Melbourne is Australia’s cultural capital, with Victorian-era architecture, extensive shopping, museums, galleries, theatres, and large parks and gardens. Its 4-million residents are both multicultural and sports-mad.
Reasons to visit Melbourne include major sporting events, using it as a base for exploring surrounding regions such as the Grampians National Park, The Great Ocean Road, and visiting Phillip Island to view the penguin parade. Many UK visitors come to Melbourne for tours of filming locations of the TV soap opera Neighbours.
Notable inner city suburbs
Below are some of the major inner-city suburbs and localities. They are from the old district structure for Melbourne, and will eventually be merged into their respective article above.
Overall: Melbourne can get many days in summer above 35 and 40°C. Summer is the warmest season. Autumn and Spring change dramatically during the week and very much similar. Winters can be cool with temperatures around 14 degrees. Melbourne is the third driest capital city in Australia with half of Sydney's rainfall (600mm) and (1200mm).
Summer: Melbourne summers are generally warm with an average temperature of around 26 degrees. Summers consist of very hot days. Melbourne is known for its days of extreme heat. Several days each summer nudge 40°C. Night time temps are around 16°C. The hottest day ever recorded was 46.4°C, the hottest of any capital city in Australia. After a few days of extreme heat, it is usually followed by a cool change dropping the temp back to around 20 to 30 degrees. An average summer day is warm and sunny and usually light patches of rain every five or six days. January and February is Melbourne's hottest months.
Autumn: Autumn is a mixed bag of weather. One day it could be 35 degrees, the next 15. It changes dramatically during the week so pack everything! This lives up to the 'four seasons in one day' slogan. Night temps are around 8 to 14 degrees. Day time temps are around 18 to 25. In March, you can still get days of extreme heat. In 2013, Melbourne had 10 days above 30 in March, the most ever. In May, temperatures are noticeably colder than the days in March and early April.
Winter: Winters are usually cool and damp with day time highs of around 14 degrees in June and July, in August, the average is 16. The average winter day is cloudy with sunny breaks. The temperature can get colder than 10 degrees but higher than 21. It rains averagely 2 in 5 days with around 38 'rain' days. Melbourne winters can get below 10 once every 3 years. Minimums are around 7 degrees but can get colder than 2 and higher than 12. Light snow usually falls on top of Mount Dandenong once a year.
Spring: Spring is the wettest time of year in Melbourne and can still get quite cold early on but then warmer as you head into summer. October is the wettest month with 66mm. Day time highs are around 18 to 25°C (depending when) and night time lows are around 9 to 15 again depending. It is usually the windiest season as well. It is mostly like Autumn. in November, you can get days of extreme heat.
The settlement of Melbourne commenced in 1835 when settlers from Tasmania "purchased" land on Port Phillip Bay and the Yarra River from the local Aboriginal tribes. The streets of central Melbourne were carefully laid out in 1837, with some streets 30 metres wide. The settlement was named "Melbourne" after William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, the British Prime Minister at that time. The first British lieutenant-governor, Charles La Trobe, arrived in 1839 – his Cottage still stands and can be visited in the Kings Domain. The year 1851 was a landmark for Melbourne — the colony of Victoria was separated from New South Wales and very soon after, gold was discovered in Victoria, sparking a huge goldrush. Aspects of the gold rush history can be seen at the Gold Treasury Museum, housed in the Treasury Building built in 1858. Gold was the catalyst for several decades of prosperity lasting through to the late 1880s and examples of the ornate Victorian-era structures built during this time still stand. In 1888, the property boom collapsed and Victoria suffered the depression of the 1890s. Throughout the gold and building booms, Melbourne managed to retain its many spacious parks and gardens and these remain to this day.
In 1901, the British colonies of Australia became an independent federation and Melbourne the temporary capital of Australia, with the Federal Parliament meeting in the Parliament House of Victoria until 1927 when the new Federal capital of Canberra was founded. After World War II, Melbourne grew rapidly, with its mainly Anglo-Celtic population boosted by immigration from Europe, particularly from Greece and Italy. The significant pre-war Jewish population was also boosted after the war. From the mid-70s, many immigrants came from South-east Asia, particularly Vietnam and Cambodia. Melbourne has had a Chinese population since the gold rush of the 1850s and Chinatown has existed from that time but the population of Chinese and other East Asians has also been boosted by immigration in recent years.
New high-rise buildings replaced many of Melbourne’s interesting old structures in the construction boom of the 1970s and 80s. Melbournians belatedly recognised the loss of their architectural heritage and steps were taken to protect what was left. Construction of the huge Crown Casino (briefly the largest casino in the world) in the 1990s upset some Melbournians with its introduction of a gambling culture. Melbourne’s development continues in the 2000s with the opening of the Melbourne Museum, Federation Square and the Docklands precinct.
Melbourne is often called the cultural capital of Australia, with its many art galleries, film festivals, orchestras, choral and opera productions, vibrant live music scene, and a strong food, wine and coffee culture. People in Melbourne tend to dress up more than in Sydney, partly due to the colder climate. Many bars and clubs have strict dress regulations, such as requiring collars and dress shoes for men.
Particular events to note include the Melbourne International Film Festival in August, the International Art Festival in October, and the Melbourne Comedy Festival in April. There are also many concerts and exhibitions throughout the year. In addition to the Melbourne Museum, there are special museums dedicated to subjects such as science, immigration, Chinese history, Jewish history, sport, racing, film and moving image, railways, police, fire brigades and banking.
