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The Ultimate Melbourne Travel Guide for Every Part of Your Trip

From sights and sounds to accommodation and attractions, here’s everything you need to know before visiting Melbourne.

It may be Australia’s second-largest city after Sydney, but Melbourne is the country’s undisputed culture capital. With buzzing laneway bars and eateries, fine arts for everyone’s palate, and countless neighbourhoods each with a distinct flair, Melbourne doesn’t fail to impress.

Situated on the southeastern coast of Australia, the Victorian capital is a quick 90-minute flight from either Sydney or Adelaide and its compact nature makes it an ideal long-weekend getaway (but with enough to do to keep you busy for weeks on end if you have more time). Melbourne is also an ideal stepping stone to Great Ocean Road, the Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula or the southern Snowy Mountains.

Planning your trip


Melbourne: What you need to know

Location: South-central coast of Victoria, Australia

Closest airport: Melbourne International Airport (Tullamarine) (MEL), 23km from CBD

Closest train station: Southern Cross, in CBD

Weather: Average of 14 degrees in winter (June to August) and 24 degrees in summer (December to February), with an annual average rainfall of 650mm.

Top 10 must see: Luna Park, Melbourne Museum, Flinders Station, Federation Square, Melbourne Zoo, Yarra River, Melbourne Aquarium, Docklands, Melbourne Cricket Ground, Hosier Lane

Stay safe: Are you covered? Insure yourself for your trip in case something goes wrong.

Getting there: What are the cheapest ways to get to Melbourne?

The easiest, and most often the cheapest, way to get to Melbourne is by plane. Budget airlines Tigerair and Jetstar fly to the city’s main airport in Tullamarine, with additional Jetstar flights servicing Avalon Airport, about 50km southwest of the CBD (which can be a great option for those hoping to explore the Great Ocean Road or Geelong).

If you’re flexible with your travel dates, tickets with the budget carriers often go on sale for as low as $39-49 each way, excluding checked baggage, from Sydney or Adelaide. In comparison, the 13+ hour bus trip from Sydney can be more than $100 each way and the train is an 11+ hour journey that can cost $130 each way.

If you’re travelling from elsewhere in Australia, tickets will be more, but given the long distances from other capital cities, flying would be the best option if you’d like to avoid multiple days in a car, bus or train.

Book cheap Melbourne flights with these offers:

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Search for the cheapest flights to Melbourne from across Australia.

Getting there: How to travel by plane, train and road

Travelling by plane

Melbourne’s serviced by two airports, with the closest being Melbourne International Airport (Tullamarine), approximately 23km north of the city centre. Most flights coming in and out of the city will be from here and all major Australian airlines offer flights to Tullamarine: Qantas, Virgin Australia, Jetstar, Tigerair and Rex. Major international airlines that fly to Tullamarine include Air New Zealand, Cathay Pacific, Emirates, Etihad, Qantas, Singapore Airlines and Thai Airways, as well as budget carriers AirAsia X and Scoot.

There’s also Avalon Airport, which currently only offers domestic flights by Jetstar and JETGO, with very limited destinations available.

Getting to and from the airport by taxi or Uber

Tullamarine:

Taxi ranks are located on the ground floor outside Terminal 1 and between Terminal 2 and 3, as well as on the ground floor of the transport hub at Terminal 4.

Average fares from the airport to the CBD are about $65. If taking a taxi from the tank, an additional $2.70 fee applies. If you’re booking a taxi in advance, you’ll also need to pay the airport fee of $3 plus a booking fee of $2. Additional charges may apply on some public holidays, when paying by credit card, or when using toll roads.

If you’d prefer to take an UberBlack, which can be booked online here, the fare from Melbourne Airport to the city is approximately $90-$117, not including any additional surcharges applied during peak times. It’s best to check with your UberBlack driver about where to meet, as they can’t pull into the taxi rank.

Avalon

The taxi rank at Avalon Airport is situated next to the bus stop near the entrance, and the fare to Melbourne CBD is approximately $130.

