Carve some man-made waves, float over the city as the sun’s first rays hit its icons and challenge yourself to hovering in a glass cube 300 metres above the street. Try these awesome adventures and you’ll see Melbourne in a different light.
Head inland to hang ten
The surf is up in the city’s north-west, close to Melbourne Airport, where Australia’s first urban surf park attracts board riders of any ability to its guaranteed swells. Grommets of all ages are welcomed with Urbnsurf’s beginner lessons in the gentle bay waves, while salty sea-dogs will love the steep walls and curving barrels at The Point. The aprés-surf action is just as satisfying thanks to the onsite Three Blue Ducks restaurant, which delivers a surf-sympatico menu from breakfast to dinner: think nourish bowls, woodfired pizza and flame-seared steak, served with views of the surfing lagoon.
See the sunrise from above
Witnessing the city come awake from the floating majesty of a hot-air balloon is an experience unique to Melbourne, the only major city in the world where balloons can fly directly over the CBD. Taking off from a city-fringe park (the exact location depends on the wind direction), Global Ballooning Australia’s colourful craft will see you soar over icons such as the MCG, Melbourne Skydeck and Yarra River as the rising sun bathes the urban landscape in a soft golden light. Touching down after around an hour, you’ll also have the option of adding a celebratory champagne breakfast to toast your experience.
Take to the water with a picnic
Why be a landlubber when you can captain your own picnic boat along the Yarra River? Casting off from Banana Alley opposite Southbank reveals a different side to the city sights such as South Wharf, Federation Square, Birrarung Marr and the Alexandra Gardens. Worth filing under “good to know” is that each electric-powered GoBoat is so easy to control you don’t need a boat licence; just guide it upriver or down to see sights from a new perspective. Bring up to seven of your closest friends along for the ride, and don’t forget to stock up beforehand on cheese, charcuterie and bubbles (yes, a limited amount of alcohol is allowed on board) to ensure maximum on-water indulgence.
Mix altitude with adrenaline
The staggering 360-degree views from the Melbourne Skydeck, the southern hemisphere's highest observation deck, take in an astounding sweep of Port Phillip Bay to the Dandenong Ranges. But from the glass structure known as the Edge, they’re truly heart-pounding. Jutting three metres from the tower’s observation deck, almost 300 metres above Southbank, the moving transparent cube amplifies the vertical thrills and rewards the brave with a direct view down to the city streets (although it might be an idea to grab a nerve-steadying cocktail at the adjoining Bar 88 before taking the trip). The excitement for all begins with the super-fast elevator, which shoots to the top in an ear-popping 38 seconds.
Step back in time
Take an old-style promenade at the Royal Exhibition Building, where a walk circling the exterior of the landmark’s elegant dome has been reopened after a century-long hiatus. A favourite pastime of colonial-era Victorians, the Promenade Walk showcases the surroundings from 21 metres above ground level, around the dome crowning the UNESCO World Heritage-listed icon in Carlton Gardens. Guided tours explore the building’s different levels (three levels of the exhibition – basement, mezzanine and lower promenade – are wheelchair accessible via a lift) before visitors climb the stairs to the upper promenade for 360-degree views of the manicured gardens and a vastly altered city skyline.