Melbourne was named World’s most liveable city for seven years in a row. Additionally it is also announced as the sports capital of the world hosting for example the Australian Open in January and Formula 1 in March. The moment you walk in the small ‘laneways’ filled with hip cafe’s and music, in between the skyscrapers and along the riverside you’ll know why it is our favourite city in Australia. Walk the self-guided graffiti tour or a grab a ‘free’ guided tour on your first day so you get a glimpse of this vibrant city. Fill your stomaches with haute cuisine or cheap but impressive asian food and have a drink at one of the many rooftop bars.
Must do’s in Melbourne
Free self-guided City street art and Graffiti tour
Here you find a free walking map with the most stunning street art and graffiti. Also this route will take you along the narrow laneways filled with bars and restaurants. A very interesting walk to explore the city on your first day!
Royal Botanical gardens
In every Australian city you’ll find a Royal Botanical Garden but the one from Melbourne is definitely one of the biggest and most beautiful seen so far. It covers 36 hectares with 8.500 different plant species and 50.000 individual plants. Relax and read a book on one of the many grassy fields or go for a run around the gardens on the Tan Track.
Attend one of the many sport’s events
Especially in summer there are several great sporting events that are a must do when you are visiting Melbourne. Go to the Australian Open in January to see Djokovic, Nadal or Federer play in one of the big Arena’s. Have an Australian experience by watching a match of Australian Football or Cricket or have your heart pumped with the loud sounds of Formula 1 car engines at the Australian Grand Prix.
If you are on a backpacker budget but still want to experience the sporty vibes of Melbourne go to Federation square where you can follow any sport event on the big screen.
Melbourne is one of the most livelyest cities in Australia and full of festivals in summertime. Have a look on these websites to find out if there is something going on in Melbourne when you are visiting;
– Time Out
Walk, relax, eat or drink along the Yarra river
Crossing the Princes Bridge you get a nice view of the Yarra river and the skyscrapers in the background. On a sunny day what is better than to sit on the soft freshly mowed green grass in company by ducks and swans? Get yourself some drinks and snacks sit down and relax while you watch the rowers sail along.
Wander on the Southbank Promenade which is full of restaurants and bars with big terraces in the sun. You can walk in a circuit where you can cross the artistic Sandridge Bridge back over the river towards Flinders Walk. A small promenade with cosy pontoon restaurants and bars.
Melbourne is not only about food and drinks but also has a rich cultural setting with plenty of museums. A majority of them is even free and has some entertaining features. Here is a list of all the budget friendly museums around. Ofcourse if you are into art you can always pay an entrance fee for the gallery up at that moment.
Go hipster in Fitzroy suburb
This belongs to Melbournes alternative sides. Wander along Brunswick Street home to second hand book and vintage clothes shops. Again filled with little restaurants and cocktail bars such as The Everleigh.
As in every big multicultural city there is a Chinatown. Nothing very special but worth going to when you are looking for a budget friendly diner!
St Kilda and beach
Even though Melbourne is one of the biggest cities of Australia it is still located next to the ocean. No option for missing out on a beach then! Well this is where St Kilda comes in place. A small suburb with just one shopping street, a luna park and a beach. Also very known by backpackers as one of the places to stay to go party.
Another very special event and a must do is penguin watching at the pier around sunset! Wait on the pier until the penguins come out and be surprised! After you saw the penguins you can finish your day with a nice sunset on the beach which is faced West.
Queen Victoria Market
This outdoor market is a mix of food sellers and knick-knack vendors. Especially in summer you have the Wednesday night markets with live entertainment, heaps of food and drinks. On this food market you can choose between all kind of food from all over the world. Forget diner in your accomodation or a restaurant, spent your summer night on Queen Victoria Market with live music and beautiful people!
- Don Don’s : cheap and incredible good Japanese food (6-10 AUD)
- OM indian : All you can eat lunch deals (7 AUD)
- Sushi : You can buy sushi all over Melbourne and is always a good deal
- Half Moon Cafe : Egyptian Falafel and a friendly neighbourhood atmosphere
- Friend or Pho : Vietnamnese food with Bahn mi for 9 AUD
Melbourne offers a party for every kind and every style of human being. From gay to straight and from South American Reggaeton to pounding techno music. I will list a few of the clubs I’ve experienced;
- The Mill House (EDM/House)
- New Guernica (Techno/Techhouse)
- Revolver (Techno/Techhouse)
- Bilboards (EDM)
- Casablanca (Thursdays Reggaeton Friday/saturday EDM/House)
Make sure to bring a legitimate ID (passport or Australian drivers license) and don’t wear flip flops.
Ofcourse there are a lot of options you can choose from. From Airbnb to Hostelworld to Booking.com and you should figure out what suits you best. We both stayed at United Backpackers which we thought was good value for money. We made loads of friends as solo travellers because of it’s downstairs bar with nightly activities. Furthermore it is right across flinders station and in the middle of Melbourne City which makes everything easily accessible!
Additional trips from melbs
Great Ocean Road
Only about one and a half hour away is the starting point of the so famous Great Ocean Road. Rent a car for 3 days and drive along this beautiful coastline. Rent a surfboard or go koala spotting and end up at the world famous Twelve Apostles.
Grampians National Park
Either you do this on the way back from your Great Ocean Road trip or you want to get out of Melbourne for the day. Grampians National Park has a lot to offer and is just a three hour drive from the city. If time you can spend the night in Halls Gap and watch the sunset and sunrise from within the Grampians!
Torquay (surf city)
Officially the start of the Great Ocean Road and a small surfing village worth visiting. Torquay is famous for it’s great surf beaches and especially Bells Beach. Every year in April there is the Ripcurl Bells Beach Pro contest with the world’s best surfers competing against each other on the biggest waves. Go shopping in one of the outlet stores of Ripcurl or Quiksilver and end your day with fresh Fish and chips at Fishos or delicious Mexican food at Ole Torquay.
Melbourne is probably the closest city to get to one of the most beautiful islands of Australia. Only a 45 minute flight from Tullamarine airport to Hobart will bring you in another world. When you are looking for a more mountainous and green getaway definitely take some time to visit this gorgeous piece of Australia. Read our ‘Highlights of Tasmania’ article to make the most of your trip!
As in most big cities the transport network is very well managed. Ofcourse I would suggest to walk most of it in order to not miss out on sceneries on the way. But to go to St Kilda from the city centre you can better take the Tram or an Uber when you can share one with multiple persons. The tram is free within the city centre zone so just hop on and off whenever you want. Outside this are you’ll need to buy a myki card and top it up with money. It’s all very easy and straightforward to get around in Melbourne so we recommend use it.