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13 Cool Ways to Beat the Heat in Melbourne

08/02/2024
11 mins read
Arbory Afloat
Source: Visit Victoria

Beat the heat in style with Melbourne’s ultimate guide to staying cool on those scorching hot days! From refreshing dips in the city’s best beaches to exploring cool, air-conditioned museums, we’ve got you covered.

Dive into our list of 13 top activities that promise fun and relief from the heat. Whether you’re looking to chill out or find some thrilling adventures, Melbourne offers a plethora of options to make your hot day a memorable one. Get ready to discover your new favorite summer spots!

At a Glance

Our list of best things to do on a hot day in Melbourne goes like this:

1. Visit St Kilda Beach

When the mercury rises, Melburnians flock to St Kilda Beach, a vibrant coastal hotspot where the city’s pulse can truly be felt. With its soft golden sands and inviting blue waters, St Kilda is the perfect urban escape for sun-seekers and water enthusiasts alike. Whether you’re up for a refreshing dip, a laid-back sunbathing session, or a stroll along the bustling pier, this beach has got you covered. And let’s not forget the adorable fairy penguins that call the breakwater home – a delightful surprise for any visitor!

As the sun begins to set, the beach transforms into a lively scene with beach volleyball games, kite surfers taking flight, and the distant hum of live music from nearby bars and cafes. The iconic Luna Park, with its thrilling rides and nostalgic charm, is just a stone’s throw away, promising fun for all ages. And for the foodies, the esplanade offers a smorgasbord of culinary delights, from fresh seafood to delectable desserts.

  • Best Time to Visit: Late afternoon to evening for cooler temperatures and sunset views.
  • Known For: Its lively atmosphere, watersports, and the St Kilda Pier penguin colony.
  • Distance and travel time from CBD: About 6 km, a 20-minute drive or 30 minutes by tram.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/SVC7HuL6JcQnVs6A7

2. Explore Brighton Beach

Just a bit further down the coast, Brighton Beach awaits with a more serene and picturesque setting. Famous for its 82 vibrantly painted bathing boxes, this beach is a photographer’s dream and a tranquil retreat from the city’s hustle and bustle. The calm waters here are ideal for swimming, and the soft sands invite you to lay down your towel and soak up the sun in style.

The bathing boxes, with their unique designs and historical significance, are a testament to Melbourne’s love affair with the beach. They provide a colorful backdrop to a day spent frolicking in the waves or building sandcastles with the kids. And when hunger strikes, Brighton’s charming cafes and restaurants offer a variety of tasty options just a short walk away.

  • Best Time to Visit: Morning to midday for sunbathing and early afternoon for cooler swimming conditions.
  • Known For: The iconic Brighton bathing boxes and family-friendly beach atmosphere.
  • Distance and travel time from CBD: About 11 km, a 25-minute drive.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/RsJUhk7zQRiUfaUd6

3. Relax at the Royal Botanic Gardens

Escape the city’s sizzle by ducking into the lush, leafy haven of the Royal Botanic Gardens. This verdant paradise sprawls over 38 hectares and is a sanctuary of cool, with its meandering paths, large shady trees, and ornamental lakes. It’s the perfect place to unwind with a book, enjoy a leisurely picnic, or simply meander through the diverse plant collections.

The gardens are not just a feast for the eyes; they’re also a hub for cultural and educational activities. Join a guided walk to learn about the indigenous plants, or find a quiet spot by the lake to watch the swans glide by. And for those looking to tap into their inner zen, the gardens often host yoga and meditation sessions amidst the tranquil surroundings.

  • Best Time to Visit: Early morning or late afternoon to avoid the midday heat.
  • Known For: Its extensive collection of native and exotic flora, peaceful landscapes, and educational programs.
  • Distance and travel time from CBD: About 2 km, a 5-minute drive or 15 minutes by public transport.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/ZbFQUX5qbzYRDJWm8

4. Discover the Melbourne Museum

When the heat becomes too much to handle, the Melbourne Museum offers a cool reprieve with its air-conditioned galleries and fascinating exhibits. This modern temple of knowledge is a treasure trove of natural history, cultural artifacts, and interactive displays that will captivate visitors of all ages. Dive into Victoria’s local history, explore the evolution of life on Earth, or get hands-on with the latest technology in the Science and Life Gallery.

