Melbourne Travel Guide – About this page
Melbourne Travel Guide suggests things to do in Melbourne, Various attractions and sightseeing, budget tips to safely stay, travel, and plan your Melbourne trip.
Melbourne Travel Guide – About Melbourne
Melbourne is Australia’s bar capital and the hub of live music often called the country’s “European enclave”. The central business district not only serves its drinkers after work but also draws a young, modern crowd.
Many of the smartest bars in the city are hidden in the numerous narrow streets of the city. Across the Yarra River, Southgate offers the art venue a strip of bars and views of the riverbank.
With plenty of culture, activities, art exhibits, and live music, you could easily spend over a week here and not regret it. Heck, you could end up like so many other travelers and never leave!
This Melbourne travel guide can help you discover everything you need to know! This is my favorite city in Australia and most people have a hard time leaving, it’s so good!
Melbourne Travel Guide – Top 5 places to see and visit in Melbourne
1. Street Art Tour
I love tours made by graffiti artists at Blender Studios. It’s expensive at $ 69 AUD ($ 49 USD), but the price helps support local artists and includes drinks. You will learn about the art scene in the city and develop a deeper appreciation for why Melbourne attracts so many artists to its orbit. I cannot recommend this tour highly enough.
2. Fitzroy Gardens
Fitzroy Gardens is one of Melbourne’s most beautiful and historic gardens. Created in 1848, this is a garden from the Victorian era that resembles the English gardens left by the first settlers. A free guided walking tour departs from the visitor center every Saturday at 10 am
3. Royal Botanic Gardens
The Royal Botanic Gardens contains gardens covering 86 acres and featuring thousands of flowers, shrubs, and trees from across the country and around the world. Hanging out here and strolling is one of my favorite activities in Melbourne! Free guided walks or self-guided audio tours are available in the visitor center.
4. Watch the sunset from the beach
At St. Kilda, you can head to the beach to watch the sunset. It is a beautiful and wide beach, but the water is too cold for me! However, it faces west, so you get some stellar sunsets before heading out for a night in the city.
5. Queen Victoria Market
This open-air market is a mix of food vendors and candy vendors; think that the flea market meets the food market. During the week, the food hall is the main attraction, but the weekend offers are bigger, as the vendors fill the outdoor sales space. When you’re in the dining room, be sure to get some free Swords Wines wine samples.
Melbourne Travel Guide – Other places to see and visit in Melbourne
1. Enjoy the cafes
The coffee culture in this city is part of its soul. Everyone here loves to drink coffee or tea and a snack while working or chatting in an art café. Don’t miss doing this either. You can take the coffee tour with Melbourne Coffee Tours or Café Culture Walk to learn more about why Melbournians love their cafes so much and then spend an afternoon with a good book at your new favorite spot. I really enjoy £ 1000 Bend coffee at CBD.
2. Party at St. Kilda
Melbourne’s famous nightlife area is home to cheap restaurants, bars, and clubs, it’s the place to see and be seen. If you want to find Melbourne’s wild side, this is where it will be. (Base Melbourne is one of my favorite places to party if you want to hang out with other travelers and some locals! Its downstairs bar is popular and has cheap drinks.)
3. Movies in the moonlight in the park
During the summer months, there are night movies (most of the major Hollywood ones) at the Royal Botanic Gardens. Admission is $ 19 AUD ($ 14 USD) for the movie, and you can bring food and wine for a small picnic in the evening. (Bring a jacket too, because it’s cold at night!)
4. Ride the City Circle tram
More than just a free form of transport, the City Circle Tram offers a ‘hop on hop off’ service between Melbourne’s tourist attractions, such as Federation Square, the former Treasury building, Parliament, and Princess Theater. There is a recorded commentary as you pass or stop at a place of historical, cultural, or architectural importance.
