You don’t always have to jump on a plane to enjoy time off work. If you’re visiting a city for business, why not use your leisure time to explore the place rather than hiding at the hotel bar? Our series of City Breaks gives you suggestions for the most popular destinations around the world.

There’s so much to do and see in Melbourne that even if you’ve lived here all of your life, there are still plenty of opportunities for seeing the city from a new perspective. Read on for our suggestions for what to do in Melbourne.

City Breaks - Melbourne - The Wise Traveller

Image is courtesy Global Ballooning Australia

Take to the skies

Early on Sunday mornings, the skies are filled with colourful hot air balloons ascending over the city – why not wake early and spend a morning admiring Melbourne from above? Melbourne is one of only two Australian cities that allow hot air balloons to ride over its CBD, providing the perfect opportunity to see the city that you reside in from a completely different perspective. Time your ride to coincide with the sunrise, to witness Melbourne bathed in a flattering light that will make you realise there’s much more to see and do than you have already experienced.

Seek out street art

While going around Melbourne, you no doubt have stumble upon an array of intriguing street art. Even if you’ve visited all the art museums in the city, there are plenty of masterpieces to discover on the street as the displays of public art are ever-changing. Spend an afternoon strolling around, seeking out some of the best street art, light installations and contemporary sculptures in the city. The laneways surrounding Hosier Lane, Union Lane and Yarra Place are renowned for their colourful artwork, while the areas around the Yarra River and the Docklands boast an array of interesting sculptures.

Relax on the beach

You can’t complain about meetings in Melbourne when you always have the option of retreating to the beach for a relaxing afternoon. There are plenty of beaches to choose from, some much busier than others, but Brighton beach is always a firm favourite as it tends to be slightly quieter and attracts locals rather than tourists. In the summer, simply lie on the beach in the sun or enjoy the water, embracing the vacation vibe. During the colder months, head to the coast for a scenic stroll, admiring the colourful beach huts and windswept beaches.

Take a road trip

City Breaks: Mdelbourne - Great Ocean Road

If there’s one thing you must do in Melbourne, spend a few days off work by driving down the most iconic road in the whole of Australia. The Great Ocean Road officially runs west from Torquay to Warrnambool, starting just a short drive out of the city on the other side of Port Phillip Bay. Whether you choose to drive the entire route or simply enjoy a short stretch of the journey, you’ll be bombarded with dramatic coastlines while having the chance to spot interesting wildlife including whales, koalas and kangaroos. If you have time, it’s worth completing the journey to admire the iconic sights of the Shipwreck Coast including the Twelve Apostles and the London Arch.

Emma Lavelle is a UK based writer and photographer and has her own blog Field and Nest.