Posted: 3/16/23 | March 16th, 2023
Famed for its restaurant and coffee scene, Melbourne is popular with the backpacker crowd (hence why I vibe with it so much!). It has charming, funky neighborhoods, and streets lined with inspiring shops and cafés. You can tap into its amazing nightlife, from a sedate evening at a wine bar to dancing until sunrise at a thumping club. It’s also near the wine-centric Yarra Valley. There’s a lot to see and do here.
Melbourne is considered the “cultural capital” of the country and the best way to find out why is to take a walking tour.
I love walking tours. You’ll get to see the highlights and connect with a local guide that can answer all your questions. There are tours for every niche too, so regardless of your interests (or budget), you’ll be able to have fun and learn a lot about the city.
Here’s my list of the best walking tours in Melbourne.
BEST OVERALL TOUR
MELTours Laneways Tour
This tour gives you a great overview of Melbourne, including a thorough history of the city and a better understanding of how it evolved into the thriving yet laid-back Aussie metropolis that it is today. You’ll also discover the back alleys, the hidden lanes, and the secrets that lay underneath the streets. On this 2.5-hour tour, you’ll visit specialty shops and quirky cafés as you explore untrammeled, lesser-known routes.
Tours start at 99 AUD.
Best Free Tour
I’m Free Tours
If you’re on a budget, I’m Free organizes no-charge walking tours in Melbourne. You can choose between a general walking tour in the morning that covers the main attractions and the stories behind them, or an afternoon tour called “Culture Capital,” which emphasizes art and culture and takes visitors down lesser-traveled lanes and arcades. Be sure to tip your guides at the end!
While those may be the best free and paid tours in town, Melbourne has a lot more to offer, no matter your interests. Here are eight other insightful and educational tours:
1. Melbourne Street Tours
Street art has become a worldwide phenomenon in the last decade or so. Every big city on the planet has incredible street art and murals to admire — and Melbourne is no exception. In addition to taking you down some lesser-known alleyways, this tour finishes in an artist’s studio warehouse, so you can learn how these amazing works are created.
Tours start at 49 AUD.
2. Depot Adventures Hidden Bar Tour
Melbourne is littered with tiny, sometimes concealed lanes that house some lesser-known establishments. And this, of course, includes bars. This three-hour tour takes you to the backstreets to discover four hidden pubs. The expert local guide will not only regale you with tales of the bar scene in Melbourne but also tell you about the history of the city. Just be sure to come thirsty!
Tours start at 58 AUD.
3. Melbourne Walks
For over three decades, Melbourne Walks has been leading tours. No matter what your interests are, there’s probably a tour that appeals: there’s a crime-focused tour, for example, a back lanes and arcades jaunt, and tours that focus on topics such as architecture, literature, social justice, historic pubs, and individual historical figures. If you’re looking for something niche, start here.
Tours start at 70 AUD.
4. Aboriginal Heritage Walk
Through the Royal Botanical Gardens, you can take a journey through Melbourne and see it through Aboriginal eyes — specifically the Kulin people. Every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday at 11am, visitors are shown traditional uses of tools, medicine, plants, and food, as well as the rich and intriguing history and culture of the First Peoples of Australia. It’s incredibly informative!
Tours start at 40 AUD.
5. Blue Tongue Bikes
This bike tour is a great eco-friendly way to get around town. You’ll get an all-encompassing 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 what else there is to do and where to eat in the Melbourne area.
Tours start at 65 AUD.
6. Lantern Ghost Tours
For a spooky look into Melbourne’s seedy past, take a ghost tour. Over 90 minutes, you’ll travel back to the 19th century and explore the city’s haunted locations. You’ll trek down narrow alleys, marvel at historic haunted buildings, and hear all kinds of spooky stories from Melbourne’s past and present.
Tours start at 26 AUD.
7. Intrepid Urban Adventures
Sure, Melbourne has one of the best dining scenes — if not the best — in Australia. But if you’re into eating on the go, you can get another perspective on the food landscape of a place 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. It celebrates the food culture in Melbourne, stopping at, among other sites, the famed Queen Victoria Market, the largest open-air market in Australia. You’ll meet vendors, sample their products, and walk away with a full stomach and a deeper knowledge of the diverse food scene of Melbourne.
Tours start at 58 AUD.
Taking a walking tour in Melbourne is the best way to kick-start your visit. You’ll connect with a local guide, see the main sights, and learn about the city’s diverse cultural landscape. Whether you’re a foodie or a cocktail aficionado, a history geek or an e-bike enthusiast, there’s a tour here for you. Just remember to tip your guide at the end!
Book Your Trip 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 around the globe so you always know no stone is left unturned.
Book Your Accommodation
You can book your hostel with Hostelworld as they have the biggest inventory and best deals. If you want to stay somewhere other than a hostel, use Booking.com as they consistently return the cheapest rates for guesthouses and cheap hotels. Two of my favorite places to stay are:
For more hostel suggestions, here’s a complete list of the best hostels in Melbourne.
Don’t Forget Travel Insurance
Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations. It’s 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:
- Safety Wing (for everyone below 70)
- Insure My Trip (for those over 70)
- Medjet (for additional evacuation coverage)
Looking for the Best Companies to Save Money With?
Check out my resource page for the best companies to use when you travel. I list all the ones I use to save money when I’m on the road. They will save you money when you travel too.
Want More Information on Melbourne?
Be sure to visit our robust destination guide to Melbourne for even more planning tips!