Melbourne is Australia’s bar capital and hub of live music. The central business district not only serves its after-work drinkers but also attracts a young, trendy crowd of professionals. Many of the city’s smarter bars are tucked away in the city’s numerous narrow lanes. Across the Yarra River, Southgate provides the arts precinct with a strip of bars with riverside views. Melbourne is a cool city and often called Australia’s “European” enclave. It has a lot of culture, a lot of things to do, great art exhibits, and music. You could easily spend over a week here and not regret it. Heck, you could end up like so many travelers and find a job and stay here!
- Hostel Prices: Dorm rooms cost between $26-$34 USD while private rooms cost around $80 USD. Base Melbourne is a great hostel to stay at and one of my favorite hostels in the country and the world! Definitely stay here if you can.
- Budget Hotel prices: Hotel prices in begin at $80 USD per night.
- Average Cost of Food: You can easily find pizza parlors, noodle bars, and cafes where you can eat for under $10. Melbourne is probably the best place to eat cheap in Australia, especially if you like Asian food. However, expect to pay around $20 USD for most sit down restaurants. There’s a lot of wine in this region that is very affordable. A week’s worth of food is between $50 to 75 USD depending on what you buy.
- Transportation Costs: The city has an integrated public transport system based around extensive train, tram and bus networks. Its tram network is the largest in the world, while the rail network is one of the largest in the world. The Metlink will give you the prices for the train, trams, and buses depending on where you are going within the city. Ride costs are based on distance.
Read more on the costs of traveling around Oz.
Top Things to Do
- Take the City Circle Tram - More than just a means to travel free to a number of central Melbourne’s sightseeing attractions, the City Circle Tram provides a “hop on, hop off” service to such places as Federation Square, Old Treasury Building, Parliament House and Princess Theater. There’s a running commentary as you pass or stop at a place of historical, cultural or architectural significance.
- Flinders St Station - Flinders St Station is a major landmark in central Melbourne and is also a popular place to meet. With Victorian architecture and large clock faces, Flinders Street Station was built in the late 19th century. It is said to be the busiest suburban railway station in the southern hemisphere.
- Federation Square - Right along the route of the free City Circle tram lies Federation Square across the street from Flinders St Station. Both Flinders St Station and Federation Square are popular place to hang out and people watch.
- NGV Australia - Located in Federation Square, this is the home of the National Gallery of Victoria’s Australian art collection, which is said to be the largest in the world. Admission to the permanent collection is free but fees may apply to special exhibitions.
- Royal Botanic Gardens - Royal Botanic Gardens contain extensively landscaped gardens covering 35 hectares (86 acres) and feature thousands of plants from across the country and around the world. Enjoy a leisurely stroll through a landscape of plants, shrubs and trees. Free guided walks or self-guided audio walks are available. It is open daily from 7:30am to 6pm April to October and until 7:30pm between November and March. It’s a place to not miss.
- Queen Victoria Market - The southern hemisphere’s largest open-air market, Queen Victoria Market offers fresh farm produce and a variety of merchandise. It’s a historic landmark and an institution dating back more than 120 years. It’s best to go on weekends when there are more vendors around.
- Wine Tour – Wine tours are very popular in this area, and you can get a unique food and wine experience. The Mornington Peninsula is a famous wine producing region about 45 minutes from Melbourne and is home to more than 40 wineries.
- Docklands - This is an entire area filled with shops, bars, restaurants, and a stadium with a waterside setting. It’s very popular and when the weather is nice, the place is teeming with people.
- A Penguin sunset – About 90 minutes away is Phillips island where you will find hiking, beaches, and shops. However, the main attraction are the thousands of penguins that come here during the sunset. It’s quite a sight.
- Dandenongs – Just outside of the city is this forest, which features many different birds. Feed the birds or check out the Puffing Billy Train — this is a fun place to explore if you have kids.
- The Yarra River – This river is a peaceful escape from the busy feel of the city that sees a lot of runners and joggers. At night, there are balls of fire that shoot off every hour.
- Como House and Gardens – Now over 160 years old, this estate is a mix of classic Italianate architecture with Australian regency, and it is considered ‘the gem of the historic houses within the city’.
- Sorrento & Portsea – For a little piece of the Mediterranean, this area is renowned as a top spot for summer lunch and drinks. There are many high end pubs within this area and a gorgeous sandy bay with clear still waters to enjoy. Dolphin swim tours are also offered from the Sorrento Pier.
- Party in St. Kilda – Melbourne’s famous nightlife area is home to cheap restaurants, bars, and clubs and is where everyone goes to party on the weekend. If you want to see Melbourne’s wild side, come here.
- Get free transportation – A free tourist shuttle bus runs around the city and part of the inner suburbs from 10am to 4pm. Free city circle trams run in both directions around the perimeter of the CBD and through Docklands from 10am to 6pm. They run at 10 minute intervals.
- Shop at the Markets – The best value food is usually to be found at markets approaching closing times. You can usually purchase food for about a quarter the price you would pay in a supermarket.
- Read The Age – Every Saturday and Sunday, The Age newspaper has a supplement with “what’s on” in Melbourne (A2 on Saturdays and M Magazine on Sundays) and they always list free, interesting stuff to see and do.
Other Destinations in Australia
|Alice Springs||Brisbane||Cairns||Gold Coast||Fraser Island||Perth||Sydney|