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Melbourne Travel Guide

Updated on May 16, 2009
Southern Star Observation Wheel, Docklands
Southern Star Observation Wheel, Docklands

A tourist guide to Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne is Australia's second most populous city, the capital of the Australian state of Victoria and home to many Internationally recognised events. It has a reputation as being one of the world's most livable cities and Australia's sporting and cultural capital.

Melbourne Skyline
Melbourne Skyline
Melbourne Taxi in the CBD
Melbourne Taxi in the CBD

Public Transportation

Getting around Melbourne


Buses, Trains & Trams
Melbourne has an extensive public transport system involving buses, trains and iconic electric trams. All three modes of transport can be used to get around the Central Business District (CBD) and most of the inner city suburbs. As you move farther away from the city, public transport generally only features train stations in certain suburbs and buses in-between.

All public transport can be used using the one ticket, known as a Metcard. Metcards can be purchased in varying validity periods, for certain regional zones and with some concessions offered.

Validity periods
2-hour, Daily, Weekly, Monthly or Yearly Metcards can be purchased - along with 10 x 2-hour and 5 x Daily tickets which can be used 10 and 5 times respectively. More information is available on the Metlink website

Regional zones
The Melbourne metropolitan area is divided into two zones, the CBD and inner-city is within Zone 1, with areas past these referred to as Zone 2. If you plan to travel only within the inner city or a outter-suburan area you only need to purchase the respective one. If you plan to travel between zones you can purchase a Zone 1+2 ticket. More information is available on the Metlink website.

Concessions
Cheaper Metcards exist for senior citizens, registered students and certain welfare recipients.

Money Saving Tips!
Some special events (such as the Australian Open or Grand Prix in recent years) include free public transport to event ticket holders - you do not require an additional Metcard to use public transport whilst retaining your event ticket.

2-hour Metcards purchased after 6pm will last until 3am the next day. In other words, do not purchase a daily Metcard after 6pm for the same day of travel.

Taxis
Taxi drivers in Melbourne are generally friendly and knowledgeable. Fares and conditions are regulated by the government to ensure consistency between all taxicab operators and drivers. All taxi companies operate in yellow-coloured cars to make it easier to spot them. A taxi can be heralded by raising a hand, or otherwise catching the attention of the driver - bookings can also be made via the various taxi company phone numbers (13 CABS for example).

Amateur AFL Players
Amateur AFL Players

Events

Things to see in and around Melbourne

 Melbourne is renowned for certain sporting and cultural events, these include:

Australian Open (Tennis) January
Started in 1905, the Australian Open is the only Grand Slam tennis tournament in the asia/pacific region.

Melbourne International Motor Show February-March
Started in 1925 it is one of the longest running motor shows in the world and the longest running in Australia.

Melbourne Fashion Festival March
Held annually the Fashion Festival launches Australia's autumn/winter collections to the public, the fashion industry and the media.

Rip Curl Pro (Surfing) March
The Rip Curl Pro at Bells Beach is Australia's longest running and most prestigious professional surfing event.

Australian Grand Prix (Motor-sport) March
After moving from Adelaide in 1996, Melbourne has held Australia's only annual Formula One race.

Melbourne International Comedy Festival March-April
The world's third largest comedy festival sees Melbourne host to hundreds of comedy acts at various venues throughout the city.

Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show April
Australia's biggest flower and garden show, held in the iconic Carlton Gardens and Royal Exhibition Building.

Australian Football League (AFL) Grand Final September
Regarded by many as Australia's most important sporting event the AFL Grand Final has the largest attendance and television audience of any annual Australian sporting event. It is played every year in September at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

Melbourne International Arts Festival October
Started in 1986 as the third in the Spoleto Festival series, Melbourne's Spoleto Festival evolved to become known as the Melbourne International Arts Festival in 2003.

Australian motorcycle Grand Prix October
The Australian MotoGP motorcycle event is held annually at Phillip Island.

Spring Racing Carnival and Melbourne Cup (Horse racing) October-November
Started in 1861, the Melbourne Cup has grown to be the most prestigious "two-mile" handicap horse race in the world, and forms part of the Spring Racing Carnival.

Boxing Day Test (Cricket) December
The biggest cricket test match in the world is played annually at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).

Arts Centre, Southbank
Arts Centre, Southbank

Other Attractions

You might want to consider...


Federation Square just opposite Flinders Street Station (the corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets), this geomerty teacher's wet dream houses multiple cafes and restaurants, the Melbourne Visitors Centre (Melbourne's leading tourist information kiosk), the Australian Centre for Moving Image (ACMI) and the National Gallery of Victoria's Ian Potter Centre showcasing Australian art.

The National Gallery of Victoria is split in two - Australian exhibits are shown at the Ian Potter Centre in Federation Square, and noteable International exhibits and the International collection is shown at NGV International (180 St Kilda Rd) just South of the Arts Centre spire (pictured).

Melbourne Zoo, formally known as Royal Melbourne Zoological Gardens, is located within Royal Park (north of the CBD). Open every day of the year between 9am and 5pm you can catch tram 55 from William Street, tram 68 from Elizabeth Street or tram 19 from Elizabeth Street to get there.

Queen Victoria Market to the north of the CBD (just off Elizabeth Street, near Victoria Street) is filled with lots of fresh produce and has many other wares on offer.

