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.
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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.
Flying with Jetstar
Melbourne is Jetstar’s home base, with two airports – Tullamarine for international and domestic flights and Avalon servicing some domestic flights. Fly direct to most Australian ports, Queenstown and Auckland in New Zealand, Singapore, Tokyo, Osaka, Phuket, Siem Reap, Bali, Lombok, Fiji and Honolulu.
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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 A$14 and includes A$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.au
Melbourne Tullamarine Airport is 23km from Melbourne CBD. A taxi will cost about AU$55 and take approximately 30 minutes.
Alternatively SkyBus services run from the airport every 10 minutes. One way: adult AU$18, child (4-14yrs) AU$7; return - adult AU$30; child AU$13. Journey takes about 20 minutes.
Avalon is 55km from Melbourne. An airport bus meets all flights. One-way: adult AU$22, child AU$10; return - AU$42. Journey takes about 50 minutes. Alternatively a taxi will cost approximately AU$110 and takes about 50 minutes.