Australia’s Cultural Capital in southern Victoria, is a must-see on every backpackers list of destinations to visit. We’re proud to bring you a collection of the ultimate fun things to do in Melbourne!
Modern architecture, grafitti covered alleyways, incredible food and live music in abundance. Just some of the awesome things to do in the city.
Exploring the city is as easy as hopping on one of the free trams that will take you anywhere within the CBD at zero cost to you.
Stroll around the beautiful Federation Square, or take a walk along the Yarra river.
Get lost in the endless opportunities of exhibitions, markets, art galleries and of course the world famous coffee culture.
There is just so much to see and endless fun things to do in Melbourne.
This is the ultimate insider guide with local tips and top tourist attractions to get your adventure-buds tingling.
What about accommodation? Be sure to check out our full guide to the 3 best hostels in Melbourne.
Let’s jump straight in!
1. Find your inner Happy
When Emily Hazell founded Serotonin Eatery there was one key word in her mind – Happiness.
Everything from the interior design to the menu is carefully planned to naturally release more
serotonin, the happy chemical.
Sit down in one of the lovely swings in the cafe and enjoy a plate of Positive Pancakes served with Nice Cream and berries, or a heavenly delicious smoothie, and you just can’t help but smile.
Every meal here is beautifully created displaying all the colours of the rainbow, served to you by the warm, happy staff. Be prepared to get blown away!
On Saturday mornings the Serotonin crew assemble for a one hour free workout in the park along the Yarra River, so put on your running shoes and come along!
Are you travelling alone? No worries! This is a great opportunity to make local friends since you train together in small groups, and afterwards you can enjoy a breakfast together at the cafe.
Location: 52 Madden Grove, Burnley. A ten minute train ride from Melbourne Central.
2. Rock Climb at Sunrise
Are you that energetic person in the dorm who sets the alarm super early to wake up everyone in time for yet another stunning sunrise?
Perfect! Check out Hardrock Climbing on 4/8 Franklin Street.
Get your harness on and hit the wall at 6am and watch the city wake up through the glass walls that cover the building.
This place is open 7 days a week and welcomes both experienced climbers and total newbies.
Sign up for a 3-hour course or take a private lesson with one of the friendly instructors, who will get you to the top, no problem.
Bonus: outdoor climbing enthusiasts take the train from Melbourne Central to Burnley Bouldering
Wall, located just under the freeway.
3. Enjoy a Monday Movie at Nova
Is it normal to be thinking about wine at this time on a Monday? Asking for a friend…
Seriously though, we all know how Mondays feel and it doesn’t really matter whether you are a backpacker or a nine to five-worker.
It’s like your body has a built in calendar that just makes sure you are aware it is Monday. Eurgh.
So what a brilliant move from Cinema Nova on 380 Lygon Street to have the cheapest tickets in Melbourne every Monday.
Before 4pm all movies are only $7 and after 4pm you’ll get your tickets for $10.
Make yourself cozy with some movie snacks and sink down in the seat with a nice glass of red. You deserve it.
Location: 380 Lygon Street. Check out the Nova website for weekly screenings.
4. Shop ’til you Drop with Glee
Believe it or not, Melbourne is a paradise for travellers on a tight budget that wish to shop!
This might seem like one of those a girly things to do in Melbourne, but guys like shopping too, right?
When you’ve been backpacking around for a while, wearing the same old t-shirts and shorts you might start to feel like upgrading your wardrobe.
But at the same time you have to make sure that you can afford food, accomodation, adventures, flights, socialising and so on. And then there is the important environmental factor to think about.
Melbourne is, however, full of sustainable second hand treasures for you to discover.
On the classic tourist quarters around Brunswick Street you will find everything from high fashion vintage to affordable budget OP-shops in every street corner.
A nice way to spend the day is to get here in the morning and have a killer breakfast in one of the many
picturesque cafes before going on your treasure hunt.
If you are after something a little less crowded and touristy you might want to take the tram to Sydney Road or Northcote.
These urban hipster suburbs have heaps of second hand stores on offer as well.
5. Beach it up at St Kilda
Take the tram from Flinders Street Station to St Kilda Beach and explore Melbourne’s most famous
This is certainly a top choice of free things to do in Melbourne with family, friends, or by yourself!
