- Discover Melbourne
Many backpackers will list Melbourne as their favourite city in Australia. It's incredibly multicultural, it has great restaurants and nightlife, a big sporting culture and its people are quite friendly.
In the CBD, the main streets are Collins Street and Bourke Street. The city is easy to get around as it is small and there's a good public transport infrastructure in place such as trams and buses.
To get a bird’s eye view of the city go to the Eureka Skydeck on Riverside Quay, Southbank. There is also a glass box, the Edge, which allows you to gaze directly down on the street below. You can get a ticket that allows you to go up at sunrise and sunset.
In Yarra Park you will find some very famous sports grounds such as the MCG - the Melbourne Cricket Ground which hosts cricket and Aussie Rules Football. There's also Melbourne Park, the Rod Laver Arena (Australian Open tennis), and Olympic Park.
On the corner of Elizabeth and Victoria Streets, Victoria Market is a great place to while away a few hours looking at the many stalls. The markets are closed by 4pm at the latest so get there early.
Old Melbourne Gaol on Russell Street is where the legendary bushman, outlaw Ned Kelly was hanged and it's good to do a night tour here and listen to the ghost stories and stories of the many people that were incarcerated there.
Fitzroy has an astounding mix of people living and visiting here and this is what makes it such an interesting place to be. There is a huge amount of pubs, cafes and restaurants here as well as a few galleries.
St Kilda is quite upmarket and trendy but you will still find lots of backpackers here. Fitzroy Street is the main street and here you will find lots of pubs, clubs and restaurants. At the end of Fitzroy are the beach and the pier. Follow the Esplanade past Luna Park to Acland Street where you will find more restaurants and cafes. North of Fitzroy Street is Albert Park which has a beautiful lake around which the Australian Grand Prix is held.
Other inner city suburbs include Carlton, which has a large Italian and student population, and Richmond, which has a large Vietnamese population.
Cookie (Swanston Street) and Ding Dong (Market Lane) in the city.
Laundry (Johnston Street), and Evelyn Hotel (Brunswick Street) in Fitzroy.
The Espy (The Esplanade), Cushion (Fitzroy Street), Prince of Wales (Fitzroy Street), Elephant and Wheelbarrow(Fitzroy Street), in St Kilda.
Cafés and restaurants
Melbourne probably has the best and most diverse cuisine in Australia. There's Italian, Greek, Chinese, Indian, and possibly even Australian to be had. It can be incredibly expensive or impressively affordable.
There are lovely cafés such as the Blue Train in Southgate in the city, Marios' on Brunswick Street in Fitzroy, or the Galleon Café on Carlisle Street in St Kilda.
Becco (Crossley Street), Kimchi House (Little La Trobe Street), in the City.
Brunetti (Faraday Street) in Carlton.
Maos' (Brunswick Street) in Fitzroy
Cicciolina in St Kilda
You could eat somewhere different every night for a year and still not eat in all the great places in Melbourne. Sample as many as you can.
Melbourne Airport is 2.2km from the city centre and is serviced by many international airlines.
A taxi to the city centre will take around 30 minutes and cost up to $70. Skybus runs a shuttle bus for $18. For St Kilda and the south eastern suburbs there is the Frankston and Peninsula Airport Shuttle which is also $18.
Flights to Melbourne
Dublin 21 hours | London 20.5 hours | Hong Kong 9 hours | New York 20 hours | San Diego 15.5 hours | Sydney 1.5 hours
Trains from around Australia arrive into Southern Cross Station. CountryLink operates a service twice daily from Sydney. Great Southern Railway operates a service twice weekly from Adelaide.
Pick up a Miki card when you are in Melbourne. This can be used for travel on the city’s trains, trams and buses. Pick up a Miki visitor pack from Melbourne Visitor Centre, bus stations or hotels. This will give you instructions on how to use the card as well as discounts to attractions. It would be recommended to get the pack as the system is not straight forward. Make sure you have tapped in correctly when you are boarding public transport because if you haven’t you could get accused of fare evasion and end up with a large fine. Inspections are carried out frequently.
Melbourne is divided into two zones. Zone 1 is the CBD and inner suburbs and zone 2 is outside that. Your Miki card will automatically calculate the fair. Train and tram services run between 5am and midnight, with extended hours until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays. Sunday services run until 11pm. Buses run from 6am until 9pm during the week and from 8am on Saturday and 9am on Sunday.
The City Circle Tram is an excellent way to get around the city and see all the tourist spots at the same time. It’s free to use and you can hop on and off whenever you like. The trams are only free in this certain area however.
Melbourne is an excellent city to get around by bike. There are many cycle paths and the terrain is quite flat. There are quite a few bike rental companies on the city.
The taxis in Melbourne are yellow and silver. Short trips around the city are quite affordable but they can get quite expensive on longer trips.
Melbourne is safe enough for a city of its size but there is always precautions you should take. Leave your valuables at home whenever you can. This is good advice in any city.
Don’t travel alone at night, especially women. If you have to, there are taxis ranks on King Street, Bourke Street and outside Flinders Street Station that are manned by security guards. If getting a train at night, get in the carriage at the front near the driver. There are also safety zones within the station so make sure to wait in these areas for your train.
The city centre has a strong police presence and is quite safe but outside the centre there are certainly areas that have dangers so take care.