Melbourne city centre can be explored in a day by walking. It is worth catching the famous Melbourne tram even if just for one block to save on the walking. The eastern half of the city is much more interesting than the western half.
Old Treasury Building is next door and faces down Collins Street. It houses a history museum explaining Victoria's gold rush period..
Behind Parliament is St Patrick's Cathedral, Melbourne's Catholic Cathedral. Corner of Gisborne St and Albert St, East Melbourne.
Bourke Street shopping mall (Between Swanston Street and Elizabeth Street) has among its shops the two big department stores Myers and the more up market David Jones. The old neo-gothic General Post Office designating the centre of Melbourne is also in the mall and is now houses boutique clothes shops. The post office is now on Bourke Street just 50 metres up the hill.
Queen Victoria Market at the northern end of Melbourne city centre is large bustling and full of character. It has eastern European style delicatessens, butchers, fruit and vegetable grocers, clothes stalls, cheap watch and toy and souvenir sellers. It is well worth visiting. Opening hours are limited so check. Corner of Victoria Street and Queen Street. Map reference E4. Get there by catching any northbound Elizabeth Street tram and get off at Victoria Street.
Victoria's State Library boasts over one million books. Swanston Street (corner of Latrobe Street).
The gruesome Old Melbourne Gaol is at the north end of Russell Street (near Victoria Street). Australia's most notorious bushranger, Ned Kelly, was hanged here in the 1850s. Bushrangers often held up and robbed stage coaches travelling in the country side in the early pioneering days of Australia. Map reference J4. Open daily 9.30am to 4.30pm except Good Friday and Christmas Day. Allow one hour to visit. Entry: adults $8, children $5, students $6.
Melbourne Aquarium is on the edge of Yarra River next to King Street under the railway overpass.
|Parks and Gardens
Melbourne city centre is almost surrounded by English style parks and gardens with large lawns. Do not expect to see much native Australian vegetation.
King's Domain and the Royal Botanical Gardens are to the south
of the city centre across the Yarra River. Also in King's Domain is the
Shrine of Remembrance, a memorial to Australia's war dead. This
dominating shrine is visible the whole length of Swanston Street in the
city. Getting there: Catch any Swanston Street tram south except the number
Melbourne Zoo owns three zoos. All zoos are open 9am to 5pm every day of the year. Adult entry is $20.
Melbourne Zoo is 3 kilometres north of the city in Royal Park and resembles a home for sick animals. There are often few animals in each enclosure and those that there are are very good at hiding from view. Many of the enclosures are empty. Do not expect to see many Australian native animals. They only take up a small portion of the zoo. At $20 the entry fee is high and there are better zoos to go to. If you still want to go you can get there by catching the Upfield line train to Royal Park or the tram 55 north from William Street (68 north from Elizabeth Street on Sundays) getting off at Royal Park Railway Station. Getting there by car see the Zoo website. http://www.zoo.org.au/visiting.cfm?zoo_id=1
Healsville Wildlife Sanctuary is 50 kilometres east of Melbourne in the Dandenong Ranges. It houses native Australian wildlife. Getting there by public transport will take at least 2 hours. Take a Lilydale line train to Lilydale then bus 686 operated by McKenzie Bus Company. Alternatively take a day bus tour of the Dandenong Ranges which includes a visit to Healsville Sanctuary. Three tour operators are AAT Kings, Gray Lines and Australian Pacific Tours. http://www.zoo.org.au/visiting.cfm?zoo_id=2
Werribee Open Range Zoo is 30 kilometres southwest of Melbourne
and has Australian and overseas wildlife. The last safari tour leaves at
Nearby is the historic Werribee Park Mansion which charges separate
admission. There is no public transport to Werribee Park Zoo. Take the
freeway towards Geelong and exit at Werribee South to K Road.
