What To Do In Melbourne This Weekend: 48 Hours In Nature
Take in the outdoor and natural sights of Melbourne
Welcome to Melbourne, the city hailed as the coffee capital of the world, as well as the culinary and cultural centre of Australia.
Home to some of the best cultural institutions in the Southern Hemisphere, like the National Gallery of Victoria and Melbourne Museum, the UNESCO City of Literature is also famed for its universities, attracting learners from all over Asia.
But what if you need some fresh air and breathing space, well away from concrete buildings and crowds? Thankfully, Melbourne has a surprising number of natural attractions—beyond the Royal Botanic Gardens in the heart of the city.
Let the PARKROYAL Melbourne Airport team show you must visit places in Melbourne to spend a relaxing and fulfilling weekend.
Pay Tribute To Retired Racehorses
“Living Legends is a showcase for the legends of the turf,” says its chief executive and veterinary director Andrew Clarke. “It’s a place where the retired racehorses go, and it’s an opportunity for fans to get up close to—and pat—a champion racehorse... the great winners of the historic races in Australia.”
Living Legends runs daily guided tours at 11:00am and 2:00pm; these tours include horse patting and photo opportunities. You can also visit these racing icons at your own time and pace, anytime between 10:00am and 4:00pm. If you prefer to tour Living Legends as part of a Melbourne day trip, there are several coach tours that you can join.
As part of your visit, be sure to take in the beauty of the surrounding Woodlands Historic Park, where you are likely to spot kangaroos and a wide variety of birds, especially in the fenced section of the park known as the “Back Paddock.” The Back Paddock has also been designated as a recovery site for the endangered Eastern Barred Bandicoot, a rabbit-sized marsupial (an animal that carries its young in a pouch).
Bookmark the visitor guide to the park, or find an easy walking route to follow.
Get directions to Living Legends
Get directions to Woodlands Historic Park
Another hidden gem in Melbourne is Overnewton Castle, built by Scotsman William Taylor in 1849 for his family. It was fashioned in the Victorian Tudor style, inspired by 16th century English and Scottish architecture. Two new owners would eventually take over the castle; the current owner is Leslie Norton, who bought over the castle in 1975 and still lives there today.
What is it like to reside in a castle?
“People would always ask if there were any ghosts on the property. We would always say no because if the ghost story got around, the kids would be too scared to be there!” says Norton. “But in all honesty, when my wife and I first walked into the place, we both agreed that it was a warm, friendly place. We wouldn’t think a place this warm and inviting would be haunted. We thought it suited our family’s needs. The kids really loved living here.”
Overnewton Castle is a popular wedding venue. However, visitors can also head there for afternoon tea and a historical tour.
“Walking through the gardens is always nice,” adds Norton, who refers to his garden as his “own version of the Botanic Gardens.” “We believe that one of our oak trees is about 170 years old and it’s a really nice feature of the property.”
Alternatively, pay a visit to the regal St Patrick’s Cathedral (pictured above)—Australia’s tallest and largest church building. Hewed and constructed from bluestone and sandstone, the place of worship is a leading example of Gothic-revival architecture.
Built in stages between 1858 and 1940, the place of worship features a traditional east-west axis and altar located at the far eastern end. This symbolises the belief in Christ and his resurrection. Interestingly, the cathedral is dedicated to the patron saint of Ireland, St Patrick, as the Catholic community in Melbourne back in the 19th century was mostly of Irish descent.
Get directions to Overnewton Castle
Get directions to St Patrick's Cathedral
Discover The Beauty Of The Sunbury Wine Region
Address: 785 Sunbury Rd, Sunbury VIC 3429, Australia
Telephone number: +61 3 9744 4489
Opening hours: 11:00am to 4:00pm (open Sundays only)
To take the road less travelled in Melbourne, make a trip to the Sunbury Wine Region. Situated on the cusp of Melbourne’s city centre, it is regarded as one of Victoria’s best-kept secrets.
Enjoy a learning and tasting session with winemaker Pat Carmody of Craiglee Vineyard, who planted his first vines in Sunbury back in 1976. He had his first vintage in 1978—exactly 40 years ago—and since then, has gone on to win awards for his wines.
Carmody’s vineyard is famous for its shiraz, but it is also well known for producing quality chardonnay and viognier wine varieties.
Other wineries to explore in the Sunbury region are Galli Estate, Witchmount, Goonawarra and Ray-Monde Deux.
Get directions to Craiglee Vineyard
Experience Serenity At A Sustainable Living Park
CERES Community Environment Park
Address: Stewart St & Roberts St, Brunswick East VIC 3057, Australia
Telephone number: +61 3 9389 0100
Opening hours: 9:00am to 5:00pm daily
To do something meaningful while in Melbourne, head to CERES to learn about green living. Pronounced “series,” CERES (Centre for Education in Research in Environmental Strategies) will help you to appreciate the priceless gifts that nature has bestowed upon us.
Located on the banks of Merri Creek in East Brunswick, CERES is a meeting spot for green crusaders to share ideas about living sustainably. It also functions as a sanctuary for embattled city dwellers—a place for “pressing a lemon myrtle leaf between your palms and inhaling its fragrance, for seeing a white-faced heron stoop gracefully into the dam, [and] for hearing the low hum of bees carrying their gold dust home to the hive.”
Here, you can take a leisurely stroll through a vegetable farm, a chicken coop, and a permaculture and bushfood nursery. Or savour a lovingly prepared organic meal at The Merri Table.
For information about one-off events at CERES, look up their Facebook page.
Get directions to CERES
Explore Melbourne By Kayak
Here’s an unusual way to see the best of Melbourne—on kayak. With Kayak Melbourne, you can begin your day with a quick yoga session at sunrise, before you receive a lesson on paddling in your kayak. After which, you’ll be ready to glide along the Yarra River where you can admire the sights in the heart of the city. You can also choose from other equally entertaining kayaking tours to suit your schedule.
If you are looking for things to do in Melbourne after dark, join the best-selling Moonlight Kayak Tour and enjoy the twilight delights of the city. As part of the tour, you will explore the sights around Victoria Harbour at sunset, be served a scrumptious dinner of fish ‘n’ chips while still on board, and continue the tour to downtown Melbourne, where you will be treated to a dramatic “fireball” display.
Kayak Melbourne’s tours are suitable for experienced kayakers as well as first-timers.
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