australia map · free stock photo google chrome 2

How Do I Plan A Trip To Melbourne?

If you're looking for the best nightlife and backpacker scene in Australia, head to Melbourne instead of Sydney. Naturally, it's my favourite city in the Land Down Under!

You could easily spend more than a week in this city without getting bored. There is a wide range of cultural offerings, as well as art galleries and concert venues.

You could do what so many other travellers have done and end up staying forever. For this reason, you shouldn't try to cram your visit into a short amount of time. There is a wide variety of attractions, activities, and fantastic restaurants to explore.

FAQs About Trip To Melbourne

If it is your first time visiting the city, you'll find it is entirely possible to experience Melbourne in 3 days, although five days is ideal, so you have more time for day trips.

Melbourne is ranked as the world's 99th most expensive city out of the 209 cities surveyed for Mercer's 2020 Cost of Living Survey. Though ranked below Sydney, it's more expensive than Perth, Adelaide, Brisbane and Canberra.

The best times to visit Melbourne are between March and May and September and November. These shoulder seasons feature moderate temperatures, tourist crowds, and lower airfare rates.

Melbourne is certainly worth visiting. There is so much to see, do, interesting and different people, and many facilities. Unfortunately, however, until our covid-19 lockdown is over, you can't get in, and we can't move around.

Melbourne is one of the safest cities in the world to live, work and study. Melbourne has low crime rates, a stable democracy and a very approachable and present police force. Read some more safety tips in Melbourne here.

Where To Stay In Melbourne

If you look at the map of Melbourne, you'll find that it is split into two by the Yarra River. The city is further divided into several districts, but travellers can focus on five areas:

  • Central Business District (CBD), located north of Yarra River. The financial district is separated from its old town in many cities worldwide. The CBD is also its historic core in Melbourne, which makes it the ideal place to stay for tourists. It is well-connected to many other parts of the city and surrounding suburbs.
  • Docklands, also north of Yarra River but west of the CBD. Think of it as Melbourne's marina. There isn't much activity here regularly, but attractions include the Marvel Stadium, the Melbourne Star Observation Wheel, and shopping centres.
  • Southbank stands on the southern banks of the river, hence the name (duh). The city's entertainment centre has a theatre complex and the Crown Casino area.

Best Area To Stay In Melbourne

miniature airplane and hand of person over drawn m

Which is the best area? Well, it depends on a lot of things.

If you're travelling with family or friends, you should choose CBD. Everything else is also easily accessible from here. But if you're travelling alone, you probably should consider St. Kilda. There are also direct buses from the airport to both areas.

If you choose to stay in the CBD, pick a hotel or hostel near a train station, so you don't need to walk long distances or rely on the tram too much if you decide to see attractions outside the city. In particular, consider the areas close to the following:

  • Central Station
  • Southern Cross Station

Both are in a good location: bursting with cheap lodging, dining, and shopping options. In addition, the station is the real heart of the city because most train arteries pass through this area, especially if you plan on seeing the suburbs and attractions outside the city like Werribee.

Several bus lines also start or terminate at Southern Cross. In addition, many organized tours also have their meet-up points somewhere around the area. So yes, it's Southern Cross for me.

Hotels are the most common type of lodging in Melbourne. If you're not used to Southeast Asian prices, you'll find them all to be quite pricey. However, everyday expenses are relatively high. The central business district has hotels that won't break the bank. Booking a room or apartment in a residential building can be a slightly cheaper alternative. Moreover, hostels can be found.

Planning Your Trip

Best Time To Visit

If you're looking for hot temperatures and a lineup of things to do, then consider visiting during the summer months, between December and February. Yes, the city will be more crowded with international and domestic travellers, but summer is also when the city comes to life with festivals, events, rooftop bars, and things to do. While the other months of the year will be less crowded, the weather is hit and miss.

Language

But English In terms of the number of people who speak languages other than English as their primary language, Melbourne outpaces all other Australian capitals.

Currency

Australian dollar

Getting Around

The Public Transport Victoria's train and tram lines are the cheapest and quickest ways to get around. You'll need to purchase a myki card to get onto trains and trams, which you can buy at 7-Eleven stores or on myki machines at train stations. Next, you need to load the card with a certain amount of money to get from A to B. You can do this at the myki machine.

Travel Tip

Metro police conduct random checks on every train to see if passengers paid for their ride. If you don't tap on before entering the platform and an officer catches you, you'll be fined AS$248, which you have 28 days to pay. So don't skip paying for public transportation!

Things To Do

Visiting Melbourne isn't complete without stopping by Queen Victoria Market, chugging some coffee, wandering the lanes, and maybe even catching a game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Take a day trip to the Yarra Valley wine region or the Great Ocean Road if the weather is nice and you have some free time.

Enjoy The Cafés

The soul of this city can be found in its many cafes. Everyone here enjoys grabbing a snack and a cup of coffee or tea at a hipster café to get some work done or to chat with friends. You shouldn't skip out on this, either. You can find out why Melburnians spend so much time at cafés by taking a tour with Melbourne Coffee Tours or Café Culture Walk, and then spending an afternoon reading a book at your new favourite spot.

