Melbourne's treasured trams give the streets historic charm as they glide through the centre of the main roads. Purchase an all-access Metcard and hop on and off at the designated stops, it's an easy way to see all of the city's suburbs. The trams run from 07:00 to 23:00 on weekends and the day fare for covering both city zones is just under $12.
A daily Metcard will give you access to the city trains. The lines stretch across the greater city areas and will take you to sights like Melbourne Zoo in just ten minutes. It's a reliable and affordable way to get around the city, but perhaps lacks the charm and instant convenience of the city trams.
Melbourne deserves to be discovered by foot. There is so much to see off the main paths. Tiny lanes with street art, hidden boutiques and beautiful old, forgotten buildings. The city is flat and easy to navigate but getting lost here is a real treat. You'll stumble across some amazing finds and a walk along the Yarra is a must-do.
Taxis are plentiful in a city where driving is the preferred transport option for residents. Hail one on the side of the road, or head to designated taxi ranks. The taxis are price regulated, but you'll notice a bunch of surcharges added to your fare. Road tolls, after-hours and a base entry fee of $3.10.
Melbourne offers fantastic free transport options for tourists, like the City Circle Trams that run through the CBD. Complete with audio commentary on the historic surroundings, it's a convenient hop-on/off service and the best way to get your bearings on your first day. If you want to travel further, look out for red and white Melbourne City Tourist Shuttle buses.
If you can't resist finding yourself a bargain or indulging in retail therapy, Cairns has markets open every day. Best of all, they are open during both the day and night until 11pm, when the CBD really comes to life. Every Saturday between 8am and 5pm the Cairns Esplanade sells local and contemporary goods, as does the City Place Market on weekdays.
Whatever the season, pack some rain protection and a jacket. The weather is very variable! On a night out on town, it's the norm for women to choose skirts and dresses over trousers, and for men to dial it up a notch and opt for shoes over trainers. At night, Melbournians like to look on the smarter side of effortlessly stylish.
Melbourne hosts loads of exciting sporting events and cultural festivals throughout the year that draw crowds from all over the world. They're fabulous, but they can also make accommodation tricky to secure. Find out what major festivals are happening in advance and book early to avoid being disappointed by your hotel or area choice.
Domestic airlines like Jetstar and Virgin fly throughout the day and the journey takes a mere hour and a half.
Jetstar flies direct to Melbourne every morning. The journey time is four and a half hours.
Direct flights on board Qantas leave daily from Brisbane and take two and a half hours.
The flights from Perth take just over three and a half hours. Jetstar flies direct into Tullamarine.
Fly direct with Qantas in just over four hours. Flights leave daily.
The easiest and fastest way to get to Melbourne CBD is on the airport's dedicated express bus service. A one-way ticket is $17 and the service runs every ten minutes, operating 24/7. Passengers disembark at Southern Cross Station in the city and the journey takes twenty-five minutes. Enquire about the complimentary hotel drop service that Skybus offers at certain times.
Be aware that touting is illegal. Drivers are not permitted to approach you for your ride, so decline any offers and get in line. Taxi coordinators are nearby to ensure the queue is in order and help guide you to the next departing cab. The taxis have metres and you'll be charged a $2 surcharge upon leaving the airport.
Melbourne's roads are a pleasure to drive and the parking is affordable. It's not essential if you're staying in the city, but there are some magnificent scenic routes nearby, like the Great Ocean Road. Renting a car is easy from the airport and operator desks like Avis and Hertz are located on the airport's ground floor short-term car park.
Melbourne has a booming arts scene, with over one hundred galleries to explore. From traditional public institutions to more abstract spaces, there's something to suit everyone's taste. Discover Australia's homegrown best at the Ian Potter centre in Federation Square. It's the world's first public gallery dedicated to Australian art. For some cutting edge moving image pieces, cross over to the nearby ACMI. Federation Square, Russell Court, Melbourne CBD
This iconic heritage building is home to the southern hemisphere's largest open-air market, running day and night. The market is so vast that it has its own precincts, dedicated to different produce. So whatever you're in the mood to buy – you'll find it here. Spend a day or an evening wandering the aisles from fresh seafood to vintage fashion and one-of-a-kind souvenirs. 513 Elizabeth St, Melbourne, Victoria 3000
Just ten minutes from the CBD lies this enormous wildlife paradise, housing over 350 species. The layout makes it easy to roam and the enclosures are visitor-friendly, with beautiful gardens dotted throughout. It's easy to spend a whole day here, but for something extra special, be there at dusk. The zoo puts on twilight music performances and the atmosphere is enchanting. Elliott Ave, Parkville, Victoria 3052
For sports fans, this is a must. Melbourne has a rich sporting history, and it's captured under one roof at this fascinating museum in the MCG Stadium. Relive emotional moments in time, from Formula One to the Melbourne Cup and experience the thrill of competing with interactive displays. The admission fee is just $15 making it an affordable and fun family day out.