This beachside suburb of St Kilda lies 7km south of the city and is easily accessible by regular tram services from the city. On warm summer weekends Melburnian's flock to the outdoor cafes (on Fitzroy Street, Acland Street and facing the beach) and stroll, cycle or rollerblade along the beachside. Bike and rollerblade hire is available next to St Kilda Pier. On Sunday there is a craft market on the Upper Esplanade. Luna Park is an old run down rollercoaster and amusement park at the corner of Acland Street and Carlisle Street. Its other claim to fame is the mouth people walk through to enter the park which is usually under scaffolding being repaired. St Kilda's restaurants and pubs are also a popular nightspots with the young. Though a seedy redlight district, the influx of bohemian arty types and more recently the arrival of wealthier yuppies has made St Kilda an "in place" but some remnants of the past remain especially on Grey Street and Carlisle Street.
Getting there: Catch a 5 or 16 tram south down Swanston Street and St
Kilda Road then along Fitzroy Street to the beach. Or catch a 96 lightrail
west along Bourke Street, south onto Spencer Street, onto an old railway
line then west along Fitzroy Street to the beach. Or catch a 10 or 12 tram
west along Collins Street, south onto Spencer Street, through South Melbourne
and terminating in St Kilda at the corner of Park Street and Fitzroy Street.
|South Yarra & Prahran
Chapel Street in South Yarra, some 4km south of the city has a long strip of classy fashion shops, restaurants, pubs and nightclubs for Melbourne's young hip crowd. On Friday and Saturday nights Chapel St traffic is bumper to bumper with car stereos blaring at full volume. The action overflows onto the cross street Toorak Road which is generally more upmarket. Another cross street, Commercial Road, is a gay strip. The further south you go along Chapel street into the next suburb of Prahran the cheaper and less upmarket things get. Greville Street in Prahran (off Chapel Street) is a retro culture strip.
Getting there: Catch a Sandringham, Pakenham, Cranbourne, Dandenong or Frankston line train to South Yarra station on Toorak Road. Trams south from Swanston Street and along St Kilda Road are the 8 which turns onto Domain road and Toorak Road and the 72 which turns down Commercial Road. Sandringham trains go to Prahran station on Greville Street. The 78 and 79 trams run along Chapel Street.
The historic mansion Como House is also in South Yarra. See entry under Historic Mansions below.
Melbourne is the mecca of Australian Rules Football. The whole city is mad about the game. The season runs during winter with finals in September. Try to make it to a big game at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) or Docklands Stadium Entry is adults $14, children $7. Finals cost more. The MCG is one kilometre east of the city. Either walk from the city, catch a a train to Jolimont or Richmond or catch a number 75 or 48 tram to Jolimont. Docklands Stadium is accessable from Spencer Street Station over a pedestrian bridge.
Many Melbourians enjoy cycling along the beach from St Kilda south to Brighton and north to Port Melbourne. Bike hire available from a van that parks at St Kilda Pier. A shop on the less crowded north side of Fitzroy Street near the beach hires out roller blades.
A second best, but still popular option, is east along the Yarra River from south bank. Bike hire is available on the riverside from a shipping container between the Swanston Street Bridge and the rowing clubs.
|Formula One Grand Prix
The Australian Formula One Grand Prix for cars is run in early
March each year around the lake in Albert Park some 3km south of the city.
The Australian Formula One Motorcycle Grand Prix is run at Philip
Island near Melbourne.
(See Near Melbourne and Getting There & Away sections for bus tours beyond Melbourne)
Melbourne is a large city with accommodation in many of its numerous suburbs. This guide will only list backpackers accommodation in the fun suburbs with active nightlife. Expect to pay around $25 to $28 for a bed in a dorm and $60 to $80 for a double or twin room in a backpcakers hostel. Rather than a backpackers hostel, backpackers wanting double or twin rooms might also consider the budget hotels on Spencer Street in the city centre and on Barkly Street or Acland Street in St Kilda. Alternatively this site also provides links to the homepages of the major hotel chains. Prices can rise by 50% during the Formula 1 Grand Prix in early March each year. We expect that prices will also rise during the Commonwealth Games in 2006.
Backpackers Hostels - City Centre
Most city centre youth hostels are on Elizabeth Street.
