Destination Guides

Melbourne travel guide

Melbourne Travel Guide Share this post

Home » Destination Guides » Melbourne travel guide

Melbourne travel guide will provide all the information you need to have a great time in one of Australia’s happening beach cities. Melbourne is a melting pot of cultures, cityscape, natural beauty, people from various ethnicities, cuisine, and more.

The city is known as the cultural capital of Australia. Art not only spills on the streets with graffitis adorning many buildings, but there are also numerous art galleries, museums, and exhibitions that celebrate creativity.

Greenery and cityscape of Melbourne
Greenery and cityscape of Melbourne

To top it all off, Melbourne was considered as the ‘most liveable city on the planet’ for seven years straight and in 2018, stood at second place among all the cities in the world. So, dive in, enjoy the list of places suggested to visit, read all the travel tips, and get going to Melbourne.

The official currency in Australia is Australian dollars (AUD). 

Melbourne Travel guide to the best time to visit this city

Summer (Dec-Mar)Weather is hot but you might still want to carry some light warm clothing
Autumn (Mar-May)Perfect time to visit Australia
Winter (Jun-Aug)Chilly and damp days in Southern Australia
Spring (Sep – Nov)Very pleasant weather in Melbourne

Ticket fares for air travel are typically the most expensive between December and February, which is summer in Australia.

Melbourne travel guide to reaching the city

Melbourne Airport receives all international flights from around the world. This airport is also called Tullamarine Airport. It is located 23 km away from the center of Melbourne city.

How to reach the city from Melbourne Airport?

Mode of transportPrice (one-way)Comments
SkybusAUD 19 (USD 14)Operates every 15 minutes

Drop location: Spencer Street station

Cheap and efficient

TaxiAUD 55 – 65

(USD 40 – 50)

Expensive but drops you at the location you want

Melbourne travel guide to travel within the city

Make use of the Free Tram Zone where travelers can travel in a tram within this specified zone for free. The principal boundaries of the Free Tram Zone are Spring Street, Flinders Street, and La Trobe Street. Additionally, the tram routes along Victoria Street, William Street and Elizabeth Street that surround Victoria Market have also included as well as the Docklands area.

Trams are the best means of public transportation in Melbourne
Trams are the best means of public transportation in Melbourne

If you travel begin or end your tram journey outside the Free Tram Zone area, then you claim compensation after 24 hrs.

Mode of transportPrice (one-way)Comments
TramTravel in Free Tram Zone areaThe city and inner suburbs are best viewed by tram
Metlink TrainsAUD 55 – 65

(USD 40 – 50)

Expensive but drops you at the location you want
BusesBuy a myki card and top up the card. The money gets deducted as you travelConvenient and easy
Bike rentalsAUD 5 for one day

(USD 4)

Melbourne has a flat terrain and hence cycling is an easy activity

Helmets are a must

TaxisAUD 5 + AUD 1.63 additional per kmYellow color taxis are available throughout the city
Water taxisAUD 20 (USD 15) per personBeat the traffic by taking the water taxi

Melbourne travel guide to visiting landmarks in the city

Federation Square

This famous square in Melbourne is a potpourri of arts, culture and public events. Located at the intersection of Flinders Street and Swanston Street, it is an amazing place to hang out.

The Westin Melbourne—Federation Square

Pic courtesy: Westin Hotels and Resorts

There are a lot of cultural and group activities happening here. People come from different origins and cultural background and celebrate together.

St Paul’s Cathedral

A magnificent Anglican Cathedral designed in beautiful Gothic style architecture which is amazing both inside and out. 

St Paul's Anglican Cathedral, Melbourne, Victoria

Pic courtesy: Judith Salecich

Built between 1880 and 1931, it’s an architectural marvel of incredible stonework, timbered roof and beautifully crafted ceiling made of Karri wood from Western Australia.

Queen Victoria Market

Spread over seven hectares, it is one of the largest open-air markets in the world. Visit this place for the sights and smell, you will be astounded by the variety of food on offer.

Smoky Satay for free- Victoria Market

Pic courtesy: PsJeremy

What better place to purchase Australian themed souvenirs. You can buy a cup of coffee and some doughnuts, find a nice spot and explore the entire market.

Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria

This huge garden is the green space in Melbourne. Spread over 36 hectares, the garden has trees, garden beds, lakes and lawns having almost 50,000 individual plants representing 8,500 different species. This is like the Champ de Mars of Melbourne.

Royal Exhibition Buildings and Carlton Gardens in Melbourne

Pic courtesy: Julia Kuleshova

Take a book, carry a light meal and a drink, sit under a tree and enjoy reading a book. You can take an evening stroll or come with family/friends to have a good time.