The museum isn’t just about what’s on the inside; its striking architectural design is a sight to behold, seamlessly blending with the surrounding Carlton Gardens. After exploring the exhibits, take a break at the museum cafe or browse the gift shop for unique souvenirs. And for those with little ones, the Children’s Gallery offers a magical space for imaginative play and discovery.

  • Best Time to Visit: Midday to afternoon, when outdoor temperatures peak.
  • Known For: Its diverse collections, family-friendly exhibits, and impressive architecture.
  • Distance and travel time from CBD: About 2 km, a 5-minute drive or 15 minutes by public transport.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/VDgZhdPVbfXDEq1p6

Escape the heat and immerse yourself in the world of art at the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV). As Australia’s oldest and most visited gallery, the NGV is a cultural landmark that houses an impressive collection of artworks from around the globe. From ancient artifacts to contemporary masterpieces, there’s something to captivate every art enthusiast.

The gallery’s cool, spacious interiors offer a welcome respite from the summer heat. As you wander through the various exhibits, you’ll be transported to different eras and cultures, all while staying comfortably cool. And don’t miss the gallery’s stunning stained glass ceiling – it’s a masterpiece in its own right! Whether you’re an art aficionado or a casual observer, a visit to the NGV is a must on a hot Melbourne day.

  • Best Time to Visit: Midday to afternoon, when outdoor temperatures are highest.
  • Known For: Its extensive art collection, stunning architecture, and special exhibitions.
  • Distance and travel time from CBD: Located in the CBD, a short walk from many central locations.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/kEnZxmFNxyzStiaW7

6. Visit the Melbourne Aquarium

Dive into a world of underwater wonder at the Melbourne Aquarium, a top-notch attraction that promises a fun and educational experience for all ages. Here, you can come face-to-face with a dazzling array of marine life, from the vibrant inhabitants of the Coral Atoll to the awe-inspiring King and Gentoo penguins in the Antarctic Ice Adventure.

The aquarium’s cool, dimly lit interiors provide a refreshing escape from the summer heat. As you explore the various zones, you’ll learn about the fascinating creatures that inhabit our oceans and the importance of conserving their habitats. And for the thrill-seekers, the aquarium offers the opportunity to swim with sharks – a truly unforgettable experience!

  • Best Time to Visit: Midday to afternoon, when outdoor temperatures are highest.
  • Known For: Its diverse marine exhibits, penguin encounters, and shark dives.
  • Distance and travel time from CBD: Located in the CBD, a short walk from many central locations.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/5LU912juvkPmnyaVA

7. Enjoy the View from the Eureka Skydeck

Rise above the heat and take in Melbourne’s skyline from the Eureka Skydeck, the highest public vantage point in the Southern Hemisphere. Located on the 88th floor of the Eureka Tower, the Skydeck offers breathtaking 360-degree views of the city and beyond. It’s a sight to behold, whether you visit during the day to see the city bathed in sunlight, or at night when Melbourne sparkles under a canopy of stars.

The Skydeck’s air-conditioned interiors ensure a comfortable viewing experience, no matter how hot it gets outside. And for the daredevils, the ‘Edge Experience’ offers a heart-stopping, glass-bottomed cube that extends out from the building. It’s a thrilling way to see Melbourne from a whole new perspective!

  • Best Time to Visit: Late afternoon to evening for sunset views and cooler temperatures.
  • Known For: Its panoramic city views, glass floor experience, and sunset vistas.
  • Distance and travel time from CBD: Located in the CBD, a short walk from many central locations.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/By9SL8fLYwhSAxir5

8. Indulge in Gelato

What better way to beat the heat than with a scoop (or two) of creamy, delicious gelato? Melbourne is home to a plethora of gelaterias, each offering a dizzying array of flavors to satisfy your sweet tooth. From classic favorites like chocolate and vanilla to unique concoctions like lavender honeycomb and salted caramel, the city’s gelato scene is a playground for dessert lovers.