If you’d prefer to take an UberX, which can be booked online here, the fare from Avalon Airport to the city is approximately $75-$100, not including any additional surcharges applied during peak times.

Getting to and from the airport by hire car

Tullamarine:

Six car hire companies offer rentals from Melbourne Airport, each with offices in Terminals 1 and 2, and the Terminal 3 car park. While bookings can be made at the airport, you’ll generally secure a better rate by booking in advance.

  • Avis
  • Budget
  • Europcar
  • Hertz
  • Thrifty
  • Redspot

The airport’s located on Tullamarine Freeway, and it will take approximately 25 minutes to drive into the city from the airport. It is a tolled road, and you’ll need a CityLink Pass to use it. Alternatively, you can travel toll-free via the Western Ring Road.

Avalon:

There are three car hire companies offering rentals from Avalon Airport, Budget, Avis and Europcar. Each outlet is located in the main terminal building. The airport is located in Lara, Victoria, which is accessible via the Beach Road turn-off along the Princes Freeway toward/from Geelong.

Car rental insurance. Compare car rental insurance costs to make sure you get the best deal.

Information about Melbourne Airport parking

Tullamarine

There are multiple options for parking your car at Tullamarine. At-terminal parking will be more expensive, but more convenient, than long-term or off-site parking options.

Here are a few options:

TimeAirport Terminal RatesAirport Long-Term RatesAce Airport Parking (Long term self-parking)
1 day$49$13$20
2 days$59$18$29
3 days$59$28$39
4 days$89$29$47
5 days$119$39$47
6 days$129$44$47
7 days$134$48$51
8 days$139$51$56
9 days$144$56$61
10 days$149$61$66

Avalon:

There’s only one option for parking at Avalon Airport, and the rates are as follows:

TimeCar Park Rates
0-40 minutes$0
40-60 minutes$5
1-2 hours$10
2-4 hours$20
4-24 hours$39
2 days$49
3 days$69
4 days$75
5-7 days$79
8 days$94
9 days$99
10 days$110

Getting to and from the airport by public transport

Tullamarine

For the quickest, most direct service to Melbourne CBD by public transport, you’ll need to take the SkyBus. The service operates every 10 minutes throughout the day and night and is $18 each way. You can purchase tickets on arrival or online. The bus will take passengers to Southern Cross station in the CBD and will give you a complimentary transfer to your city hotel. Transfers are only available from 6am until 11pm Monday to Friday and from 7.30am until 5.30pm on Saturdays and Sundays. If you need to get to the airport outside of these hours, you’ll need to make your own way to Southern Cross.

There’s no train station at Melbourne Airport, but there are public bus stops at the airport. Passengers with a myki card (Melbourne’s tap on/tap off transport card) can use their cards here. If you don’t have a myki card, you’ll need to purchase a Visitor Pack from the SkyBus counter at Terminal 1 or 3 or purchase and top up a card when you board the bus.

Four public bus routes service Melbourne Airport. None of these go directly to the city, so if you're heading for the centre of town, you'll need to change to another bus or train The 901, which is by far the most frequent route, makes a stop at Broadmeadows Station.

  • SmartBus Route 901 - Melbourne Airport to Frankston
  • Route 478 - Melbourne Airport via Melrose Drive
  • Route 479 - Sunbury Station via Melbourne Airport
  • Route 482 - Melbourne Airport via South Centre Road

Avalon

The easiest way to get to your destination from Avalon Airport is to book a bus transfer. If you’re going to Geelong and the Surf Coast, an Avalon Airport Shuttle can be booked for approximately $18-$32 per adult, depending on the destination. If travelling to Melbourne CBD, Sita Coaches meet each flight and charge $22 per adult for a transfer to Southern Cross Station.

Getting around: Transport around Melbourne

Melbourne trams and public transport

At 250km long, Melbourne’s home to the world’s largest network of trams. Even better, they’re completely free to ride within most of the CBD, including sights like Queen Victoria Markets, the Docklands and Federation Square.

