Melbourne is known for being one of the coolest places in Australia, literally and figuratively. Australia is one of those places that you can easily spend all day outdoors, however it does get it’s fair share of rain too. Knowing what to do in Melbourne when it rains can be tricky but there are so many things to do. Read on to find out the best Melbourne rainy day activities!
As a girl from London, I’m no stranger to rain. I’ve also lived through Hurricanes while living in Florida and I now call the Pacific Northwest home – where it also happens to rain a lot! You could say I’ve had my fair share of rain and torrential downpour (thanks Orlando) but that won’t stop me enjoying my time in a city. More recently I had a picnic in minus degree weather because I wasn’t going to let the weather spoil my plans!
Having a rainy day in Melbourne isn’t a bad thing, it just means you get to save visiting the Brighton Beach Boxes and outdoor spaces for a nicer day. Of course there’s nothing stopping you from visiting during the rain too – the plus side is less crowds!
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How To Get To Melbourne
Melbourne Tullamarine Airport is the main airport in Melbourne and most international flights will land here. The Skybus is the best option for getting into the city from the airport and will cost around $19 one way.
If you are staying outside of the CBD the best way to get into Melbourne is by tram or train. You can catch a train into Flinder’s Street Station which is the main hub in Melbourne CBD and most trams stop here too.
How To Get Around Melbourne
The best way to get around Melbourne is by tram. Almost all of the attractions listed below are in the CBD and within the free-tram-zone which means you never pay as long as you are traveling within the designated area. If traveling outside of the free-tram-zone pick up a mike card at any 7 Eleven. Once you’ve loaded your Myki, each ride will cost <—> The max cost per day is <—>
The Best Melbourne Rainy Day Activities
There are many things to do when it rains in Melbourne. I remember my first week in this city it rained and I fled back to my hostel because I didn’t know what to do! Over time I discovered plenty of fun activities and didn’t let the rain stop me. Here are my top things to do in Melbourne on a rainy day…
1. NGV – National Gallery of Victoria
The National Gallery of Victoria or NGV is one of the top indoor activities in Melbourne. This world-class art museum is free to visit and almost all indoors. The museum does have a courtyard and garden with outdoor sculptures but this is a minimal section of the museum and is easy to see as long as you bring an umbrella. You can easily spend a few hours here so it’s the perfect activity to wait for the rain to disperse.
2. Royal Exhibition Building
The Exhibition Building is one of the best Melbourne rainy day activities. Built in 1879, this building was the first in Australia to receive World-Heritage status. The architecture inside and outside is just beautiful. Tours are available daily and leave from the Melbourne Museum. The Royal Exhibition building is located within the Carlton Gardens, which is a wonderful area to wander as well but perhaps better saved for a nicer day.
3. Immigration Museum
Set in the old Customs House, the Immigration Museum documents and educates people on Australia’s immigration history. It displays stories of people who have immigrated to Australia as well as housing the Immigration Discovery Centre where you can search for records on family ancestry.
4. Melbourne Sea Life Aquarium
The Sea Life aquarium in Melbourne is not only a good indoor activity, it’s great for families! Or if you just really really like animals, adults too! There are many different themed rooms in the aquarium so you’re sure to find an animal you like. Some of animals you may spot include sharks, stingrays, penguins and crocodiles!
5. Indoor Rock Climbing
A super fun activity to do alone or with friends is indoor rock climbing. Bayside Rock is the place to head for all rock climbing activities from beginner to advanced. This gym is perfect for all ages and family friendly.
6. Meet Friends For Brunch
Brunch is a staple in Melbourne. It’s one of the top things to do in Melbourne on a rainy day and popular amongst locals and tourists alike. When I first arrived in Melbourne, brunch was one of the first things I did. I instantly fell in love with it’s brunch scene, no one does brunch like Melbourne, and no two cafés are the same. My personal recommendations are Manchester Press, Higher Ground and Matcha Mylkbar in St. Kilda.
7. Parliament Building
Witness the State Parliament in action right here in Melbourne. Parliament House is open every day except Public Holidays. And on days when Parliament is sitting, you can witness the action here in person! Tours of Parliament House are available eight times per day on non-sitting days. If you’d like to join one of these tours, check the website prior to make sure Parliament is not sitting.
8. Browse The Arcades
Much of Melbourne’s shopping scene is outside, think London’s Oxford Street for example. But Melbourne is famous for it’s not-so-secret covered pathways and arcades. Again, much like the arcades of Piccadilly, it’s possible to get from one street to another through Melbourne’s famous arcades. The Royal Arcade and Block Arcade are the two main arcades in Melbourne. Both are the perfect place to shelter from the rain and sit inside one of the coffee shops and watch the world go by.
9. Queen Victoria Market
Queen Victoria Market became one of my favourite parts of Melbourne. The fresh produce was so cheap and I’d come every Sunday to stock up on my favourite things. While there are some parts of Queen Victoria Market, it’s actually a very small portion. I’d recommend wandering through the food mall here and trying some new cuisine! I also love the cured meats and cheese hall. It has everything from artisan chocolates and independent coffee shops.
10. City Circle Tram
The City Circle tram is not only one of the many free things to do in Melbourne, it’s also perfect to do during the rain! This free Melbourne attraction is often used as a hop-on-hop-off service to get around the city, however you can also do the loop in one and enjoy the free onboard commentary about the city. The full loop takes around 45 minutes to one hour.
11. Melbourne Gaol
Tour the Melbourne Gaol, a former jail, to learn about Australia’s past. This building was in use as a prison between 1842 and 1929 and once held Australia’s most famous criminal, Ned Kelly.
12. State Library of Victoria
Built in 1854, the State Library of Victoria is the oldest library in Australia and was one of the first free libraries in the world. The library has expanded over the years and today feature’s a mix of both modern and traditional architecture. The most famous room in in the State Library is the La Trobe reading room, one of the many Instagrammed landmarks of Melbourne.
13. Watch a Movie at IMAX Melbourne
While there are TONS of cool must-see tourist attractions in Melbourne, sometimes all you want to do is see the latest flicks, relax and eat popcorn.
14. Crown Melbourne
Crown Melbourne is a entertainment district that you could easily spend all day in. This is the perfect activity for when it rains in Melbourne as you can shop, gamble in the casino or go bowling with friends and family!
15. Sip On Craft Beer
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