Melbourne may be Australia's second most populous city, but the proud residents will not accept it as second fiddle to its glamour sibling Sydney. Melbourne lays claim to being Australia's cultural and artistic capital. But it's in sport that Melbourne truly shines, hosting world class sporting events each year: the Australian Open, Australian Grand Prix, Melbourne Cup and the AFL Grand Final are all watched by millions. It is hardly a surprise that one of the city's prime tourist destinations is the Melbourne Cricket Ground, abbreviated as the MCG - or even just G to Melburnians. During footy season, many visitors take time to go to an Australian Rules Football match, which had its origins in Melbourne. 9 out of the 16 Australian teams are still based in Melbourne.
Melbourne has a long and rich coffee culture. Cafés can be found on almost every street corner and areas like Carlton, Brunswick and Richmond each have a cultural flavour of their own owing to the varying immigrant populations.
Large office buildings aside, Melbourne's centre is a bustling combination of cozy cafés, fine restaurants, hip bars, theatres, museums, sports venues and sprawling gardens. It's easily navigated by hopping on one of the numerous trams that service the area. The city is laid out in a grid-like manner but has many little alley-ways cobwebbed between the blocks. It's down these hidden lane ways is where you'll find some of Melbourne's unique watering holes and eateries.
The seaside suburb of St Kilda is the place to go in Melbourne for a sea breeze. Its icon is Luna Park, an historic amusement park that requires you to enter through what looks like a giant clown's mouth. A multitude of cafés and restaurants line Acland and Fitzroy Streets.
The bohemian suburb of Fitzroy is home to some of Melbourne's best pubs and restaurants, with groovy Brunswick Street at the centre of the action.
If you are after a good pizza or pasta, Lygon Street in Carlton is the place to go. It is also home to Melbourne University, so the student life vibe is strong.
Prahran is one of the most expensive and classy suburbs in Melbourne, which has a great mixture of restaurants, night life and boutique shops.
More sights can be found on the neighbourhood sub articles.
There are quite a few major festivals and events which run each year in Melbourne. Below are some of the largest, roughly in order.
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Melbourne is the most sports-mad city in Australia, which itself is arguably one of the most sports-mad countries in the world.
Aussie Rules football is an integral part of Melbourne and visitors who are lucky enough to be in town during the 'Footy' season are well-advised to catch a game. The Finals occur each September, with the climactic Grand Final played in the MCG at the end of September.
The Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) is one of the most famous cricket grounds in the world and hosts major cricket events as well as the AFL Grand Final. One key match is the Boxing Day Test Match, which runs from December 26-30, between the Australian national team and an international competitor.
During Spring Racing Carnival each year, the city goes wild for the horses. Melbourne Cup Day is even a public holiday in the state of Victoria.
The Australian Open is hosted each year by Melbourne, drawing the best players from around the world. It runs for two weeks each January, in the middle of the Australian summer.
Melbourne's Grand Prix is the first on the Formula 1 tour each year and draws large crowds. It is held in March.
The Melbourne Victory play in the A-league, Australia's professional football league. They are two time champions and consistently draw the largest crowds in the country. The season runs between August and February.
Melbourne's weather is all about being surprising. So expect random sunny days in winter and random stormy days in summer. Generally though, winters (June to August) tend to be fairly cold and wet, with daytime temperatures ranging between 10 °C and 20 °C. Snowfall is rare, though there are snowfields in Victoria's high country which lies several hours outside north-east of Melbourne.
Summers (December to February) are hot and getting hotter, with days reaching maximum temperatures above 40 °C. While beaches are great during this time, summer is not a great time to visit other parts of Victoria, since the threat of bushfire can be high. Over the past few years, areas throughout northern, eastern and western Victoria have been devastated by bushfire.
In autumn (fall) and spring Melbourne enjoys much more moderate weather.
Melbourne Airport (MEL) is the first port of call for many visitors. It has four terminals, depending on who you're flying with and whether you're flying overseas. Domestic passengers will arrive and depart from Terminal 1 if they are flying with Qantas or Jetstar, or from Terminal 3 if they are flying with Virgin Australia and REX Regional Express. All international services are hosted by Terminal 2, which is the airport's middle terminal. Terminal 4, which is in a separate building, is used by low cost carrier Tiger Airways.
T4 is Australia's first ever low cost carrier terminal, used by Tiger Airways Australia  domestic services.
Budget airline Jetstar also operates out of Avalon Airport (AVV), which is closer to Geelong than Melbourne. Be aware of this when booking tickets, because although tickets can be cheaper, there might be an added cost in getting from the airport into Melbourne.