Expand for a map of the free tram zone

Melbourne.FreeTramZone

Image: Public Transport Victoria

If you’re travelling outside of the network, or on city busses and regional trains, such as into Fitzroy or down to St Kilda, you will need to pay a fare.

Melbourne’s public transport system uses a tap-on/tap-off card system called myki, which can be purchased and topped up at more than 800 stores in the city including 7-Eleven outlets, at myki machines and at some station ticket windows. Depending on the distance and zone you’re travelling in, fares range from at $2.70-$3.90 for an adult fare, which is good for travel within two hours. You can also get a daily fare which ranges from $5.40-$7.80.

Considering using public transport as your main method of getting around while touring the city? Consider picking up a sightseeing bus pass.

Learn more about hop-on/hop-off sightseeing busses in Melbourne.

Melbourne taxis and Uber trips

Taxis

Melbourne taxis charge the following rates for journeys within Metropolitan Melbourne, Frankston, Dandenong and Mornington Peninsula:

RateFlagfallDistance Time (applies when travelling slower than 21km per hour)
Day Rate (9am – 5pm)$4.20$1.622 per kilometre$0.568 per minute
Overnight Rate (5pm – 9am)$5.20$1.804 per kilometre$0.631 per minute
Peak Rate (10pm – 4am Friday and Saturday)$6.20$1.986 per kilometre$0.695 per minute

Additional fees apply for booking a taxi in advance ($2), booking a taxi from the airport ($3), hailing a taxi from the airport ($2.70), travelling with more than four passengers ($14) and electronic payments (5%). You’ll also need to pay peak rates on select public holidays and any road tolls.

Uber

If you’re taking an UberX in Melbourne, you’ll need to pay a base fare of $2.35, plus $0.40 per minute and $1.15 per kilometre. There’s a minimum fare of $6 and a cancellation fee of $10.

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Where should I stay? Melbourne accommodation

From backpacker hostels to luxury high rises, there are endless options for accommodation in Melbourne and something for just about every budget.

While the majority of hotels and hostels are in the city centre, if you’d like to stay in St Kilda or Docklands areas you’ll still be spoiled with choice.

Here’s what you can expect to pay for different levels of accommodation in Melbourne:

Where to book hotels online in Australia

 Price rangeWhat to expectTop picks

BackpackersHostelworld.TheNunnery

$32-$36pp/pnA shared dorm room with 4-12 beds, but with upgrades to private rooms available.

HotelsWotif.OvoloLaneways

$135-$250 p/nPrivate 3- or 4-star accommodation

ApartmentsWotif.DocklandsPrivateCollection

$150-$200 p/nSelf-contained studio or multi-bedroom apartments with simple kitchens

LuxuryBooking.com.CrownTowers

$250-$350 p/n5-star luxury with prime locations and views

Search for more Melbourne accommodation


Top 5 things do: Melbourne’s best attractions

MelbourneZooImage: Melbourne Zoo

1. Melbourne Zoo

Situated in Parkville, just north of the city centre, Melbourne Zoo is home to all kinds of Australian wildlife, as well as critters from all around the world. If you’re hoping to spot local creatures, you’ll be able to see Australian fur seals, little penguins and platypus. You’ll also find lions, gorillas, tigers, zebra and Asian elephants here.

Address: Elliott Avenue, Parkville, Victoria, 3052

Getting there: If arriving by public transport, take tram 55 from William Street in the CBD. It stops at the Zoo’s Royal Park Station. Alternatively, take bus 505 from Moonee Ponds to Melbourne University, which stops just outside the zoo.

If arriving by car, it’s just $2 for five hours of parking.

Image: Luna Park Melbourne

2. Luna Park Melbourne

No visit to Melbourne is complete without a visit to St Kilda’s iconic Luna Park. The beachfront theme park has been open since 1912, and over the years has treated visitors to rides on the ferris wheel, dodgems, the carousel, and the world’s oldest continually operating roller coaster, The Great Scenic Railway.

