If you have a brain like a sponge and love learning new things, visiting museums will be one of your favourite activities to partake in when exploring a new city.

Here are seven museums on the east coast you won’t want to miss.

Melbourne Museum

Found next to the Royal Exhibition building and the Carlton Gardens, Melbourne Museum is largest museum in the Southern Hemisphere. Discover the rich history of Victoria’s local Koorie culture in the  Aboriginal Culture Centre. See the racehorse Phar Lap, alongside the skeletons of animals like dinosaurs and flying reptiles. Lastly, dive into the workings of thoughts, emotions and dreams in the Mind exhibition. 

If you want to catch a flick, you can head to the IMAX Melbourne that’s found in the complex too.

Australian National Maritime Museum

It’s fitting that the National Maritime Museum is found so close to the ocean. Situated in Sydney’s Darling Harbour, the museum has been telling the naval story of Australia ever since it opened in 1991 and is the country’s hub of maritime research, exhibitions and archaeology.

One of the best parts of the museum is the chance to explore ships that are often docked outside it. There’s a replica of Captain Cook’s HMB Endeavour, as well former Navy vessels in the form of the destroyer HMS Vampire and the patrol boat HMAS Advance.

National Sports Museum

For the sports nuts among you, this is one you won’t want to miss in Melbourne. The National Sports Museum can be found at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. There you’ll find all manner of exhibits detailing Australia’s achievements in running fast, hitting balls with sticks and punting them through hoops, posts and rectangular boxes.

There are halls of fame for cricket, Aussie rules and other sports, as well as exhibits on Australia’s history in major global sporting events. Somewhat bizarrely, there are also 3D holograms of Shane Warne  and James Hird.

National Museum of Australia

Located in the Australian Capital Territory, the National Museum of Australia does what it says on the tin – it celebrates the history of Australia.

It’s a story that starts with 50,000 years of indigenous heritage and works its way to the present, passing through events like settlement in 1788, becoming a federation and the 2000 Sydney Games. 

Permanent exhibitions include “First Australians”, an exploration of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island peoples’ culture and history, “Landmarks”, a series of stories about the people of Australia and the places they inhabit, and “Old New Land”, a look into Australia’s environmental history.

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Queensland Museum

The storybook of the state, Queensland Museum will take you on a journey through the natural history, culture and science of the place like no other.

One of the best parts of the museum is the Discovery Centre, a chance to get up close and interact with parts of the collection. Animals, objects and artefacts can be examined in the Collection Store and you can get hands-on in the Activity Zone, where you can use real scientific equipment to get a closer look at some of the museum pieces.

Queensland Museum has played host to more than 10 million visitors since its inception, and can be found in Brisbane’s Cultural Precinct.

Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences

Started all the way back in 1879, the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences is the place to go if cool design and cutting-edge science is your thing. The venues include the Powerhouse museum (a science focused museum), the Sydney Observatory and the museums Discovery Centre (a place to explore many of the collection’s treasures).

Current exhibitions include “Reigning Men: Fashion in Menswear, 1715 – 2015”, an exploration on men’s fashion since the 18th century including pieces from Burberry, Calvin Klein and Chanel, and “Spacejunk”, a family show that explores the wonders of space through puppetry.

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Opened in 1992, Scienceworks was founded on the vision of engaging young people with the wonderful world of science. Today, the museum has things to capture the minds of all ages. 

This is a place where asking the question, “how does that work” is heavily encouraged, because all it takes to satisfy that curiosity is to keep exploring the museum.

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