Air Asia now services Melbourne from Kuala Lumpur as well, offering low cost flights.
Trains travelling to Melbourne arrive at the newly revamped Southern Cross Station (formerly Spencer St station). Southern Cross Station is also on Melbourne's metropolitan rail network, so from there you can easily hop on a train to anywhere in Melbourne.
A twice daily service from Sydney is operated by CountryLink (11 hours) and there are four services per week from Adelaide run by Great Southern Railways (10 hours) . The Overland links Adelaide with Melbourne 3 times a week in both directions. XPT links Melbourne with Sydney.
Services within Victoria are operated by V/Line and can take you to
From Sydney or Canberra:
The quick option if you're travelling from Canberra or Sydney is to take the Hume Highway, which takes about eight hours from Sydney. From Canberra, you will need to drive up the Barton Highway to get onto the Hume. There is also a slow but scenic option if you have time on your hands and want to be treated to nicer scenery along your drive from Sydney. This involves travelling along the east coast on the Princes Highway. If you're travelling from Canberra, you can drive down the Monaro Highway, which links up with the Princes Highway on the south eastern edge of Australia.
There are several options when driving from Adelaide, depending on how much time you have and what you would like to see. The popular Great Ocean Road is one of Australia's best road trips, as it passes along the southern coast through towns like Torquay, Lorne and Apollo Bay, as well as the Twelve Apostles. If time is a bit more scarce, the Western Freeway is an overland, more or less direct route that passes along the north of the Grampians National Park and Little Desert National Park. It takes approximately eight hours. If you want to take in Mount Gambier along the way, take the Princes Highway from Adelaide.
If you're travelling from Tasmania, the Spirit of Tasmania docks in Port Melbourne, which is several kilometres outside the CBD. The trip from Tasmania takes about 10 hours and is usually done as an overnight trip, although at some times of the year it can also be a day trip. Extra charges apply if you want to take a vehicle with you.
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Melbourne's trams, trains and buses fall under the umbrella of Metlink. There used to be two ticketing systems in use in Melbourne, but the Metcard system does not exist anymore since the end of 2012. The new system, Myki uses a smartcard system and started rolling out in late 2009. It has been rolled out completely in January 2013.
To use the Myki system, you will first need to purchase a Myki card, which costs $6. It does not have any travel credit. You will then need to top it up either online, or at one of the outlets that has a special Myki machine installed. These are becoming increasingly common, so it shouldn't be hard to find one. You can top up your card with up to $250 of travel credit.
Travelling on a Myki card requires touching on at one of the Myki readers at the start of each journey and touching off at the end. It is important to touch off, because otherwise you will be charged a default fare which could be much higher than what you should have been charged. There is no requirement to touch off on trams.
The city is divided into two zones; Zone 1 covers the central city and inner suburbs which is as far as many tourists would venture, while Zone 2 covers the middle and outer suburbs. All tram routes are now counted as being in Zone 1. You can purchase tickets for travel in Zone 1, Zone 2 or both. A Zone 1/2 overlap exists as a buffer zone, where tickets from any zone may be used. Prices start a $2.42 for a 2-hour ticket in zone 2 (children half price), zone 1 is $3.50. Daily tickets cost $4.84 and $7 respectively. Using both zones means just adding the two zones up.
In general the card should be intelligent about calculating the best fare for your travels. A A Myki Visitor Pack ($14/7 adult child), which comes preloaded with $8/4 of credit and a stack of attraction discount coupons, can be purchased at major stations, tourist information centres and Skybus terminals at Tullamarine airport.
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Another great way to save some money is to make regular use of Melbourne's free City Circle Tram service, which runs in a large loop around the CBD.  It runs every 12 minutes from 10:00am till 6:00pm daily.
The Melbourne City Tourist Shuttle is a free hop-on/hop-off bus service, stopping off at 15 key points around the city. It runs every 15 minutes from 10:00am till 4:00pm daily, taking 45 minutes to complete the full trip. 
Cabs are plentiful in Melbourne and easily identified by their standard yellow colour. There are designated ranks at major hotels and at popular locations like Flinders Street Station. On weekend nights after everyone is done drinking, they are high demand, and will often only pick up passengers from these cab ranks. You can expect a queue of passengers as a result.
The base flagfall rate is $3.20, with an extra $1.617 charged per kilometer and an extra 56.6 cents charged per minute if the speed drops below 21km/h. .
In addition to these standard rates, extra costs can be added on for late-night trips (midnight-5am), trips using toll ways, phone bookings, etc.
