Mixing high and low culture, Melbourne is a haven for arts aficionados and sports fans
Straddling the Yarra River, Melbourne is a relatively flat city packed with sports arenas and arts precincts, great dining, bars, and of course, coffee shops.
You’ll find two football stadiums, the Rod Laver arena for tennis and big-name music gigs, and one of the most thriving arts precincts in Australia along St Kilda Road with the National Gallery of Victoria and the Arts Centre leading to Federation Square’s Australian Centre for the Moving Image.
It’s worth trekking out to the suburbs too – as well as tried and true inner-city haunts such as boutique and bar-filled Collingwood and Fitzroy, the shopping mecca of Chapel Street South Yarra and the beachfront fun of St Kilda. Try Brunswick, Northcote and Coburg for more street-inspired food, pub and fashion scenes.
Things to do
Let the music play
Melbourne’s music scene has long been a part of the culture here. From small pubs to bigger venues, you’ll be able to find multiple bands to see every night of the week. For full listings, pick up a copy of street mag Beat. Be sure to check out famed venue The Esplanade in St Kilda – this pub has been Melbourne’s premier music venue for over 100 years and is where televised music trivia show Rockwiz is filmed for channel SBS (a great example of the Melbourne scene).
Whether you need fresh local produce to stock your hotel fridge, vintage fashion finds to fill your wardrobe or just a fun place to spend a few hours browsing, Melbourne has markets galore. For a fantastic foodie experience, do not miss historic Queen Victoria Market. You can find artisan cheese, vegetables straight from the farm and amazing deli goods. You’ll also be able to experience Melbourne’s famed food-truck dining here (closed Sundays).
Meals on wheels
For a step back in time as you dine, book a seat on the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant, which has multi-course luncheons, early and late dinners daily. The refurbished cosy tramcars tour the CBD and suburbs of Melbourne as guests dine on Australian produce such as kangaroo fillet, and enjoy local wines. From AUD $80 per person.
Melbourne is the place to go to see live and musical theatre. Venues abound across the city – from the historic, such as the Regent Theatre to the modern Arts Centre – so check out local entertainment guides such as Time Out for major productions, Theatre Alive for local and progressive arts, or go to visitmelbourne.com to see what’s on across all genres.
What's in store
Melbourne is becoming Australia’s shopping mecca. Once known for its unique designer boutiques (which are still alive and thriving in suburbs such as Fitzroy and Collingwood), the city centre is now home to big international brands in gleaming malls with gourmet food courts. Perhaps the best of this is the newly opened Emporium Melbourne, a designer precinct where you’ll find Australia’s first Uniqlo store and cool Japanese homeware brand Muji, as well as Australian designer stores and artisan shoemakers. While here, try the dumplings at New Shanghai on level 3!
Travel time 30 mins
Taxi Approx AUD $55
SkyBus Every 10 mins. One-way: adult AUD $18, child (4-14 yrs) AUD $7; return: adult AUD $30, child AUD $13. Journey takes 20 mins.
Travel time 20 mins
Taxi Approx AUD $30
Airport Shuttle meets all flights. One-way: adult AUD $18, child AUD $14. Journey takes 25 mins.
Melbourne CBD 55km
Travel time 45 mins
Taxi Approx AUD $110
Airport Bus to Melbourne meets all flights. One-way: adult AUD $22, child AUD $10; return AUD $42. Journey takes 50 minsBack to top
When to go
Melbourne has a temperate climate with cool winters. But while winter can be a bit on the chilly side (June-October has average minimum temperatures of 6-7 °C), don’t let that put you off. The city is designed to be enjoyed indoors with many pubs and bars offering open fires to cosy up alongside. Most public transport is heated.
Summers, meanwhile, can see temperatures rise to over 30°C.
It’s an events-led city. Come in March for the city’s Moomba Festival, April for the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, May for Good Beer Week and an international Coffee Expo, June for the Good Food and Wine Festival. In August, see Melbourne International Film Festival and Melbourne Writers Festival.
Sports fans can enjoy the Australian Open Tennis in January, the Grand Prix in March, the AFL final in September, the Melbourne Cup (Australia’s most prestigious horse race) in November and the Boxing Day Test cricket in December.
There is something on every month of the year.Back to top
A free City Circle historic tourist tram (number 35) runs around the perimetre of the CBD.
To travel on commuter transport such as trams, trains and buses, you will need a valid myki card (available from train stations, major tram stops and all 7-Eleven convenience stores). A full fare myki Visitor Pack costs AUD $14 and includes AUD $8 myki money for travel.
You can buy a Myki Visitor Pack from the Melbourne Visitor Centre at Federation Square, SkyBus terminals at Melbourne Airport and Southern Cross Station and from the PTV Hub.
Please note that myki is not accepted on the privately run Skybus to and from the airport.
For tram, bus and train timetables, journey planners and ticket information, visit ptv.vic.gov.auBack to top