5. Flinders Street Station
Flinders Street Station is a major landmark and popular hangout in downtown Melbourne. Built-in the late 19th century, the station features Victorian architecture and large clock faces. It is said to be the busiest suburban train station in the southern hemisphere, and it is a charming and imposing building to admire.
6. Hang out at Federation Square
Just along the free City Circle trolley route and across the street from Flinders Street station is Federation Square. This open plaza is also used to observe stellar people. I like to have lunch here and watch the city go by. Beneath the plaza on the river, there are also a number of open-air restaurants and bars.
7. NGV Australia
Located in Federation Square, it is home to the Australian art collection of the National Gallery of Victoria. Entrance to the permanent collection is free (but fees apply to special exhibitions). It is one of the best free activities in the city. The collection only takes a couple of hours to see. It is open every day from 10 am to 5 pm
8. Victoria State Library
The Victoria State Library is a historical institution that receives 8 million visitors a year. Originally built in 1856, the library has become an event space that is a source of pride for city residents. Come here before it opens and you’ll see a queue of people ready to jump on the open desks. The famous central roundabout with its octagonal shape, original dark wood furniture, and book-lined walls is definitely not to be missed. There are several free tours of the library to teach you more about its history and striking architecture. It is open from 10 am to 9 pm from Monday to Thursday and from 10 am to 6 pm from Friday to Sunday.
9. Como House and Gardens
More than 160 years old, this property is a mix of classic Italian and Australian Regency architecture, and is considered the best of the city’s historic houses. It costs $ 15 AUD ($ 11 USD) and is open from 9 am to 5 pm every day (except Sundays, when it opens at 10 am).
10. Museum of immigration
The Immigration Museum is located in the Old Customs House and mainly features relics from Australia’s immigration history. I really enjoyed learning about the people who left their homes to move to Melbourne and, knowing the current political situation, I found it a bit ironic, given that Australia, like the United States, has recently become very open about keeping its doors closed. It is open every day from 10 am to 5 pm and costs $ 15 AUD ($ 11 USD).
11. Melbourne Museum
The Melbourne Museum displays Australia’s social history, indigenous cultures, science, and the environment. It is located next to the Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens. The highlight of the museum, for me, was the sprawling Bunjilaka Aboriginal Culture Center, which highlighted Aboriginal culture, art, and history. It is open every day from 10 am to 5 pm and costs $ 15 AUD ($ 11 USD).
12. Enjoy a wine route.
Wine routes are very popular in this area. The Mornington Peninsula is a famous wine-producing region about 45 minutes from Melbourne and home to more than 40 wineries. There are also many day trips available to the Yarra Valley (which is where most tours take you). If you don’t have your own car or don’t feel like spending the night in the area, day trips from Melbourne cost between $ 150-200 AUD ($ 110-143 USD).
13. Plan a day trip to Phillip Island
Located just a few hours from town, Phillip Island is a weekend getaway for locals looking to enjoy some time at the beach. The island is famous for the penguin night parade (when thousands of penguins return from the sea to nest), its koala sanctuary, and the huge seal colony that lives on the high seas. The island can be visited as a day trip, but due to infrequent buses, I would recommend spending at least one night here! The trip there costs around $ 15 AUD ($ 11 USD).
Melbourne Travel Guide – Travel costs to Melbourne
Shared rooms with 8-10 beds cost around $ 25 AUD ($ 18 USD) and smaller rooms (4-6 beds) cost around $ 30 AUD ($ 21 USD). Private rooms that sleep 2 range from $ 85-120 AUD ($ 60-85 USD), depending on things like shared baths versus private baths. Most hostels include bedding and WiFi in the price, and many offer free breakfast.
Budget Hotel Prices
You’ll find a little bit of everything in this great city, with double rooms starting at $ 120 AUD ($ 85 USD) per night. A room for 2 people in a central 2 or 3-star hotel costs around $ 220 AUD ($ 157 USD). These rooms include air conditioning, a private bathroom, and a TV. Many hotels also offer free breakfast. There are many Airbnb options in this city and they are much cheaper than a hotel! On Airbnb, a shared room in a house average around $ 29 AUD ($ 20 USD). You can find entire apartments from $ 100 AUD ($ 71 USD).