From the hours of 10:00pm to 5:00am, drivers will ask for up-front deposits, based on the estimated total of your trip.
Here are some of the main cab companies in Melbourne.
Within the CBD, it is quite easy to navigate Melbourne by foot. If you want to venture out to an inner suburb, then the trams are best option. If you want to visit an outer suburb, then the trains and buses are the best option.
Melbourne is increasingly becoming a more cycling-friendly city, with many improvements being made to cycling routes throughout the city. Cycling participation rates have grown exponentially in recent times, leading to more demand for better infrastructure. Cycling can be a great way to get around the city quickly and at a very affordable price.
There are some beautiful bike routes in the city, through parkland and along the Yarra River, that are worth visiting for a recreational ride. The Bicycle Victoria website has a comprehensive listing of bike routes throughout Melbourne, including routes through the inner city.
Car hire is available at Melbourne Airport and throughout the city. There are plenty of companies you could choose to hire a car from, including Avis, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, Thrifty, Network and Turnbulls. Car hire is often not available to drivers under 25, or if it is, it's more expensive for younger drivers.
The city's most ubiquitous street directory is the annually published Melways. Businesses will often give you a Melways reference to point you to their location in Melbourne. Outside of Greater Melbourne, the maps are less detailed, but sufficient to navigate between towns and all the way to Sydney or Adelaide.
If you are going to be driving in Melbourne's CBD, take particular note of a rare road rule that is used on quite a few of the major intersections; the "hook turn". Essentially, it involves making a right turn from the left lane, which helps improve the flow of traffic in the right hand lane.
1. When the light goes green, right turning traffic queues up in front of the waiting cross-traffic, pulled over as far as possible to the left, essentially joining their lane.
2. When the cross traffic's lane turns green, queued right-turners can make their turn
3. The cross traffic should wait until all the right turns have been made.
Further detail can be read on Wikipedia's article describing the Hook Turn
Another road rule to take particular note of is to stop for trams when they are unloading passengers. Older trams actually have a stop sign that pops out when the doors open, but newer trams only indicate this with a blinking orange light. Nonetheless, it is a requirement to stop for trams and let the passengers make their way to the footpath.
Melbourne's food scene is one of the best in the world. The diversity and quality of food options available is enough to satisfy any traveller's whim. Certain areas of town are particularly known for their local cuisine due to their specific immigrant populations. Lygon Street in Carlton is where one goes for Italian. Victoria Street, Richmond has been dubbed Little Saigon and offers plenty of Vietnamese options. Sydney Road, Brunswick has a variety of Middle Eastern options. Downtown, Little Bourke Street is the local China Town and Lonsdale Street is the Greek precinct. Brunswick Street, Fitzroy caters for a young bohemian crowd as do Acland Street and Fitzroy Street in St Kilda. There is a thriving café culture in Melbourne which provides excellent lunch options.
For restaurant reviews, The Age Good Food Guide is Melbourne's definitive restaurant rating book. It's published each year, covering hundreds of restaurants in the Melbourne CBD and throughout Victoria. The best quality restaurants are awarded hats. 3 hats is the maximum any restaurant can get and this is typically only reserved for a handful of restaurants. In the 2008 guide, only one restaurant managed to achieve the coveted 3 hats, Jacques Reymond.
Budget travellers may however be more interested in the partner publication, Cheap Eats, which, as the name suggests, lists the best places to eat if you don't have money to burn.
Due to some generous liquor licensing laws, Melbourne is home to a large number of small bars as well as the usual selection of pubs. The city has a habit of hiding away the most popular places so only locals would know about them. Don't be afraid to walk down the small alleys in the city, as these often hide the best options.
As of the 1st of July 2007, it is now prohibited to smoke in Victorian pubs. Many pubs have courtyards, but otherwise it is a case of standing on the street.
Melbourne also has a love affair with coffee, owing in large part to the waves of Italian and Greek immigrants. In 1954, Melbourne's Pellegrini's Espresso Bar (66 Bourke St) opened as the city's first real espresso bar. Hundreds more have followed and these days it is hard to keep track of all the new places opening. If you have a thing for good coffee, try the Melbourne Coffee Review blog for some recommendations.
