In 2-3 days
If staying in an inner city suburb, you’ll have some good local options, so find your bearings and grab a coffee from your local café or locate your nearest watering hole for a drink to help you settle in.
If you’re down south, check out St. Kilda, Port Melbourne or Chapel Street. If you’re further north, head to Carlton, Collingwood, Richmond or Brunswick Street. They’re low-key and accessible during the day, a bit more action-packed and crowded after dark.
It’s your first full day in Melbourne. Probably a good idea to head into town. So jump on a tram – they’ll all take you into the CBD provided you head the right general direction.
Melbourne’s CBD is designed on a grid system, so it’s impossible to get lost. The main roads are Swanston St, which runs roughly north-south while Bourke St and Collins St runs roughly east-west.
The further west you head, the more you’ll find yourself in the financial sector, so it’s probably could to cruise along Swanston Street first – The Lounge is a favourite among students, while Cookie across the road is a bit snazzier – before heading east up Bourke or Collins. Plenty of great shops, cafes and bars and regular trams to get you back to your lodgings when you’re done.
Make sure you get out to a couple of other inner city suburbs. These are where Melbourne’s charms are best discovered. If you’re staying within ten minutes of the city, you’ll have plenty on offer locally, but make sure you check out some of the neighbouring suburbs as well. They’re diverse and all have their own vibe.
So spread yourself around. Head to St. Kilda and grab a beer at The Esplanade Hotel. It’s a fabled live music venue, and overlooks St. Kilda Beach. Or go for a pub crawl down Brunswick Street. Start at the corner of Gertrude St and head north. Too many options to list – you’ll find something that you like. Bar Open and Bimbo Deluxe are local landmarks.
In one week
Try to get hold of a ticket to some sport. Both the MCG and the Docklands Stadium are close to town, and they’re definitely worth a look.
Melbourne is obsessed with AFL, or Australian Rules. Even if the game is a complete mystery to you, a packed MCG is a sight to behold. The season runs from April to October. Outside those months, you might have to settle for some cricket.
After you’ve been down to G, take a stroll through Richmond, which is walking distance or about two stops on the train. Church St is a good place to base yourself – some great Asian food, and the Great Britain Hotel is a cosy watering hole.
You’ve probably got enough time for a little road trip, so head south along the coast or north to the wine regions. It’s not far either way, but a drive along Victoria’s coastline is a great way to spend a day.
Be prepared though, Melbourne’s weather is notoriously fickle, so just because it starts off sunny, there’s no guarantee there won’t be a thunderstorm around lunch-time.
If you fancy a coastal jaunt, you can head south either side of the bay. You have a choice between Torquay and Lorne to the west – just past or Geelong. Or you can wander down along the Mornington Peninsula to Portsea. Both will be packed during the summer months, but still worth a look at the other times of the years.
Head to the Victoria Markets – it’s open every day except Monday and Wednesdays. In summer, there’s a night market on Wednesday evening, where bars, dining and live music add to the vibe. Even if you’re not buying, it’s worth a look. It’s the largest open air market in the Southern Hemisphere.
It’s on the western side of the city, located mostly on Queen St, just on the outskirts of the city. If you get to the corner of Franklin and Queen, you can’t miss it.
If you’ve done some food shopping, why not head down for a BBQ alongside the Yarra River. From Flinders St station, wind your way down the steps to the Yarra River. Stroll along the banks until you find the public BBQs. It’s a great spot, but it’s a good idea to bring your own cleaning products.