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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Things to do

  • Let the music play

    Melbourne’s pumping music scene has long been a part of the culture and nightlife here, and despite waves of gentrification, it's still going strong. From small pubs to bigger venues, you’ll be able to find bands to see every night of the week. For full listings, pick up a copy of legendary street mag Beat opens in new window (or check their website). Get a taste of classic Melbourne pub rock at the Tote Hotel opens in new window in Collingwood or the Corner Hotel opens in new window in Richmond – there are many, many others.

  • Market wisdom

    Whether you need fresh produce for a self-catered picnic, vintage fashion finds to rock your look, locally made knick-knacks for souvenirs or just a fun place to spend a few hours browsing, Melbourne has markets galore. For a fantastic foodie experience, don't miss historic Queen Victoria Market opens in new window. You'll find artisanal cheese, vegetables straight from the farm and an incredible range of deli goods. Not to mention the mind-boggling fresh seafood. You’ll also be able to experience Melbourne’s famed food-truck dining here.

  • Meals on wheels

    For a step back in time as you dine, book a seat on the Colonial Tramcar Restaurant opens in new window, which serves up multi-course lunches, early and late dinners every day. The cosy refurbished trams tour the central city and suburbs of Melbourne as guests dine on Australian produce such as kangaroo fillet and spring lamb, and enjoy locally produced wines.

  • Stage front

    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 as well as loads of smaller and fringe venues. Check out local entertainment guides such as Time Out opens in new window to see what’s on across all genres.

  • What's in store

    Melbourne's gaining a name as Australia’s shopping hotspot. While unique designer boutiques thrive in suburbs like Fitzroy and Collingwood, the city centre is home to big international brands in gleaming malls with gourmet food courts. Like Emporium Melbourne opens in new window, a designer precinct where you’ll find Australia’s first Uniqlo and cool Japanese homewares at Muji, as well as luxe Australian designers and artisan shoemakers.

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Airport information

Melbourne Tullamarine Airport (MEL)

Distance to city centre 23km, approximately 40 mins travel time

Taxi You’ll find taxi ranks located across from the terminals. Approximate fare to the city centre is AUD $75.

Rideshare pickup is available from lane 1 of the main forecourt of terminals 1, 2 & 3, or for Jetstar customers from level 2 inside the T4 Ground Transport Hub.

Airport bus Skybus opens in new window run every 10 mins. One-way: adult $19.50, child (4-16 yrs) $9; return: adult $37, child $18. Journey takes 40 mins. Prices in AUD.

Avalon Airport (AVV)

Distance to Geelong 20km, approximately 20 mins travel time.

Distance to Melbourne city centre 55km, approximately 50 mins travel time

Taxi Approximately AUD $40-50 (Geelong) or AUD $120-$130 (Melbourne city centre)

Rideshare pickup is available to the left, as you leave the terminal.

Airport bus (to Geelong) Skybus opens in new window meets all flights. Journey takes 40 mins. One-way: adult $18; return $34. Prices in AUD.

Airport bus (to Melbourne) Skybus opens in new window meets all flights. Journey takes 50 mins. Prices one-way: adult $22, child (4-16 yrs) $10; return $42, child $20. Prices in AUD.

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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.

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Getting around

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.au 

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