700 meters of classic Australian beauty – feel the warm sand beneath your feet while you’re getting your relax mode on in the sun, or just enjoy a beer on the pier.
There are plenty of great places around the beach to drink and dine.
Play a casual game of beach volley ball, hire a Stand Up Paddle (SUP) or check out the fishing trips that depart from here.
Have you not tried out your board skills yet? Well, it’s about time. At St Kilda Beach you’ll find your adrenaline pumping while kite surfing the waves.
GoKite is one of schools that offer kite surfing lessons to beginners and more advanced surfers. With experienced surfers you’ll learn everything you need to know about this fantastic water sport.
You can also enjoy the costal view from the St Kilda Ferry that will take you all the way to Williamstown.
On the way you might spot some penguins on the beach. Yep, that’s right. There are penguins in Australia – at St Kilda Beach!
6. Join a Yoga Class, Dinner Included
Unfortunately Yoga Classes are usually a bit pricy in Australia.
There are heaps of great places to practice your warriors and pigeons, but you will have to be prepared to pay around $25 dollars per class.
However! I would love to tell you about a very special place on Brunswick Street called Desire Tree Yoga & Kirtan.
On the top floor, above the amazing Indian style vegetarian restaurant, Radhey Kitchen & Chai Bar, this little studio runs classes every evening.
This is a bit different to the bigger fitness yoga studios, and is all about creating a peaceful intimate experience with a maximum of 8 people per class. You can book online at or just drop in.
Every class includes a vegetarian dinner that you can enjoy either before or after the class. And honestly, the food here is insane, so you don’t want to miss out!
All this for only $20. A pretty sweet deal if you ask me.
7. Have a Bella Notte at The Italian Quarter
Take a stroll down the Italian quarters on Lygon Street on any night of the week and you will be
transported to the streets of Rome.
The flavours, the smells, even the music. Lining the road is a series of great Italian restaurants serving all of your favourites.
Oh yes, the sweet taste of Margherita with buffalo mozzarella and fresh basil, Limoncello, Prosecco, Tiramisu, home made Gelato. Sì grazie!
Alongside cute little wine bars, you will even spot some red vespa scooters parked on the kerbside.
See fresh pasta being made in the shop windows, and enjoy chatting to the managers standing
outside their restaurants trying to convince you that their place is the only authentic Italian Restaurant on the block.
They will even give you complimentary drinks with your meal. Score!
While enjoying your dinner you might get lucky and have one of the buskers on the street perform a love song just for you. How romantic is that!
8. Get Green with CERES
CERES (pronounced ‘series’) is a community space in Brunswick East, focused on environmental sustainability, sharing ideas with each other, growing organic food, and inspiring people to learn new skills and share their knowledge.
You can learn how to
- build your own bike
- try out the benefits of a traditional ‘sweat lodge’
- enjoy some live music at the cafe on weekends
- visit the food markets
- or have a walk around and explore the beautiful space.
There are also heaps of fun events on every week.
Join in on a beautiful insight meditation on Monday nights or check out the Flea Market on Saturdays, for
9. Strutt your Stuff at an Open Mic Night
The people of Melbourne are truly passionate about music. It’s almost as if everyone here is playing in a band, busking or producing. And it’s great music too!
If you are keen to jam with some local musicians or just experience the musical vibe of the city we recommend you to check out some of the many Open Mic Nights arranged all over town most nights of the week.
The entry is usually very affordable, and the local beer is tasty indeed.
If you want to play, make sure to be at the venue early since the list will usually fill up fast.
Check out places like
- Elwood Longe (Wednesdays)
- Baxter’s Lot (every second Sunday)
- The Drunken Poet (every second Thursday).
You can also have a scroll through the “Musicians in Melbourne” group on Facebook.
10. Fill your Belly on Brunswick Street
Melbourne is well known for its large variety of vegetarian and vegan restaurants located all over the city.
You’ll find anything from fine dining to falafels, so let the feast begin!
Catch the tram to Brunswick Street and check out classics like
If you have a big appetite pay a visit to The Moroccan Soup Bar – the servings sizes are insanely generous!
Craving something sweet? Then you must go to Girls and Boys for some delicious plant based sundaes topped with with chocolate sauce, mixed nuts & chunks of chocolate fudge.
And yes, you can even buy a whole tub of ice cream to take with you for a quiet night at your hostel.