Port Phillip

You can see the Melbourne skyline from Port Phillip. The bay is shallow and navigable and hence swimming, water sports like paddle boarding, kite surfing, and windsurfing are possible.

Pic courtesy: Anna Callil

The locals love to fish here during summer and springtime. Also, a great place to for a seal watching tour.

Puffing Billy Railway

Chug along Dandenong Range of Melbourne in this narrow gauge train as it meanders past a beautiful wooded area of the forest, Emerald Lake and the thrilling train ride over timber trestle bridge.

Puffing Billy Railway - 6A crossing Monbulk Trestle Bridge.

Pic courtesy: Corey Gibson

All you need to do it to enjoy the three-hour train journey, soak in the fantastic views and have a sumptuous meal on board the train.

Melbourne Zoo

This incredible zoo hosts 320 animal species from Australia and around the world. Animals from their natural habitats are organized in bioclimatic zones which replicate the conditions that suit them best like the African rainforest, Asian rainforest, and the Australian bush. Other exhibits include the Orangutan Sanctuary, Wild Sea, Lion Gorge, Reptile House, and more.

Sea Life Melbourne Aquarium

Located on the banks of the Yarra River, it is a is a Southern Ocean and Antarctic aquarium. The aquarium features exhibits with king penguins and gentoo penguins, as well as Antarctic fish.

Melbourne Sea Life Aquarium

Pic courtesy: Elaine Williams

There are exotic fish on display, crocodiles, stingray, starfish, tiger shark, hammerhead shark, big ray fish and lots more.

Healesville Sanctuary

This is another zoo in Melbourne dedicated to the native species of Australia. You can see koalas, platypus, wallabies, a variety of birds and more.

Werribee Open Range Zoo

Just like the open grounds in the African savannah where beasts roam in their natural habitat, Werribee Open Range Zoo is similar in its concept.

And just one more.... (Explored 20.3.2014)

Pic courtesy: Lesley A Butler

You can take a bus tour os 30- 40 minutes to see animals like hippo, zebra, waterbuck, giraffe, ostrich, and rhinos. This place is great fun and do not miss out on the bus safari experience.

St. Kilda

Located 6 km away from Melbourne City Center, this is a very picturesque place right out of a travel postcard. You can sunbathe, windsurf, kite surf, sail, play beach volleyball, water ski, and so much more on this beach.

National Gallery of Victoria

In short, called as NGV is a popular art museum in Melbourne. The entry is free to observe the permanent exhibits whereas special exhibitions are charged a fee. The gallery is enormous and there are exhibits from different cultures across the globe like Asian, European, and more.

Graffiti spotting in the city

The street art of Melbourne is world renowned and you cannot miss the artistic side of the residents who have brought boring lane of buildings into life with art.

Melbourne Street art

Graffiti filling every inch of this bylane in Melbourne. Pic courtesy: Michael Mocatta (8+ Million views – Thank You)

A few streets where you can go to see them are Hosier Lane, Centre Place, AC/DC Lane, Duckboard Place, Flinders Court, Union Lane, Hosier, and Rutledge lanes, Stevenson and Tattersalls lanes, and Presgrave Place to name a few among a long list of places.

Eureka Tower

The tallest skyscraper is the Eureka Tower
The tallest skyscraper is the Eureka Tower

This tower is a skyscraper measuring close to 300 m  on the southern side of Melbourne. Go to the observation deck for fantastic views of the tiny world beneath you.

Shrine of Remembrance

A bit of history from Australia as this place is dedicated to the men and women of Victoria who served in World War I, but is now a memorial to all Australians who have served in a war.

Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne
Shrine of Remembrance in Melbourne

The monument is magnificent and it is best recommended to hire a tour guide to know more about this place and about the great people who sacrificed their lives in wars.

Old Melbourne Gaol

This place was a prison previously between 1842 and 1929. It now functions as a museum displaying information and memorabilia of the prisoners and staff, including death masks of the executed criminals. The guided tour is amazing and you also get to experience the eerie feeling of being lock up in a cell. A thrilling experience indeed.

Walk along Yarra River

Walk along the river trail for a pleasant experience away from the hustle and bustle of a cosmopolitan city. You can go boating and even have a picnic on the banks of the river. There are many lovely cafes, and restaurants nearby.

Fitzroy Gardens

Melbourne has a lot of green spaces like the Fitzroy Garden which is spread over 26 hectares. The gardens are well-kept, you can see bees buzzing around blooming flowers. Great place for a picnic with friends and family. Check out Captain Cook’s cottage for some Australian history and dress up fun in period costume.