Melbournians are sports enthusiasts and particularly passionate about Australian Rules football, a sport invented in Melbourne. In fact the Australian Football League (AFL) is not so much a sport as a religion in Melbourne, with 9 of the 10 Victorian teams being based in Melbourne. As a guide, the entire national competition only has 18 teams, meaning half the league is based in Melbourne alone. Horse racing is another passion, and the majority of the state has a public holiday on the first Tuesday of November for the racing of the Melbourne Cup, one of the world’s famous horse races. Cricket is the big summer sport and the Melbourne Cricket Ground (the 'MCG')  is one of the world's leading grounds. The National Sports Museum (NSM) (including the Racing Museum) Australia’s only truly dedicated multi-sports museum is also located at the MCG.
Each January, Melbourne hosts tennis' Australian Open , one of the world’s four Grand Slam championships. In March, Melbourne hosts the first race of the Formula One season, the Formula One Grand Prix. The race is held in Albert Park in South Melbourne. Melbournians have also taken football (soccer) to their hearts in recent times. Melbourne Victory, playing in Australia's premier competition, the A-League, enjoyed enormous crowds and colourful, boistrous support at their original home ground, Etihad Stadium (previously known as the Telstra Dome). In 2011, the A-League took notice of this phenomenon and added a second Melbourne team, Melbourne Heart. The two teams now share the new Melbourne Rectangular Stadium, commercially known as AAMI Park. The city also boasts one professional team in each rugby code, with both also playing at AAMI Park. The Melbourne Storm play rugby league in the National Rugby League, with teams throughout Australia plus one in New Zealand. The Melbourne Rebels play rugby union in Super Rugby, which features four other Australian sides and five each in New Zealand and South Africa. Melbourne is the unquestioned sporting capital of Australia with the largest arenas and two of the major sporting administrations basing their operation in Melbourne: Cricket Australia is a stone's throw from the MCG, and the AFL games are played at both the MCG and Etihad Stadium.
Melbourne is served by two main airports — Melbourne Airport, also referred to as Tullamarine Airport, is situated to the northwest of the city and is the main international and domestic hub. Some domestic flights from low-cost carrier Jetstar Airways also use Avalon Airport, located to the southwest of the city centre on the road to Geelong.
Two smaller civil aviation airports, Moorabbin Airport , to the south of the city, and Essendon Airport , in the northwest of the city, serve limited regional flights to Flinders Island, King Island and some other regional destinations.
Melbourne Airport  (IATA: MEL) is the city's primary airport, located 22 km north-west of the city centre in the industrial suburb of Tullamarine. The airport is a hub for Qantas , Virgin Australia , Regional Express  and low-cost carriers Jetstar Airways  and Tigerair Australia .
Melbourne Airport is split into four terminals:
There are multiple flights per day to most major Australian and New Zealand cities, in addition to popular tourist destinations including Cairns, the Gold Coast, Hamilton Island, Townsville and Ayers Rock-Uluru. There is a daily flight to Los Angeles, and multiple flights per day to Asian hubs including Singapore, Hong Kong, Bangkok and Kuala Lumpur, in addition to the major Middle Eastern hubs Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha.
Avalon Airport,  (IATA: AVV), is situated in outer Geelong suburb of Lara. The airport is located 55 km to the south-west of Melbourne, and is considerably further from Melbourne CBD than the Melbourne airport at Tullamarine. However, a shuttle to Southern Cross costs only $4 more than a shuttle from Tullamarine, and fares from Avalon are sometimes considerably cheaper. The terminal itself is about as simple as it gets, with just an ATM, car hire desks and baggage carousels in what looks like an old hangar at arrivals. The departure facilities are a little better, with a cafe and a bar, and a video arcade room.
Jetstar Airways http://www.jetstar.com.au] is the only airline operating from Avalon, with up to four flights per day to Sydney — be sure to double-check your booking is from Avalon, rather than the larger Melbourne Airport.
All regional and interstate rail services depart from Southern Cross Station, located on Spencer Street at the western edge of the Melbourne CBD. The station is well-connected to the rest of the city's transport network, including most suburban train lines, tram routes, and some bus services.
From Sydney, the quickest route to Melbourne is the Hume Highway, which takes 10-11 hours. The Princes Highway (National Route 1) goes along the coast and is less crowded. It takes longer and the speed limit is lower, though.
Adelaide is slightly closer than Sydney and can be reached in 9 hours. The coastal route is scenic but slower.
A direct journey from Brisbane takes 21 hours of driving and takes you further inland along the Newell Highway. This makes for an interesting alternative to the standard Brisbane-Sydney-Melbourne coastal route.
Bus services within Victoria are operated by V/Line, and operate from most major and many minor Victorian towns.
Melbourne can be reached from Devonport, Tasmania by car/passenger ferries run by Spirit of Tasmania . The journey takes 10 hours and runs every night (in both directions), departing at 9PM and arriving at 7AM. During the peak of summer, there are also day sailings (departing 9AM, arriving 7PM) on many days - check in advance.
Ticket prices depend on time of year and your sleeping accommodation. A seat (no bed) is the cheapest, starting (in off-peak season) from $108 for adults and $82 for children. Bear in mind, the seat is most uncomfortable, equivalent to a cinema seat. Cabins with bunk beds start from $187 adults, $97 children. Peak season costs are about 25% higher. Cars cost $59 all year round.
Melbourne is also served by several cruise ships throughout the year (mostly in the summer cruise season). Check operators for further details.
All passenger ships serving Melbourne arrive at and depart from Station Pier in Port Melbourne which is located a short distance from the CBD. For those without private transport, the 109 tram departs from the old railway station across the road from the Pier and goes right into the heart of Melbourne (continuing to Box Hill in the north-east of the city).
Although Melbourne itself is a very large metropolitan area, most sights of interest are within the city centre and easily reached by public transport.
Melbourne's city centre is laid out in an orderly grid system, similar to Manhattan, making it easy to navigate around the most central areas. During peak hour, walking may even be quicker than taking the tram. A free map  of the city centre is available from the Melbourne Visitor Centres  in Federation Square and Bourke Street Mall.