Average Food Cost
You can easily find pizzerias, noodle bars, and coffee shops where you can eat for under $ 15 AUD ($ 11 USD). Melbourne is probably the best place to eat cheap in Australia, especially if you like Asian food. I have had some of the best sushi experiences here. However, expect to pay around $ 20 AUD ($ 14 USD) for most restaurant meals (without a drink). There is also a lot of wine in this region that is very affordable. A week’s worth of food is $ 65-100 AUD ($ 46-71 USD) for staples like pasta, vegetables, chicken, and other staples. Take-away places cost around $ 8-10 AUD ($ 6-7 USD) for sandwiches. Fast food (think McDonald’s) costs around $ 15 AUD ($ 11 USD) for a meal.
Melbourne Travel Guide – Backpacker Melbourne Suggested Budgets
On a budget for backpackers, you can do it for $ 80 AUD ($ 58 USD) per day. On this budget, you’ll stay in hostel dorms, cook most of your meals at the hostel (or sometimes pick up a quick sandwich), and use the myki pass to get around on public transportation. I would add about an additional $ 10-15 per day if you want to eat or drink a lot.
With a mid-range budget of about $ 240 AUD ($ 170 USD) per day, you can stay in a private hostel room or budget hotel, eat fast food or pick up light meals (like sandwiches), have a couple sit down to eat, drink more, use the myki Explorer card and even enjoy some tours.
With a luxury budget of $ 525 + AUD ($ 375 + USD), you can book a room in a nice 4-star hotel, enjoy restaurants to sit at every meal, take a day tour of the countryside to try the He came and used taxis to get around the city.
Melbourne Travel Guide: Tips to Save Money
Here are some ways to save money when you visit Melbourne:
Get a phone plan
If you’re here for a while, the Telstra phone company has really improved its service and offers great phone packages that have great coverage across the country. Their calling/texting rates aren’t that high either, so the credit will last a while. Vodafone is another option. They also have amazing deals (sometimes better than Telstra), but they have more limited coverage across the country.
Drink goon (box wine)
Goon is an infamous staple food on the road for Australian backpackers. This cheap wine box is the best way to drink, have fun, and save a lot of money at the same time. Typically 4 liters cost $ 13 AUD ($ 9 USD) (compared to a six-pack for the same price). Drink this before you go out and save money at the bar.
Eating in Melbourne is not cheap. The best way to reduce the cost of food is to cook as many meals as possible in your hostel.
Book tours as a package
Australia has many fun activities and exciting tours to suit any budget. If you plan to take a tour while you’re here, booking activities together through a hostel or travel agency will give you a discount and save you tons of money.
Work for your room
If you are on a budget and looking to save some money, many hostels offer travelers the opportunity to work for your accommodation. In exchange for a few hours a day of cleaning, you get a free bed to sleep. Commitments vary, but most shelters ask you to stay at least a week.
Accommodation in Melbourne can be quite expensive. If you plan ahead, you can usually find a really fun Couchsurfing to welcome you during your visit. This way, not only do you have a free place to stay, but you’ll also have a local host who can tell you the best places to visit and things to see.
Fill your water bottle: Tap water is clean and safe to drink in Melbourne. Reducing the $ 2-3 AUD ($ 1.45- $ 2.15 USD) for each bottle of water will reduce your daily spending. Not buying water bottles also has a good environmental impact
Take the free City Circle trolley
This free trolley with free stops close to most of the city’s biggest tourist attractions. Pick up a free map at a tourist information center and go your way!
Take a Free Walking Tour
I’m Free Walking Tours offers a handful of free walking tours to help you get your bearings of Melbourne and learn all about its sights and history.
