Melbourne is any traveller’s best choice for a good time and Melbourne is one of the best places to start your working holiday visa too. Otherwise known as Australia’s cultural centre and most liveable city, Melbourne welcomes travellers and backpackers from across the globe to partake in the celebration of culture.
With its abundance of cafes, galleries, boutiques, street art and performances, and public green spaces, it’s almost like Melbourne is tempting you to throw away your itinerary and simply explore.
A Traveller’s Guide to Melbourne
First things first, how do I get there?
If you’re coming from another country, you’re very likely to find a direct flight to Melbourne.
If you’re coming from Sydney, most would recommend opting for a flight as it’s the fastest route between the too. However you can jump on the Greyhound bus from Sydney to Melbourne or also include Melbourne as one of your stops on the Greyhound WHIMit Pass too.
When is the best time to visit Melbourne?
The southern parts of Australia have a temperate climate, so Melbourne weather remains fairly pleasant throughout the year. The hottest it can get is around 70°F (or 21°C) in January, while temperatures drop to 50°F (10°C) in the winter (July).
You might, however, want to avoid the peak seasons, such as Christmas break, as accommodation prices go up and availability goes down. Sporting fans also fill up hotels during the Australian Open Grand Slam every January and the famous Formula 1 Australia Grand Prix in March.
Where’s the best place to stay in Melbourne?
If you’re looking to stay in a hotel, a double room for 2 begins at 120 AUD per night and many offer free breakfast during your stay. In the centre of the city, you’ll find doubles starting at around 200 AUD per night.
With Airbnb, you could find a shared room in a home for around 30 AUD. Whole apartments may cost around 100 AUD, but you’ll get the comfort of space and privacy.
There are also plenty of hostels to choose from in Melbourne. Dorms housing 8-10 people may cost around 25 AUD, which is great if you’re on a budget trip. Here are some of the best hostels in Melbourne:
- Base St. Kilda in Melbourne
- United Backpackers
- Urban Central
- The Nunnery
If you can’t afford it, you can ask to work for your bed. Many hostels allow travellers to pay for their bed by spending a few hours a day cleaning. Keep this in mind should you find yourself in a tight spot.
You could also try Couchsurf, which connects you to more than 57,000 trusted hosts willing to house you for your stay. This would also be a great chance to interact with locals and have them show you around.
How do I get around Melbourne?
From the get-go, you’ll need around 36 AUD to get to and from the airport via Skybus.
If you plan on exploring around the inner-city area or the Central Business District, you can take the free city circle tram, which runs from 10AM to 4PM.
For trains, you’ll need to get a Myki card that costs 6 AUD to get around. A Myki trip costs around 2.70 to 4 AUD and gives you unlimited travel within a particular zone for 2 hours.
And of course, there’s Uber, which is much cheaper than taking a cab.
What’s there to do in Melbourne?
- Explore the hidden gems of Melbourne
Melbourne has a multitude of hidden alleyways with antique coffee shops, galleries, arcades and boutiques, all waiting to be explored.
Hosier Lane is a well-loved alleyway famous for its vibrant and colourful graffiti art. If you’re a fan of the 19th century, then head to Degraves Street where you’ll find elegant cafes and arcades.
Along the General Post Office by Elizabeth Street, you’ll also find plenty of talented musicians busking and performing for free.
- Grab a coffee
Melbourne is well-known for its obsession with coffee, so be sure to try as many cups of joe as you can while you’re there. They say Degraves Street is where you can find the best coffee in the city.
- Get a taste of Melbourne by joining a free walking tour
In just a few hours, you could get years’ worth of knowledge about the essential must-sees of Melbourne for free. How? Join I’m Free Walking Tours’ daily tours around the city.
Their walking tour will take you through Federation Square, State Library of Victoria, the Carlton Gardens, Chinatown and so much more. And should a certain place strike your fancy, you could always return to explore more afterwards.
- Indulge the artist in you
You could honestly spend a whole week in Melbourne just visiting their museums and galleries.
- Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) – For fans of film and the visual arts
- National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) – Australia’s most visited art museum
- Ian Potter Centre – Australian history and Aboriginal art
- Explore the public markets
Visit the Queen Victoria Market and have fun trying local and international delicacies. You could also visit Chelsea Market which offers everything from fresh produce to handmade products.
- Take a nature break at the Royal Botanical Gardens
Escape the urban jungle and find refuge at the Royal Botanical Gardens. This haven within the city is the perfect place to take a stroll and watch the world go by.
- Watch the sunset at the beach
Just 20 minutes from the city, St. Kilda is the perfect spot to watch the sunset. You can also take a refreshing dip in the water. And if you’re looking for Melbourne’s nightlife, St. Kilda is definitely where it’s at.
- Start your working holiday visa
With so much to see and do it’s now wonder why starting your working holiday visa in Melbourne is so popular! With a range of jobs, plenty of suburbs to live in and flight connection all over Australia and the world it’s a great base to kickstart your Aussie trip. And if you want to get off to the best possible start check out our Melbourne working holiday visa packages!
How much does food usually cost?
Eating out in Australia is actually quite expensive, but lucky for you, Melbourne is the best city to find good and cheap food in the country. You can find good take-out food for 8 AUD, while sit-down restaurants will cost you less than 14 AUD.
If you prefer eating at home, a week’s worth of groceries may range from 65 AUD to 100 AUD.
Any must-know information before visiting Australia?
- Currency: Australian Dollar (AUD)
- Exchange Rate: 1 AUD = 0.74 USD
- Electric socket: Type 1 (3 prongs, V-shaped)
- Know some Australian slang.
- Wear sunblock as Australia’s sun is particularly harsh.
- Be careful where you light your cigarette as smoking is banned in most indoor and public spaces.
- Internet isn’t available everywhere, so get your own hotspot.
- Cars drive on the left side of the road.
- Rentals are listed as $ per week not month.
- It isn’t customary to tip service workers.
Melbourne isn’t called the ‘world’s most liveable city’ for nothing. With a thriving art scene, wide variety of cuisines, vibrant nightlife, never-ending list of things to do, and of course, its welcoming residents, Melbourne is the kind of city you’ll never want to leave.
About The Author: Cal Bailey runs www.mountainleon.com – a travel blog he started after two years on backpacking around the world. If you want to learn more about life on the road or his blogging, make sure you read hist latest post on choosing a sleeping bag.