9 Rainy Day Adventures in Melbourne That You’ll Love

10 mins read
Old Melbourne Gaol
Source: Tourism Australia/Visit Victoria

Don’t let the rain dampen your Melbourne adventure! Our guide to the 10 best things to do on a rainy day in the city ensures you’ll have a ball, come drizzle or downpour. From cozy cafes and fascinating museums to indoor markets and escape rooms, Melbourne’s vibrant indoor scene promises fun and excitement.

So, grab your umbrella and let the rainy day uncover a different side of Melbourne for you. Get ready to explore these unbeatable activities that make even the gloomiest day shine!

At a Glance

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

1. Visit the Melbourne Aquarium

Dive into an aquatic adventure at SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium, where the mysteries of the ocean come alive right in the heart of the city. As rain patters on the roof, you’ll be transported to an underwater wonderland, where you can gaze at the graceful swimming of sharks, the playful antics of penguins, and the delicate dance of seahorses. It’s a magical marine world that offers a splash of excitement for all ages, making it a perfect escape from the dreary weather outside.

The aquarium is a treasure trove of marine biodiversity, with interactive exhibits that allow you to get up close and personal with some of the ocean’s most fascinating creatures. From the icy waters of Antarctica, where the enchanting penguins reside, to the vibrant coral atolls teeming with colorful fish, each zone is a new discovery. Don’t miss the thrilling Croc Lair, where you can come face-to-face with Pinjarra, one of Australia’s largest saltwater crocodiles.

SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium isn’t just about observing; it’s about experiencing. With educational talks and feeding sessions throughout the day, you’ll gain insights into the lives of these aquatic animals and the importance of ocean conservation. It’s an immersive experience that will leave you with a deeper appreciation for the world beneath the waves and a warm memory of Melbourne’s rainy days.

  • Best Time to Visit: Weekdays at 10 am, especially right after opening, and the months between March-May and September-November.
  • Known For: Diverse marine exhibits, including the Penguin Playground, Ocean Invaders, and a 2-million-litre oceanarium.
  • Distance and travel time from CBD: Approximately 871 meters away, a 10-minute walk from Flinders Street or Southern Cross train stations.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/5LU912juvkPmnyaVA

2. Explore the Melbourne Museum

When the skies turn grey, the Melbourne Museum beckons with its bright halls filled with wonders. A sanctuary for the curious mind, the museum is a labyrinth of knowledge, where each corner turned reveals another chapter of the Earth’s story. From the rich tapestry of Australia’s indigenous cultures to the prehistoric giants that once roamed the land, the museum is a place where history and science converge in a fascinating display.

The museum’s galleries are a feast for the senses, with exhibits that are as varied as they are vibrant. The Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre is a poignant journey through the living history of the First Peoples of Victoria, while the Melbourne Story invites you to walk the streets of 19th-century Melbourne. And for those who marvel at the natural world, the Forest Gallery offers a tranquil escape into the heart of a Victorian forest, complete with birdsong and the scent of eucalyptus.

A visit to the Melbourne Museum is more than just a way to dodge the raindrops; it’s an opportunity to connect with the stories that shape our world. Whether you’re a history buff, a science enthusiast, or simply seeking a dose of culture, the museum’s ever-changing exhibitions promise a day well spent and a mind well nourished.

  • Best Time to Visit: Weekdays to avoid crowds, allowing 3-4 hours for a full visit.
  • Known For: Comprehensive exhibits ranging from natural history to cultural artefacts, including the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre and the Melbourne Story.
  • Distance and Travel Time from CBD: Located in the Carlton Gardens, near the CBD.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/VDgZhdPVbfXDEq1p6

3. Visit the State Library of Victoria

Step out of the rain and into the hallowed halls of the State Library of Victoria, a cathedral of knowledge that has stood as a beacon of learning in Melbourne for over 160 years. With its majestic reading rooms and quiet corners, the library is a haven for book lovers and history seekers alike. The grandeur of the La Trobe Reading Room, with its soaring dome and walls lined with books, is a sight to behold and a whisper to the soul.

The library is not just a place to read; it’s a cultural hub that pulses with the city’s intellectual heartbeat. It hosts an array of exhibitions that delve into the rich tapestry of Victoria’s history, art, and literature. The library’s collection is a treasure trove, offering everything from ancient manuscripts to contemporary works, ensuring that every visit holds the promise of a new discovery.