Melbourne Travel Guide – Where to stay in Melbourne
Base St. Kilda
Melbourne Travel Guide – How to get around Melbourne>
Bus: Melbourne’s bus system travels between all major hubs, including shopping malls, schools, and attractions. The fee is determined by the number of zones you will travel in, from $ 3 AUD ($ 2.15 USD) per leg. You need a myki card (or mobile app) to get around.
You can recharge your myki to get around, or you can buy a weekly, monthly, or yearly myki pass. A week pass costs $ 44 AUD ($ 31 USD). There’s also the myki Explorer package, which includes an unlimited travel day on Melbourne’s public transportation system, as well as special offers and discounts at other attractions (such as a 20% discount on admission to the Immigration Museum). This package costs $ 15 AUD ($ 11 USD).
The bus to and from the airport with Skybus costs $ 18.75-36 AUD / $ 13-26 USD (roundtrip).
Free Trams: Melbourne has a great free trams area in the Central Business District (CBD), stretching from Queen Victoria Market to Docklands, Flinders Street Station, Federation Square, and Spring Street. The City Circle Tram is also free and stops at almost all of the city’s historic sites. You don’t need a myki if you are using the free system!
Bicycle: Melbourne has over 84 miles (135 kilometers) of bike trails and an excellent Melbourne Bike Share program to accompany you. Download the app to find the closest docking station, and you’re done! A day pass with unlimited 45-minute trips costs just $ 3 AUD ($ 2.15 USD), while a weekly pass costs $ 8 AUD ($ 5.75 USD) for unlimited 45-minute trips.
Taxis and rideshares: Taxis are expensive here. Skip them. However, you can share the ride through various mobile apps, including Uber, Taxify, and DiDi.
Melbourne Travel Guide – When to go to Melbourne?
Melbourne is a great place all year round, and there is always plenty to do. I prefer to visit Melbourne between March and May, and then from September to November. These are the shoulder seasons, and temperatures are much more comfortable during this time (the highest being around 75 ° F / 24 ° C). It is also less touristy.
The summer months from December to February are the busiest in Melbourne as it is Australia’s summer and many North American tourists flock here to escape the cold. Temperatures during this time are generally in the 70s (20s), but they are known to rise much higher.
Winter in Melbourne (June to August) can be quite cold and sad, especially compared to Sydney and Brisbane. But you’re bound to get the best travel deals and hotel rates these months, so it might be worth it anyway… especially if you’re more interested in the coffee and food scene.
Melbourne Travel Guide – How to stay safe in Melbourne
Melbourne is an incredibly safe place to travel with a backpack, even if you are traveling alone, and even as a solo traveler. People are quite friendly and helpful and unlikely to get you in trouble. As Melbourne is a great city, be on the lookout for collection pockets and keep your valuables under lock and key.
When in doubt, always trust your instincts. If a taxi driver seems gloomy, just stop the taxi and get out. If your hotel or accommodation is seedier than you thought, go out and go somewhere else. Make copies of your personal documents, including your passport and identification, before traveling in an emergency. Also, send your travel itinerary to friends or family so they know where you are just to be safe.
As a general rule, if you don’t do something at home, don’t do it when you’re in Melbourne. Follow that rule and you will be fine.
If you visit Melbourne during the summer months, be prepared to handle the high temperatures. Wear plenty of sunscreens, cover yourself, and drink plenty of water.
The most important safety tip I can offer is to buy good travel insurance. Travel insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellation. It is comprehensive protection in case something goes wrong.
Melbourne Travel Guide – Best Booking Resources
Melbourne Travel Guide – Melbourne Gear and Packing Guide
The best backpack for Melbourne
REI Flash 45 Package
What is the best backpack for traveling around Melbourne? I recommend the REI Flash 45 package. It is lightweight and comfortable, front-loading, and fits perfectly in the top compartment of an airplane.
Straps: Thick and padded with compression technology that pulls the pack load up and in so it doesn’t feel so heavy.
