I love Melbourne. It’s easily in my top 10 most favorite cities. Before our visit, I was not expecting too much but on our first day, I knew it would become a special place.
Melbourne’s culture is a big part of why I love it so much. They created a city that’s focused on its people. And rather than becoming a major financial capital, or a rich business city, they looked inwards. They thought of ways to make their place conveniently livable for their people. It’s like a perfect city for work and life balance. And, it’s multi-cultural! Walking around, it’s hard to know who’s a tourist and who’s a local. It has so many people with different backgrounds and they took the best parts of their own culture to share in Melbourne. Creating a very colorful and inclusive place.
Myki is Melbourne’s transportation card which costs AUD 6.00 for the card alone. You have to top up to use it on trains, trams, and buses. Also, it’s important that you touch your Myki to the reader when you get on and get off. I haven’t forgotten to touch off yet, but I’m guessing it’s not gonna be a free ride. So make sure to touch on and off!
The Melbourne CBD is so small that you can easily walk to one end from another in under 20 minutes. But the best thing is, streets within the CBD have tram and they’re free to ride on! Each tram continues its journey in every direction and you only have to pay once it goes past the Free Tram Zone. Farther destinations can easily be reached by rail or bus. The most convenient way for me to know the best ride is to check Google Maps. It has all the accurate information you need like schedule and bus/tram/train number or name.
I’d always recommend looking at Agoda or Booking for accommodation. They always have the best rate for me and they both got great loyalty programs.
We stayed at Elizabeth Hostel which is by the north end of the CBD, near Queen Victoria Market. It’s one of, if not, the cheapest accommodation within the CBD. You get what you pay for, which is a bed, a table, a cabinet, and a heater. The showers and toilets are shared and are on the same floor as our room. The best thing about this place is its location. It’s very accessible and we’re just a few steps away from great restaurants and attractions.
Places to Visit
Melbourne CBD is the place to be. You’ll be at the center of everything, food, hotels, transportation. You want an English breakfast then a Chinese snack right after? Just walk a couple of steps and you get it. Anywhere within the CBD is a great place to discover something new and unique.
Queen Victoria Market
Queen Victoria Market is an important landmark and a major tourist attraction in Melbourne. It a great place to shop for souvenirs, taste great coffee, eat fresh fruits, and more. Every Wednesday they host a night market where you can try different dishes from all over the world while enjoying live entertainment. Must-try: Lobster Rolls!
Department stores along a wide street with only pedestrians and trams, you could spend a whole day just window shopping. Not only that, but there are also buskers (aka street performers) along the street. And those buskers even went through an audition process just to get a permit to perform at Bourke Street.
Flinders Street Station
Flinders Street Station is probably the most photographed building in the city. It’s as much of an icon to Melbourne as the Opera House is to Sydney. It’s an architectural beauty, and it’s an active rail station.
Dubbed by a travel magazine as the ‘World’s Fifth-Ugliest Building’, you have to come to see it for yourself. It’s actually not as ugly people make it seem to be, it’s just weird. Irregular shapes appear to be the recurring theme of the whole place with a pale camouflage color palette on concrete texture. It’s an interesting sight, and locals seem to have grown to love it compared to when it was first introduced.
Melbourne is an artsy city and with hundreds of laneways with different discoveries in each, street art is something that’s expected. Hosier Lane is the most famous one. It’s like a dictionary of colors, filling up shapes and lines that make up a painting. It’s a gateway to Melbourne street art, and once you see what’s in there, you’d want to see more.
Great Ocean Road
Built by returned soldiers, the Great Ocean Road is the largest (or longest?) war memorial in the world. It starts at the surfing town of Torquay and goes 243 km along the coast of Victoria. Along the road is the most famous set of giant rocks in Australia, the Twelve Apostles. Technically there are just seven of them, and they’re getting fewer because that’s just how it is (climate change? probably…)
Another famous landmark along the Great Ocean Road is the Loch Ard Gorge. It was named after a shipwreck survivor who was washed ashore at this place. It’s a long story, a love story, and you’d read about it at the park. There was even an unofficial juicy story told by our tour guide that involves a heartbreaking 19th-century version of ghosting.
Our day trip to the Great Ocean Road was a mini-bus tour we got from Klook. I highly recommend it since it’s one of the best-valued tours out of Melbourne, and you’d really learn a lot from the driver/tour guide. Check it out here!
Another icon of Melbourne is the bathing boxes of Brighton Beach. What used to be just normal changing rooms now costs hundreds of thousands. It’s easy to see why. Even on a gloomy winter afternoon, tourists don’t stop showing up to see and take pictures with the boxes. Each box has its own unique design and there are so many of them that line up the beach.
St. Kilda Pier
Take a stroll around St. Kilda and time would pass before you know it. There are lots of shops and restaurants around the area. There’s Luna Park Melbourne just by the beach. And after sunset, there are penguins parading at the pier to go to their home by the rocks. They’re really cute and a great way to cap your visit to St. Kilda.
Puffing Billy Rail
The Puffing Billy experience is a unique way to explore the nature-side of Melbourne on a steam train. It’s like the Hogwarts express met Disneyland rail train. You go through forests, fields, and even backyards. It’s a fun and quick way to spend your afternoon and go back to the city just a few hours after. But please keep in mind that it’s very touristy. Like, hoards of foreign group tourists on a bus reserve more than half of the train. Still, it was an unforgettable ride and something we’re glad we did.
I can’t wait to go back to Melbourne and explore more of its laneways. And even though I avoid drinking coffee, I will try to find the best Flat White I could find!