Brighton Beach

Brighton Beach Huts 065*

Pic courtesy: Louis^

Most of us have seen those colorful beach bathing boxes neatly arranged next to each other. These can be found at Brighton Beach in Melbourne. The views are amazing and the sea is perfect for swimming.

Dandenong Ranges National Park

It is a national park, a few kilometers east of Melbourne City. You can go hiking here and you are rewarded with spectacular views of the surrounding area. Go to SkyHigh restaurant on Mount Dandenong for good food and great views of the city.

Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park

Located within the Pearcedale Conservation Park, this 25-acre biopark displays the fauna that was found in the region prior to European settlement and threatened Australian fauna. Take the evening tour where your guide will walk you through natural bushland where the guide spotlights a variety of nocturnal animals, many of them endangered.

Phillip Island


Pic courtesy: ADove1

Makes for a perfect day trip from Melbourne. What is amazing about this place is the gathering of little penguins that come ashore at Summerland Beach during sunset.

Purchasing tickets for each attraction might burn a hole in your pocket. Instead, take advantage of the iVenture Card. With various price slabs, you can get entry to top attractions in Melbourne at discounted rates. Check out attractive prices here and buy the card here.

Great Ocean Road

Like the famous Big Sur in the USA, where you drive along the coastline appreciating the beauty of the ocean and the shoreline, the Great Ocean Road is the Australian version of it. You get to have fun on a lot of beaches on this stretch, whale sighting is common, there are nature trails, waterfalls, volcanic plains, more. For more information, check out the official website here.

The Apostles at Sunset

Pic courtesy: Mark Iommi

When you are here, do not miss out on The Twelve Apostles. These are limestone stacks off the shore of the Port Campbell National Park jutting out of the sea close to the shoreline near Melbourne. You can enjoy this magnificent creation of nature all day long but it is best appreciated during sunset. 

Australian Centre for the Moving Image

Australia’s national museum of film, video games, digital culture, and art. If you are a movie buff, then you should hang out at this place. They screen good movies and the museum gives an idea on the evolution of cinema and technology over time.

Wine-drinking in the Yarra Valley

Yarra Valley produces a wide variety of wines. You need to go on a wine tasting tour to experience what this region has to offer to all the wine lovers out there.

Immigration Museum

This museum focuses on a very unique concept about Australia’s immigration history. Australia is famous for hosting people from various countries and not everybody has had an opportunity to easily reach this amazing country. This museum depicts the hardships and the effort involved in moving to another country.

Melbourne travel guide: Money saving tips

Make the most of Australia’s Tourist Refund Scheme (TRS) when you shop in Melbourne.

If you have shopped for AUD 300 (USD 218) or more from a single business at a store or at a chain of stores then you are eligible to claim a refund of the GST on certain goods purchased in Australia.

All you have to do is show the bill at the TRS counter located in T2 departure area after customs. Seek the help of the customer service agent at the airport for directions.

Please note that you need to carry the original invoice and the purchase should have happened in the past 60 days, and the store should have the mandatory Australian Business Number (ABN) printed on the invoice to be able to claim this refund.

For more detailed info, visit the Melbourne Airport website.

Melbourne travel guide to solo female travelers

Having been considered as one of the most liveable cities in the world, Melbourne is super safe for solo female travelers.

Union Lane

Pic courtesy: Peter Sawers

Traveling during the day is very easy and there is nothing to worry about. During the night, avoid walking alone after dark in the bylanes as there could be danger lurking anywhere. There is good public transportation and Uber, so make good use of them.

Melbourne travel guide for family travel

This city is very much a family holiday destination. There are so many attractions and wildlife to see in Australia, that the kids would love it and would never be bored even for a minute.

Public transportation is good and there are plenty of cafes and restaurants for families to sit and relax between traveling.

Melbourne travel guide to avoid tourist scams

  1. There are regular tourist traps like your credit card being overcharged at a restaurant, so beware of this issue.
  2. Being overcharged by taxi drivers is a common problem here, Try to carry exact change to avoid confrontation. Try not to swipe your credit card as you might receive a higher bill for your taxi ride later.
  3. Pickpocketing is a common issue. They will try to distract your attention with a magic show or trying to ask you for directions and steal from your bag/wallet.

For more such scams, read this detailed blog from Travel Scams and they also suggest how to avoid them.

I hope the Melbourne travel guide helped you with all the necessary information in planning for a fantastic time in this Australian city.

Read also our destination guides to learn about more places you can visit in the world!

Related stories