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There’s so much to see and do in Melbourne, it’s best to plan in advance so you won’t miss a beat. Read the tips we’ve compiled here to find out what to wear, and where to get the best penguin seats and coffee treats.

Free Transport

It’s easy to get to Melbourne’s main attractions without a car. Every 12 minutes throughout the day, the burgundy City Circle trams embark on a 45-minute loop of central Melbourne—at no cost. You can get off at any stop to explore further on foot, or stay onboard for the entire loop. Also free, the Melbourne Visitor Shuttle runs every 30 minutes between 9:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. to 13 main areas of Melbourne, starting at the Arts Precinct. The 90-minute trip includes informative onboard commentary and the option to hop on/off at any stop.

See Melbourne Card

The See Melbourne & Beyond Attraction Pass is an all-inclusive entry ticket to 35 attractions in the city and surrounding state of Victoria. In addition to entry and discounts for attractions and restaurants, you’ll also receive a guidebook that highlights area activities. The pass comes in the following increments:

  • 2-day – $145 AUD (approx. $152 U.S.)
  • 3-day – $175 AUD (approx. $184 U.S.)
  • 7-day – $235 AUD (approx. $246 U.S.)

Each of the above passes includes access to the following attractions:

  • Ashcombe Maze & Lavender Gardens
  • Eureka Skydeck 88
  • Melbourne Cricket Ground
  • Melbourne Zoo
  • Old Melbourne Gaol
  • Puffing Billy Railway
  • Rippon Lea House & Gardens
  • River Cruses

Animal Lovers’ Passes

Melbourne offers outstanding ways to see its wildlife. Below, we’ve listed a few ways to visit Australia’s native critters—and save money.

  • The See Melbourne & Beyond Attraction Pass (see above for prices) provides access to:
    • Healesville Sanctuary
    • Melbourne Aquarium
    • Melbourne Zoo
    • Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park
    • Phillip Island Nature Park
    • Werribee Open Range Zoo
  • The 3 Parks Pass for $37.25 AUD (approx. $39 U.S.) includes entry to Phillip Island’s main events:
    • Churchill Island Heritage Farm
    • Koala Conservation Centre
    • Phillip Island Penguin Parade
  • To help fight extinction in Australia, you can become a zoo member. For $91 AUD (approx. $95 U.S.) or $82.50 AUD for seniors (approx. $86 U.S.), you’ll receive discounts, special VIP previews, entry to interstate zoos and unlimited entry to:
    • Healesville Sanctuary
    • Melbourne Zoo
    • Werribee Open Range Zoo

Melbourne Walks

The City of Melbourne has created numerous self-guided walks to help you explore. Download informative maps and information on great city strolls that include parks, waterfront paths, secret gardens, arcades and lanes, Victorian elegance and more. Visit the website to check out the distances, walking times and points of interest on each route.

Have Helmet, Will Travel

Melbourne has a Bike Share program that allows residents and visitors to borrow bicycles at central city docking stations and pay via daily or weekly subscriptions. For short-term visitors, The Humble Vintage Bike Hire Co. makes it even easier. Pay cash, choose from a unique selection of vintage bicycles and start exploring routes of hidden heritage, architecture and suburbs. Rentals include a helmet, lock and a copy of Melbourne for Visitors and Casual Cyclists. Pick up a bike in Melbourne’s Central Business District (CBD), St Kilda or Fitzroy—and start riding.

4 Seasons in 1 Day

Melbourne enjoys a temperate climate that includes mild springs and autumns, warm to hot summers and cool winters. Unpredictable best describes spring (September to November) and fall (March to May), when the forecast can change quickly, from foggy to sunny to cool to rainy in a matter of hours. Pack an umbrella or light raincoat for sudden showers (October is wettest), a sweater or jacket for chilly days and nights, and scarves for spontaneous warmth. Although Australians are casual as a whole, Melbourne is sophisticated and cosmopolitan, so fashionable clothing is always appropriate. Check out our great selection [link to:] of travel apparel.

Fairy Penguin Seats

Phillip Island’s nightly parade of the world’s smallest penguins returning to their burrows after a day at sea is a top draw in Melbourne. Rather than jostling in general admission, pay a bit more for the Penguin Plus experience so you can sit on an exclusive viewing platform with seats directly on the path of the incoming penguins. Limited to only 170 guests, the platform lets you see much more, and the added cost means you are contributing more to the nonprofit group for penguin preservation. Book in advance, and bring warm clothes.

The Coffee

The café culture in Melbourne is huge. You’ll find superb coffee shops throughout the city, along with reams of articles, books and websites that review the beans, the atmosphere, the service and more. Visit Espresso Melbourne and The Melbourne Coffee Review (MCR) for recommendations. The latter also publishes A Guide to Melbourne’s Top 100 Coffee Spots as voted by the public—from hidden holes in the wall to funky cafes in old coin launderettes. Order the guide online or download it to your smartphone or iPad®.

Foodie Neighborhoods

Melbourne has cafés, restaurants and bars at practically every turn. Although you can find superb cuisine throughout the city, certain neighborhoods and streets are known for regional specialties:

  • Brunswick (Sydney Road) – Middle Eastern, Lebanese, Greek & Turkish
  • Carlton (Lygon Street) – Italian
  • CBD (Little Bourke Street) – Chinatown
  • CBD (Lonsdale Street) – Greek restaurants, bars, cafés & cake shops
  • Footscray (Nicholson Street) – African cafés
  • Richmond (Victoria Street) – low-cost Vietnamese & Southeast Asian
  • Richmond (Swan Street) – Greek
  • Richmond/Collingwood/Prahran – Argentinian, Spanish, Burmese & Polish
  • St Kilda East/Caulfield – Jewish, kosher bakeries & cafés

Shopping Districts & Markets

Melbourne’s 13 districts offer great shopping opportunities. Here’s a list to get you started:

  • CBD (Bourke Street Mall) – the city’s largest department stores
  • CBD (Block Arcade) – richly decorated Victorian shopping arcade
  • CBD (Collins Street) –designer fashion stores in heritage buildings
  • CBD (Flinders Lane) – Melbourne designers & small designer shops including furniture, books & crafts
  • Fitzroy (Brunswick Street) – bohemian, retro & eclectic shops
  • Prahran/Windsor (South Chapel Street) – eclectic boutiques & specialty collector stores
  • South Yarra (Chapel Street) – exclusive boutiques & chain stores
  • South Yarra (Greville Street) – local aspiring designers
  • Richmond (Bridge Road) – bargain hunting & fashion factory outlets


Melbourne is also a city of markets. Spend a day treasure-hunting at some of the best:

    Camberwell (Camberwell Sunday Market) – secondhand & vintage flea market run by the Rotary Club

    CBD (Queen Victoria Market) – 130-year-old open-air market; food & specialty goods

    Southgate (Arts Centre Sunday Market) – high-quality arts, crafts & souvenirs

    St Kilda (Twilight Market) – arts, crafts, vintage wear, jewelry, emerging designers & food

    St Kilda (Esplanade Art & Craft Market) – Sunday arts & crafts market

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