Melbourne is a sprawling city with numerous suburbs that you could stay in, many with a unique character of their own. Don't assume that the best place to stay is in the center of the city. Beachside suburbs like St Kilda , or hipster areas like Fitzroy offer good quality budget accommodation in charming surrounds.
Inner suburbs are within 30 minutes of the CBD by public transport and often that distance can even be walked. Here are some of the most popular areas where you will find good budget options.
A traditional beachside tourist resort area, St Kilda has become a first choice for backpackers visiting the city. It's about 20 minutes out of the CBD by tram and unfortunately no train lines go here. The great attraction of staying in St Kilda is that there is a beach on your doorstep and a great walking trail along the foreshore. There are also a large number of restaurants, bars and pubs along the two main strips of Acland Street and Fitzroy Street. Luna Park, the city's iconic amusement park is also located in St Kilda.
Within walking distance of the CBD, North Melbourne provides a good range of cheap hotels and hostels. This is within easy walking distance of the CBD. Multiple trams also head this way, so you should have no trouble getting into the center when you need to. The main attraction in North Melbourne is the Victoria Market, where you will be able to save even more money by buying cheap fresh food and souvenirs for family back home. It's a great place to visit for lunch, coffee or just to have a browse around.
While many of the options in the CBD are mid-range and luxury hotels, there are a few hostels and cheap(ish) hotels that are incredibly popular. If you want to explore the laneways and bars to the fullest, then being in the CBD is perfect, because you will be able to stumble back to your bed after a big night out. Victoria Market is still just a walk away, as are sporting grounds like the Vodafone Arena, MCG, Etihad Stadium and AAMI stadium. There is no shortage of things to do in the CBD. Enjoy walks along the Yarra, strolling through the Royal Botanical Gardens or getting a good look over it all at Eureka Tower. Consider also that if it's going to cost you a few dollars extra to stay in the CBD, you will save a few dollars by not having to catch a tram in. There's also a free tram that circles the CBD, allowing you to get around very cheaply.
Fitzroy and neighbouring Collingwood are great places to be if you enjoy somewhat more bohemian surrounds. It's still within walking distance of the city and a few tram lines run through it making access easy. Nearby you will find the Melbourne Museum and Royal Exhibition Building. A short walk away is also Carlton, where you can find an abundance of Italian restaurants and cafés.
A few options are available in the outer suburbs, particularly motels. If you have a car with you, this can be a good choice because it will mean less money spent on parking. The trip into the city to see things will be a bit longer though, up to an hour if you're staying a long way out. Consider carefully what the public transport options are when you stay in the outer suburbs. It's not ideal to have to drive into the city for the day, since parking can be exorbitant.
For more information about Melbourne, have a look at our travel guide, created by members of Travellerspoint.
This content was contributed by Peter Daams.