The Best Alternative Cruise Shore Excursions in Melbourne (On Your Own)
Melbourne is the coastal capital of the southeastern Australian state of Victoria. At the city's center is the modern Federation Square development, with plazas, bars, and restaurants by the Yarra River. In the Southbank area, the Melbourne Arts Precinct is the site of Arts Center Melbourne - a performing arts complex - and the National Gallery of Victoria, with Australian and indigenous art. Melbourne is best experienced as a local would, with its character largely reliant upon its diverse collection of inner-city neighborhoods. Despite a long-standing north-south divide (flashy South Yarra versus hipster Fitzroy), there's a coolness about its bars, cafes, restaurants, festivals and people that transcends the borders. With all of these fabulous attributes, Melbourne is a great place to experience, and there are several options for exciting shore excursions and tours for while you are in port here.
After meeting your tour guide at port, travel North-East approximately 75 minutes towards the picturesque Yarra Valley. Take in some of Melbourne's incredible sights along the way before arriving in Melbourne's premium wine region. Having been known for its premium wines since the 1880's, the Yarra Valley has its various soil types and rainfall patterns to thank for the distinctive vineyard styles. With a cooler climate than Bordeaux and a slightly warmer temperature than Burgundy, high quality chardonnay, pinot noir and sparkling wines are the perfect wines for this region. Not only is the Yarra Valley known for it's wineries, but it's agriculture, grazing land, beer and scenic, rural atmosphere is starting to become a highlight for every trip. Visiting the small towns, cafes and bistro's of the Yarra Valley has made the area the perfect weekend getaway for many Melbourne locals. Your first stop will be a wine and cheese tasting at De Boroli, one of Australia's most renowned wineries, followed by a visit to Dixsons Creek Winery, one of the smaller local wineries. Next, travel to Hargreaves Hill Brewery for a tasting paddle of their award winning craft beer as well as a delicious gourmet lunch. To finish the day, visit the Napoleon Brewery and Cider house for a second tasting paddle and relaxing stop to take in the incredible views of the Yarra Valley. Return back to your departure point at the end of your 8-hour day trip.
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You'll meet your private guide at Port Melbourne to begin your private tour of Melbourne. After reviewing itinerary options with your guide, you'll decide which areas of Melbourne to visit and you'll have the freedom to stop when and where you like. Customize the private tour to your interests or let your experienced guide take you to the city's highlights. Melbourne offers a wealth of options for all tastes. Perhaps you'll drive along the Yarra River to the Docklands' lively promenade with its variety of public art, cafes and restaurants. Or head into the heart of the city to see examples of Victorian-era architecture. Maybe you'll hear street musicians on Swanston Walk, or pass the elaborately decorated theaters on Spring Street and visit elegant buildings built during the 1850s gold rush such as the State Library, Town Hall, Parliament House and Treasury. Check out the neo-Gothic flourishes of St Paul's Cathedral, shop in the stylish Block Arcade (modeled after Milan's Galleria), or stroll along oak-lined avenues in one of the world's finest botanic gardens: the Royal Botanical Gardens. A little outside the city center you can find the seaside charm of St Kilda, browse in the clothing boutiques along Chapel Street, or savor the Italian ambiance of Carlton. Your tour includes morning tea no matter where you decide to go. At the end of your 4-hour tour, your guide will return you to Port Melbourne
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When your ship docks at Melbourne's port, head inland to explore the natural attractions of Victoria. Meet your professional guide after you disembark, and then travel by air-conditioned coach approximately 1 hour through Melbourne's leafy eastern suburbs into the countryside. Stop at the Healesville Sanctuary, where you can observe an abundance of Australian wildlife in beautiful bush habitats. See kangaroos, koalas, platypuses, lyrebirds, Tasmanian devils and more while learning about the sanctuary's rescue and conservation efforts. Savor a traditional Aussie barbecue lunch of gourmet sausages with all the fixings, and then continue on to the town of Belgrave nestled in the Dandenong Ranges. Climb aboard the Puffing Billy steam train - the oldest in Australia - for a ride through the semitropical Sherbrooke Forest. Cross a traditional wooden trestle, and enjoy the passing scenery from inside one of the immaculately maintained train cars. After your historic ride, relax on the return drive to Melbourne and your waiting ship.
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