Melbourne Travel Guide and Itinerary

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Come for the coffee, stay for the vibrant arts scene in the Australian culture capital. Read on for tips on where to stay, where to eat and what to see and do in Melbourne.

About Melbourne 

It’s regularly been named the most liveable city in the world, what with its thriving arts and culture scene, as well as a deep appreciation for good food and coffee. It’s no wonder that Melbourne is an exciting city for visitors to explore, too. Even with its notorious weather changes — sometimes all four seasons in a day! it’s the perfect starter city for first-time visitors to Australia, thanks to its friendly locals and easy-to-access sights.  

It’s not called the culture capital of the country for nothing — Melbourne prides itself in its offerings of world-leading art museums and galleries, and by nightfall, the city will introduce you to a wealth of entertainment options ranging from live music in underground jazz bars to cabaret shows and musical theatres. 

Melbourne stock
Photos on this page via Shutterstock.com

 

Highlights for the Traveler 

Melbourne’s city center — which begins at the Hoddle Grid and spirals outward — is a good place to start. The old-school City Circle tram (route 35) provides free rides around the CBD, beginning at Waterfront and ending at La Trobe Street. It’s a great way to find local attractions such as Federation Square (where the majestic domed Flinders Street Station sits opposite) or Parliament House.  

There’s usually something going on every month in this artsy city, so check beforehand to catch some of Melbourne’s best celebrations. To name a few: January’s dedicated to the Aussie Open, March is when the city hosts the world’s second-largest international comedy festival every year; August marks the much celebrated White Night, where music, art and fashion come together to form a three-day visual feast for the senses. In the tail end of the year, you may find yourself cheering with roaring crowds at the MCG for the Australian Football League grand finals in September, or donning fancy fascinators and placing bets on your favorite horses at the Melbourne Cup in November. Starting from 2021, a new international photography festival, Photo 2021, will also be joining the annual calendar every February.   

St Kilda Road, near the arts precinct of Southbank, hosts a concentration of cultural stops, including the State Theatre, home of the Australian Ballet and the Opera Australia, as well as the National Gallery of Victoria, the oldest and largest art museum in the country. 

Melbourne’s culturally diverse community has resulted in a wonderful array of cuisines from around the world, from the steaming lamb rotisseries in cozy Greek joints in the CBD to the delicious steaming bowls of Vietnamese pho in the suburb of Richmond just under 5km from the city center. 

And if you’re looking for a quick afternoon break, you may notice a dearth in chain-store coffee shops like Starbucks. Coffee is almost a religion in this caffeine-mad city, so grab a cup of fresh brew from one of the many local cafés that dot the city — many roast their own beans! — and settle down on the lawn of the State Library for a leisurely hour of people-watching in the heart of the city. You won’t be disappointed: Melbourne residents have a reputation for being one of the most stylish in the country. Take a sip every time you see someone dressed in head-to-toe black! 

  

Just Outside Melbourne 

Just half an hour’s drive from the city will bring youto the wonderfully tranquil artist colony of Montsalvat in Eltham, where you’ll relax in its gardens and peruse contemporary and indigenous art. Melbourne’s CBD is also a common starting point for the famed Great Ocean Road drive — over 600km of scenic roads that hug the southeastern coast of Australia. 

 


Recommendations list to be updated.

Recommendations list to be updated.

Recommendations list to be updated.

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