Features: removable top cap, large front pocket, hydration compatible, contoured hip belt
Melbourne Travel Guide – What to pack for Melbourne?
- 1 pair of jeans
- 1 pair of shorts
- 1 swimsuit
- 6 shirts
- 1 long-sleeved shirt
- 1 pair of flip-flops
- 1 pair of slippers
- 8 pairs of socks
- 5 pairs of underpants
- 1 toothbrush
- 1 tube of toothpaste
- 1 razor
- 1 package of dental floss
- 1 small bottle of shampoo
- 1 small bottle shower gel
- 1 towel
Small medical kit (safety is important !!!)
- Cream Antibacterial Cream
- Ear Plugs
- Hand Sanitizer (Germs = Sick = Bad Vacation)
Others Packing items Optional
- A combination key or lock (security first)
- Zip lock bags (prevents things from dripping or exploding)
- Plastic bags (great for washing clothes)
- Universal charger/adapter (this applies to all)
- LifeStraw (One bottle of water with a purifier).
Travel List for Women
- 1 swimsuit
- 1 pareo
- 1 pair of stretch jeans (easily wash and dry)
- 1 pair of leggings (if it’s cold, they can go under your jeans, otherwise with a dress or shirt)
- 2-3 sleeve tops long
- 2-3 shirts
- 3-4 spaghetti tops
- 1 light cardigan
- 1 spray of dry shampoo and talcum powder
- 1 hairbrush
- Make-up you use
- Hair bands and hair clips
- Feminine hygiene products
Melbourne Travel Guide: Suggested Reading
In A Sunburned Country, by Bill Bryson
It’s hard to pick just one Bill Bryson book that’s good because they all are. It is one of the most prolific and recognized names in travel writing. This book chronicles a journey through Australia and takes you east to west, through small mining towns, forgotten coastal towns, and unusual forests. Bryson includes many curiosities in his history as he travels in amazement, and sometimes in fear (thanks to jellyfish, tides, crocodiles, spiders and snakes), of this enormous country. This is the book that inspired me to go to Australia.
The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
This is an Australian classic, originally published in the 1970s, which follows the epic saga of a family living in sheep country in the Australian Outback. The story centers on two main characters: Meggie Cleary with her forbidden love, and Ralph de Bricassart, a pastor whose passion for Meggie haunts him. Even if this is not your type of book, it is a truly amazing insight into life in the Australian Outback (especially during the ’70s).
A Long Way From Home, by Peter Carey
Irene Bob loves to drive fast, and her husband is the best car salesman in Southeast Australia. Together they decide to participate in the 1954 Redex Trial, a resistance push that circumnavigates the entire country. Willie Bachhuber, an unsuccessful school teacher, joins them. If they win their lives, it will change forever, but first, it will take them out of the comfortable Australia they know so well and on an unexpected adventure full of twists and turns. Peter Carey is a two-time Booker Prize winner and one of Australia’s best-known writers. Read this book!
Tracks: A Woman’s Solo Trek Across 1700 Miles of Australian Outback, by Robyn Davidson
This is Robyn Davidson’s memory of her incredible 1,700 journey miles through the Australian desert to the sea, accompanied only by four camels and a dog. Davidson defends himself from the suffocating heat, venomous snakes, and dangerous men, all while fighting with his temperamental camels. It is definitely one of those transformative stories that allow you to get a huge investment in the author as well as in the harsh Australian desert landscape. It has also become a great documentary!
The Songlines, by Bruce Chatwin
You cannot come to Australia without learning a little about the country’s indigenous Australians. This is partly a travel notebook and partly an autobiography, and one of Chatwin’s most famous books. Here, Chatwin searches the Australian Outback for the source of Aboriginal “footprints of dreams”, the invisible paths from which Aboriginal ancestors sang of the world’s existence. The Songlines was an instant bestseller when it was published, and today it is a classic.