The best way to get a handle on the city is by taking the tram. Melbourne has the world's oldest tram network. The current tram network runs over 200 miles and it's still expanding. Climb aboard a City Circle tram and drink in the city's history as your tram weaves though the city centre.
Jump off at the Parliament House tram stop to view some grand buildings including the Princess Theatre, the grand Windsor Hotel, Parliament House, the Paris End of Collins Street, and St Patrick's Cathedral.
Tickets for single journeys within the city and to inner suburbs cost A$2.20 for adults. The best deal for sightseeing is to buy a 2-Hour Metcard, good for unlimited transport on buses or trams for up to 2 hours.
Another great way to get your bearings on Melbourne is to climb up to the Melbourne Observation Deck that gives you a bird's eye view of the city. From here you can pick out landmarks such as the Botanical Gardens and the Yarra River.
For the next section of your getting to know Melbourne trip, head for Victoria Market to browse the goods and have lunch in one of the many eateries. The biggest open-air market in the southern hemisphere, Victoria Market was established in 1878 and hawks everything from fresh produce to clothing, leather goods, jewellery, handicrafts and souvenirs. Just the place for that stuffed koala or Crocodile Dundee hat.
In the afternoon, it's time to experience some of Melbourne's many green spots. Over a quarter of the inner city is reserved as leisure area resulting in a green and leafy city. Saunter through Treasury Gardens then hop across to Fitzroy Gardens to peek at Captain Cook's Cottage. Then if wildlife is your thing, take in the sharks at the Melbourne Aquarium opposite Southbank, one of the suburbs south of the city centre. In fact the newly-renovated south bank of the river is a great place to visit with its bars, restaurants and shops.
If you're in the mood for art, wander over to Federation Square with its host of galleries. You'll find the Australian art collection in the Ian Potter Centre. Not far away is the new National Gallery of Victoria International. Its permanent collection includes four Gainsboroughs and four Constables together with works by El Greco, Monet, and Manet.
In fact, there's much more to Melbourne than you can experience in a day. But this orientation tour is sure to whet your appetite for more. Fortunately Melbourne City hotels are plentiful and of tremendous range and variety so you're sure to find something to suit as you stay longer in this wonderful city.