Since opening more than 20 years ago, the Observation Deck has been a can't miss for tourists visiting the city. Visitors can choose to climb the 1,254 steps or take a short lift ride up the 55 floors to the deck from where they can take in breathtaking views of Melbourne. The deck circles the Rialto building, offering a 360-degree cityscape, including Southbank Promenade, the Royal Melbourne Zoo, Waterfront City and Melbourne Exhibition Center. Also on offer are a cafe and theater showing an awarding-winning 20-minute film titled "Melbourne the Living City."
Winner of the Heritage and Cultural Tourism Award, the Old Melbourne Gaol is the oldest prison in Australia. Now a museum along with the former Magistrates' Court and Police Watch House, the Gaol was once home to notorious prisoners, including the infamous convicted cop killer Ned Kelly. Visitors can stand in the dock, step into the shoes of prisoner and get arrested by the Charge Sergeant during an interactive tour.
3. Como House
Como House was originally built in 1847 as the home for the famous lawyer and judge, Edward Eyre Williams. The house and its five acres of historic gardens are just a short distance from the very center of Melbourne. Visitors to the house can take a journey through the colonial lives of those who previously lived there, while those wishing to stay outside can picnic under the Morton Bay Fig tree or explore the vegetable garden. Como House is also home to the Como Cafe, perfect for afternoon tea.
Spread out over more than 90 acres, the Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne is one of the world's finest botanic gardens, home to more than 10,000 species and 50,000 individual plants. Visitors can tour the gardens, viewing the Ornamental Lake, Australian Rainforest Walk, the National Herbarium of Victoria and the Water Conservation Garden. Throughout the month of July there is also a Chocolate and Spice Walk during which visitors are shown cinnamon, cardamom and the vanilla bean. A walk around the entire park should take 2-3 hours.
Situated on Federation Square, the Ian Potter Center: NGV Australia is home to the largest collection of Australian art anywhere in the world. With more than 200,000 works of art, more than 800 are on display in collections, including the Shared Sky, John Brack and the Indigenous Collection. Visitors are also encouraged to attend one of the many talks held each day, and to dine at the Crossbar Cafe with its stunning views of the Yarra River.
Home to the IMAX Melbourne, the museum is visited by more than a million people each year. Current exhibitions include the Human Body, a Day in Pompeii and Marine Life. Visitors should also be sure to see the newly opened Dinosaur Walk, where they will be transported back in time finding themselves in the company of flying reptiles as well as the dinosaurs themselves. A children's gallery also offers interactive experiences for little ones.