Opening hours are:
Tuesday: 6am - 2pm
Thursday: 6am - 2pm
Friday: 6am - 6pm (General merchandise closes at 4pm)
Saturday: 6am - 3pm
Sunday: 9am - 4pm

Tourist Shuttle. The Melbourne City council offer a free hop-on, hop-off bus service with running commentary that travels around much of the CBD. It travels daily between 9.30am and 4.30pm and can be caught at any of the following locations:

1. Arts Centre precinct on St Kilda Road
2. Federation Square at front of St. Paul's cathedral
3. Exhibition Street north of Little Collins Street
4. Melbourne Museum and Carlton Gardens
5. Lygon Street south of Faraday Street
6. University of Melbourne on Grattan Street
7. Queen Victoria Market on Peel Street
8. William Street north of Bourke Street
9. Southbank south of Queen's Bridge
10. Sports and Entertainment Precinct on Olympic Blvd
11. The Shrine and Royal Botanic Gardens

A typical, dirty Melbourne alley. Melbourne is renowned worldwide for its abundant street art.
A typical, dirty Melbourne alley. Melbourne is renowned worldwide for its abundant street art.
Crystal Jade Restaurant, Chinatown
Crystal Jade Restaurant, Chinatown

Restaurants

Great food

Melbourne has gained a lot of its cultural identity from immigration, and especially from Italian immigrants. Found just north of the CBD, Russell Street becomes a lively restaurant and cafe district known formally as Lygon Street (and occasionally informally as Little Italy). Extended for many city blocks, some of the better restaurants are in the top part between Grattan and Elgin Streets.

If you're into a more bohemian feel, why not try the ever popular Brunswick Street? Also to Melbourne's north, this well-known precinct is also home to many baristas and restaurants as well as quite a few art galleries, pubs and book shops.

Lygon St isn't the only foreign restaurant stip, Chinatown is situated on Little Bourke Street and is most vibrant between Swanston and Exhibition Streets. There are many great restaurants along here with quite a few other Asian influences also present.

If you'd prefer a bit more class in your restaurants you'll find a nice up-market selection of various cuisine in the Southbank district, just south of the CBD, with most of the restaurants also sporting a Yarra River view.

The Greek population of Melbourne also has quite a few restaurants along Lonsdale Street, in the city block between Swanston and Russell Streets.

If you simply must have the best, The Age (a prominent local newspaper) awards the best restaurants in its Good Food Guide. Similar to the Michelin Guides it awards coveted chef hats sparingly with it being common for only one or two restaurants to take out a full "three hats". Strong performers over the last few years have been:

  • Jacques Reymond, International and Modern Australian, 78 Williams Rd, Prahran. (03) 9525 2178
  • Flower Drum, Chinese, 17 Market La, Melbourne. (03) 9662 3655
  • Vue de Monde, Modern French, 430 Little Collins St, Melbourne. (03) 9691 3888
  • Rockpool Bar and Grill, Modern Australian - Seafood and Steak, Crown Entertainment Complex, Southbank. (03) 8648 1900
  • The Press Club, Modern Greek, 72 Flinders St, Melbourne. (03) 9677 9677
  • MoVida Bar de Tapas Y Vino, Spanish, 1 Hosier Lane, Melbourne. (03) 9663 3038

Booking ahead for these restaurants is strongly advised.

Melbourne Bar
Melbourne Bar

Nightlife

Melbourne is also vibrant when the sun goes down

Known for Australia's most vibrant nightlife, Melbourne showcases over 600 bars, pubs and nightclubs within the inner city and surrounding suburbs. It has some very well known cocktail bars, old pubs and well-established nightclubs that started the Melbourne Shuffle. If you're interested in going out after dark, I'd recommend checking out some of my other HubPages as guides to Melbourne's nightspots. Namely, Melbourne Bars and Melbourne's Best Beer spots, or have a look around the Melbourne Nightlife website for maps, reviews and contact details.

Some of my recommendations are;

  • Cookie, Thai Restaurant & Bar, 252 Swanston St, Melbourne. (03) 9663 7660
  • 1806, Relaxed Cocktail Bar, 169 Exhibition St, Melbourne. (03) 9663 7722
  • Beer DeLuxe, Beer Cafe, Federation Square, Melbourne. (03) 9691 3888
  • The Espy, Rock Music Pub, 11 Esplanade Upper, St Kilda. (03) 9534 0211
  • Croft Institute, Hidden Science-themed Bar, 21-25 Croft Alley (off Little Bourke St), Melbourne. (03) 9671 4399
  • Manchester Lane, Jazz Bar, 36 Manchester Lane, Melbourne. (03) 9663 0630

St. Paul's Cathedral
St. Paul's Cathedral

Photos

Pictures of Melbourne

All the photos on this page of Melbourne are taken from the excellent photographer mugley. You can view mugley's Melbourne photos here, or view all photos tagged with Melbourne on Flickr here.

Docklands, Melbourne
Docklands, Melbourne
Bolte Bridge, Docklands
Bolte Bridge, Docklands
Rialto Observation Deck, Melbourne CBD
Rialto Observation Deck, Melbourne CBD

Comments

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    • profile image

      Taxi Melbourne 

      7 years ago

      Excellent guide to Melbourne, all on 1 page, thanks! Melbourne's alleys are a treasure trove to be explored and cherished and there's some really brilliant cafes and restaurants as you mentioned.

      Thanks

    • profile image

      Melbourne Restaurants 

      7 years ago

      Thank you for writing this great hub for Melbourne. I work in the restaurant industry and I would like Melbourne to be a top choice of frequent travellers like the Asian tourists.

      It would be great for the Melbourne hospitality industry if the young professionals from the Asia-Pacific consider Melbourne rather than the usual vacation choices like Thailand and Singapore.

      If they want to experience a vibrant, western culture, travellers can visit Melbourne instead of the U.S. Nightlife in Melbourne is not only fascinating but it is also safe for tourists.

      People with non-adventurous palates also won’t go hungry in Melbourne because aside from the modern cuisine, there are lots of restaurants that are serving traditional cuisines of different cultures.

      And yes, there are a lot of choices for the vegetarians in your group as well!

      Thanks,

      Mathew W.

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