The birthplace of The Blonde Abroad, Australia will always have a special place in my heart. Exploring the Aussie capital, diving the Great Barrier Reef, and hiking the Outback, I was inspired to start the blog that would change my life. As you wander the art-covered streets and taste the foodie delights of Melbourne, you might just find yourself forgetting about that return ticket. Here's my ultimate Melbourne travel guide with the top things to see and do in Melbourne!
What to Expect in Melbourne
Language: English, mate! As your ears adjust to the sound down under, you’ll also hear a whopping 250+ other languages spoken in this cosmopolitan melting pot.
Currency: Australia uses Australian dollars. As you are pricing, be aware that those Aussie dollars tend to be worth between 0.75 to 0.85 US dollars.
Credit Cards and Banks: Visa and MasterCard are accepted virtually everywhere (with American Express being slightly less common but usable in most spots). Be sure to carry a bit of cash and coin all of the time though for smaller purchases.
Climate: First things first, remember the seasons are different down here. The hottest month is January when the mercury rises to the 80s daily. Meanwhile, in July, the temps drop down into the 40s.
Best Time to Visit: The weather is relatively nice all year round so it’s not essential to plan around the seasons. That said, I’d recommend March to May or September to November to avoid more extreme temps and crowds of tourists.
Safety: One of the best cities on the planet for solo travel, you can walk around here with no issue. As always, just be aware of your phone and bag to avoid pickpockets.
Getting Around in Melbourne
Walk: Thanks to the lovely weather, walking is a great way to explore the city. I’d recommend using public transport between neighborhoods and then exploring on foot.
Public transport: The City Circle Tram is a free tram that was made for tourists. It’ll take you between all of the top sites and is an ultra-easy way to get around. If you’ll be in town for a few days, get a myki ticket. The same ticket works on all of the buses, trains, and trams.
Uber: Want to just jump in the car and go? Uber is a reasonably priced and easy option here.
Where to Stay in Melbourne
Melbourne is home to some of the coolest neighborhoods! Here are some of the best places to stay in Melbourne.
Fitzroy: This hipster neighborhood is home to so many of my fave foodie spots. Brunswick Street has some of the best shopping, nightlife, and restaurants so look for accommodation in this area to be in the heart of it all.
Richmond: This vibey area with easy access to CBD and is famous for its cool bars with live music and cozy cafes.
Brunswick: Just 10 min from the CBD, this hipster is packed with vintage shops, wine bars, and other local treasures.
South Bank: In the heart of the city on the iconic shores, you’ll find upmarket restaurants and swanky bars
This boutique hotel in the CBD (Central Business District) has an enchanting blend of art deco style and theatrical flair. QT Melbourne is seriously impressive.
Named the very Best Boutique Hotel in Melbourne, this cool spot impresses at every turn. Located in the heart of the vibrant area of Flinders Lane, Adelphi is a fun and artsy place to hang your hat.
Where to Eat in Melbourne
From the coffee culture to the incredibly funky and cool bars to the brunch scene — Melbourne has some serious foodie delights. I’ve outlined some of the best places to eat in Melbourne below, and you can find more Melbourne restaurant recommendations in my best places to eat in Melbourne guide!
Rice Paper ScissorsSoutheast Asian
Inspired by the hawker centers of Southeast Asia, this is the place to go for fusion food and fabulous cocktails. There are a couple of locations in town, and I’d recommend checking out the Fitzroy spot.
Who needs coffee when you’ve got the famous hot chocolate of this North Melbourne local fave? They’ve also got delicious pastries and truffles!
Mr. MiyagiModern Japanese
Famous for their Salmon Nori Taco, this modern Japanese in South Yarra is a must for every hungry traveler.
Mamasita in the CBDMexican
Who says you can’t get good Mexican food down under? Come for dinner, and stay for the margaritas.
In Carlton North, you’ll find a celeb chef cooking up European delicacies. Definitely a luxe (aka pricey) option but well worth it.
Rice Queen in FitzroyAsian
When it comes to Asian food, you’ll be spoiled for choice in Melbourne but this one still manages to stand out.
Chin Chin in the CBDAsian
Another incredible modern Asian eatery that impresses with every bite!
For cheap Malaysian eats that’ll fill you up, this restaurant in Flemington will be an instant fave.
Naked for SatanCocktails
Famous for their craft beers and in-house vodka inclusions, this Fitzroy hotspot is the place to be. And be sure to try their espresso martinis, the “it drink” of the city.
In North Melbourne, this cozy spot dishes up the most authentic Italian food in the city. It’s a family-run eatery that’s been open since the 1950s.
Speaking of amazing Italian food, this gelato shop offers unique flavors at locations all over town.
What to Do in Melbourne
Known for being a truly hip city in Australia, Melbourne is famous for its laneways (alleys that have been converted into cool eateries, bars, and shops), as well as their coffee and brunch culture. Here are some of the top things to do in Melbourne!
The Queen Victoria Market is a major landmark in the city; it’s the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere. Check dates for seasonal happenings like their summer night market.
Melbourne is famous for its hip laneways and arcades. You could spend countless weekends exploring them all. Start with AC/DC Lane and Degraves to find some of the best hole-in-the-wall restaurants and watering holes.
Melbourne has fully embraced the bottomless brunch and you’ll see them advertised all over town. While the competition is stiff, I’d say Fargo and House of Lulu White are front runners.
If you are lucky enough to visit during the summer, definitely watch a movie in the Botanical Gardens!
Grab one of the many rental bikes and cycle along the South Bank for a perfect afternoon out.
The Great Ocean Road is an Australian National Heritage listed stretch of road along the south-eastern coast. To drive the stretch and back from Melbourne, you’ll want to dedicate an entire day. Seeing the “Twelve Apostles” is a highlight of this coastal stretch.
Stop by the Piedemontes Supermarket in Fitzroy for essentials then have a picnic.
Explore the lovely town of Sassafras then hike the forest. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, be sure to stop by Miss Marple’s Tea Room for tea and scones.
While coffee culture shines in Melbourne, there are some seriously cool places for cocktails. Here are a few faves:
- Fargo and Co: A former bank, this Richmond bar is much loved for its cocktails and bottomless brunch.
- The Espy: This too-cool-for-school spot on the St Kilda shore is swarming with Aussie’s biggest Instagram stars and local darlings.
- Garden State Hotel: In CBD, you can swing by for their unique Hightini, high tea/ brunch mashup, or just lounge in the beer garden for drinks.
- Pony fish island: Sip drinks at the Pedestrian Bridge on Yarra River in South Bank for a great view and good vibes.
- Arbory Afloat: Another riverside fave, this trendy bar was made for long summer nights out.
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