Windows were rattled and floors rocked as the tremor hit around 8.55pm and lasted for around 30 to 40 seconds.
The Geoscience Australia website crashed as people flocked online to find out what occurred.
Hundreds of people from suburbs across Melbourne took to Twitter within seconds of feeling tremors.
Residents of suburbs including Abbotsford, Brunswick, Coburg, Essendon, Narre Warren, Bundoora, Berwick, Windsor tweeted about the quake.
Within minutes it was the top Twitter-trending topic in Australia.
Near the epicentre of the quake, Moe police constable Chris Hand was enjoying a cup of coffee when it hit.
"I had the cup sitting on the table and it spilled over," Const Hand said.
"We've had a lot of calls but no one is reporting any damage or injuries at this stage.
"It was a decent-size rumble, the biggest I've ever felt.
"The ground moved for 15 to 20 seconds."
Anthony Atkin, the duty manager of the Criterion Hotel at Trafalgar, just west of Moe, said he feared for his life when the quake hit.
"I thought the roof was going to fall down," Mr Atkin said. "Everyone in the hotel ran outside, it was like a train was coming through the hotel.
"I've been here for 44 years and never felt anything like it."
He said the quake lasted for around 20 to 30 seconds "but it felt like a lifetime."