Flinders Station Hotel Backpackers 35 Elizabeth Street (Cnr Flinders Lane), Melbourne. Phone 03 9620 5100, fax 03 9620 5101. Big hostel, very central with all facilities expected. Large bar on first floor. http://www.flindersbackpackers.com.au
Friendly Backpacker 197 King Street, Melbourne. Phone 1800 671 115. Dorm $28, double or twin $78. http://www.friendlygroup.com.au
Greenhouse Backpackers 228 Flinders Lane, Melbourne. Phone 1800 249 207. Dorm $28, single $65, double or twin $78. Roof top garden. Travel desk. http://www.friendlygroup.com.au
Hotel Bakpak 167 Franklin Street, Melbourne (opposite the Queen Victoria Market). Dorm $24 to $27, single $60, double or twin $75. Phone 03 9329 7525. http://www.hotelbakpak.com
Melbourne International Backpackers 450 Elizabeth Street (corner Franklin Street), Melbourne. Dorm $24. http://www.melbourneinternationalbackpackers.com
All Nations Backpackers Hotel is cheap and has a bar. 2 Spencer Street, Melbourne (corner of Flinders Street). Phone 1800 222 238.
Toad Hall is quiet . 441 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne. Phone 03 9600 9010. Car parking $5.
Exford Hotel Backpackers is upstairs in an old pub. 199 Russell Street, Melbourne. Dorm $24 to $27, twin or double room $66. Phone 03 9663 2697.
City Centre Backpackers 475 Spencer Street Melbourne. Phone 03 9328 5888. Dorm $35, twin room $50, double room $75 to $90.
City Centre Private Hotel 22 Little Collins Street, Melbourne. Phone 03 9654 5401. Kitchen, TV lounge.
Backpackers City Inn is upstairs in an old pub. 197 Bourke Street, Melbourne. Phone 03 9654 5401.
Victoria Hall 380 Russell Street, Melbourne. Phone 03 9662 3888.
Backapckers Hostels - North Melbourne (1.5 km north of the city centre)
North Melbourne is a quiet residential area just north of the city centre. The two YHA hostels are here.
YHA Metro (formerly YHA Queensberry Hill) 78 Howard Street, North Melbourne. Open 24 hours. Dorm bed $25 to $28. Double/twin $64-$76. Rooms with private facilities available. Internet, bistro, travel agent, foreign exchange, EFTPOS, mail holding, free bike hire, 24 hour guest kitchen and laundry use, video, luggage lockers, rooftop BBQ area, free onsite parking. Phone 03 93298599 http://www.yha.org.au
YHA Chapman Gardens 76 Chapman Street, North Melbourne. Small friendly hostel. Reception open 7.30am-12.30pm and 1.10pm-10pm. Late check-in can be arranged. Dorm $26 to 28. Many double and twin share rooms available for $56 to $60. Free bike hire, tour booking service, BBQ area, internet, parking, TV, video. Getting there: Catch 57 tram north from Elizabeth Street. Ask driver for Chapman Street stop. Phone 03 93283595. http://www.yha.org.au
Bev and Micks Backpackers 312 Victoria Street (corner of Peel Street), North Melbourne. Phone 03 9329 7156.
City Scene Backpackers 361 Queensberry Street, North Melbourne. Phone 03 9348 9525.
Global Backpackers 238 Victoria Street (corner of Elizabeth Street), North Melbourne is small hostel that has had bad reviews about cleanliness and security. Phone 03 9328 3728. 4 bed dorms, singles, twins and doubles at competitive rates.
Backpackers Hostels - St Kilda (6 km south of the city centre)
Coffee Palace Backpackers 24 Grey Street, St Kilda (just off Fitzroy Street). Phone 1800 654098. Dorm $19 to $24, twin/double $60. Kitchen, café, tour booking office.
Olembria Guesthouse has excellent facilities. 96 Barkly St. Phone 03 9537 1412. Lounge, dining room, courtyard, parking. Book ahead.
Ritz For Backpackers is comfortable and upstairs from the very popular and large Elephant & Wheelbarrow English-style pub. 169 Fitzroy Street (corner Princes Street), St Kilda. Phone 03 9525 3501. Dorm bed $23 to $26, twin or double room $60 to $65. Kitchen, lounge.
Base Backpackers 17 Carlisle Street, St Kilda. Dorm $24 to $28, double or twin $95.
