Planning a trip to Melbourne

Posted Date: 10 July 2019
Melbourne trip planning tips

With world-class dining, a stacked sports calendar, eclectic live music and arguably the best coffee in Australia, Melbourne has something for everyone. Unsurprisingly, Melbourne often ranks as one of the country’s most livable cities. Once you’ve experienced Melbourne’s exciting mix of dining, style, culture and sport, you may never want to leave.

 

Melbourne’s culture

Laneway in Melbourne

Melbourne is a hub for creatives. There’s something uniquely special about the quality of the street art and the engaging selection of live music. The National Gallery of Victoria hosts intriguing exhibitions and houses a regular collection of more than 70,000 works of art.

Outdoorsy types throng to Melbourne as well. From sand volleyball and paddle boarding at St. Kilda to bushwalking in the Dandenong Ranges, visitors never lack for exciting ways to play in the sun.

 

Must-visit neighbourhoods

Melbourne's hipster suburbs

Fitzroy

Fitzroy is one of Melbourne’s hippest suburbs, with its live music, vintage clothing shops and secondhand bookstores. Explore graffiti covered laneways and some of the city’s best restaurants, cafes and breweries on Brunswick Street. Don’t miss the Rose Street Artists’ Market held every weekend, or the weird and wonderful flavours of gelato on offer at Messina.

Collingwood

Trendy Collingwood is a music hub that hosts local and international bands at its many grungy bars and music venues. Warm yourself up in front of the fire in winter at the Stomping Ground Brewery beer hall or head to Smith Street to explore artisan boutiques.

St. Kilda

No trip to Melbourne is complete without a day at the beachside suburb of St. Kilda. Ride the ghost train at Luna Park, explore the stalls at the Esplanade Market, take a dip in the historic sea baths, then satisfy your appetite with lunch at one of St Kilda’s coolest cafes.

Brunswick

The lively multicultural hub of Brunswick is home to beautiful Victorian architecture, retro record stores, independent art galleries and several second hand clothing shops. Head to Sydney Street to get amongst it and grab yourself a bargain.

 

Festivals and events

Queen Victoria Markets in Melbourne

Make the most of your trip by visiting during one the city’s annual festivals or events.

Melbourne International Film Festival (August)

Every August since 1952, actors, directors and the general public have gathered to preview international films, take master classes and celebrate filmmaking. Book MIFF tickets early to attend events and premieres for independent feature films.

Winter Night Market (June-August)

Vanquish glum weather with a visit to Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Winter Market, which pulls together global eats, live entertainment and even a snow machine. Shop the stalls while you sip steaming hot cider, or feast on churro bowls filled with ice cream and hazelnut sauce.

Melbourne Cup (November)

Held on the first Tuesday of November each year, the Melbourne Cup attracts sports fans, VIP guests, and snappy-dressed ladies and gents. More than 650 million people watch the televised race around the globe, but you can place your bets and join the live merriment.

 

What to pack

Melbourne packing list

With four seasons in one day, it’s important to pack for all weather when visiting Melbourne. Here are some of the essentials you’ll need:

  • Sunscreen, sunglasses, a sunhat and lip protection for the warmer months
  • A raincoat and umbrella for the cooler months
  • Bug spray (especially if visiting during summer)
  • Layers of clothing to cope with the variety of temperatures and humidity
  • A comfy pair of walking shoes for exploring the city
  • A refillable water bottle – the summer sun can be very dehydrating
  • A bathing suit to enjoy all the swimming spots
  • A comfortable backpack or tote if you’re going to be exploring on foot
  • A camera to capture all your urban adventures

Click here to view our ultimate holiday packing guide.

 

Getting around

Tram in Melbourne

Hop from sight to sight with ease using Melbourne’s clean and efficient transportation options.

Free tram zone

Within Melbourne’s CBD and Docklands, you can catch trams without using a myki ticket. Check the map for details about the free tram zone. If a journey begins or ends outside the free tram zone, you’ll need to touch on with a valid myki.

Suburban trams

For your forays into the suburbs, purchase a myki and take the trams. You can buy a physical myki at a station, or you can download a mobile myki if you have an Android phone.

Trains

Within Victoria, your myki covers your fare for some train journeys, but for some routes, you’ll have to purchase a paper ticket. Use the Metro website to plan your journey.

Bicycle rentals

Feel the breeze on your face as you cruise around Melbourne on a hired bicycle for the day. Whether you hire a Melbourne Bike Share cycle or rent from a local shop, you can explore the city at your own pace and get some exercise to boot. Don’t miss the path along the tranquil Yarra River, around the sparkling Bay or through Fairfield Park.

Buses

Because Melbourne has so many must-see attractions, the Hop-On Hop-Off sightseeing bus can be a great option. With 27 stops on the loop, you can visit many sights whilst learning about the city’s history and popular attractions from the bus tour guide.

Use the City Planner to plan your trips on the city bus system. The Night Network operates on Friday and Saturday nights.

City Circle Tram

The completely free Melbourne City Circle Tram travels a rectangular route right around the city centre. Not only will you get a free lift, but you’ll also hear running commentary about some of Melbourne's famous landmarks, including the Old Treasury Building, Parliament House and the Princess Theatre.

Skybus Express

For transport to and from the airport, consider using the Skybus Express. Affordable and convenient, this service is available 24/7, perfect for late-night or early-morning flights.

 

Planning tips

Theatre in Melbourne

  • Make reservations for restaurants and shows a few months in advance of your trip
  • Download the myki app before your trip
  • Dining out in Melbourne isn’t always cheap, so if you’re travelling on a budget, consider renting accommodation with cooking facilities
  • Take a free walking tour to learn more about the city’s sights and history
  • Buy comprehensive travel insurance to protect yourself from unexpected events


The content of this article is general and provided for information purposes only. Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI) doesn’t guarantee or warrant the accuracy, completeness or currency of the articles.

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