By public transport
Melbourne's public transport is extensive, and in inner city areas generally frequent and easy to use — most popular attractions are easily reached by tram or train, and it is quite easy to get around Melbourne without a car. Public Transport Victoria  is the authority responsible for public transport in Melbourne and Victoria.
All services come under the myki  ticketing system. A myki visitor value pack is on sale at the Melbourne Visitor Centre in Federation Square, SkyBus ticket booths and the PTV Hub. Otherwise, myki cards can be purchased from vending machines at train stations, newsagents, convenience stores and major CBD tram stops.
Fares are calculated based on distance travelled, with most inner-city suburbs falling within Zone 1, and a separate Zone 2 covering the middle and outer suburbs. Tickets are available in two hour and daily options — the best fare for your journey will be calculated automatically, meaning that prices are effectively capped at the cost of a daily ticket (approximately $7). "Authorised officers" frequently check tickets on trams and trains, particularly on popular routes.
The Myki system is actually quite complicated and commuters can easily get tripped up. For example, many train stations do not have barriers that open and shut when the card is scanned (as is done in London, Singapore and most other countries). As a result, it can and does happen that people think they are tapping on correctly but do not tap on correctly. If that happens then there is a likelihood that a ticket inspector will stop the passenger at their destination (especially if it is at a train station in the CBD) and give them the option of paying a $75 on the spot fine or being reported and having to pay a fine about three times higher. To foreigners it may seem like a "shakedown" but that is how the system works and it is part and parcel of using the Melbourne public transport system. Also caution needs to be applied when tapping on cards as some consoles are for tapping on for a journey and others are for checking value. And if you mix them up, and accidentally tap on a card checking console, then you will be accused of fare evasion if you are caught and forced to pay a fine.
The consoles are different colours and have different beeping noises. Visitors to Melbourne are advised to check the public transport authority site to understand all the different procedures and console colours and beeps before using the system due to the high risk of fines. Foreign visitors may not be used to reading manuals before using public transport systems in other countries but in Melbourne it is essential to read the public transport website and familiarise yourselves with the terms of service before using public transport in Melbourne. You should read the VFTM manual before using myki. Pay particular attention to Chapter 8 page 55-60. It is available at www.ptv.vic.gov.au. It mentions that when a customer 'touches on' at a myki reader, lights on the reader and an audible tone will alert them to the status of the 'touch on'. When a myki is presented to a myki reader and no light or tone occurs, the ticket has not been read and is not valid for travel. The manual also states that where a customer attempts to 'touch off' but did not 'touch on', the touch will be processed by the system as a 'touch on'. In this case a default fare may subsequently be charged. A customer who has not 'touched on' will not be able to exit via the ticket barriers at railway stations and must see a member of staff for assistance. A customer who did not 'touch on' must touch on at the ticket barrier and may subsequently be charged a default fare. Note that if a myki is not 'touched on' it is not valid for travel and the customer may be fined
All train and bus services and most trams are accessible to the elderly and disabled. Children under 16 years and Australian seniors card holders are eligible for cheaper concession fares, which need to be purchased at train stations.
Although PTV services are not currently listed on Google Maps, PTV apps are available for iPhone and Android, and a journey planner tool is available through its website. Services generally run from 5am to midnight, with extended services on Friday and Saturday nights.
All suburban trains depart from Flinders Street Station, opposite Federation Square in the city centre. Many lines also run through the City Loop, which connects to Southern Cross Station and three underground stations around the perimeter of the CBD: Parliament, Melbourne Central and Flagstaff — look out for the blue signs.
Trains run frequently throughout most of the day, but can be crowded during peak times in the morning and evening. The network can also fall victim to signalling issues, weather and extreme heat — the most up-to-date service information is available from the Metro Trains website  or Twitter account . If you're travelling during peak periods, it may be wise to allow extra travel time.
All trains are air conditioned, and most major stations have staff, bathrooms and other facilities.
Melbourne's iconic tram network is one of the largest in the world, and covers a large part of the inner and middle suburbs. A free City Circle tram  runs around the CBD and Docklands area using heritage brown "W-class" trams.
Like the train network, trams may be crowded during peak periods — especially along major routes such as Swanston, Collins and Burke Streets. Most are air conditioned, and the majority of CBD tram stops are now wheelchair-friendly.
Buses tend to link areas without train or tram connections, with some exceptions, often service major shopping centres, middle and outer suburbs. The Melbourne Visitor Shuttle  links attractions in the CBD, Carlton and Docklands every 15 minutes for a flat rate of $5 per day.
Melbourne has an excellent network of bike paths, plus a generally flat terrain, making pedal-power a great way to take in the city. Most paths are "shared footways" under the law, although the majority of users in most places are cyclists. This means cyclists should expect to share the path with pedestrians, dog-walkers, rollerbladers, joggers, prams and tricycles. Some trails contain on-road sections (in marked bike lanes). It is legal to cycle on footpaths only when supervising cycling children or when the path is marked or signposted as allowing bikes. Helmets are required by law, and care should be taken when cycling near slippery tram tracks, where many have gotten injured in the past. Reflective clothing and lights are essential for safe night rides.
Detailed maps of the bike path network can be found online .
A folding bike of 20" wheel base is very convenient when traveling in the city. In addition when in folded condition it can be carried on bus, train and CountryLink without any additional charges. Just tell the driver that it will be folded and hand carried as baggage. As for inter-city train, avoid rush hour (7AM-9AM and 5PM-6PM). If the wheelchair area is not occupied then the bike can be parked in this area safely without folding.
The major car rental chains are well-represented and include Redspot Sixt, Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz & Thrifty. Independent car rental companies are also plentiful and can offer good value for money. If you are looking to cover a long distance by car, ensure your rental policy includes unlimited mileage - most economy to standard sized car rental include this already.
