Start your stroll down Melbourne's famous Collins Street at the intersection with Spring Street. Known as the 'Paris end' for its historic (by Australian standards...) buildings and luxury fashion houses, the Old Treasury Building (pictured above) sits atop Collins with the city's tram network buzzing around it. The building once hosted the gold vaults with bullion stored during the state's Gold Rush and today operates as a museum (free entry; daily Sun-Fri)
Walking from Spring St, Collins Street rivals New York's Fifth Avenue and London's Regent Street for designer brands. Fashion houses such as Dolce & Gabbana and Ralph Lauren sit alongside accessory brands including Tiffany & Co and Bulgari. If you are looking to splash the cash during your visit, this is where to do it. Otherwise, it's a nice way to while away some time window shopping before reaching the smaller stores in Melbourne's iconic laneways and arcades at the other end of Collins.
Melbourne has a passion for theatre and the Regent Theatre is one of the stand out destinations for theatre-lovers. Built in 1929 and with a colourful history including floods, fires and the threat of demolition, it was refurbished in the mid 1990s and today hosts some of the city's best loved musicals and theatre productions.
Opening in the late 19th century, the Block Arcade is a real beauty, especially on a sunny day when the glassed roof comes into its own. As well as shopping, there's the institution that is Melbourne's Hopetoun Tea Rooms and historic tours available of the arcade.
Get your fill of other lanes and arcades in the block between Elizabeth and Swanston streets, with both Centreway Arcade and the popular Manchester Lane running between Collins Street and Flinders Lane.
The grand Town Hall officially opened in 1870 and has been the site of many of the city's entertainment highlights including a civic reception for the Beatles in 1964 and acts in the annual Melbourne International Comedy Festival. Whilst not as iconic as Flinders Street Station, it is one of the city's top meeting places for locals heading out for the night.
At 251m, the Rialto was the tallest building in Australia when it opened in 1986, but has been somewhat superseded by the new kids on the block like Melbourne's 101 Collins Street (260m, opened 1991) and more recently, the Eureka Tower (301m, opened 2006). The once popular Observation Deck closed in 2009 (Melbourne's views are now marketed from the Eureka Tower), with the popular Vue de Monde fine dining restaurant now occupying the 55th floor.
Formerly known as Spencer Street Station (renamed in 2005 following significant redevelopment), the old site was completely renovated to provide better passenger flow for the thousands of commuters and sports fans who use the station on an average Melbournian day. With trains running from the outer suburbs, as well as to regional Victorian towns, Southern Cross is regarded as a modern Australian architecture icon. Its open plan helps air flow even on the hottest days, and when there’s a cricket or Aussie Rules match at the nearby Etihad Stadium, the buzz of arriving fans gives it a festive feel. The station marks the end of Collins Street and the beginning of Melbourne's Docklands area.
Hidden above the store fronts are some of Collins Street's best attractions - bars and restaurants which offer hip interpretations of your favorite tipples and plates. Box Seafood offers fresh Aussie produce from the sea and land, whilst Mamasita claims to be the first Australian restaurant to offer "an alternative to Tex Mex" in its modern Mexican menu. Melbourne's reputation for stellar nights out was cemented by its bar scene – Ms Collins is a great example but check opening hours as it's often privately booked.