Exotic music and a dark, sultry interior make this upscale Middle Eastern restaurant in the CBD perfect for a special and intimate evening. The Sultan's tasting menu is the best way to discover all of the amazing flavours on offer. Inspired combinations like pork belly with popcorn are menu highlights and the enormous wine list is fabulous. 21 Bond St, Melbourne, VIC 3000
Bursting with deliciously authentic flavours and a noisy vibe this tasty little tapas bar is the place to go if you're searching for a fun, affordable feed. Their signature char-grilled corn is sensational, it's worth queuing up just for this! If you're expecting sour cream and cheddar – go elsewhere. This food is the real deal, served up Mexico City style. Level 1, 11 Collins St, Melbourne, VIC 3000
This traditional restaurant in the heart of Little Italy serves up fresh and delicious Italian fare in a whirl and with a twist. Broccoli thin crust bases, sausage and porcini toppings and goat's cheese tiramisu – this isn't your average Friday night pizza joint! Always busy, it's a locals favourite and with very good reason. 295 Drummond St, Carlton, Melbourne, VIC 305
A little garden sanctuary with a sparkling Koi ponds and glowing tree lanterns tucked away behind the crowded streets of St Kilda. A beautifully gentle setting, perfect for deliciously delicate menu of freshly prepared sashimi and tuna salads. Or if you feel like something a little richer, the Grilled Black Code is exquisite. 17 Wellington St, St Kilda, VIC 3182
A tiny, hip, bootleg-style bar nestled just off the main road in Carlton. Contemporary light installations stand high on gritty walls adorned with huge street-art sketches. Next door lies its sister restaurant, serving up a delicious Mediterranean menu. The interior screams underground cool, but the crowd is local, fun and friendly. 350 Drummond Street, Carlton
Exposed brickwork, big leather sofas and golden wallpaper bask in soft lighting to create a rustic, but sophisticated atmosphere. This stunning warehouse conversion in Melbourne's inner city serves cocktails and tapas to a chic crowd, mingling around its enormous central chandelier and toe-tapping on polished concrete floors to popular beats. Basement, 71 Hardware Lane
This former cargo shed is surrounded by water and spectacular, inside and out. Outside, marvel at the 360-degree panoramic views. Inside, be blown away by the vast canopy of sparkling chandeliers hanging above the bar. Huge Buddah statues, watching your every groove, surround the glass dance floor in the centre. A fabulously stylish venue for a memorable night out!
Shed 9, Central Pier, 161 Harbour Esplanade
One of Melbourne's most exclusive venues. The decor is lavish, but tasteful and the drinks menu utterly decadent. The absinthe fountain is particularly wild, and definitely not for the faint-hearted. If you're feeling less daring, choose a bottle of their finest champagne to fit in with the city's top party people, who lovingly call it The Mansion.
9-13 Drewery Lane, Melbourne
Fuel the day's adventures with an all-day breakfast at award-winning Mario's in Fitzroy before heading off to explore the city. Wander through Carlton Gardens to Parliament Station and jump on board Tram route 35, a free service taking you around the city with an audio tour. Jump on and off as you please, taking the time to explore some of the street art adorning the city's charming laneways. Make your way back to Flinders St and Federation Square, the hub of the CBD and a popular evening destination.
Fill your morning wandering Queen Victoria Market. Savour the smell of fresh produce, steaming coffee and pick a unique memento from a quirky arts and crafts stall. Head across to Carlton and grab an authentic Italian meal on Lygon St. After lunch, head north to Parkville and visit Melbourne Zoo. Spend the rest of the afternoon walking amongst fabulous enclosures and stay until dusk to catch a music by twilight performance.
: Make your way to the Ian Potter centre to admire work from Australia's best known artists, with exhibitions from edgy modern to traditional Aboriginal. Afterwards, head across Federation Square to the ACMI, a cutting edge museum dedicated to film and animation. Head down to the water and hop on a Yarra River Garden cruise, through the beautiful Royal Botanic Gardens. Back at the dock, make your way down to St Kilda to spend the rest of your evening enjoying dinner and drinks at one of the area's trendy bars.
Take the train from Flinders St Station to Brighton Beach. Stroll across golden sands, dip your toes in crystal waters and snap the iconic rainbow-coloured beach huts. Make your way back into town and get off at Prahran Station. Head to Chapel St Bazaar for some retail therapy, stopping off at Prahran Market for lunch. Next, a final taste of quintessential Melbourne, the Museum of Sport. On your final night, head to Maha Bar & Grill, and celebrate in style over an exquisite Arabic sharing menu.
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