All Nations Motel 32 Carlisle Street, St Kilda. Phone 03 9534 0300 or freecall 1800 008 718. Dorm $20 to $25, double or twin $80.
Pint on Punt 42 Punt Road, Windsor. Phone 1800 835 000. In a renovated pub. Dorm $25, double or twin $60.
Oslo Hotel 38 Grey Street, St Kilda.
Eildon Mansion 51 Grey Street, St Kilda.
Backpackers Hostels - Fitzroy (2 km northeast of the city centre)
The Nunnery is in a converted old Victorian style building. 116 Nicholson St. Phone 9419 8637. Dorm $26 to $30, single $65, double or twin room $75 to $85. Get there on tram 96 heading east from Bourke Street. http://www.nunnery.com.au
The Hub Backpackers 70 Nicholson Street, Fitzroy. Phone 03 9419 4839.
Backpackers Hostels - South Yarra/Prahran (3-5 km southeast of the city centre)
Chapel Street Nomads Backpackers 22 Chapel Street, Windsor. 24 hour access. Dorm $27, double or twin room $60 to $75. Free email, free breakfast, luggage and mail holding, kitchen. 10.30am checkout. Phone 03 9533 6855. http://www.csbackpackers.com.au
Hotel Claremont 189 Toorak Road, South Yarra. Phone 03 9826 8000 or freecall 1300 301 630. Dorm $30, single $66, double or twin $76.
Click here for Melbourne Backpackers Hostel Directory (it contains just a listof the above hostels).
Major Backpackers Hostel Chains
Major Hotel & Motel Chains and approximate star ratings
Lunch time cafes and restaurants are everywhere in the city. Little Collins Street, Little Bourke Street and the stylish Hardware Lane (map reference G9) have many cafes and restaurants, though quite expensive.
Chinatown is in Little Bourke Street is lined with mostly Chinese restaurants. Map reference K7
The small Greek Precinct is on Lonsdale Street between Swanston and Russell Streets. Map reference J7.
Lygon Street in Carlton is lined with Italian restaurants and generally offer excellent value. Map reference K1.
Brunswick Street in Fitzroy is popular for its "alternative" culture. Map reference Q1. Getting there: Catch an 11 tram west from Collins Street. This tram runs along Brunswick Street.
Toorak Road and Chapel Street in South Yarra/Prahran and Fitzroy and Acland streets in St Kilda have modern international style restaurants with an Italian emphasis and are popular with young people. In South Yarra/Prahran try TGI Friday or Bennigans, both on Chapel Street. In St Kilda try Monroe's on Fitzroy Street or the Stokehouse on the beach.
There are many restaurants with a variety of cuisines overlooking the Yarra River from the south bank at the Crown Casino Complex (map reference F16) and South Gate Complex (map reference K13).
Most suburbs have at least one supermarket. For those wishing to cut
costs and cook there own food Coles has a supermarket in the city
on the corner of Elizabeth and Flinders Streets (map reference J12). Acland
Street in St Kilda has two Supermarkets, Coles and Safeway.
There are 3 supermarkets in Prahran but two are in back streets. Coles
however faces onto Chapel Street.
The Nightclub scene at the smaller venues moves quickly so get up to date information in one of the club magazines available free around town at restaurants and cafes catering for a young crowd.
The bigger nightclubs with more stable popularity are listed below. Entry is generally $10 to $15. Queues can get long around midnight. Clubs have dress codes and dressing better always helps get in.
Metro, 60 Bourke Street, City. Huge commercial dance club with a small R&B dance floor too. Dress on Friday is classier than Saturday where unfaded blue jeans are acceptable, but like most places the better you dress the less problems you will have getting in. Map ref N7.
Twister at the Palace, Lower Esplanade, St Kilda. Huge 80s music dancefloor and smaller techno dance floor and tiny R&B floor. Tacky decor and downmarket dress, though it is becoming slowly more dressy. Saturday is a bigger night than Friday. The formidably long queue moves quickly.
