As far as weekend getaways go, Melbourne is an ideal destination. It’s a melting pot of delicious food, great wine and, of course, exceptional coffee. If you’re looking to visit Melbourne and want to be near the action, but not caught up in the concrete jungle, then Docklands is the place for you. It’s central but offers the peace and relaxation of being just outside of the city without missing out on a single thing. To help inspire your weekend getaway, here’s my guide on 16 fun things to do with 48 hours in Docklands and the very best place to stay while you’re there.
1. Etihad Stadium
If you’re lucky enough to be visiting for an event held at Etihad, then Docklands is the perfect place to base yourself. If you aren’t then you may just find yourself in the right place at the right time and be able to scoop up tickets to live music, sporting or other awesome events.
2. Eureka Skydeck 88
Take things to the next level and get yourself up to the absolutely incredible Eureka Skydeck 88 for the BEST views of Melbourne and beyond. Try to get there before sunset so you can stake out a good spot to watch the sunset, then try your hand at night photography once things get dark and the lights come alive. You can also take part in The Edge experience, pushing you 3 metres out from the building, suspended almost 300 metres above the ground!
3. Ride the free tram around the city
Not only is this specific tram free for visitors and locals, but it’s also a really great way to see Melbourne in an iconic tram. Hop aboard the free tram loop that runs around the city and past all the places you want to visit. It’ll save you money on transport, keep your legs from burning out and can be a great way to take in the city without breaking a sweat.
4. Rap Jumping
For a completely unique experience, throw yourself face-first off the side of a building! Rap Jumping in Southbank offer forward abseiling experiences that will get your heart pumping and provide you with memories to last a lifetime.
5. Queen Victoria Markets
Visit the historic Queen Vic Markets in Melbourne’s CBD. Buy freshly baked pastries, cheeses and cured meats or stroll the seemingly endless market stalls selling everything from fresh fruit and plants to jewellery, clothes, ugg boots, hats and toys.
6. Brother Baba Budan
Squeeze into the quirky-cool surrounds of Little Bourke Street’s one and only Brother Baba Budan. Get there early and grab one of Melbourne’s best cups of coffee and a glazed donut to start your day off right.
7. Eat Dumplings in Chinatown
Yes. Yes. Yes. Grab a bottle of wine and take it along with you for a night of spectacular dumplings, fried rice and noodles. Get yourself down to Ants Bistro in Corrs Lane, Chinatown. It’s just off the main drag and a little more quiet and peaceful, but offers great service and damn good food.
8. Street Art Walking Tour
Melbourne is bursting with incredibly talented artists and you don’t need to visit a gallery to see all of them. Take a stroll around the streets and soak in the bright, quirky, brilliant creations of Melbourne’s best street artists. You can DIY a tour around Melbourne by strolling around by yourself or join a guided tour.
9. The Croft Institute
Take a visit to The Croft Institute, a super-cool laboratory themed bar tucked down a winding Chinatown alleyway. Cocktails are custom designed by some very talented bartenders then drunk with great enjoyment by people like you and me.
10. Queensberry Pour House
My all-time favourite cafe in Melbourne has to be Queensberry Pour House. It’s understated, simple and serves up incredibly good coffee and AMAZING food. Try the gooey, sticky, chocolatey goodness that is their home-made brownie. The smashed eggs with roast capsicum pesto is also a must-try!
11. Visit a Jazz Bar
Catch the best live jazz in town at Ruby’s Music Room in Little Lonsdale Street. If you don’t know it exists, you won’t find it, which makes Ruby’s even cooler than it already is. Step through the bright yellow entrance and you’re thrown into the heart of New Orleans.
12. Melbourne Aquarium
Re-discover yourself under the sea with Ariel and friends… not really, but there will be sea creatures involved. Head on down to the Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium and lose a few hours underwater.
13. Dine at Degraves Street
Stuck for dinner options? Get yourself down to Degraves Street and choose from one of the many great restaurants serving up delicious meals. Your biggest problem will be finding just one to eat at, lucky you’ve got 48 hours!
14. Newquay Promenade
If photography and/or boats are your jam, visit the Newquay Promenade at Docklands. Grab a cup of coffee and head down while the light is still pretty for some beautiful photographs of boats and building reflections on the water.
15. Shop till you drop at Melbourne Central
No trip to Melbourne is complete with a total shopping blowout. Go immediately to Melbourne Central, whip out your credit card and give that thing a good workout. You’ll find so many shops to choose from, you’ll most likely lose track of time. Thank goodness for comfy hotel beds, to rest those tired legs.
Where to stay in Docklands
What better place to base yourself than the first five-star hotel in Docklands, Peppers Docklands. Peppers offers luxury accommodation for travellers looking for somewhere that little bit special and elegant to rest, relax and recharge. Based along the water, it’s the perfect place to wake up and watch the world come alive with a hot cup of coffee in your hands. Not only this, but Peppers Docklands is an ideal location to spend your 48 hours discovering the very best of Central Melbourne, from exceptional food and wine to shopping and entertainment.
Getting to Melbourne
Thanks to budget airlines, getting to Melbourne is really easy, making it the ideal destination for a well-deserved weekend getaway. Subscribe yourself to flash sale newsletters from budget airlines and be sure to check out their websites for hidden mid-week or Friday afternoon deals, these are often the best times to scoop up a cheap fare and help you save on your trip. Also, consider booking a carry-on only ticket with no checked baggage as Melbourne is close enough to get away with just a few outfits and your travel essentials.
Useful travel resources for your trip to Australia
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Agoda – one of our go-to sites for booking hotels
Skyscanner – our go-to for booking flights
RentalCars.com – a great search engine for renting a car
Booking.com – another of our go-to sites for booking hotels
TourRadar – a great search engine for booking tours
Uber – our go-to ground transport option