Whether you’re there to study, explore, or simply bask in the quiet grandeur of its spaces, the State Library of Victoria is a refuge from the rain and a reminder of the enduring power of knowledge. It’s a place where you can lose yourself in the pages of a book or find yourself in the stories of the past.

  • Best Time to Visit: Weekdays during off-peak hours.
  • Known For: Historic significance, beautiful architecture, exhibitions, and a central location in Melbourne.
  • Distance and Travel Time from CBD: Located within walking distance from many central locations in the CBD.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/nPKEije3pM6YMb8x7

4. Visit the Old Melbourne Gaol

Step into the darker side of Melbourne’s history at the Old Melbourne Gaol, a chilling reminder of the city’s criminal past. As the rain sets the mood outside, you’ll be transported back to the 19th century, when the gaol was home to some of Australia’s most notorious criminals, including the infamous bushranger Ned Kelly.

The Old Melbourne Gaol is more than just a historic site; it’s a window into the lives of those who walked its cold, stone corridors. With its original cells and historic displays, the gaol offers a stark glimpse into the harsh realities of 19th-century justice. And with the guided tours and interactive experiences, you’ll hear the stories of the men and women who were imprisoned here, making history come alive.

So, step off the beaten path and into the shadows of the Old Melbourne Gaol. It’s a journey into the past that’s as fascinating as it is haunting, making it a compelling stop on a rainy day in Melbourne.

  • Best Time to Visit: During off-peak hours or weekdays to avoid crowds.
  • Known For: Its history as a former prison and the site where infamous bushranger Ned Kelly was hanged.
  • Distance and Travel Time from CBD: The Old Melbourne Gaol is located in the CBD, within walking distance from many central locations.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/D4ndkyUVgJrvvXjQ9

5. Enjoy a Day at ACMI

On a drizzly Melbourne day, the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) shines as a beacon for culture enthusiasts and digital dreamers alike. Nestled in the heart of Federation Square, ACMI is a futuristic playground where the worlds of film, television, video games, and digital culture collide. It’s a place where you can lose track of time, exploring the cutting-edge of visual storytelling.

ACMI’s exhibitions are a mesmerizing blend of the nostalgic and the groundbreaking. From celebrating iconic Australian cinema to showcasing the latest in virtual reality, ACMI offers a diverse palette of experiences. The Screen Worlds exhibition is a particular highlight, offering a free journey through the history of moving images. Interactive displays, personal stories, and a treasure trove of Australian screen culture make it an unforgettable experience.

But ACMI isn’t just about looking; it’s about doing. With hands-on workshops, talks, and festivals, it invites you to dive into the creative process. Whether you’re a budding filmmaker, a gaming aficionado, or simply curious about the digital world, ACMI provides a stimulating escape from the rainy streets outside, making every visit a discovery.

  • Best Time to Visit: Weekdays during off-peak hours to avoid crowds.
  • Known For: Exhibitions and interactive experiences related to film, TV, video games, and digital culture.
  • Distance and Travel Time from CBD: Located in Federation Square, in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/ZsEfHyNyH5yPZXk7A

6. Enjoy a Performance at the Melbourne Theatre Company

The rain may dampen the streets, but the stage at the Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC) is alight with drama, laughter, and the thrill of live performance. As Melbourne’s premier theatre company, the MTC has a storied history of bringing the best of Australian and international theatre to life. Whether it’s a gripping drama, a heartwarming comedy, or a thought-provoking contemporary piece, the MTC’s productions are a testament to the power of storytelling.

The MTC’s stages have seen the rise of many stars and the birth of countless standing ovations. With a commitment to excellence and innovation, each season is carefully curated to offer a diverse range of stories that resonate with audiences. The theatre’s intimate settings ensure that every seat is the best in the house, providing an immersive experience that’s as electric as it is unforgettable.

A night at the MTC is more than just an escape from the rain; it’s an invitation to be part of a shared experience that celebrates the human spirit. So, shrug off your umbrella, take your seat, and let the magic of theatre transport you to another world.

  • Best Time to Visit: During scheduled performance times; check the current program for show times.
  • Known For: Variety of plays and musicals, being one of the city’s premier performing arts venues.
  • Distance and Travel Time from CBD: Centrally located in Melbourne.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/2oE1GEWVf9nmoBnh9

7. Play Indoor Mini Golf at Holey Moley

When the rain is pouring outside, why not take the fun indoors at Holey Moley? This isn’t your average mini-golf course. With its quirky themes and creative challenges, Holey Moley takes the classic game to a whole new level of fun. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a complete novice, you’re sure to have a ball navigating the twists and turns of these unique courses.

