If you didn’t know, there is a global pandemic happening. With this comes lockdowns of cities and countries. My hometown Melbourne is currently in Stage 4 lockdown and so I cannot move around and visit some of the places I like to visit. I am really missing enjoying a nice cup of coffee in some of my favourite coffee places. But I have discovered there are still many places in Melbourne I can visit during lockdown, from zoos, to museums and even the ocean. I just have to visit them virtually. Here is my list of my favourite virtual tours that show you how you how to visit Melbourne virtually. So sit back, relax and enjoy.
READ MORE: If you are planning a visit to Melbourne read, What to See and Do in Melbourne
National Gallery of Victoria (NGV)
The National Gallery of Victoria or NGV as it is popularly known, is an art museum in Melbourne. It is not too far from Federation Square and the Flinders Street Train Station, where there is a lot of hustle and bustle. I am not a big fan of museums and don’t really appreciate all they have to offer – but I have been to the NGV a number of times on a Sunday to wander around. It was founded in 1861 and is the oldest, largest and most visited museum in Australia – or so they say!
NGV currently has a number of virtual tours that take you through its collections. Some I visited virtually include 20th Century Australian Art, Japanese Modernism and Top Arts 2020. But there were plenty more virtual tours of exhibitions. I’m not that big a fan of museums and so my attention span with these virtual tours was limited. Here’s the link to take a virtual tour of the NGV yourself: https://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/virtual-tours/
One of my favourite Melbourne virtual tours, which was a little surprising, was through the Immigration Museum. The Immigration Museum provides a history of immigration in Australia. Here I enjoyed listening to and watching some of the stories of those who have immigrated to Australia. I enjoyed my virtual walk through the museum, and there were plenty of videos about immigration to Australia to watch. To take a virtual tour of the Immigration Museum here’s the link: https://www.ngv.vic.gov.au/virtual-tours/
Royal Botanic Gardens
I have always enjoyed walking through the Royal Botanic Gardens. I often walk through them on my way to the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) attending football and/or cricket. And to my delight visiting the Royal Botanic Gardens website took me to many very interesting areas of the gardens – some I have been to and some I haven’t. There are a number of tours in the gardens to enjoy such as through living plant collections, and at times was transported to many YouTube gardening videos. Here’s the link if you would like to be virtually transported to the Royal Botanic Gardens yourself: Royal Botanic Gardens
The Shrine of Remembrance
Another of my fave virtual tours was through the Shrine of Remembrance. I have been here a number of times to watch marches and celebrate events such as Anzac Day to remember the fallen. I have been inside the Shrine – usually with loads of people – so it was nice to undertake a virtual tour, where I was the only one appreciating all the Shrine has to offer. And I hadn’t noticed before the Hall of Columns that hold up the building. My favourite and most interesting part was the Gallery of Medals. To visit The Shrine of Remembrance virtually, here’s the link: https://www.shrine.org.au/virtual-tour-shrine
Port Phillip Bay Reef Cam
Loving the water as I do I did enjoy the Port Phillip Bay Reef Cam. There were live feeds for above water and below water. I visited this a couple of times – sometimes there wasn’t much movement by the wildlife. Ensure you visit during the day because the cams are solar powered and only work during daylight hours. https://www.natureaustralia.org.au/what-we-do/our-priorities/oceans/ocean-stories/reef-cam-underwater/
Melbourne Sea Life Aquarium
After seeing the wildlife of Port Phillip Bay Reef Cam, I thought I would head over to the Melbourne Sea Life Aquarium. Here I found live feeds of what was happening at the aquarium. Some things I had to wait for because I visited at the wrong time. For instance, the stingray lunchtime feed – I missed it by an hour or so – but there is a catch up on the Facebook Page. There are plenty of other feeds to see – the penguins and the sharks were my faves. Here’s the link to virtually visit the Melbourne Sea Life Aquarium: https://www.melbourneaquarium.com.au/explore/live-stream/
Zoos Victoria I think was my absolute fave. There were plenty of virtual tours to take of the different zoos. I have been to Healesville Sanctuary a number of times and I could see where I had been before. There were also a number of zoo keeper talks on different animals such as the gorillas. Both Melbourne and Werribee Zoos are live-streaming the antics of a number of animals in their enclosures but sometimes the animals must have been resting – because I couldn’t see them. Here’s the link to virtually visit the zoo: https://www.zoo.org.au/animals-at-home/
The Penguins at Phillip Island
Phillip Island isn’t actually in Melbourne, it is about 2.5 hours South East of Melbourne. I have included this virtual tour because I think it is the best way to end a day. Every night as the sun goes down the little penguins start coming ashore. They are quite a sight to see. I have been a few times to see them and sat on the concrete seats in the cold and windy weather! But they were well worth it! You are lucky that you can watch a live-stream of the little penguins come ashore. It starts around 6pm each night, that is Australian Eastern Standard Time but you should check on the website because as we head into Spring and Summer and daylight hours increase, the little penguins come in later. To virtually watch the penguins come ashore here’s the link. https://www.penguins.org.au/virtual/live-penguin-tv/
READ MORE: To plan a visit to Phillip Island read my post Phillip Island – What to See and Do.
So there you go. Being virtually in Melbourne isn’t as good as actually being here, but while in lockdown, visiting Melbourne virtually is definitely a great way to visit.
It is awesome that you could “visit” Melbourne virtually. I was originally planning on visiting Australia this upcoming January, but I am pushing it back another year. I cannot wait to visit Melbourne in person one day, but this is super helpful for learning more about it in the meantime.
Hopefully the pandemic will be over soon and you can visit Melbourne. Until then, enjoy it virtually.
Great article. The Botanical Gardens look so beautiful! Also checked the streaming from the penguins running around Phillip Island. They are so cute and adorable. I love penguins so much, would be great if I can come and see them in person some day. 🙂
So many people have enjoyed the penguins live stream on Phillip Island. And yes, you should try to see them in person some day.
aaah love this! as was actually watching the Phillip Island penguins on the live cam the other day!! Also need to do that NGV tour because I’ve still not been to the NGV. Great guide!
Thanks. I am sure there are more places to include so will need to update this guide. But yes, have a look at the NGV.
I spent 6 months working in Melbourne and absolutely adore the city. I had no idea that there were so many ways to visit Melbourne virtually. Thanks so much for this post – I will definitely be watching the penguins regularly, they were my favourite when I was there too!!
The penguins are a joy to watch. I watch them regularly and will until I can get back there for real.
How amazing! I’ve lived in Melbourne for eight months right before the pandemic. How cute is the Phillip island penguin live stream! ?
The live stream is so cute, I have watched it many times. Each night is different.
I love Melbourne, I was living there just before they went into Lockdown and I really miss it!
Melbourne is a great place to live and lockdown has been hard however, Melbourne will be back, probably even better.
Great ideas for exploring during the lockdowns. I loved that the Botanic Gardens are included too – I think I miss this sort of thing more than museums!
Glad you enjoyed the virtual tours of Melbourne.
This list makes me a little sad, it’s going to be a while before I can go back to Melbourne and I think of the residents who have been locked down for so long. Still, it’s great that the museums and other attractions make such programs available. If you can’t travel, you can always dream!
Lockdown has been hard but yes, we can always dream of future travels.
What a wonderful post – I had no idea you could virtually visit the The Penguins at Phillip Island! How cool! Thanks for sharing all this information.
It is cool watching the penguins virtually. But I am looking forward to getting back to Phillip Island to see them for real.