11. Experience The Queen Victoria Market
This is the largest open air market in The Southern Hemisphere.
Just think about that for amoment. Woah.
The historical Queen Victoria Market on Queen Street is turning 140 years this year and is said to be the heart and soul of the city.
But I like to describe it more like the blood that is pumping in the veins of Melbourne.
Every morning at around 4am, while most of the city is still asleep, over 700 small businesses start setting up their stalls to be ready to provide you with local produce, hand made jewellery, clothes, fish and meat, street food and coffee.
Imagine the rich colours and smells of fresh fruits and herbs when the bustling market opens up for the first enthusiastic customers of the day.
The market workers shouting out their best prices to get your attention, and how all the different cultures of the city meet in this beautiful chaos.
You just have to experience it.
12. Spend the day at Abbotsford Convent
Abbotsford Convent is the old monastery site that has been turned into a creative hub, located just 4km outside of the CBD.
The convent is home to over 100 yoga studios, art galleries, cafes, restaurants, boutique shops and even a radio station.
Stroll around the beautiful gardens and let your soul be filled with some creative energy.
Learn to draw, paint, meditate, write, dance or take a yoga class, an improvisation class or even learn to speak a new language.
There are workshops for everything you can imagine!
The best way to keep yourself up to date with what’s going on is to check out the calendar on Abbotsford Convent’s official website.
BONUS: Volunteer @ Lentils as Anything, Abbotsford Convent.
Are you staying in town for a while and want to get some hospitality experience for future work
Come to Lentils as Anything, a donation based vegetarian restaurant run by volunteers from all over the world.
On Tuesday and Sunday afternoons they run a training for volunteering at the restaurant. This is a great way to meet other backpackers, and learn all about kitchen work, waiting tables, making coffees and getting some valuable work experience for your resume.
Don’t hesitate to come along if you are a musician looking for some gigs while in town. Lentils welcome singer/songwriters to play during their dinner service.
13. Delve in to Art & Museum Culture
Melbourne is the perfect spot for the art and gallery junkies.
The city has an incredible variety of museums to offer, and you could basically spend your entire trip just museum hopping.
Anyhow, there is plenty to explore in the city, so let’s have a look at the two must sees.
Pay a visit to the Melbourne Museum located at the Carlton Gardens, and explore the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Culture Centre and the IMAX Cinema.
There are always exciting and educational exhibitions on. Learn about the Australian history, culture and nature.
Note: The combined ticket for the museum and the IMAX is around $15.
Another place that has to be on your bucket list is The National Gallery of Victoria, just around the
corner from the Federation Square.
The Museum has two impressive buildings, and it is free to visit the permanent collection of both of them.
The museum has over 70.000 art pieces from Asia, Europe, Oceania and America in their collection, and they often put on exiting late night openings and performances worth checking out.
14. Enjoy a Classic Garden Picnic
Looking for more relaxing things to do in Melbourne?
Royal Botanic Gardens, Carlton Gardens, Queen Victoria Gardens, Flagstaff Gardens, Fitzroy Gardens.
This epic collection of green space might be the reason why Victoria is called The Garden State.
Grab some local in-season fruits and veggies from the market and have a picnic in one of the many beautiful green spots around the city.
Lay down your sarong in the green grass, and take some time off to read a book or listen to a podcast.
Certainly a top pick of fun things to do in Melbourne for a relaxed afternoon in the city.
15. Discover & Capture Epic Street Art
The grafitti covered laneways are one of the most iconic features of Melbourne.
You will see the incredible artwork of the street artists all over the city.
Stroll around the CBD, Fitzroy and Collingwood for some breathtaking pieces of modern art at its best.
Oh, and did you know that…
there are actual tours arranged to tell you the history, politics and social aspects of this artform!
At Melbourne Street Tours your guide will be a local grafitti artist, who will show you all the good spots
This is a great way to get to know the city by foot. Get your camera ready for some pretty epic snaps for your social media feed.
16. Stock up at Terra Madre
Terra Madre is Melbourne’s largest organic wholesaler.
In this amazing store in Northcote you can actually afford to shop organic groceries on a backpacker budget thanks to their own brand.
Terra Madre has been around since 1996, providing the locals with some tasty produce and
environmentally friendly products. Its huge bulk food section is definitely worth checking out.