There are a handful of intersections in the city centre and in South Melbourne, along Clarendon St. where you must do a Hook turn to turn right due to tram tracks running down the centre of the road. Follow the signs, pull to the left of the intersection if you are turning right, as far forward as possible, and when the light for the street you are turning into turns green (the traffic on the street you are on stops) make the turn.
Check out CityLink's  site for details of Melbourne's T-shaped tollway which links the Westgate, Tullamarine and Monash (formerly South-Eastern) freeways. It is a fully electronic road with no manual tollgates. You can buy a day pass in advance, or within 3 days of having driven down it, giving your registration and car details. You can do this by phone, Internet, or at some Shell petrol stations. The registered owner of the car will get a fine in the mail if you do not buy a pass within 3 days. The tolled sections are indicated with blue and yellow signs, rather than the standard green and white. CityLink can cut a worthwhile amount of time from your journey, especially if you are driving from, say, the south-eastern suburbs to Melbourne Airport. Motorcycles are free, cars are around $11/day. Larger vehicles are more.
The EastLink tollway has recently been completed. Formerly called the Scoresby, then the Mitcham-Frankston freeway, it links the Eastern, Monash, Frankston and Mornington Peninsula freeways. Like the CityLink, it is a fully electronic road with no toll gates. If you have a tag or account, tolls range from 28c for short trips on some segments, to a toll cap of $5.15. Weekends are 20% off, and motorcycles are half price. If you don't have a tag or account, passes are available for the cost of the trip cap (e.g. travelling one way will cost you $5.15 in a car). Passes are available online at  and can be purchased before or up to 3 days after the trip.
Tags from other Australian cities work on CityLink and the EastLink tollway, but passes do not.
One option for travel on both CityLink and EastLink is the Melbourne Pass. It costs $5.50 to start up an account, and tolls are debited from your credit card automatically once the accumulated tolls and fees reach $10, or when the pass expires (after 30 days, but can be extended once for another 30 days). No tag is required. The pass can be purchased online at 
In the centre, parking at meters and ticket machines can be as much as $3.50 per hour.
Motorcycles and scooters are well catered for as footpath parking is both free and legal (providing the footpath is not obstructed). Scooters are becoming very common, however for all size scooters a motorcycle license must be held.
Yellow Melbourne taxis are ubiquitous in the centre but less often spotted in the suburbs. The largest companies are 13CABS  (☎ 13-CABS/132227) and Silver Top  (☎ 131008) as all of them — despite the names — are also yellow in color. Fares are standardized so that the meter starts ticking at $3.20 and clocks up $1.617/km, meaning that short hops within the centre can go for under $10 but longer hauls get pretty expensive pretty fast. Midnight-5AM is 20% more, booking by phone or taking a taxi from the airport costs $2 extra and sitting in traffic is $0.56/min. Between 10PM and 5AM, taxi fares are prepaid: you pay an estimated sum to the driver in advance and the fare is corrected on arrival.
Some taxi companies do not provide a lost property service. Lost items by law must be forwarded to the police if they are not claimed. Melbourne's taxi network is fairly safe, although waiting for a taxi at a rank can sometimes become violent due to the lack of taxi's compared to demand (particularly outside Flinders Street, but there is a police box next to the rank which generally operates at night).
Melbourne attractions are here listed according to their respective districts. See the district pages for full details.
The City Centre has much to attract the traveller, including theatres, art galleries, cafes, boutiques, plenty of live music, department stores, and interesting Victorian architecture, which can all be sampled on foot.
The attractions in Carlton are mostly historical as it houses the Melbourne museum, and cultural with its strong Italian heritage.
St Kilda is Melbourne's beach-side nightlife precinct and is a tremendously popular area for beachcombers and those looking to grab a bite or sip on a latte by the sea.
Greenery and high-end living are the main draws to South Yarra.
Prahran lies to the south of the city and shopping is the main draw.
Tullamarine— Home to Melbourne's International airport.
Brighton— Melbourne's prime bayside suburb featuring excellent upmarket cafes and boutique shops.
Fitzroy/Collingwood - Trendy 'bohemian' suburbs north of the CBD, filled with eclectic cafes and stores.
Melbourne is home to some of both the nation and worlds best Universities. The University of Melbourne is situated in Parkville, and is regularly ranked as the best University in Australia. Monash University is located in Clayton, in Melbourne's South. Both Universities are members of the exclusive Group of Eight Universities of Australia. Also to note are La Trobe University, Swinburne University, RMIT, Deakin University, Australian Catholic University and Victoria University. This list is not exhaustive, and Victorians are spoilt for choice in the quality of Tertiary education available.
The most popular industry for a working holiday is to work in hospitality jobs around the St. Kilda area. The wages in all other industries are usually much better than working in hospitality but require more specific skills. At the moment there are a lot of job offers for nurses and craftsmen.
Fruit picking is a possible source of income but in the greater Melbourne area but there are not many jobs offered. You will find better chances are in the dairy business but you should have some basic experience. Grape vine tending is another possibility in the near by Yarra Valley.
Shopping hours in metro Melbourne are typically 7 days a week, 9AM-5:30PM weekdays (from April 22, 2014 CBD trading hours for Myer Emporium Centre and Melbourne Central and nearby areas will be extended to 7pm, but 9pm trading on Thursday and Friday is unchanged) and 9AM( maybe later)- 5PM weekends. Most suburban shopping centres such as Chadstone have later closing hours on Thursdays and Fridays - mostly up to 9PM. Supermarkets have extended hours 7 days, the majority opening at 7AM and closing at midnight or 1AM, however there are many 24 hour supermarkets around.
Alcohol in Victoria can be purchased at licensed shops/venues and supermarkets often have an adjoining bottle shop, which close earlier than supermarket hours. Some supermarkets that close at the same time as their licence stock alcohol in the supermarket. You need to be over 18 years old to purchase alcohol. Most bottleshops close by 10PM to midnight (even on weekends), but some open until 3AM (e.g. on Riversdale road in Booroondara and Russell St Melbourne), and 24-hour bottleshops on both Chapel and Lygon streets, in Stonnington and Melbourne respectively.