Party In St. Kilda

The famous nightlife district of Melbourne is filled with cheap restaurants, bars, and clubs. Here you'll find Melbourne's seedier side, if that's what you're looking for. If you're looking for a place to hang out with other travellers (and even some locals), Base Melbourne is one of my favourite spots to do so. A lot of people frequent their downstairs bar because the drinks are reasonably priced and there are a lot of them.

Moonlight Movies In The Park

There are nightly movies (most of them are major Hollywood features) in the Royal Botanic Gardens during the summer. So you can bring your food and drinks (including alcohol) and have a cozy picnic while watching some great movies. Think of it like going to the drive-in but without the car. Just check the weather in advance and bring a blanket to sit on and a sweater (it can get a little chilly sometimes). Tickets start at 19 AUD (USD 15).

Flinders Street Station

As early as 1854, Flinders Street Station had become a central Melbourne landmark and gathering place. Large clock faces and Victorian architecture characterise the station. In the 1920s, this station handled more passengers than any other in the world; today, it handles more suburban passengers than any other station in the Southern Hemisphere.

travel

Hang Out In Federation Square

Federation Square is along the free City Circle train route and across Flinders Street Station. This open square spans around 8 acres and serves up stellar people-watching.

Below the square on the river are also several restaurants and outdoor bars. In the summer, there are often all kinds of different events here.

Visit The National Gallery Of Victoria

Located in Federation Square, the National Gallery of Australia is the largest, oldest, and most-visited art museum in the country (over 3 million people visit each year). It's home to over 75,000 works, including modern and contemporary art, sculptures, paintings, and works from aboriginal and indigenous artists. You can see pretty much everything in a couple of hours. It's one of the best free activities in the city. Admission is free though temporary exhibits may have an admission charge.

See The State Library Of Victoria

The State Library of Victoria is a historic institution that sees 8 million visitors. Originally built in 1856, the library has grown into an event space that's a source of pride for city residents. Come here before it opens, and you'll see a queue of people ready to pounce on the open desks. The famous central dome with its octagonal shape, original dark wood furniture, and book-lined walls is something not to miss. In addition, there are several free tours of the library to teach you more about its history and striking architecture.

Wander The Como House And Gardens

Over 160 years old, this regal estate blends classic Italianate architecture and Australian regency. It's considered the best of the historic houses in the city and offers a rare glimpse at the luxurious and opulent life of high society in 19th century Australia. Guided tours are available for 15 AUD (USD 11.50) if you want to learn more about this beautiful mansion and its history. Admission to the gardens is free.

Visit The Immigration Museum

Founded in 1998, The Immigration Museum is located in the Old Customs House and features exhibitions about Australia's immigration history. Europeans started flocking to the country in 1788, bringing their own cultures that eventually swept the island and displaced the aboriginal peoples who called the island home for over 50,000 years. Admission is 15 AUD ($11.50 USD).

See The Melbourne Museum

The Melbourne Museum showcases Australian social history, indigenous cultures, science, and the environment. For me, the museum's highlight was the extensive Bunjilaka Aboriginal Culture Centre, which highlights aboriginal culture, art, and history. They also have a children's section that's great for anyone travelling with kids. Admission is 15 AUD ($11.50 USD).

Indulge In A Wine Tour

The region is a hotspot for wine tourism. The Mornington Peninsula, located just outside of Melbourne, is well known as a top winemaking destination. It has over 40 wineries and is only 45 minutes from the city. The Yarra Valley is also a popular destination for day trips (which is where most tours take you). Day trips from Melbourne cost between 150 and 225 AUD ($114 and 172 USD) per person, depending on whether or not you rent a car and stay the night.

Plan A Day Trip To Phillip Island

Located a few hours from the city, Phillip Island is a weekend hot spot for locals looking to enjoy some beach time. In addition, the island is renowned for the nightly penguin parade (when thousands of penguins return from the sea to nest), its koala sanctuary, and the huge seal colony that lives offshore. The island can be visited as a day trip, but I recommend spending at least a night here due to infrequent buses.

Melbourne Travel Costs

Hostel Prices

A bed in a dorm room with 6-10 beds costs 18-25 AUD ($14-19 USD). Private rooms start at 60 AUD (USD 45) though most are closer to 90 AUD (USD 69) per night. Free Wi-Fi is standard, and most include free breakfast as well.

There are a few holiday parks outside the city with basic unpowered plots costing between 30-60 AUD ($23-46 USD) per night for those travelling with a tent. In addition, there are a few free parks outside the city for more rustic camping if you want to stay further afield (they aren't close to the city, but they are free).

Budget Hotel Prices

Budget hotels start at 100 AUD (USD 77) per night for a double room. Expect the standard amenities like Wi-Fi, TV, and AC. Expect higher prices in the downtown core.