Hint: Do yourself a favour and try the chocolate covered macadamias. You can thank me later.
Now, for that picnic in the park that we just mentioned, this is a great place to get some cashew cream cheese and freshly baked sourdough.
Just top it up with some locally grown greens and your lunch is ready to go.
Do you need to stock up on some rice and beans for that hostel potluck, do it here!
Most of the canned stuff is actually cheaper than in the supermarkets and you can even get some delicious young jack fruit for a curry with a twist – yum!
17. Explore the Festivals
There is a festival for almost anything in Melbourne, so don’t miss out on the festivities while visiting:
- The Rites of Passage Tattoo & Arts Festival
- The Food Truck Festival
- The International Jazz Festival
- The International Comedy Festival
- The French Film Festival
- The Good Beer Week
If you have a chance to explore the surrounding areas too, there are some really great
music festivals I would recommend you to visit.
These are some of the most well known and you will have a blast while enjoying great music, dance and workshops.
To find out what’s going on during your stay, check out the visitors centre at the Federation Square or just jump online.
The tickets can sometimes be a bit out of a travellers budget, but
Remember: most festivals are always looking for enthusiastic backpackers who are keen to volunteer.
18. Learn Everything About the Melbourne Coffee Culture
You’ve probably heard it before. It’s been said that Melbourne is the Coffee Capital of the world!
And I am prepared to state that this is true.
It’s almost impossible to find a bad cup of coffee in this city. There are cafes in every corner with incredibly skilled baristas who put a lot of effort into each and every cup that is created.
The foam so soft and smooth, and the latte art so beautiful that you are not even sure if you are meant to drink the coffee or just observe its perfectness.
This is the best place on earth to learn how to make great coffee.
There are heaps of Barista Courses, but they do book out fast. So book early to make sure to get your spot, and learn how to master the coffee machine like a real kick ass Melbourne barista.
I recommend to check out the Australian Barista School for courses.
19. Rent a Campervan and Explore The Great Ocean Road
We have all dreamt about it at least once. Living a hippie lifestyle in a van in Australia.
Nothing but you, the nature, and your little home on four wheels. The complete freedom and the simple life far away from the worries about work, school, the future or the past.
Tune in the radio to Triple J and turn up the volume, because your about to experience one hell of a roadtrip, baby!
Now, imagine combining the classic van life with only the most breathtaking costal scenery of Australia – The Great Ocean Road. Jackpot!
I would recommend you to schedule at least four days for this once in a lifetime trip exploring the beautiful South Coast. There is just so much to see and do.
- Kenneth River to spot some Koalas
- drive down to the Cape Otway Lighthouse and
- explore the oldest working lighthouse in Victoria
- go hiking in the incredible Redwood Forest
- have dinner at the Forage on the Foreshore in the cute little town of Port Campbell
explore all the beaches along the windy road and go for a swim in the waves.
And last but not least you need to check out the world famous Twelve Apostles rising up from the ocean.
Book your van at Wicked Campers Melbourne.
20. Sunrise from a Hot Air Balloon
Alright, I know, this is a bit over the regular backpackers budget, but if you’ve never experienced a sunrise from a hot air balloon then I assure you that it is worth every penny.
The chilly air and the darkness of night that hasn’t yet turned into a new morning, brings a tingling feeling of adventure to your mind when you arrive at the launch site.
Enjoy a cup of hot tea or coffee before take off, while the pilot answers any questions that you might have.
Final preparations are done, and you can help out with inflation of the balloon, or just relax and get yourself ready.
And off you go.
Watching the sun rise over Melbournes iconic scenery is stunning. The MCG, The Yarra River, The
Yarra Valley, Port Phillip Bay.
The soft light of the dawn brings true magic to the experience. Silently floating through the air, you will create a memory for a lifetime.
Book your balloon flight with Picture This Ballooning.
Their packages include a luxury breakfast after the ride at No35 on Level 35 of the Sofitel Hotel.
21. Check out the Melbourne Cricket Ground
Experience classic Aussie Sports Culture at the largest sporting stadium in Australia.
Melbourne Cricket Ground, or The G, as it’s known by the locals, was built in 1853, just 20 years after the birth of Melbourne city, and anyone in Victoria will be happy to share some memories about AFL,
Cricket, Soccer or Rugby from the stadium.