Address: 18 Lower Esplanade, St Kilda, Victoria, 3182

Getting there: If arriving by public transport, trams 16, 3a and 96 stop outside Luna Park at Stop .138. You can also take the bus, with routes 246, 600, 922, 923, 606 and 623 all passing by. If arriving by car, there’s council rates parking at Luna Park, Palais Theatre and the St Kilda Sea Baths.

MelbourneAquarium

Image: Melbourne SEA LIFE Aquarium

3. Melbourne Aquarium

See up to 10,000 different aquatic creatures right in the centre of Victoria’s capital at Melbourne SEA LIFE Aquarium. There are 12 different habitat zones to explore at the aquarium, ranging from mangroves and coral caves to the penguin playground and shipwreck explorer. There’s also interactive experiences available like shark dives.

Address: King Street, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000

Getting there: If arriving by public transport, the aquarium is a five-minute walk from Flinders Station, where many of the city’s trams, buses and trains meet, and trams 70, 75 and the City Circle stop right out front. It’s within the free tram zone, so if you’re coming from within the city centre you won’t have to pay a fare. If arriving by car, you can park at 474 Flinders Street and get a rebate for an $11 weekday or $7 weekend flat rate.

MelbourneMuseum

Image: Melbourne Museum

4. Melbourne Museum

Get a bit of background on the culture, history and lifestyle of Victoria at the Melbourne Museum. There are eight exhibition galleries (include one for children), and highlights include a full blue whale skeleton, an aboriginal culture centre and a living rainforest. If you’d like to catch a film or documentary, IMAX Melbourne is also located at the museum.

Address: 11 Nicholson Street, Carlton, Victoria, 3053

Getting there: If arriving by public transport, trams 86 and 96 stop nearby at the corner of Nicholson and Gertrude Street, or you can walk from the free City Circle tram stop at Victoria Parade. Bus routes 250, 251 and 402 are also in easy reach. For those arriving by car, there’s a museum car park that costs a maximum of $42 per day, starting at $12 per hour.

FederationSquare

Image: Federation Square

5. Federation Square

A modern urban square in Central Melbourne, Federation Square has become a hub for cultural activities. It’s home to restaurants, galleries and museums and sits in an ideal spot across the street from Flinders Station and next to the Yarra River.

Address: Corner of Swanston and Flinders Streets, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000

Getting there: If arriving by public transport, Federation Square sits within the free tram zone. Any tram running along Swanston and Flinders Street will stop here, as well as the City Circle tram. You’ll also be able to take any train that stops at Flinders Street Station, which is directly opposite Federation Square. If arriving by car, you’ll pay $16 for the first hour, and a maximum of $64 per day, for parking. If dining at select restaurants at Fed Square, you’ll get free parking Monday to Thursday if you spend more than $50.

Looking for things to do in Melbourne? Click here to book must-do activities in the city.


Must-see Melbourne sports events

AFL

Image: AFL

Melbourne-areas AFL teams

Victorians live and breathe Australian rules football, or AFL, so much so that of the 18 current teams in the league, the city is home to nine teams with a tenth in Geelong.

Where do they play? Melbourne Cricket Ground, Docklands Stadium, Melbourne; Kardinia Park, Geelong

When do they play? March through September

MelbourneStorm

Image: Melbourne Storm

Melbourne Storm

The Storm is Melbourne’s rugby league (NRL) team, founded in 2007 and the first to be based in Victoria. They’ve won two premierships (1999 and 2012), and were runners-up twice (2006, 2008).

Where do they play? AAMI Park, Olympic Boulevard, Melbourne

When do they play? March through September

MelbourneVictory

Image: Melbourne Victory

Melbourne Victory

Melbourne Victory is the city’s soccer club, playing as part of the A-League, and has been in competition since the league began in 2004. The team was an A-League premier in 2007, 2008 and 2014.

