Top Things Couples Can Do in Melbourne
Welcome to Melbourne – a city of surprising finds hidden among cobbled laneways and street-art decorated alleys that is perfect for a couple staycation.
With Melbourne’s tantalising history, evolved arts scene and reputation for being a mecca for foodies, it will be hard not to fall in love with this city – and in this city.
Melbourne is renowned for being a city of culture—it clinched UNESCO’s City of Literature accolade several years running—while being close to breathtaking nature. This is why domestic travellers from other Australian cities or states enjoy spending a leisurely weekend in Melbourne soaking up its unique blend of heritage, art, culture and entertainment.
To help you enjoy a staycation-for-two in Melbourne, the team at Pan Pacific Melbourne has compiled a couple’s travel guide for easy reference. It includes:
- Unusual Melbourne Places of Interest
- Top Couple Photo Spots in Melbourne
- Top Restaurants in and around Melbourne CBD
We hope you have a memorable stay with us!
Sign up for Pan Pacific DISCOVERY
Join Pan Pacific DISCOVERY and unlock a wealth of benefits, with or without a stay. Enjoy exclusive member rates, specially curated Local Offers and Experiences, and access to our rewards currency, DISCOVERY Dollars (D$).
Unusual Melbourne Places of Interest
Prefer to venture off the beaten track and get “lost” with your significant other? Here is a list of unusual destinations which couples can explore to add a touch of magic to your romantic Melbourne staycation.
1. Re-discover the Beauty of Moving Images
|Address:||Federation Square, Flinders St, Melbourne 3000|
|Telephone number:||+61 3 8663 2200|
As a city that embraces all manner of cultural pursuits, Melbourne is one of the best places in the world to awaken your interest in cinematic art—the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, or ACMI for short, is a good place to begin your sojourn.
ACMI is Australia’s museum of film, TV, video games, digital culture and art. Located in the bustling cultural centre of Federation Square, the centre is also part-l of Australia in 1901.
Or pick up some creative memorabilia from the NGV design store at The Ian Potter Centre – a treasure trove of Australian art and design books, and unique indigenous design products.
2. Enter a Bygone Era at The Johnston Collection
The Johnston Collection
|Telephone number:||+61 3 9416 2515|
Calling all history and antique buffs. The Johnston Collection (TJC) – an award-winning and critically acclaimed museum – is a must-add to your Melbourne itinerary.
Described as an “Aladdin’s cave of stunning antiques,” TJC has an impressive collection of English Georgian, Regency, and Louis XV fine and decorative arts. Housed in a historic townhouse in an unpublished location (the address is kept secret to protect the privacy of the residents in the vicinity), the home-museum and its exhibits were bequeathed to the people of Melbourne.
Tours are available but they must be pre-booked. All visitors must arrive via the TJC courtesy bus, which departs from the Pullman Melbourne on the Park. And no, you need not put on blindfolds during your bus trip there!
3. Get Lost in an Enchanting Museum of Curiosities
|Address:||439 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne 3000|
|Telephone number:||+61 3 9642 4695|
If you and your loved one have a taste for the weird and wondrous, be sure to make a retail pit-stop at Wunderkammer. From minerals and fossils, to skeletons (in cabinets and capsules) and taxidermy, the museum and store certainly lives up to its name – an enchanting moniker which means wonder chamber in German.
Natural history lovers will probably find this hidden gem an enchanting escapade of sorts and may thus want to allocate their time accordingly. But even if animal and insect anatomy is not your cup of tea, you can still appreciate the wonders of nature bottled up, framed, and stuffed here at Wunderkammer.
4. Step Back In Time at the Block Arcade
|Address:||282 Collins Street, Melbourne 3000|
|Telephone:||+61 3 9654 5244|
Get transported back in time with a walk through the Block Arcade. Built between 1891 and 1893, the Arcade is heralded as one of the world's finest examples of late Victorian architecture. With mosaic floors, wrought iron decoration, stained glass windows, and carved stonework, you can easily imagine a bygone era filled with Victorian ladies promenading in their Sunday best.
While you are here, check out the quaint shops and pick up some decadent rocky road chocolates from Haigh’s Chocolates.
For more quirky, off-the-beaten-track experiences in Melbourne, head over here.
Best Couple Photo Spots in Melbourne
Keen to build a treasure trove of memories with your loved one? A romantic city for many, Melbourne is filled with photogenic spots perfect for framing your precious memories. Here is a sample of them.
5. Be Charmed by the Historic Melbourne University
University of Melbourne
|Address:||Parkville VIC 3010, Australia|
Did you know that the University of Melbourne is Australia’s second oldest university and the oldest in Victoria? Or that hundreds of couples flock to the University’s grounds to snap their wedding photos each year?
If you would like to follow in their footsteps, know that you will be rewarded with effortlessly classic wedding photographs shot against English gothic architecture.
While you are there, walk a few blocks down to Melbourne’s slice of Italian food heaven—Lygon Street. A favourite haunt of Melburnians, the gastronomic paradise is filled with tons of restaurants and cafes offering authentic woodfired pizzas, mouth-watering pastas, and aromatic espressos. Guaranteed to give you the carb and caffeine boost to look your photogenic best!