The Melbourne Cricket Ground is open seven days a week, and it’s located by the Yarra River, just a short ten minutes walk from Flinders Street Station.
There is more to The G than just sports. Visit the restaurants, bars, cafes and of course The National Sports Museum whilst there.
22. Wine Tasting, Anyone?
Just a short drive outside the city you can treat your soul with a glass of wine or a locally brewed beer in one of the many family owned wineries and breweries located in the Yarra Valley.
Absorbing yourself in nature, here you can find refuge from the hustle and bustle of the busy city with a day hike on one of the many trails.
Book a wine tasting tour at one of over 90 sensational cellar doors while enjoying some amazing local cuisine, or check out traditional artwork in the many galleries around the area.
Getting here by public transport: Take the train to Lilydale Station, then catch the bus to either Yarra Glen (home to Australias best known wineries), or Healesville where you will find the Healesville Sanctuary and The Australian Wildlife Center.
Tour option: We found this great Full-Day Gourmet Yarra Valley Tour if you prefer to sit back, relax and enjoy the ride.
23. Set Free your Inner Child at Playtime Crown
You know that scene in Sofia Coppolas ‘Lost in Translation’ where Scarlett Johansson strolls around the game arcade in Tokyo, amazed by everything surrounding her?
Let us set the scene.
The music’s pumping while a kid plays the dancing machine, someone’s banging the drums, intense neon lights are flashing all over the place and a random guy with a cool jacket rocks the Guitar Freaks.
Well, this is basically that place, but in Melbourne.
Imagine over 150 classic and new video games, a bowling alley, arcade games, laser tag and bumper cars.
And of course, like anywhere in Melbourne, you’ll find some great food and drinks to stuff your belly with.
Bring out your inner child for a night of fun!
Location: You’ll find Playtime Crown at 8 Whiteman Street in Southbank.
24. Check out China Town
Fancy some freaking amazing dumplings? I thought so.
Step through the grand red gates into Chinatown on Little Bourke Street and follow the lanterns down any of the alleyways and you are bound to find heaps of places with great, affordable Asian delights.
Everything from simple street food and Yum Cha, to fine dining and cocktails.
You can also explore the exciting five floors Chinese Museum including a dragon gallery or go see a musical or ballet at the most iconic venue in Melbourne – Her Majesty’s Theatre.
You could even grab some drinks at one of the many karaoke bars and pray to God no one was filming you when you did an “amazing” rendition of Livin’ On A Prayer.
25. Grab a City Bike and Go
This is a really easy, fun and cheap way to explore Melbourne.
You will find bike stations all around the city and you can either sign up for a membership key or just pay at the kiosk for casual use.
You will need to make sure that the lights on the bike are working and you will need a helmet, which you can get at most 7Elevens for $5.
That’s pretty much it. Just grab your bike and go.
You can return the bike at any of the bike stations. For more information on how this works
visit Melbourne Bike Share here.
26. Celebrate Love
Melbourne is a perfect spot for lovers! Just strolling around hand in hand, talking and laughing with the person who makes your heart beat faster is so romantic.
But let me recommend a few extra special fun things to do in Melbourne for couples for out there.
How about a date on a fairytale-like horse carriage ride through the beautiful Botanical Gardens while sharing a bottle of champagne with your loved one.
Sound good? Book your tour with Classic Carriage.
Another magical idea for a date night would be to pay a visit to The Australian Ballet, well known
for its extraordinary performances, at The Arts Centre.
Find the latest news and book your tickets on the official Australian Ballet website.
The Rooftop Cinema on 252 Swanston Street is another fabulous place for the perfect date.
Enjoy a romantic dinner and drinks while watching the sunset from the best view of Melbourne and then lean back to for a movie under the stars.
27. Revel in Diverse Nightlife
Oh yes, God Bless the night life in Melbourne!
Prepare yourself for dark and mysterious Jazz Clubs, authentic Australian Pubs with ridiculously huge pub meals and great beer, organic and local Wine Bars, funny and sometimes quite challenging Trivia Nights and of course plenty of clubs open until sunrise.
Honestly you can find a great place for drinks pretty much anywhere in the city.
If you’re keen for nightclubbing I’d recommend to check out the Prahran area, and Revolver Upstairs is definitely one of the classics to visit.
