Melbourne is a fantastic place to begin your adventures, and also makes an excellent port of call for those passing through. Whether you have a few days to explore or just a few hours, we recommend that you make the most of it and see as much as you can of this stately Victorian city.
Ships docking in Melbourne tie up at Station Pier, around five kilometres from the CBD. It's a convenient place to embark or disembark, and a pretty one too, with sandy beaches nearby and the city skyline in sight. There are plenty of things you can do with straying too far from the terminal or paying for an expensive taxi - here is our guide to all the fun on offer close to the dock.
Port MelbourneWalk to shore from the pier and you're in Port Melbourne, an upmarket suburb with some stylish places to eat, shop and pass the time before you board the ship. The Beacon Cove foreshore is lined with palms, and it's a great place to enjoy a drink or a coffee while watching the Spirit of Tasmania ferries come and go.
Bay Street, a few minutes walk to the east of the pier, has a stretch of designer boutiques for pre-, post- or mid-cruise retail therapy.
It's not hard to find a stretch of sand. Walk off the pier, turn right and you will find the beaches of Port Melbourne, South Melbourne and Middle Park. Beach Street and Beaconsfield Parade run behind them, with walking paths so you can stroll along and find an empty spot or a cafe to sit and enjoy the view.
Hit the beach
The famous St Kilda beach, foreshore and Luna Park amusement park are an hour's stroll along the foreshore, or a short taxi ride. The bayside suburb is a popular destination for visitors.
The Beacon Cove tram station is at the foot of the pier (line 109), and that takes you to Port Junction/Whiteman Street where you can change onto line 96 to the South Melbourne Market station. You might also choose to walk - it's only a few kilometres into this busy shopping and dining district.
South Melbourne and the markets
The South Melbourne Market is not quite as big as the Queen Victoria Market further north, but it is a local favourite with plenty of wonderful things to buy, eat and see. It is open from 8am to 4pm on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and has an extensive array of produce, local products, street food, gift stores, homeware, clothing and services.
Sometimes, with the prospect of getting onboard (or back onboard) a cruise ship looming, you just want a bit of greenery. Albert Park is not too far to walk to, and is also accessible via tram lines 109 and 96.
Enjoy Albert Park
The park has a lake at its centre, and is popular with walkers, joggers, sailors, cyclists, rowers and picnickers. It offers plenty of open green spaces, and is also home to a stadium, a football club, a driving range and an aquatic centre.
Cruises departing Melbourne include destinations such as New Zealand, Tasmania and the South Pacific islands.