The casino also has three nightclubs at its west end on the second floor that are reliably popular though each caters for different tastes. Heat is commercial dance for the stylishly dressed. No denim, guys wear a collared shirt. Odean is a little more relaxed both in the dress code, the music and the people there. Mercury Lounge often has live rock bands and blue jeans are fine.
Avoid the King Street nightclubs in the city (and more generally; avoid King Street after midnight). Spy Lounge on King Street is popular especially on Saturday night and as far as King Street goes, respectable.
Elephant and Wheelbarrow, Fitzroy Street (corner Princes St), St Kilda. Massive English pub with dance floor and band on Friday and Saturday night. Another Elephant and Whhelbarrow pub has open in the city (corner Exhibition and Bourke Streets). Although the city venue is a bit smaller it too is very popular.
Bridie O'Reilly's, Chapel Street, South Yarra. Popular irish pub.
Pugg Mahones Hardware Lane (between Lonsdale Street and Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne. Popular irish pub.
Esplanade Hotel Upper Esplanade St Kilda. Well known for hosting up and coming bands. Large place, a Melbourne institution, with down market crowd; wear a T-shirt and jeans. Often see paramedics parked outside and police interviewing patrons inside.
There are a lot of popular pubs in Richmond (including the Great Britain on Church Street and the Swan at the corner of Church Street and Swan Street), and a few on Clarendon Street South Melbourne (map ref E17) and Chapel Street South Yarra/Prahran.
There are a number of small pubs in Fitzroy catering to an alternative crowd. The Dan O'Connell on Brunswick Street is bigger and often has bands.
There are dozens, perhaps one hundred, bars tucked away in the side streets and laneways in the city centre that are especially busy with the office crowd on Friday night. Try any bar on Little Collins Street or Flinders Lane or the alleyways off these streets. The concentration of bars is west of Elizabeth Street. Also try Hardware Lane.
St Kilda has several bars on Fitzroy Street and the Acland Street. Try the classy Mink Bar in the basement wine cellar of the Prince of Wales Hotel on Fitzroy Street (enter from the side in Acland Street)
Chapel Street in South Yarra has numerous bars, mostly for classy people dressed in black, or more accurately pretending to be classy dressed in black. Greville Street in nearby Prahran also has some bars that are a bit more relaxed.
Melbourne theatres include Regent, Princess and Her Majesty's in the east end of the city and the State Theatre on St Kilda Road at Southbank just over the river from the city. See map. Half Tix outlet for discount theatre tickets is in a booth on the Bourke Street Mall. There are many bars/restaurants around the theatres for pre-theatre meals provided you stay west of Swanston Street.
Village, Hoyts and Greater Union each have old cinemas near the corner of Bourke Street and Russell Street. Newer cinemas that show the full range of new releases are Village at Crown Casino on Southbank and Village at the Jam Factory on Chapel Street in South Yarra. Art House cinemas include Cinema Nova on Lygon Street in Carlton, The George on Fitzroy Street in St Kilda, Kino in the basement of the twin office towers at the corner of Collins Street and Exhibition Street in the city.
Bourke Street Mall has many clothes shops and two big department stores; Myers and the more upmarket David Jones. Collins Street has numerous expensive designer clothes shops.
Melbourne Central is a shopping complex bounded by Swanston, Elizabeth, Latrobe and Lonsdale Streets with mainly clothes shops. Inside is the Daimaru department store and a large glass cone surrounding an old shot tower that the developers could not get permission to demolish. This is a sight in itself.
Queen Victoria Market is one of Melbourne's top tourist attractions. At the northern end of the city centre this large bustling market is full of character. It has eastern European style delicatessens, butchers, fruit and vegetable grocers, cheap clothes stalls, cheap watch and toy and souvenir sellers. It is well worth visiting. It is generally more crowded in the mornings and stalls start to close just after lunch time. It is closed Wednesdays. Corner of Elizabeth Street and victoria Street. Map reference E4. Getting there: catch any north bound Elizabeth Street tram and get off at Victoria Street.
Chapel Street in South Yarra/Prahran is lined with designer label shops catering for affluent young Melbournians.