Whether you’re strolling down the streets of the CBD or exploring the city’s vibrant neighborhoods, you’re sure to stumble upon a gelato shop beckoning you with its colorful display. So go ahead, treat yourself to a cup or cone of this frozen delight, and let the cool, sweet flavors melt away the summer heat. After all, indulging in gelato is an essential part of the Melbourne summer experience!

  • Best Time to Visit: Afternoon to evening, when you’re in need of a sweet, cooling treat.
  • Known For: A wide variety of flavors, from classic to unique, offered by numerous gelaterias across the city.
  • Distance and travel time from CBD: Gelaterias can be found throughout the CBD and surrounding neighborhoods.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/9cq7ZYbnNbda4pWA7

9. Relax at Arbory Afloat

End your day on a high note at Arbory Afloat, a floating bar and restaurant on the Yarra River. With its tropical decor, lush greenery, and stunning city views, this is the perfect place to unwind and cool down as the sun sets. Whether you’re sipping on a refreshing cocktail, savoring a delicious meal, or simply soaking up the laid-back vibes, Arbory Afloat offers a unique and relaxing experience.

As night falls, the venue comes alive with twinkling lights, live music, and a buzzing atmosphere. It’s a wonderful spot to mingle with locals, meet fellow travelers, or simply sit back and watch the world go by. With its cool river breezes and stunning views, Arbory Afloat is a must-visit on a hot Melbourne day.

  • Best Time to Visit: Late afternoon to evening for cooler temperatures and sunset views.
  • Known For: Its floating bar and restaurant, tropical decor, and stunning city and river views.
  • Distance and travel time from CBD: Located in the CBD, a short walk from many central locations.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/t8xPin9UYNt3xPVa8

10. Attend the Moonlight Cinema

As the day’s heat begins to wane, what could be more enchanting than a movie under the stars at Melbourne’s beloved Moonlight Cinema? Nestled within the Royal Botanic Gardens, this open-air cinema offers a magical setting where you can recline on the grassy expanse, surrounded by nature’s beauty, and lose yourself in the silver screen’s tales.

The Moonlight Cinema is not just about the films; it’s an experience. Arrive early to secure your spot, bring a picnic blanket, and indulge in a pre-movie feast as the sunset paints the sky. From cult classics to the latest blockbusters, the program is as diverse as the audience it attracts. And for those seeking a touch of luxury, premium experiences like the Connoisseur Lounge and AAMI Gold Grass offer comfy bean beds and waiter service.

  • Best Time to Visit: Evening, as the temperature drops and the stars come out.
  • Known For: Its picturesque setting in the Royal Botanic Gardens, diverse film program, and premium viewing experiences.
  • Distance and travel time from CBD: The cinema is located within the Royal Botanic Gardens, just a short walk from the CBD.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/Trntz215YUUGmyhk9

11. Swim at the Melbourne City Baths

When the sun is blazing, there’s no better way to cool off than by taking a refreshing dip at the Melbourne City Baths. This historic facility, with its stunning architecture and modern amenities, offers a unique swimming experience right in the heart of the city. Whether you’re a serious swimmer looking to clock in some laps or just seeking a leisurely float, the baths’ indoor and outdoor pools cater to all.

The Melbourne City Baths isn’t just about swimming; it’s a wellness hub where you can unwind and rejuvenate. After your swim, why not relax in the sauna or steam room, or even treat yourself to a massage? And if you’re up for a workout, the fully equipped gym and fitness classes have got you covered. So grab your swimsuit and towel, and dive into a day of aquatic fun and relaxation!