Tip: To avoid having to share the spotlight with crowds of students, do schedule your wedding shoot on a weekend.
6. Get Arty Snaps at Hosier Lane
Likely to be Melbourne’s most visited laneway for street art, Hosier Lane is the go-to place to capture candid and memorable wedding snaps. Located at the southern end of Melbourne’s CBD, this bluestone-cobbled laneway has made a name for itself internationally for its vibrant and edgy graffiti – making for particularly striking keepsakes.
Do note however that the laneway is quite narrow and is often filled with passers-by, so you may be sharing the frame with other people.
More street-art lanes to add to your hit-list include Rutledge Lane, ACDC Lane (yes, it is named after the famous metal band), Caledonian Lane, Croft Alley, and Centre Place.
7. See the Royal Botanic Gardens From A Different Perspective
Who says you cannot mix photography with pleasure? Enjoy relaxing moments with your better half while floating down the lake on a punt – a long, narrow flat-bottomed boat propelled by a long pole – and go trigger-happy at the same time.
Available during the warmer months of September to May, your punter will also regale you with funny stories and knowledge about the local birds and wildlife. If you are lucky enough, you may even get close enough to photograph a few of them.
Book your punt tour here.
8. Unwind at Carlton Gardens
There are few places in Melbourne as romantic and stunningly picturesque as Carlton Gardens - particularly with the iconic Royal Exhibition Building in the background.
Pack a picnic and capture snaps of the lush manicured gardens, and simply while away a leisurely afternoon here with your loved one.
Top Restaurants in and around Melbourne CBD
It has been said that tourists flock to Melbourne to “nibble, sip, slurp and munch their way through this city.” To truly understand the city, you need to take the gastronomic route. Here are four excellent pit stops to start your journey.
9. Tuck into Modern Vietnamese Fare at Hochi Mama
|Address:||11-15 Liverpool Street Melbourne 3000|
|Telephone:||+61 3 9078 2285|
Laneway dining is probably one of the most unique Melbourne things to do, and you won’t go wrong at Hochi Mama. The casual restaurant bar puts a modern twist on Vietnamese street food. Expect surprising interpretations of classic Vietnamese dishes, such as the Pho’pling – a hybrid of Shanghai dumplings and pho (the famed Vietnamese soup noodle).
The restaurant’s cocktail menu was dreamed up by expert mixologists, with each fancy fabrication designed to complement the fusion cuisine. Hot favourites include the tropical Lycheezy and the refreshing Hoochi Mama.
10. Get Bowled Over at Vue de Monde
Vue de Monde
|Address:||Rialto Towers, 525 Collins St, Melbourne 3000|
|Telephone:||+61 3 9691 3888|
Perched atop the Rialto Tower is the grande dame of Melbourne fine dining, Vue de Monde. A regular feature on many a Melburnian’s must-eat list, the degustation menu is pricey—but for the “theatre-on-a-plate” experience, such splurges may be befitting for a special occasion (and a special someone).
With surprising props like liquid nitrogen making an occasional dramatic appearance, a dining experience here may conjure up Alice-in-wonderland feels; expect nothing less than the theatrical. The dishes are French-inspired but quintessentially Australia. Think: Native oysters, Tasmanian sea urchins served with bunya bunya (a local pine nut) and Australia wagyu with lovage, oyster leaf and horseradish.
11. Be Transported Into Another World at Miss Marple’s Tea Room
Miss Marple’s Tea Room
|Address:||382 Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, Sassafras, Victoria 3787|
|Telephone:||+61 3 9755 1610|
If you are looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city for a day, we know just the thing. Nestled within the lush surrounds of the Dandenong Ranges in a perfect little Tudor-style building is the ever-popular Miss Marple’s Tea Room. This delightful establishment pays homage to Agatha Christie's most famous sleuth Miss Jane Marple, so do not be surprised if you’re greeted with floral curtains and matching tablecloths as well as memorabilia of the beloved detective.
Expect a wait though, as visitors and locals tend to flock here like bees to honey. It is best to arrive early, put your name down on the waitlist, and then wander around the quaint village of Sassafras. Or better yet, make Miss Marple’s a pit-stop to a breath-taking winery adventure in the rolling hills of Yarra Valley.
12. Enjoy All-day Dining at Cumulus Inc
|Address:||45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne 3000|
||+61 3 9650 1445|
While nursing a coffee or a gin at Cumulus Inc. Eating House and Bar, you may or may not realise you are smack in the middle of Melbourne’s renowned art and fashion precinct, Flinders Lane. The restaurant is part eating house and part social hub, with a lively buzz of patrons streaming in and out throughout the day.
Cumulus offers a seasonal menu showcasing the best of Victorian produce, culminating in a culinary experience that can only be described as three-dimensional. If you are there for brunch, do tuck into a house-made crumpet – it looks deceitfully ordinary but has been described as “orgasmic”.