Melbourne is known as the fashion capital of Australia with numerous malls and boutique lined streets.
In the CBD itself, Little Collins Street is home to some of the world's top designers and fashion houses; Collins Street also boasts other high end shops such as Louis Vuitton. Brunswick Street (Fitzroy), and the southern end of Chapel Street in Prahran/Windsor, have clusters of stores selling an eclectic mix of vintage, rave, retro and alternative gear such as Shag, Fat Helen's and Beaut Vintage to shop around.
Melbourne Central is another shopping mall based in the city, adjacent to the underground station of the same name. The Bourke Street Mall with the department stores Myer and David Jones is another city-central shopping hub.
Emporium connects Myer and David Jones to Melbourne Central and containing a large number of Australian and International brands.
For the bargain shopper, there is a DFO Outlets Centre located at South Wharf, on the southern bank of the Yarra River. It is located next to the Convention Centre.
It is also worth noting, for Backpackers, that Elizabeth Street has plenty of Bargain backpackers stores, for example Mitchell's Adventure (255-257 Elizabeth Street), which can offer outdoor products for bargain prices.
Bridge Road  in Richmond is a strip where warehouse direct outlets rule and no one pays recommended retail price. Chapel Street in South Yarra is a favourite among the locals, with its spread of exclusive boutiques, cafes and well established chain stores.
There are also several huge shopping complexes in the outer suburbs, such as Chadstone and Southland (Cheltenham) in the South-East. Westfield Doncaster Shoppingtown, (about 20 minutes from the city and recently vastly expanded). Eastland (Ringwood) and Knox City are in the outer East. Northland in the north, Highpoint in the west. Chadstone in Monash is the largest shopping centre in the Southern Hemisphere with over 530 stores.
Looking for something in particular?
For those in the bridal market, High Street in Armadale, Stonnington and Sydney Road in Brunswick, Moreland are the two main clusters for bridal apparel and accessories. For those who are looking for local, aspiring designer creations, try Greville Street in South Yarra, Stonnington or Smith Street and surrounds in Yarra.
To buy funny souvenirs and Australian typical stuff, walk or take the tram to Victoria Market. You'll find all you need there and the price is usually a half or a third of the prices in the souvenir shops downtown.
For the culinary traveller, Melbourne is one of the best destinations in the world. There is an abundance of affordable, high quality restaurants representing almost every cuisine. Eating out is cheaper than in Western Europe but not as affordable as North America. The service in Australian restaurants may be more discreet than many North Americans may be used to. Although service staff in Australia are paid considerably more than their North American counterparts and tipping is not compulsory, a tip for good service is always welcomed.
Excellent eateries can be found sprinkled throughout all of the inner (and some outer) suburbs, while certain neighbourhoods have become magnets for residents and restaurants of particular countries. A large range of restaurants and cafes offering high quality food, and representating various cultures and countries, are scattered through the central city, Southbank, Carlton (mostly Italian and touristy), Victoria Street in Richmond (many low cost popular Vietnamese and South East Asian restaurants), Docklands, South Yarra and Prahran. Sydney Road in Brunswick and Coburg is known for its many Middle Eastern, Lebanese, Greek and Turkish restaurants. The popular tourist area of St Kilda offers a large range of good quality restaurants and cafes, especially on Acland Street, and Fitzroy Street.
English-style fish and chip shops are scattered through the suburbs - particularly in bayside areas. Souvlaki and gyros are very popular in Melbourne and outlets are plentiful through the inner and outer suburbs. Japanese nori rolls and sushi is very popular and many stores through the city and suburbs sell these items.
There is a concentration of African cafes in Nicholson St, Footscray and Racecourse Road, Flemington. Most serve a small range of Ethiopian cuisine and coffee, and are frequented by the local African residents. The Abyssinian (www.theabyssinian.com.au) is a well-regarded Eritrean/Ethiopian restaurant popular for locals and tourists for a more elaborate dinner. The stewed foods are served on a large pancake in the middle of the table. Everyone eats with their hands which is messy but fun.
"Australian cuisine" is a nebulous concept that may include traditional native foodstuffs and more modern cafe infusions of international influences. Items such a emu and kangaroo meat are unusual, and are most likely to be found only at the high-end fine dining restaurants as a speciality item. You can however, find great kangaroo steaks at the Napier Hotel (Napier St, Fitzroy) for around $20, or at the Edinburgh Castle pub on Sydney Rd, Brunswick for around $10.
Meat pies are available from bakeries and convenience stores.
High quality delicatessen style eating available in many of a cafes in the small lanes of central Melbourne. Many high quality deli style diners can be found outside the city, in Acland Street, St Kilda.
Chinese cuisine has a long tradition in Melbourne and a large number and range of quality restaurants exist. Many are in Chinatown in Little Bourke Street, City centre. They are also dotted through the inner and outer suburbs, with concentrations in Richmond, Footscray, and suburban Box Hill, Glen Waverley and Springvale.
Most of the food is from the Southern (Cantonese) school of cooking, although Northern favourites like dumplings are also available. Eating dim sum, which is consumed either during breakfast or lunch (called yum cha or "drinking tea" in Cantonese) is an extremely popular Sunday pastime for Australians of all ethnic backgrounds.
If you're after a budget option (meals $5-10), try Camy's dumpling house (Shanghai style dumplings) on Tattersalls Lane in the CBD. In the evening, the easiest - and most amusing - option is the all-you-can eat service for $12 per person. Service is dicey, but always exciting.