Chadstone Shopping Centre is a huge suburban shopping centre located on Dandenong Road 20 kilometres southeast of the city centre just before Warrigal Road. It has discount stores, department stores and designer label shops. It is not directly accessable by public transport from the city. Catch a train to Oakleigh and change to a bus to get there.
THERE AND AWAY
Tullamarine Airport is Melbourne's main airport and has international and domestic connections.
The airport is 22 kilometres northwest of the city and is only readily accessible by tollway. Either catch a taxi ($30) or the airport shuttle bus ($12) which drops you at the V-line bus station within the grounds of Spencer Street railway station. Taxis add an airport pick up fee and the toll to the metered fare.
Prices for domestic air travel vary a lot depending on demand at the time and day you want to fly. If you are flexible about exactly what time and which day you want to travel then flioghts can be relatively cheap. The major domestic airlines are:
For timetables and prices either phone them or refer to their websites for a more competitive rate. Airfares are quoted exclusive of taxes which can add around $50 to a domestic flight and $150 to $200 to an international flight.
Train and Bus
Spencer Street Railway Station in the city has trains to regional Victoria, Adelaide and Sydney. The V-line bus station is also there and has services to southern New South Wales as well as a few other long distance buses operated by other bus companies. The two biggest and most well known Australian long distance bus companies, Greyhound Pioneer and McCaffertys operate out of their own bus station on Franklin Street (near the corner of Elizabeth Street) in the city. Buses are cheaper than trains and on long trips faster though less comfortable.
Interstate bus operators are:
Check their websites for routes and timetables.
Major bus tour companies are:
Both have tour offices on Swanston Street between Bourke Street and Lonsdale Street.
A passenger and car ferry runs between Melbourne and Devonport
in Tasmania overnight every night
and also every day during summer. The ferry is operated by TT-Lines
and leaves from Station Pier in Port Melbourne. The pier is accessible
via tram from the city. Catch tram 109 west along Bourke Street then south
into Spencer Street. The tram takes 25 minutes to get to the pier which
is the terminus.
Melbourne has trains, trams, lightrail and buses. Services generally radiate out from the city centre, so to travel across town it is often necessary to go into the city and out again. Buses operate mainly in the outer suburbs to take commuters to the train line. In the city centre and inner suburbs up to 7km out you will never have to walk far to train station or tram stop.
Passengers must buy a Metcard ticket from a machine and then validate the ticket when commencing travel by inserting the ticket into another machine seen at railway station entrances and on trams and buses.
Most Metcard tickets entitle the passenger to make an unlimited number of journeys on metropolitan trains, trams and buses up until the ticket's expiry time provided they do not leave the zones specified on the ticket
Two hour tickets are available from all the machines. Two hour, daily and weekly tickets are available from machines at railway stations and milkbars and newsagents who advertise that they sell Met tickets.
The city centre and inner suburbs are in zone 1, intermediate suburbs in zone 2 and outer suburbs in zone 3. An adult daily zone 1 ticket costs about $5. This is excellent value for doing hop on hop off sightseeing.
Weekday daytime services are once every twenty minutes at worst. Saturday services are once every half hour at worst. Sunday services can be as bad as once an hour for trains and buses and once every half hour for trams. After midnight services are non-existent except Nightrider buses that operate in the early hours of Sunday and Monday mornings leaving hourly from Swanston Street in the city from 12.30am. Some private buses do not operate on Saturday afternoon or Sundays.
A hire car is not necessary for looking around inner Melbourne. Traffic may make driving slower than catching public transport especially if you have to find a parking spot in the city. There are parking stations but they cost up to $10/hr.
A hire car or organised tour is however advisable to visit the countryside beyond Melbourne, such as Mount Dandenong and the Great Ocean Road because public transport does not operate or operates only irregularly.
Avis, Hertz, Thrifty and Delta Europcar all have offices at Melbourne's Tullamarine airport but there is an extra charge to pick up and drop off a hire car at the airport. There is a concentration of hire car companies on and around Franklin Streets near the corner of Elizabeth Street in the city including all the big hire car companies and some smaller ones.
Websites for the major car companies are:
TO GO NEXT
Travel west to Adelaide
Travel north-east to Sydney
Travel north-west to Mildura via Bendigo.