Melbourne City Guide
Melbourne, the second largest city in Australia, has a distinct European ambience as its cityscape features Victorian buildings, bustling cafes and lush, green parks. The city is touted as Australia’s ‘cultural capital’ and is a favored vacation destination though aside from galleries and theaters, it also hosts prominent sporting events like the Australian Open, the annual opener for the tennis Grand Slam circuit, the Melbourne Cup races, the Qantas Australia Grand Prix and many tennis and cricket events on the MCG( Melbourne Cricket Grounds).
Melbourne is located on large natural bay called Port Philip on an estuary of the Yarra River that flows through the city. The city is the capital of the Australian state of Victoria and is laid out in a grid like pattern and has a central business district that is easily navigable on foot. Moreover this city is home to many museums, performing arts centers and attractions like the Royal Botanical Gardens and the St Kilda’s Esplanade, is also home to an energetic multicultural population composed of various ethnicities like the Chinese, Italian, Vietnamese, Lebanese and Greek peoples, each of whom have left a mark on the character of this vibrant, thriving city.
Where to stay in Melbourne
City Center Hotels
Melbourne’s city center is made up of a grid of streets north of the Yara River. This area offers good shopping and nightlife options and is thus popular with the many visitors who visit Melbourne year round. The Melbourne City Center hosts a wide array of hotels which range from luxury hotel properties to discount hotels.
Carlton Area Hotels
The Carlton area of Melbourne is situated to the north of the city center. This neighborhood of Melbourne is known for its many Italian restaurants and plays host to the University of Melbourne. If you have a passion for Italian cuisine then perhaps the Carlton area should get your vote for where to stay in Melbourne.
Fitzroy is a bohemian neighborhood of Melbourne that lies 2km to the north of the city center. Fitzroy is home to a large student and artist population and known for its many well-priced restaurants, cafes, bookshops, art galleries and pubs.
St. Kilda Hotels
The St Kilda suburb of Melbourne lies south of the city center and is renowned as the epicenter of bohemia in Melbourne. This area was once the red-light area of Melbourne and now hosts the city’s highest concentration of restaurants catering to all budgets. St Kilda in keeping with its image offers a good selection of reasonably priced hotels.
This up market area of Melbourne hosts many boutiques, art galleries, restaurants, cinemas and night clubs and is a popular choice for where to stay in Melbourne.
South Melbourne is one of Melbourne’s oldest districts known for its historic hotels, quaint pubs and old-world markets. If you fancy a bit of atmosphere on your Melbourne vacation then this area should get your vote on where to stay in Melbourne.
Places to see in Melbourne
The Chinese Museum is located in Melbourne’s Chinatown district. This museum which was established in 1985 seeks to preserve and display the history and culture of Melbourne’s Chinese community which has been in existence in the city since the mid-1800s. The museum offers five levels of galleries that offer displays of artifacts and photographs that illustrate the life and culture of Chinese Australians.
The Cook’s cottage attraction is linked to the discovery of Australia. Australia was discovered by the British explorer Captain James Cook in 1770. This cottage was built in the village of Great Ayton in Yorkshire, England by James and Grace Cook who were the parents of this great explorer. The cottage was then transported and rebuilt in Melbourne’s Fitzroy gardens in 1934. The cottage which provides a glimpse into life in 18th century England is a popular attraction in Melbourne.
The muddy Yarra River is a prominent attraction in Melbourne. The banks of the Yarra River are lined by many new buildings, walks and parks like the Riverside Park. Visitors to Melbourne also enjoy taking cruises offered on the river.
Melbourne Cricket Ground
The game of cricket is almost treated as religion in Australia. One of the best places in Australia to take in a cricket match is at the MCG ground in Melbourne. The Boxing Day cricket match held at the MCG is especially renowned for its carnival atmosphere. Even if you can't get to see a test match or a one day game at MCG, do visit the hallowed ground if you are a true lover of cricket.
The MCG also hosts several other museums like the National Sports Museum, which is home to the Olympic Museum, the Australian Sports Hall of Fame, the Australian Cricket Hall of Fame, and the Melbourne Cricket Club Museum, all of which are packed with interesting sports memorabilia. You can also take a guided tour of the MCG and its museum, the tour is conducted every day, and begins at half-hour intervals between 10am to 3 pm.
The stadium and grounds of the MCG are used year round, for cricket in the summers, for Australian Rules football in the winters and for various rock concerts and other events at other times in the year.
Royal Botanic Gardens
Melbourne’s fine Royal Botanic Gardens were established in 1846 by the first Governor of Victoria. These gardens that are acknowledged as one of the best in the world, feature landscaped gardens that extend over 86 acres and host more than 50,000 plants, which belong to 12000 species. These exquisite gardens are also home to numerous members of Australia’s native wildlife as they host many bell birds, cockatoos, kookaburras in their lush, verdant environs.
National Gallery of Victoria
The National Gallery of Victoria is housed in two different buildings, a gallery on St Kilda Road that hosts the state’s international art collection and the Ian Potter Center that hosts the Australian collection. If you are an arts enthusiast on a vacation in Melbourne you should make it a point to take in both the collections.
The Eureka Tower is the tallest building in Melbourne and soars to a height of 300 meters (984 feet). This building is counted amongst the tallest residential buildings in the world and offers gorgeous views of the city. It is thus equipped with an observation deck called the Skydeck on its 88th floor. Yet another attraction at the Eureka Tower is the Edge experience. The Edge is a glass cube which projects three meters from the building and hangs over the city below, it provides a terrifying though thrilling experience for someone who has a head for heights.