Lonsdale Street in the City Centre is Melbourne's Greek precinct with bars, cafes and restaurants, and cake shops. Greek restaurants and food outlets can be found in Sydney Road in Brunswick, Swan Street, Richmond, Coburg and Oakleigh in the south eastern suburbs which have many Greek cafes specialising in frappe, cakes and good souvlaki.
Indian restaurants can be found throughout Melbourne, particularly in the city, North Melbourne, and inner eastern suburbs such as Richmond and Hawthorn. There are also numerous Indian snack bars in the city that serve cheap but tasty curries and samosas, cafeteria-style.
Nepalese food is also popular in Melbourne, and some restaurants feature both Nepalese and Indian cuisine on their menus. An increasing number of Indian restaurants offer home delivery.
Befitting its large number of Indonesian students, Melbourne has many Indonesian restaurants. One of the most famous is Blok M on Commercial Rd, Prahran, which many famous Indonesians have visited. Another popular restaurant is Nelayan with two restaurants on Swanston Street and Glenferrie Rd, Agung on Glenferrie Road, Bali Bagus on Franklin Street, Es Teler 77 on Swanston St, Nusantara in Caulfield and Bali Bowl on Flinders Lane. There is also Warung Gudeg, specialising in Jogjakartan local cuisine in Clayton. Warung Agus in West Melbourne serves Balinese cuisine on a rather upscale atmosphere.
With its large Italian population Melbourne has countless Italian restaurants, mostly offering food from the southern regions of the Italian peninsular.
Italian cafes and restaurants are plentiful throughout Melbourne but are in the greatest concentration in Lygon Street, Carlton, just north of the city centre. Lygon Street is where Melbourne's coffee culture originated. Suburban Italian restaurants are often large and family orientated and tend towards the pizza, pasta, seafood and steak formula.
Pizza outlets are very much part of the Melbourne landscape. These include Piazza 51 in Sydney Road, Brunswick, Spiga in Melbourne Central, Pizza Meine Liebe in Northcote, and countless options in Lygon Street.
A quick "sushi" take away lunch can be bought on almost every block where there is food. In and out of Chinatown there are also plenty of places that have good bento, udon and donburi as well.
For dinner, many of the inner city suburbs have Japanese restaurants, but in the city itself there is a long an interesting Japanese restaurant history that continues to this day. Both Melbourne's oldest, Kuni's (which has been around since 1978) and its sister restaurant Kenzans are known for a very authentic, if expensive, meal. There are a plethora of choices for those on stricter budgets as well.
St. Kilda East and Caulfield are home to vibrant Jewish communities and kosher bakeries and cafes abound most situated on Carlisle Street in Balaclava, Kooyong Road in Caulfield North and Glenhuntly Road in Elsternwick.
Malaysians and Singaporeans feeling homesick will find a host of restaurants and foodcourt outlets offering items like roti canai/paratha, nasi lemak, prawn noodles, laksa. Many are in the City Centre; there are Malaysian restaurants scattered throughout Melbourne. The remarkable Malaysian restaurant here are Laksa King in Flemington offering vibrant atmosphere, Jade Kingdom in Rosanna with casual family dining experience and Blue Chillies in Fitzroy in a fine dining setup.
Arab, Lebanese, Moroccan and Turkish restaurants tend to be concentrated in Sydney Road in Brunswick and Coburg to the north of the city centre. Half Moon Cafe on Sydney Road (near Bell St) makes particularly good falafel. These restaurants can also be found in the outer suburbs that are home to those communities, including Dandenong.
Thai restaurants are ubiquitous in Melbourne: even dining precincts mostly known for Italian or Vietnamese food boast Thai restaurants.
Vegetarian food is widely available in Melbourne, and you can expect every restaurant or cafe to have a few vegetarian or vegan options. There are also many vegetarian restaurants: Vegie Bar in Brunswick St, Fitzroy, Gopals in Swanston St and Shakahari in Lygon St, Carlton are just some of the options. Crossways at 123 Swanston St. serves a very popular $5 all you can eat vegetarian lunch, Mon-Sat. Most Indian and Thai restaurants throughout the city will either have a large vegetarian menu or give patrons the option of ordering any dish without meat (sometimes with tofu).
Trippy Taco on the corner of Gertrude St. and Smith St. in Fitzroy is an all vegetarian/vegan Mexican establishment. Around the corner, on Smith St. Las Vegan Cafe is a all vegan hot spot. Lord of the Fries do American style burgers with mock meat, and their food can also be vegan upon request. Lentil as Anything has Indian/African styled food that is all you can eat, with a unique pay what you feel system, there are locations in St. Kilda (a la carte), Abbotsford Convent (buffet/live music) and Footscray (buffet), all of the food is vegetarian and they label which of their food are vegan, gluten free etc.
Melbourne's Little Vietnams are in Footscray, North Richmond and Springvale out in the far eastern suburbs. The streets in these areas are lined with pho (noodle) shops and restaurants offering other Vietnamese favourites. Many outlets have also appeared along Swanston Street in the City Centre. However for convenience to the city and reasonable prices, Victoria Street in North Richmond is your best bet.
Spanish, Argentinian, Burmese and Polish restaurants can be found in the Richmond/Collingwood/Prahran area.
Melbourne has some Cajun/Creole restaurants and one or two American style diners, but US cuisine is otherwise absent: Foods like Southern-style barbecue and clam chowder are nearly impossible to find.
Korean restaurants are well represented and are scattered throughout the city. Other cuisines such as Sri Lankan and Afghani can even be found.
Melbourne has a long and rich coffee culture beginning with Victorian era coffee palaces and further enhanced by Italian migrants arriving in the aftermath of World War II.
Perhaps the most famous Italian style cafe is Pellegrini's, 66 Bourke St, Melbourne city. Fitzroy is known for funky, bohemian-style cafes. Collins Street features many elegant cafes. Many Italian style cafes are found in Carlton; Brunetti's is open late and always packed.
