for something specialized, start here.
Tours start at $70 AUD.
4. Aboriginal Heritage Walk
Through the Royal Botanic Gardens, you can take a trip through Melbourne and see it through the eyes of the indigenous people – namely the Cullen people. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday at 11am, visitors are shown the traditional uses of tools, medicines, plants, and food, as well as the rich and interesting history and culture of Australia’s First Peoples. It is incredibly useful!
Tours start at $40 AUD.
5. Blue tongue bikes
This bike tour is a great eco-friendly way to get around the city. You’ll get a bird’s-eye view of Melbourne, seeing all the major attractions while learning its history, from the early Aboriginal period to its establishment to the present day. During breaks, the expert local guide offers tips on other things to do and where to eat in the Melbourne area.
Tours start at $65 AUD.
6. Lantern Ghost Tours
For a spooky look at Melbourne’s sordid past, take a ghost tour. Over the course of 90 minutes, you’ll travel back to the 19th century and explore the city’s haunted sites. You’ll wander narrow alleyways, marvel at haunted historic buildings, and hear all sorts of spooky stories from Melbourne’s past and present.
Tours start at $26 AUD.
7. Intrepid Urban Adventures
Certainly, Melbourne has one of the best – if not the best – dining scenes in Australia. But if you like to eat on the go, you can get another perspective on a place’s food scene by visiting its markets. Intrepid’s 2.5-hour Multicultural Markets Culinary Culture Tour is designed to help you discover the wealth and diversity of the city’s many food markets. Celebrating Melbourne’s food culture, it stops at, among other sites, the famous Queen Victoria Market, Australia’s largest open-air market. You’ll meet the vendors, sample their products, emerge with a full stomach and a deeper knowledge of Melbourne’s diverse food scene.
Tours start at $58 AUD.
Taking a walking tour of Melbourne is the best way to start your visit. You’ll connect with a local guide, see the main sights, and learn about the city’s diverse cultural scene. Whether you are a foodie or a cocktail enthusiast, a history buff or an e-bike enthusiast, there is a tour here for you. Just remember to tip your guide at the end!
Book your flight to Melbourne: logistical tips and tricks
Book your flight
Use Skyscanner to find a cheap flight. They are my favorite search engine because they search websites and airlines all over the world so you will always know that no stone is left unturned.
Reserve your accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld because they have the largest inventory and the best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they constantly show the cheapest rates for cheap guesthouses and hotels. Two of my favorite accommodations are:
For more hostel suggestions, here is a complete list of the best hostels in Melbourne.
Don’t forget travel insurance
Travel insurance will protect you from illness, injury, theft and cancellation. It is comprehensive protection in case anything goes wrong. I never go on a trip without it as I’ve had to use it many times in the past. My favorite companies that offer the best service and value are:
Are you looking for the best companies to save money with?
Check out my resources page for the best companies to use when traveling. I list everything I use to save money when I’m on the road. They’ll save you money when you travel, too.
Want more information about Melbourne?
Be sure to check out our robust destination guide to Melbourne for more planning tips!