Holey Moley is more than just a mini-golf course; it’s a playground for the young and young at heart. Each hole is a world of its own, with themes ranging from pop culture references to nostalgic throwbacks. And the fun doesn’t stop at the last hole. With a fully stocked bar and a menu full of delicious treats, Holey Moley is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy some friendly competition.

So, grab your putter and get ready to tee off on an adventure like no other. With its vibrant atmosphere and endless fun, Holey Moley is a hole-in-one choice for a rainy day in Melbourne.

  • Best Time to Visit: During off-peak hours or weekdays to avoid crowds.
  • Known For: Themed indoor mini-golf courses and fun atmosphere.
  • Distance and Travel Time from CBD: Holey Moley has multiple locations in Melbourne, some of which are in or near the CBD.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/sYnA7oWhNmWqPhev8

8. Visit the Astor Theatre

Step back in time at the Astor Theatre, a cinematic gem that harks back to the golden age of cinema. With its art deco architecture and classic single-screen setup, the Astor offers a movie-going experience that’s as charming as it is nostalgic. As the rain falls outside, you’ll be transported to different worlds through the magic of film.

The Astor is more than just a cinema; it’s a celebration of film in all its forms. From timeless classics to cult favorites, the theatre’s carefully curated program ensures that every screening is a special event. And with its traditional intermissions and the occasional double feature, a visit to the Astor is a true cinematic treat.

So, grab some popcorn, settle into the plush seats, and let the silver screen whisk you away. Whether you’re a film buff or just looking for a cozy way to spend a rainy day, the Astor Theatre is the perfect ticket.

  • Best Time to Visit: During scheduled movie times; check the current movie schedule for show times.
  • Known For: Single-screen cinema and heritage architecture, offering a unique film-watching experience.
  • Distance and Travel Time from CBD: The Astor Theatre is located in the inner suburb of St Kilda, which is a short drive or public transport ride from the CBD.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/cPE3TT65W7gG7RwKA

9. Explore the Rain Room

Experience the magic of rain without getting wet at the Rain Room, an immersive art installation at the Jackalope Pavilion. As you step into the darkened space, you’ll find yourself in a downpour that responds to your movements, allowing you to navigate the raindrops without a single drop touching you. It’s a surreal experience that blurs the lines between art, technology, and nature.

The Rain Room is more than just an art installation; it’s a sensory journey that challenges our perceptions of control and predictability. As you move through the space, you become both the observer and the observed, creating a unique interaction with the rain that’s both intimate and profound.

So, leave your umbrella at the door and step into the Rain Room. It’s a place where you can dance in the rain, walk through a storm, and emerge completely dry. It’s a testament to the beauty of rain, making it a must-visit on a rainy day in Melbourne.

  • Best Time to Visit: During scheduled visiting hours; check the current schedule.
  • Known For: Immersive art installation where visitors can walk through rain without getting wet, thanks to motion sensors.
  • Distance and Travel Time from CBD: The Rain Room is located at the Jackalope Pavilion in St Kilda, which is close to the CBD.
  • Google Map Link: https://maps.app.goo.gl/Ryy3bmursCYzaXyn7

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the best indoor activities in Melbourne for families?

For families, visiting the SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium offers an engaging underwater adventure with a variety of marine life exhibits. Another great option is the Melbourne Museum, which provides educational and interactive exhibits suitable for all ages.

Can I find any unique indoor entertainment in Melbourne?

Yes, Melbourne is home to several unique indoor entertainment options. Play Indoor Mini Golf at Holey Moley for a fun and quirky mini-golf experience, or immerse yourself in the Rain Room at the Jackalope Pavilion for an art installation where you can walk through rain without getting wet.

Are there any cultural activities to do indoors in Melbourne?

Certainly! You can explore the rich history and culture of Victoria at the State Library of Victoria, which offers more than just books, including exhibitions and beautiful architecture. Additionally, enjoying a performance at the Melbourne Theatre Company is a great way to experience the city’s vibrant arts scene.

What’s a good rainy day activity for movie lovers in Melbourne?

Movie lovers should not miss the chance to visit the Astor Theatre, a cinematic gem with its art deco architecture and classic single-screen setup, offering a unique movie-going experience.

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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