Serious espresso connoisseurs would enjoy visiting St Ali cafe/roastery in South Melbourne, Auction Rooms (Errol St) in North Melbourne, or the Maling Room café in Canterbury.
Bars and Clubs
Melbourne nightlife is 24 hours, loud, colourful and anything goes. Door policies can be strict but once inside high quality entertainment is guaranteed. DJ's, live music, artists, beautiful people and so much more can be found. There truly is something for everyone and every taste. It has a massive live music scene, with many inner-suburbs pubs catering many genres, with drink and food specials all week. The key is to find one you like the most!
Alongside its many clubs, Melbourne is also a fast-rising festival city. Global event companies such as ID&T, Global Gathering, Ministry of Sound and Trance Energy have begun taking notice of the city and bringing their events. Upcoming electronic music events are well catalogued on www.inthemix.com.au
Gay, lesbian and transgendered party goers are welcome everywhere as Melburnians are on the whole very tolerant and welcoming people. Perhaps the one bad thing is that nothing really starts happening until midnight!
The city centre has a number of pubs, the most famous being the Young and Jackson. Melbourne is also famous for its many trendy bars in the CBD. Most of these, however, are down narrow alleys and streets, and are therefore hard to find unless you know where you are going.
The inner northern suburbs, such as Collingwood and Fitzroy cater for the young, laid-back, and bohemian crowd. Here you will find lots of live music, cheaper prices, and a relaxed atmosphere. Head for Brunswick and Gertrude Streets in Fitzroy and Smith Street, Collingwood for cafes, bars and live music, while Lygon Street, Carlton has a range of Italian restaurants and cafes with a student vibe, as it's located near the University of Melbourne. Victoria Street, North Richmond is the heart of Melbourne's Vietnamese community, with many cheap and cheerful restaurants serving good food.
Chapel Street/ Toorak Road in South Yarra and Prahran has the most glamourous bars and clubs. Here, expect high prices, strict dress codes, and beautiful people who want to be seen partying with the best. St. Kilda has a little bit of everything. With its proximity to the beach, it is often regarded as the Melbourne suburb that feels most like Sydney.
The past decade has seen a revival of Melbourne's inner-city bar scene, with dozens of weird and wonderful watering holes opening up within forgotten alleyways and anonymous lanes of the City Centre (CBD). Melbourne also has its fair share of stylish places to drink, although the better ones can be hard to find. The theory seems to be: the harder your bar is to find, the more people will talk about it. Secrets are tucked around areas like Prahran, South Yarra and many other areas. However there are plenty of alleyway bars, once you find one they seem to pop up everywhere you look. Melbourne's clubs often market a members only rule which can upset your more upmarket traveler. The rule is in place to prevent fighting and unappealing groups of men from entering a nice club and destroying the atmosphere.
Australian licensing laws are very similar to those in the UK, i.e. you are not allowed to be drunk on licensed premises. In practice though, Melbourne venues and bouncers draw the line very low. It is common to be refused entry to venues - or to be refused service and asked to leave - after 2-3 pints, depending on the venue. Some pubs and clubs are quicker to eject patrons than others, but it's only ever a short walk to another. Licensing is more liberal then what one may be used to, as you can still expect to find a drink past 2AM. This has lead to a culture of late night drinking where some venues won't get busy until some time after 11PM, especially true during summer.
Melburnians often draw a distinction between 'bars', meaning the small watering holes described above, and 'pubs' which are larger establishments in the usual Australian or British sense of the word. Melbourne's pubs, particularly those in the city and inner suburbs, usually serve restaurant-standard food and a wide range of local and imported beers. Pubs usually offer lunch from approximately midday to 2PM, and reopen their kitchens for dinner from approximately 6PM-10pm
Melbourne's budget accommodation options can be found in two main areas, namely in the City Centre and in the seaside suburb of St Kilda. However, outside these two areas, there are also several popular budget options in bohemian Fitzroy, South Melbourne, and Windsor.
Please note that around the Melbourne F1 Grand Prix (late March) and other international events, hostel accommodation is booked out and some hostels raise their prices. Be sure to book ahead.
Accommodation in this price bracket can mostly be found in the city centre. There are however options scattered throughout the suburbs.
The City Centre remains the main area for this category of accommodation.
After a fire gutted the original building in 2001, most of Melbourne's grand General Post Office (250 Elizabeth St; ☎: 13 13 18; Fax: 9203 3078; M-F 8:30AM-5:30PM, Sa 9AM-4PM, Su 10AM-4PM; ) has now been turned into an upmarket retail precinct. The main post office in the Melbourne CBD is situated at the corner of Elizabeth and Little Bourke Streets. Poste restante services are now located in a small post office at 380 Bourke St.
Payphones are easily found through the city, but many are being phased out due to growing mobile phone ownership. These phones are coin-operated or use prepaid Phonecards, which are available from most convenience stores or newsagents. International calling cards are also available at these outlets. Using a payphone to make a local call will cost you $0.50 (untimed, although some phones limit your call to 15 minutes).
Mobile phone coverage within the CBD and surrounds is usually good-to-excellent. All mobile carriers in Melbourne use GSM 850/1900, and UMTS 2100 is offered by all carriers except Telstra, who instead offer UMTS 850. By law, you will require some identification to purchase a prepaid (PAYG) SIM card which are sold at most convenience stores, newsagents and supermarkets. This may be requested at time of purchase, and/or time of activation.
The mobile carriers are Telstra, Optus and Vodafone; all other companies use one of these networks. For better value, use Amaysim or Optus Connect 4 Less or Aldi mobile, If you wish to make cheap international calls, Lebara and lycamobile are the best choices. All carriers have good coverage in Melbourne suburban areas and on major highways/towns in Victoria, with Telstra (or resellers such as Aldi) having the most coverage.