The Melbourne museum is housed in the city’s Carlton Gardens and is the largest museum in Australia. This museum which was commissioned in 2000 offers 30 different exhibits that relate to subjects like history, culture, science, Australian flora and fauna and more. The museum even hosts the Children’s Museum and an IMAX theater.
The Melbourne Zoo is recommended as a must-do attraction if you are on vacation in Melbourne with your children. This zoo was built in 1862, hosts more than 350 animal species including various Australian natives like the Kangaroo, the Koala, the Wombat and the Wallaby amongst others. The Melbourne zoo is located in the middle of a Botanic garden that extends over 55 acres and features four different ecosystems along with more than 70,000 plants.
Best time to visit Melbourne
Situated as it is in the Southern Hemisphere, Melbourne experiences its summers during the months of November to March. The summer months in Melbourne are characterized by warm temperatures of about 77F (25C), which are considered to be ideal for sight-seeing. So if you are planning a vacation in Melbourne, you should probably consider heading to Melbourne during its summer months.
However, these Melbourne summers coincide with the end of the year holiday period when flights are typically the most expensive. If you really want to plan your visit during this time, you should perhaps consider working with Fare Buzz for it periodically offers attractive flight deals for Melbourne and various other destinations around the world. It also makes sense for you to connect with Fare Buzz on the social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter so that you can be sure of receiving advance information of these cheap air tickets to Melbourne and elsewhere.
Winters in Melbourne are rather chilly and often feature temperatures of 55F (13C). The city also receives much rainfall all throughout the year.
Getting around in Melbourne
Melbourne is accessed via its Melbourne Airport situated 15 miles (25 km) from Melbourne to the north of the city. This airport receives a wide array of domestic and international carriers that make getting to Melbourne quite easy.
Melbourne is equipped with a public transport system known as the Met and is made up of trams, trains, buses and taxis. The Melbourne tram system, the City Circle tram is the best way to get around the city for it serves most of the city’s main attractions. Melbourne’s suburban train network offers access to the city’s outer suburbs.
Most visitors to Melbourne tend to use its public transport network to get around but those who enjoy self-driving often choose to hire a car for the duration of their stay. Located close to Melbourne are many interesting sights like the Macedon Ranges that host mineral springs and many therapeutic spas. Yet another point of interest located nearby is the Great Ocean Road that hugs the coast and passes spectacular rock formations like the Twelve Apostles.
Visitors to Melbourne also like to drive along the Great Southern Touring route that offers great vistas and provides access to Victoria’s many scenic and cultural attractions. If you plan to rent a car for your Melbourne vacation, you should probably do so before you embark on your journey. Fare Buzz offers several affordable car rentals for Melbourne which can be booked via its regular booking platforms which are accessible at all times.
Where to shop in Melbourne
Melbourne is filled with several fantastic shopping options. You will be afforded a plethora of choices in Melbourne that range from one of a kind, home-grown designs to leading international fashion and lifestyle brands. The city also offers diverse shopping experiences at its many markets, malls, shopping centers and retail-heavy precincts.
Most visitors to Melbourne start their shopping expeditions at the Bourke Street Mall which is located between Swanston and Elizabeth Streets in Melbourne’s CBD and is easily accessible on foot or by tram. Located within this cavernous space are the flagship stores of high street brands like Forever New, Sportsgirl and Zara. Also located within the mall are outposts of popular Aussie department stores like David Jones and Myer. Located close to the Bourke Street Mall is another shopping hot-spot in the form of the Melbourne GPO. This heritage building which dates back to 1864 has been stunningly restored and converted into a shopping mall that hosts many upscale fashion and lifestyle stores along with stylish restaurants and cafes. Other high-end shopping experiences can be had at various Melbourne destinations like Toorak Road, Brunswick Street, Fitzroy and Chapel Street, each of which abound with outlets of leading global and local fashion and lifestyle brands.
If avant-garde fashion and cutting-edge trends are more your style, you could try your luck at locales like the Block Arcade, Melbourne Central and the many stylish stores on Flinders Lane. For cheaper options head to the Chadstone Shopping Center or the Fountain Gate Westfield Mall, though Melbourne also offers much outlet shopping at destinations such as Bridge Road in Richmond and its three main Direct Factory Outlet Malls. Yet another not to be missed shopping experience in Melbourne is its Queen Victoria Market, a multi-cultural and multi-ethnic enclave, filled with numerous stalls that offer interesting foods and beverages, apparel, accessories and much, much more.
Where to eat in Melbourne
Melbourne is a melting point of cultures and this is amply reflected in its diverse dining scene that offers various global cuisines. Fine dining as well as wallet-friendly eats, Melbourne accommodates all options as it caters to myriad tastes and preferences. Well-regarded and highly-ranked eateries in Melbourne currently include joints like Cumulus Inc(European), Grossi Florentino (Italian),Taxi Dining Room (Asian fusion), The Grace Darling (gastropub), Longrain (Asian fusion), Flower Drum(Chinese), Izayaka Den (Japanese), Bistro Guillaume(French), Ladro (Italian-Pizza), Attica(modern Australian) and Paladarr (Thai).
Nightlife in Melbourne
Melbourne offers an energetic nightlife scene and the city abounds with several pubs, bars, cocktail lounges and nightclubs. Nightlife haunts can be found in various Melbourne neighborhoods like Melbourne CBD, Fitzroy, Docklands and St Kilda. Popular night-spots in the city currently include joints like Silk Road (Asian themed bar), Billboard Nightclub, Cocoon Bar and Blue Diamond (penthouse bar) all located in the heart of the Melbourne CBD, Treehouse Lounge and Cushion Lounge, both of which are located in St Kilda, Alumbra Lounge in the Docklands, Alla Bar in Fitzroy and Q Bar located in the northern half of the city.