  • Best Time to Visit: Midday to early afternoon, when the sun is at its peak.
  • Known For: Its historic architecture, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and wellness facilities.
  • Distance and travel time from CBD: Located in the CBD, a short walk from many central locations.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/ffxqSrkLFnwcgdh16

12. Go Ice Skating

Swap the summer heat for a winter wonderland at one of Melbourne’s ice-skating rinks. Whether you’re a seasoned skater or a first-timer, gliding on the ice is a fun and refreshing way to spend a hot day. Plus, it’s a great workout and a chance to learn a new skill!

Melbourne’s ice rinks offer a cool escape with their chilly temperatures and festive atmosphere. Many rinks also host themed nights with music and lights, adding an extra layer of excitement to your skating experience. So lace up your skates, hit the ice, and let the cool, crisp air whisk away the summer heat.

  • Best Time to Visit: Midday to afternoon, when outdoor temperatures are highest.
  • Known For: Indoor ice-skating facilities with various programs and themed nights.
  • Distance and travel time from CBD: Varies depending on the location of the ice rink.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/fvj2RGUPCqEF8okk6

13. Watch a Movie

When the sun is blazing outside, why not retreat to the cool, dark comfort of a movie theater? Melbourne boasts a range of cinemas, from multiplexes screening the latest blockbusters to independent theaters showcasing art-house films. Whether you’re a fan of action-packed thrillers, heartwarming dramas, or laugh-out-loud comedies, there’s always something playing to suit your taste.

Catching a movie is more than just a way to escape the heat; it’s a chance to immerse yourself in different stories and worlds. And let’s not forget the popcorn, candy, and ice-cold drinks that make the movie-going experience complete. So grab a seat, sit back, and lose yourself in the magic of cinema.

  • Best Time to Visit: Midday to afternoon, when outdoor temperatures are highest.
  • Known For: A variety of cinemas screening a wide range of films.
  • Distance and travel time from CBD: Cinemas can be found throughout the CBD and surrounding neighborhoods.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/8uxvt8vobjxcvYoM6

Frequently Asked Questions

What are some family-friendly activities to do on a hot day in Melbourne?

Families can enjoy a day at St Kilda Beach, where the calm waters make it safe for children to swim. The Melbourne Aquarium is also a great family-friendly destination with its fascinating marine life exhibits.

Can I find good places to eat near these hot day attractions in Melbourne?

Yes, there are plenty of dining options near St Kilda Beach and along the Yarra River near Arbory Afloat. The areas surrounding the National Gallery of Victoria and the Melbourne Museum also offer a variety of cafes and restaurants.

Are there any free activities included in the “Best things to do on a hot day in Melbourne” list?

Yes, visiting the Royal Botanic Gardens and relaxing at Brighton Beach are free activities. Additionally, watching the penguins at St Kilda Beach does not require an entry fee.

How accessible are these attractions from the Melbourne CBD?

Most attractions on the list are very accessible from the Melbourne CBD. St Kilda Beach, the Melbourne City Baths, and the National Gallery of Victoria are all a short tram ride or walk away. The Melbourne Aquarium and Eureka Skydeck are located within the CBD itself.

Is it possible to enjoy Melbourne’s hot day activities without getting too sun-exposed?

Yes, many of the activities offer shaded or indoor options, such as the Melbourne Museum, the National Gallery of Victoria, and the Melbourne Aquarium. For outdoor activities, it’s recommended to wear sunscreen, hats, and protective clothing, or visit during the cooler parts of the day.

Hafiz Kashif

Kashif, our associate writer at HumbleTrail, brings stories from across the globe to our readers. Originating from Pakistan, his journey has taken him through the vibrant cityscape of Dubai and now to the diverse and cultural melting pot of Melbourne, Australia.

His writing is a reflection of his own journey - rich in diverse experiences and filled with the excitement of discovering new places. Melbourne, with its unique blend of cultures and bustling energy, has captured Kashif's heart, a sentiment that deeply resonates in his work.

Kashif's articles for HumbleTrail are more than just travel logs; they are narratives that weave together the beauty of diverse cultures and the thrill of exploration, inviting readers to see the world through his eyes.

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