Melbourne is the first place we visited when we arrived in Australia and we had a great impression immediately. When we drove from the airport to our Airbnb “home” we were struck by the amazing skyline. One week in this city showed that its looks aren’t deceiving. Melbourne has it all. From skyscrapers to botanical gardens, and from fine dining restaurants to small breakfast bars. There are a lot of fun activities to do in Melbourne as well. Melbourne is also considered to be the most liveable city in the world… Use this small guide to Melbourne for some tips for your visit.
Short Guide to Melbourne, Australia
How to get around in Melbourne
It’s really easy to find your way around Melbourne. The public transportation system in Melbourne includes trams, buses and trains.
Trams in Melbourne: travel for free!
We mostly used the tram in Melbourne, because almost every part of the city, both city and suburbs, can be reached with the tram. It’s also an easy way of transportation and a great way to see a bit of the city.
Did you know that the trams in the CBD of Melbourne are completely free? So you can travel for free in the city center!
Bus in Melbourne
We only used the bus to get to places where the tram doesn’t go. It doesn’t drive as frequent as the tram, but just make sure you check the time table and you’ll be fine.
Train in Melbourne
Another convenient way to travel in Melbourne is by train. Just like the tram, it goes to almost each part of the city.
Tickets for public transportation in Melbourne
Like many big cities, Melbourne offers a wide variety of restaurants. You can go to an Italian restaurant, get sushi at a Japanese place; anything you’d like! We’ve listed some places that we’ve tried, and you might like as well:
The Phoenix Bar & Restaurant Brunswick: Don’t go there if you’re really all about the interior, but do go there if you love some good food and you’re on a budget. We ate some lamb shanks here – a dish we never had before, and it was really good and for only 30 dollars (two persons, including tip). For some unknown reason they only charged us one meal. Lovely people.
From on high: You may have seen our lovely breakfast/brunch meal on Instagram. Here they really know how to make sweet stuff. Go there if you’re looking for a hip place and great food. Not as good for the budget, but worth the price. Also, check out breakfastinmelbourne on Instagram for some awesome places to have a great brunch/breakfast. There is also a page for Perth and for Sydney, check out their website.
On Swanston street you have a lot of great cheap places to eat, so we really recommend going there and check some places out. Furthermore, our Airbnb apartment was close to St. Kilda, where you have a lot of nice places to eat and they all have a lovely environment. It’s close to the beach and an amusement park, although the park didn’t look very appealing to us. You’ll find enough other great places to have something to eat or drink in Melbourne, there is enough choice! You can always share your recommendations in the comments below.
Things to do during the day
Because of our jetlag and arranging the rest of the trip, we didn’t visit every point of interest there is in Melbourne, but luckily we still saw a lot of amazing spots. If you like shopping, you’ll be in the right place in Melbourne. Some areas that we recommend to go shopping are Swanston Street, Chapel Street and Brunswick. Also, if you like skating, there is also a skatepark in Brunswick, and at one at the beach at St. Kilda. Go here, here and here for some more shopping tips in Melbourne.
Besides going to the beach for a swim – although the water doesn’t look very clean – or shopping in the city center, there are some amazing historical sights to see. For instance; be sure to visit the Shrine of Remembrance. This is really one of the most amazing views we ever saw. Close to the Shrine of Remembrance you can find The Royal Botanical Gardens. Again, amazing to see. You can go there for a nice walk in the park and enjoy some lunch at The Terrace. If you happen to have 25 dollars, you can even go for a boat ride on the lake. Sounds like a good day, right?
We actually haven’t experienced a lot of the clubs in Melbourne. We did go out on a Saturday to a party called Power Station in the club New Guernica. The music was nice and the drinks were cheap – 6 dollars for a cocktail. There are enough bars to go for a drink, and I’ve heard that there is a great rooftop cinema on Swanston street. For some more tips on nightlife in Melbourne, go here.
Some random facts
Melbourne has some interesting – sometimes fun- facts that we wanted to share:
- There is a free tram zone in the city centre. Meaning you don’t have to pay to ride the tram here. It’s free. They should do that everywhere!
- In some subways/trains you have to open the doors with a handle. So you’re opening the doors yourself. We’re used to a button back in The Netherlands.
- This fact is actually about everywhere in Australia: They call Mcdonalds Maccas, and Burger King Hungry Jacks.
- Also everywhere in Australia: in some restaurants you can bring your own wine!
- The weather in Melbourne isn’t always that good. They say that in Melbourne there are four seasons in one day. This is funny to us, as we have that same saying in our home country.
Melbourne is worth visiting if you’re after a big city with fine cuisine, festivals – we wished that we could go to one, but no – gardens, historic architecture and more. If you have time, drive the Great Ocean Road after you’ve visited Melbourne. A future blog will come up about our road trip on the Great Ocean Road; stay tuned!