Do you like coffee, beaches, graffiti, rooftop bars, live music, shopping, hole in the wall bars, more bars, amazing nightlife, tall buildings and scenic roads? If you answered yes to any of these things then Melbourne is the place for you!
I first went to Melbourne in July of 2015 with one of my best friends. You can read about our adventures here. After returning with some more friends over New Years, I am officially head over heels with this fabulous city! Among having the best coffee in the world, there’s literally something for everyone! So, here’s my ultimate guide to Melbourne and many reasons why you need to pack your bags now!
Where to stay
Like most Australian cities, Melbourne is quite big and spread out. If your time in Melbourne is limited it’s worth spending a bit more cash to have prime location. In July, my friend and I booked a package deal which included return flights and accommodation. We had a studio apartment right off of Flinders Ln.
In December, we used Airbnb to book a beautiful 2 bedroom apartment across the road from Federation Square and backed onto the iconic Hosier Lane. You can read about our stay with Airbnb here.
There are also a number of hostels located centrally. I haven’t stayed at them but from the look of them and from what I’ve heard – they’re pretty great!
How to get around
The CBD of Melbourne has free trams. Yes that’s correct 100% FREE! It makes getting around to all of the sites so easy! I’d recommend downloading Tram Tracker so you can easily find the route you need.
For when you want to catch the trains to other suburbs like Fitzroy or Prahan, you’ll need to get a MiKi Card. These are similar to Sydney’s Opal Cards or London’s Oyster Cards. In Melbourne you NEED one of these cards to use the train system as they don’t sell paper tickets. It costs approximately $6 to purchase one of these cards plus you’ll need to load some money onto it. You may find you’ll need to use your MiKi card for when you leave the free tram zone as well, for example going to St. Kilda. Definitely worth getting one when you arrive incase you need to use it.
If you’re not into public transport then check out Uber. This was my first time using Uber and I’ll never go back! Reliable, easy to pay and cheap. On New Years Eve we used about 3 Ubers and didn’t even end up spending too much money. Then my friends and I decided to get an UberX to the Airport and it worked out cheaper than getting the skybus! I’d definitely recommend it and I’ll definitely be using it a lot more when I travel.
What to pack
Melbourne is renowned for having all 4 seasons in one day. In Winter, it can get cold. When we were there in July it was around 10degrees during the day. I wore a beanie nearly everywhere and wore boots, a coat and stockings.
When we went over December in Summer, oh boy was it Summer! The first 2 days we were there is was over 40degrees! I wore my hat everywhere, lathered up on sunscreen and wore sun dresses everywhere because it was so damn hot! Then suddenly there was a cool change and we were back down to a reasonable 25 degrees.
Whatever time of year make sure you pack;
- warm jacket
- going out shoes
- comfortable shoes
- going out clothes (they have quite a strict dress code at clubs)
- clothes for when it’s hot
- clothes for when it’s cold
- and clothes for when it’s raining
The trick is to expect the unexpected!
The Great Ocean Road
If you’re a busy bee like me and want to step out of the CBD, there are plenty of day trips you can go on to have a change of scenery. In July, we booked a day tour with Evergreen Travel to do the Great Ocean Road. We got excellent value for money and taken to some of the most breathtaking places on the Victorian coastline. An absolute must! You can read about our amazing time here.
If you’re just looking to spend half a day out and about, then jump on one of those trams, tap your MiKi card and head off to St. Kilda Esplanade. It’s only a 30minute tram ride from Flinders Street Station and will take you right to the beach. You can walk along the pier and enjoy a cold cider at the end whilst enjoying beautiful views of the Melbourne skyline. If you’re lucky enough, you may even be able to see Fairy Penguins! Here you’ll also find the famous Luna Park and heaps of cute little cafes and shops.
Again, tap that MiKi card and head out to Brighton. With a few manoeuvres from Google Maps, we made it to Brighton Beach. Again, you can get spectacular views of the skyline and stoll along the beach. I was in awe of how cute and colourful these beach huts were! Perfect photo opportunity! Once you’ve finished checking them out and you’ve taken your selfies, head into the town of Brighton. There’s gorgeous cafes and shops along the main street that will keep you entertained for hours.
What to see and do
After my last visit in July, I wrote my ultimate list of things to do in Melbourne. You can find them here. But there’s just so much to see and do in Melbourne that I have to add to it and reinforce some of the things on the list.
The Crown Casino
So I’m not usually a big fan of casinos, but The Crown Casino is pretty damn awesome. I guess it was even more awesome when I won $200 on blackjack.
I cannot emphasise enough how cool this little street is. Back to back cafes and always packed, it’s an absolutely MUST! We went here nearly every morning for breakfast and didn’t regret it once. This is cafe culture at its finest!
One of our friends took us to this awesome bar. If you’re an animal lover you probably won’t like it. Exhibit A – the taxidermy giraffe on the wall (and many other animals). And before you ask, yep, it’s real.
Obviously everyone visiting Melbourne has to check out Hosier Lane. A little lane just across from Federation Square that attracts flocks of people for the ultimate grungy pic in front of some awesome street art! The best thing is that it’s constantly changing. We went there in July and were pleasantly surprised to see Monster Inc on the wall. In December, some socio-political quote bubbles.
Walk along the Yarra River
Want something free and beautiful to do? Walk along the Yarra River. You will walk past heaps of nice little cafes and you can even walk through the Botanical Gardens.
Tah-dah! That’s my ultimate guide to Melbourne. Melbourne is such an amazing city. Just walking around, drinking coffee, ducking down little lanes, and when you’re with amazing people, it makes the experience even better! Did I miss something? What should I go and see next time? Let me know in the comments below!
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