Melbourne's area code for landline telephones is 03 (internationally dial +613). To make an international direct dial call, the trunk line access code is generally 0011 or simply add a + in front of the number if your phone allows.
Internet cafes are dotted throughout the city, especially near the backpacker enclaves of St Kilda and Flinders Street. Speeds are usually excellent and rates range from $2.50-12 per hour, the cheapest usually found in combination market/internet cafes in the Asian parts of town.
While Melbourne has experienced a trend of violent behavior recently, it has unfairly gained a reputation of being a violent city. Some parts of Melbourne are best avoided after hours though, primarily some parts of the western, northern and south-eastern suburbs. Gang and racial violence is an issue although the Government has announced a state wide crack down on un-social and violent behavior with large police presence and train station PSO's. Caution should be exercised after hours around bars and clubs, where fights can often occur.
While Melbourne is a very safe city for its size, the usual precautions still apply as for any large city, including keeping valuables hidden and avoiding solo night travel.
If you travel by train at night, stay in the front carriage close to the driver's area and note emergency buttons. If a problem occurs, push emergency buttons on the train or railway station to attract attention. Stay in Safety Zones while on stations at night. These are marked with yellow lines and are usually well lit and have emergency buttons as well as about 4 cameras pointed at the area. Robbery on the train is rare, but it occasionally happens (and when it does, at night). Railway police patrol most services. In early 2010, there were attacks on Indian students, sometimes claimed to be racially motivated. In general, Melbourne has a safe public transport network. Of course, care should be taken anywhere, at anytime. However, certain areas of the Melbourne Train network needed to be treated with extreme caution. Suburbs far out from the CBD tend to be more dangerous than others. Some suburbs in Melbourne's west (Footscray, Sunshine, Flemington, Werribee, St. Albans), north (Broadmeadows, Roxburgh Park, Campbellfield, Dallas, Craigieburn, Jacana) and south-east (Frankston, Dandenong, Hallam, Cranbourne, Springvale, Noble Park) as well as the stations surrounding these particular suburbs need to be viewed as dangerous after dark. Whilst an overwhelming majority of visits to these areas will be trouble free, muggings, assaults, thefts, vandalism and rape (this is VERY rare) can and do occur. Gangs also formulate in these areas. With the introduction of armed Protective Service Officers in inner-city stations, crime rates have fallen dramatically, however these officers will not be in all stations until at least late 2013. Travel with others, stay in lit areas and don't look for trouble. Be highly suspicious of people asking to make phone calls using your phone, or asking for the time. Politely state you have no watch or phone on you. The same rule applies for people asking for change. People displaying signs of confidence and familiarity with the area will likely be left alone immediately.
Melbourne has a strong police presence, as does the remainder of Victoria. The overwhelming majority of Police in Melbourne and indeed Australia are extremely helpful, honest, respectful and reliable Police. Sadly, this is generally not reflected in the opinions of many Australians. Make sure you ask the opinion of someone who has never been in trouble with the Police before making judgement. Police will nearly always treat you how you treat them. It is possible to talk your way out of minor fines by displaying contrite for the offence and respect for the Officer. You will however, almost certainly be subject to a lengthy lecture.
Driving under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs is a very serious offence in Victoria, and it is common for police to set up checkpoints (referred to colloquially as a 'booze-bus') and breath test any driver who passes through them. Like the rest of Australia, Melbourne enforces a 0.05% blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit. Such checkpoints often increase (as does a general police presence) during public holidays such as Australia Day, the Easter weekend and the weeks leading up to Christmas and New Years.
If you are driving your own car or rented automobile, beware of car theft or break-in. Avoid temptation by hiding valuables out of sight, and always lock the car and leave the windows up before you leave. If you are waiting in your car, lock the car as well. A police officer will always show ID before asking you to open your door or window.
Pickpocketing is rare in Melbourne, but be aware of your belongings out the front of Flinders Street Station and the first block of Swanston Street (between Flinders and Collins Streets).
Beggars frequent the southern ends of Elizabeth and Swanston Streets, Bourke Street Mall, and the intersection of Bourke with Exhibition and Russell Streets. You can also expect to be persistently targeted if seated outdoors at a pub or cafe in the city. Verbal abuse and intimidation by beggars is uncommon but by no means unknown.
Although scams are rare in Melbourne, be wary of real estate agents (especially if you have newly arrived and plan to stay only for the short term). There have been many cases of real estate agents preying upon overseas students in particular. Common scams include charging tenants for costs that don't exist (such as charges for 'advertising' when tenants move out) and deducting costs for non-existent reparations and cleaning from the bond. Be sure to consult the Tenants Union of Victoria  and know your rights when you are charged for anything and move in and out.
Take extreme care when crossing tram tracks in and around Melbourne. Trams tend run very fast in Melbourne to avoid disruption with the traffic. There have been recent cases of pedestrians being hit by trams, which can cause life-threatening injuries or even instant death. Even if a tram has passed, look on the other side in case there is another tram approaching. You may not hear the more modern trams as they run very quietly.
Intensive solicitation of pedestrians by corporations and activist groups ('chuggers') has become common in the city. Many resort to intrusive tactics such as blocking your path or occupying all four corners of a street intersection. They are not after a one-off donation, but to sign you up to a regular contribution plan from your credit card or bank account (from which they receive a substantial percentage).
The infamous Melbourne gangland war that claimed many lives is now over and despite anything you see on the media having to do with it, violent criminal occurrences are very rare and isolated. As long you are not involved with Melbourne's underworld, you do not have anything to worry about.
Melbourne is fairly centrally located on the coast of Victoria, and there are many natural and man-made attractions that make for a nice day trip. Another way to visit regional Victoria is utilising the VicLink public transport system. Regular train journeys leave from Southern Cross station. Regional attractions include:
These places are within an hour's drive of central Melbourne.