Airbnb is also available around the city, with private rooms costing 50 AUD (USD 38) per night, though average closer to 110 AUD (USD 87). Expect to pay at least 170 AUD (USD 130).

Average Cost Of Food

There are plenty of restaurants serving pizza, noodle soup, and other inexpensive meals that won't break the bank (USD 15). For cheap and delicious Asian food, Melbourne is your best bet in Australia. Here, I had some of the finest sushi meals I've ever eaten. The average meal at a sit-down restaurant, however, will set you back at least 20 Australian dollars (around USD 15). (without a drink).

Sandwiches at fast food restaurants like McDonald's cost about $12 AUD (about $9 USD), while those at grab-and-go spots like Subway cost about $10 AUD (about $7 USD). Latte or cappuccino will set you back 5 AUD ($3), while a beer will set you back around 10 AUD ($7). (USD 3). The average price of a water bottle is $2.75 AUD ($2 USD).

Basic foodstuffs like pasta, vegetables, chicken, and other staples cost between AUD$72 and AUD$98 ($55 and USD$75) for a week's worth of food.

Money-Saving Tips 

Look for eateries that permit BYO wine or beer. You can find some great bargains in Chinatown and St. Kilda.

Think about staying in a hostel; many of them have both private rooms and shared dorms.

Don't bother with taxis, ride-hailing services, or renting a car. The public transportation system in Melbourne is convenient, safe, and spotless. In addition, tram rides within Melbourne's central business district are free of charge.

For no cost, you can visit the National Gallery of Victoria, stroll through the Royal Botanic Gardens, see the fairy penguins at St. Kilda pier, and shop at any of the city's many outdoor markets.

If you want to learn more about Melbourne, you can do so by taking a free walking tour. The city's art scene, cafe scene, and laneway culture can all be better understood with the help of a guide.

On Mondays, the Northcote Social Club hosts free live music performances.

Show your student ID if you are one! Most places offer student discounts, including museums, theatres, public transportation, and movie theatres.

To save money, reserve a room at a hostel that provides access to a shared kitchen. Visit the supermarket on day one to stock up on edibles, whether they need prepping or are already in your pantry. For a few dollars, I can stock up on bread and filling that will last me for several meals. By taking this step, you can cut your food costs by a considerable amount.

Find a hotel that has a refrigerator and microwave if you can. On the other hand, prepared foods are also available for purchase at the supermarket. Every once in a while, I'd buy a package of precooked chicken wings, store the remainders in the refrigerator, and eat them later.

Get your meal on the town at lunchtime if you must. Often, you'll be out exploring in the day anyway. In the hotel or hostel, you can order dinner. You should also know that Australian portions are enormous. You can buy one and share.

Those who wish to eat after normal business hours can do so at food courts (around 8 pm). When the day is over, they usually pre-pack the remaining portions and sell them off.

At Melbourne Central, many shops sell two rice meals or noodles with protein for only A$10. Yep, that's only $5 each. Unfortunately, this only occurs after business hours.

Melbourne tap water is potable. Forego the cost of bottled water. As an alternative, we ask that you please bring a refillable water bottle with you and fill it up at the hotel whenever you return. Restaurants typically charge $4 for a small bottle of water. Water in plastic bottles can be purchased for as little as $1.50 for a large bottle at most supermarkets and grocery stores.

For souvenirs, you can find cheap ref magnets and keychains at the speciality shopping section of Queen Victoria Market. Prices for reference magnets range from A$4 for a single pack to A$10 for three. There are anywhere from four to twelve items in each pack.

unrecognizable backpacker standing on top of mount

How To Stay Safe In Melbourne

As a backpacking destination, Melbourne is incredibly secure, even for solo female travellers and males.

You won't have any trouble finding friendly locals who are willing to lend a hand. Pickpockets are common in large cities like Melbourne, so keep an eye on your belongings and don't leave anything out in public (like any other big city).

Always go with your gut instinct. Don't stay in a taxi with a suspicious driver. The hotel or other lodgings should not be the place you stay if you find it to be more seedy than you had anticipated. Before you leave, make extra copies of your important documents like your passport and driver's licence.

In general, it's best to avoid doing anything illegal while in Melbourne that you wouldn't do at home. If you stick to that rule, everything will work out.

Keep in mind the high temperatures of summer if you plan on visiting Melbourne. To protect yourself from the sun, use multiple layers of clothing, keep yourself well hydrated, and apply sunscreen liberally.

My number one recommendation for your safety while travelling is to invest in comprehensive travel insurance. Having travel insurance will safeguard you from financial loss in the event of things like illness, injury, theft, or trip cancellations. It's a safety nett for the worst case scenario.

Conclusion

Both Sydney and Melbourne, Australia, have excellent dining options, but each has its own unique atmosphere and atmosphere. If you're looking for a city with a more international and varied dining scene, Sydney is your best bet. Melbourne, on the other hand, is where you should go to experience the full range of Australian cuisine. Be sure to savour the incredible restaurants and street food of the city you visit.

Scroll to Top