Live like a local and soak up the arts and culture vibe in quirky Melbourne

Melbourne has a world-class arts scene, coffee that’s excellent and practically everywhere, and a liveability rating that tops Sydney’s. Brands like H&M have set up shop in its huge neo-Gothic buildings and ornate arcades but don’t be fooled – Melbourne makes plenty of effort when it comes to shopping, eating and drinking locally.

Make a beeline for the laneways to see the Instagram-friendly street art, go thrifting for vintage wear or take your pick of the eateries for sushi swirls, lashings of pasta and a whole lot of Vegemiteflavoured things. Sport is huge – the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG or ‘The G’ to locals) is worth a visit for its history alone. The Southbank area is our favourite for riverside strolls; there’s a friendly buzz and a lot of options for food, cultural sightseeing and shopping. Melbourne’s public transport makes it easy to get around – the tram is free in the CBD – so you can leave picking up the car until the last day if you’re heading on the road.

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Melbourne Hotels

Our recommendations for the best places to stay in Melbourne

Art Series – The Olsen

Ultra-stylish hotel on Chapel Street adorned with artwork of renowned Australia artist John Olsen...

Crown Metropol Melbourne

A stylish city retreat made for sublime relaxation.

Crown Promenade Melbourne

Effortless comfort in the Crown Entertainment Complex.

Crown Towers Melbourne

This glamorous hotel is the pinnacle of luxury with some of the best dining experiences in Austra...

Ovolo Laneways

A quirky, modern hotel in central Melbourne.

The Langham, Melbourne

Riverside elegance and prime location

Hidden Secrets Lanes & Arcades Tour

Get under the skin of Melbourne’s vibrant personality on this walking tour through beautiful back streets. Discover artisan and specialty retailers, and see quirky cafes, independent designers, street art, architecture and learn of historic tales in these walkways. Soak in the city via all your senses and engage with passionate creatives.

• Duration: 3 hours
• Start time: 2pm
• Departs Monday to Saturday
• Operates year-round
• Group experience

Good to know
The meeting point for this tour outside the Time Out Café in Federation Square.

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Get to know Melbourne and those important practicalities when planning your perfect holiday.


GMT +9 hours


Australian Dollar


Melbourne: 21 hours (not including stopover time)


Majority Christian


Australia has no official language but the majority of people speak English as their first language. Approximately 250 indigenous Australia languages are spoken.

Where is Melbourne?
Melbourne is the capital of the state of Victoria and is located on Australia’s south-east coast with suburbs expanding around the Port Phillip Bay.

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City Centre
Melbourne city centre has plenty to offer the visitor with a bountiful supply of shops, galleries, theatres and restaurants. It’s a pretty city, where the modern skyscrapers of the Southbank’s entertainment area contrast with the Victorian architecture of Flinders Street Station and the Queen Victoria Market. Boats cruise on the River Yarra through the heart of the city and trams still trundle down the tree-lined avenues as they have done since 1885.

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The Yarra
The River Yarra is often described as the ‘upside down river’ due its brown silty colour. It flows through the centre of Melbourne to Port Phillip and was the reason why the city was established here. You can cruise on the river or walk or cycle the paths lining its banks. Along the Yarra you will find many riverside bars, cafés and restaurants as well as the city’s arts and lively entertainment centre.

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Just thirty-minutes from the city centre and you are in the trendy beachside neighbourhood of St Kilda. It’s a wonderful place to walk along the sands or to sit and watch the world go by from one of the waterfront bars or restaurants. Explore the colourful bathing huts that line Brighton Beach or take the 20-minute tram ride to Port Melbourne where you can watch the ferries departing for Tasmania from a beachside café.

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Away from the city centre, it’s worth visiting some of Melbourne’s neighbourhoods, each with their own character. A 10-minute drive from central Melbourne, South Yarra is one of the oldest and most upmarket inner-city suburbs, where you’ll find trendy Chapel Street with its boutique shops and host of independent bars and restaurants. Grab a coffee and cake from one of the Middle Eastern bakeries in Brunswick, sample the fresh produce at the Footscray market, immerse yourself in Aussie Rules Football in Richmond or enjoy a wood-fired pizza in the ‘little Italy’ suburb of Carlton.

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Arts & culture
Head south of the River Yarra to explore Melbourne’s entertainment area where you can visit the National Gallery of Victoria and catch a performance of opera, dance or theatre held at the Arts Centre. The Melbourne Museum is in Carlton and includes the Bunjilak Aboriginal Cultural Centre as well as displays of fossils and dinosaurs. The East End Theatre District attracts internationally acclaimed musicals and plays year-round and is also a good place for some pre-theatre dining.

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Eating & drinking
Some of the city’s best eateries are in Melbourne’s cool labyrinthine laneways, where unassuming spaces have been transformed into high-end dining, street food stalls and hidden cocktail bars. There are plenty of places to tempt your taste buds whether you want to stay in the city centre or explore the nearby suburbs. Head to Bourke Street for Chinese, the suburb of Oakleigh for Greek food, Brunswick for Middle Eastern cuisine and Carlton for Italian. Characterful pubs, sophisticated wine bars and innovative gin lounges complement the choice of restaurants on offer in Melbourne.

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Getting around
Melbourne has an excellent tram, train and bus network and, like any major city, taxis are widely available. Travel within the CBD on the tram is free, but if you wish to travel to the suburbs or further afield then you need to purchase a myki card from a station or designated shop that can be topped up as required. The main railway station is at Flinders Street, worthy of a visit in its own right to see its impressive architecture. If you wish to explore the city under your own steam, there are a series of marked paths and cycle routes throughout.

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Melbourne Weather

Sep - Apr