For the jazz enthusiasts make sure to check out Uptown Jazz Cafe on Brunswick Street.
Want to have a glass of some tasty local wine and chat to the experts? Visit Melbourne’s urban winery Noisy Ritual on Lygon Street.
Hungover on a Sunday and looking for a great meal, chill vibes and some pretty intense trivia with your mates? Book a table at A Fan’s Notes on Nicholson Street and the game is on!
28. Brighton Beach
Another classic must see when in Melbourne is Brighton Beach.
Located just 30 minutes from the CBD you will find this relaxing destination with plenty to explore.
Go for a walk and take in the beautiful scenery with the iconic landmark for the area, the 82 colourful bathing boxes lined up along the beach.
These little huts date back to the early 1900s, and make a great post for any enthusiastic Instagrammer.
Alongside stunning views, Brighton also has Op-shops, parks, a golf course and great beach front cafés where you can enjoy a refreshing iced coffee after a game of real Aussie style beach cricket
or a swim in the ocean.
Don’t forget to try classic Australian cuisine whilst in Brighton – Fish & Chips on the beach.
Fun Things to do in Melbourne Map & Activities
By now you should have plenty of ideas for fun things to do in Melbourne.
We’ve gone one step further and added them all to the handy map below to help with your planning. You’ll also find the best hostels in Melbourne pinpointed.
Yet in case you want more, we’ve also found these awesome melbourne activities 2019 on offer:
- Take a tour of the Melbourne Cricket Ground
- Great Ocean Road Day Tour (in case you don’t fancy renting a campervan)
- Penguin Parade & Koalas Tour
- 2-hour River Cruise –
- Eureka Skydeck 88 (admission ticket)
A good way of getting around this big city is by taking the Melbourne Hop-on Hop-off sightseeing bus tour.
(You can open and view the full map here)
Where to Stay in Melbourne
In case you missed it at the start, we’ve put together an epic guide to the 3 best hostels in Melbourne especially for you.
This includes fun party hostels and the best hostel in Melbourne for solo travellers.
Our number 1 recommendation is listed below to help you save time on planning where to stay – it’s a great choice for solo travellers and couples.
Easily the number one choice; Space Hotel is stylish, central, luxurious and affordable.
The wow factor is everywhere you turn. There’s a rooftop jaccuzi, cinema room, gym and games space. Crikey!
Dorms come with 4, 6 and 8-beds so theyre not overwhelmingly huge and peace can be enjoyed. Private rooms come with an added flat-screen TV, if that’s your kind of thing.
Big open, bright spaces create a wonderful social space, working space and place to wind down solo.
Again: check out our full guide to the best hostels in Melbourne for even more reasons to stay here.
More Australian Guides
So you’ve got your Australian working holiday visa and Melbourne isn’t the only destination on your list. Great!
In that case, you’re going to appreciate our other Aussie guides to great hostels, 5 Star Hostels and epic things to do in Australia:
- best hostels in Sydney
- best hostels in Brisbane
- best hostels in Cairns
- best hostels in Alice Springs
- 37 cool things to do in Alice Springs
- 34 BEST hostels in Australia
- Rambutan Hostel, Townsville – 5 Star Hostel
- Montacute Boutique Bunkhouse, Hobart – 5 Star Hostel
You can find all of our guides to ‘Best Hostels in‘ here.
Summary: Fun Things to do in Melbourne
I wanted to make this guide as useful and informative as possible.
And yet you may still have questions left. Please leave a comment and “bother” me. I appreciate your questions and would love to help you.
In fact, your question will help me and all our fellow travellers too.
So, please do not be shy and drop us a line the comment below. I will even send you a reply via email.
What have you got to lose?
Safe travels & Enjoy Melbourne!
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Hostel Packing List
It is time to see what you should pack in your backpack or suitcase. Make sure you always pick a quality hostel, it totally reduces the things you need to pack. Here is our ultimate hostel packing list. It features 23 items you should really throw in your backpack.The most important things to pack are:
- eye mask
- key chain flashlight
- the right backpack, the Nomatic (our review of Nomatic here) or Lowe Alpine Lightflite 45 Pack
- packing cubes
- generic padlock (fitting all locker types)
- quick-dry travel towel
- universal power adapter
- travel-sized toiletries