Where do they play? AAMI Park, Olympic Boulevard, Melbourne and Etihad Stadium, Harbour Esplanade, Melbourne Docklands

When do they play? April through October

Flemington.MelbourneCup

Image: Victoria Racing Club

Melbourne Cup

The race that stops a nation, Melbourne Cup is the most prestigious horse race in Australia. The race sees a fleet of the country’s fastest thoroughbreds compete for 3,200 metres and a few million dollars.

Where do they race? Flemington Racecourse, Melbourne

When do they race? 3pm on the first Tuesday in November

AustralianOpen

Image: Australian Open

Australian Open

The first of four Grand Slam tennis events each year, the Australian Open is one of the world’s largest tennis events. Founded in 1905, the open has seen tennis greats like Serena Williams, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal vie for championship.

Where to they play? Melbourne Park

When do they play? Mid-late January

Find tickets to sport events in Melbourne

Get tickets to A-League, AFL, Rugby Union and more in Melbourne from Viagogo.


Where to eat

  • Movida bar de Tapas: Tucked into a corner storefront at Flinders Street and the street art gallery of Hosier Lane, Movida serves up fresh tapas favourites like jamon, patatas bravas and churros. 1 Hosier Lane, Melbourne, VIC, 3000
  • Dinner by Heston Blumenthal: Serving up a modern twist on traditional British cuisine, Dinner is the brainchild of renowned chef Heston Blumenthal. The restaurant’s menu is inspired by cuisine from Medieval 1300 to Victorian 1800. Crown Entertainment Complex, 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank, VIC 3006
  • The Hardware Societe: The ultimate brunch spot right in the heart of Melbourne’s CBD, this cafe dishes up European breakfasts, tapas and sweets in Hardware Lane. 120 Hardware Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000
  • The Press Club: This two-hat Greek restaurant in Melbourne is owned by celebrity chef and MasterChef co-host George Calombaris. Diners can choose from a five- or eight-course degustation. 72 Flinders Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
  • Naked for Satan: With roots as a vodka distiller during the Great Depression, this Fitzroy spot is split into two venues, one serving pintxos and the other a rooftop dining venue. 285 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy VIC 3065

Find dining offers in Melbourne

Book a dining experience at restaurants in Melbourne.


Where to go next? Melbourne day trips

Situated between the southern Great Dividing range and the Bass Straight, Melbourne’s smack in the middle of Victoria, making it an excellent base for exploring what the state has to offer. The stunning coast along Great Ocean Road, rolling hills and vineyards in the Yarra Valley and the wildlife on Phillip Island are just a few of the day trip options from the city.

Phillip Island Penguin Parade Tour from finder.com.au

Alfy Tours

Highlights:
  • Visit the MARU Koala and Animal Park, Rhyll Trout and Bush Tucker Farm, Churchill Island Heritage Farm, Woolamai Beach
  • See Australian fur seals at Nobbies and Point Grant, and witness the famous penguin parade
  • Price is per person and includes afternoon tea, transport from Melbourne and entry fees
From AUD

$139.00

View details

Great Ocean Road Day Tour from finder.com.au

Melbourne Coastal Touring

Highlights:
  • See the highlights of Great Ocean Road including the Memorial Archway, Otway National Park Temperate Rainforest, Gibson Steps, 12 Apostles and Loch Ard Gorge
  • Small-group tour with a maximum of 11 people
  • Price is per person and includes lunch, transport from Melbourne and all national park entry fees
From AUD

$129.00

View details

Yarra Valley Wine Tour from finder.com.au

Winebus

Highlights:
  • Learn about the cool-climate wines and artisan ciders of the Yarra Valley
  • Sample Yarra Valley wines and ciders at the likes of Oakridge Winery, Domaine Chandone, Yering Farm Wines and Hanrahan Vineyard
  • Price is per person and includes lunch
From AUD

$130.00

View details

Melbourne travel deals

Find the cheapest flights to Melbourne

Search for the cheapest flights to Melbourne from across Australia.

Alex Keshen

Alex takes care of the travel section here at finder.com.au. If there's a new sale on tours or cruises, discounted flights or hotels, or anything else that can be on offer, she'll fill you in.

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