Most budget accommodation is either downtown, particularly near the Victoria Market, or in the beach-side suburb of St Kilda. Budget hotels can be found scattered throughout the city. Upper-class hotels are largely downtown or on the other side of the Yarra at Southbank. Motels are usually to be found in the suburbs, generally a quick tram ride out of the centre of town. If you are driving into Melbourne and don't want to pay the earth for city parking, these are good options. Try to choose one with a good tram or train connection though, so you can leave the car when travelling into the city.
|All Nations City Backpackers||2 Spencer Street||Hostel||75|
|Apartments Of South Yarra||46 Arthur Street South Yarra||Apartment||78|
|Back of Chapel||50 Green St. Windsor||Hostel||78|
|Base St Kilda||17 Carlisle St St Kilda||Hostel||83|
|Central Melbourne Accommodation||21 Bromham Place Richmond||Hostel||80|
|City Centre budget Hotel||22-30 Little Collins St||Hostel||82|
|Claremont Guesthouse||189 Toorak Road South Yarra||Hostel||81|
|Coffee Palace Backpackers||24 Grey Street St Kilda Beach||Hostel||68|
|Collingwood Accommodation Melbourne||137-139 Johnston Street Collingwood||Hostel||81|
|Cosmopolitan Hotel Melbourne||2-8 Carlisle Street||hotel||-|
|Drummond Serviced Apartments Carlton||371 Drummond Street Carlton||Apartment||-|
|Elephant Backpackers||250 Flinders Street||Hostel||67|
|Exford Hotel||199 Russell Street Melbourne||Hostel||74|
|Flagstaff City Inn||45 Dudley Street Melbourne||hotel||-|
|Flinders Station Backpackers||35 Elizabeth st||Hostel||73|
|Georgian Court Bed & Breakfast||21 George Street East Melbourne||Guesthouse||-|
|Habitat HQ (formerly Cooee on St Kilda)||333 St Kilda Rd, St Kilda||Hostel||83|
|Home Travellers Motel- St Kilda||32 Carlislie St St Kilda||Hostel||76|
|Hotel Discovery||167 Franklin Street||Hostel||75|
|King Street Backpackers||197-199 King Street||Hostel||76|
|Lords Lodge Backpackers||204 Punt Rd Prahran||Hostel||75|
|Melbourne Connection Travellers Hostel||205 King Street Victoria||Hostel||68|
|Melbourne International Backpackers||450 Elizabeth Street Melbourne||Hostel||72|
|Miami Hotel Melbourne||13 Hawke Street||Hotel||80|
|Nomads Melbourne||196-198 A'Beckett st.||Hostel||78|
|Oslo Hotel||38 Grey Street St Kilda||Hostel||65|
|Pint on Punt||42 Punt Rd. Windsor||Hostel||76|
|Sleep & Go||205 Bell St Preston VIC||hostel||81|
|Spencer - City Central||475 Spencer Street||Hostel||74|
|St Arnaud||99 Park Street South Yarra||Hostel||75|
|St Kilda Beach House.||109 Barkly Street St Kilda||Hostel||77|
|The College Lawn Hotel||36 Greville Street Prahran||Hostel||75|
|The Corkman Irish Pub||160 Leicester Street Carlton||Hostel||77|
|The Nunnery||116 Nicholson Street Fitzroy 30065||Hostel||85|
|The Ritz for Backpackers||169 Fitzroy Street St. Kilda Beach||Hostel||79|
|Urban Central||334 City Road Southbank||Hostel||80|
|Victoria Hall||380 Russell Street||Hostel||84|
|Melbourne Metro YHA||78 Howard Street North Melbourne||Hostel||83|
|Home at The Mansion||66-90 Victoria Parade||Hostel||84|
|Glen Inn Motel & Apartment||605 Ferntree Gully Road Glen Waverley||Hotel||-|
|Melbourne Central YHA||562 Flinders Street Melbourne||Hostel||82|
|Quality Hotel Batman's Hill on Collins||Crn Spencer & Collins Street||Hotel||-|
|Travellers Trax @ The Barley Corn Hotel||177 Johnston Street, Collingwood||HOSTEL||68|
|ParkDale Motor Inn||202 Nepean Hwy Parkdale||Hotel||-|
|Hume Villa Motor Inn||1324 Sydney Road Fawkner||Hotel||-|
|Easystay Apartments Raglan Street||63 Ftzroy St (Check in address) St Kilda||Hotel||-|
|Easystay Serviced Apartments||63 Fitzroy Street St. Kilda Check in address||Hotel||-|
|Easystay The Bayside Motel||63 Ftzroy St St Kilda||Hotel||-|
|elizabeth hostel||490 - 494 Elizabeth Street||Hostel||78|
|Comfort Backpackers Australia||33 Creek Street South Bendigo||Hostel||79|
|Drop Bear Inn||115 Cecil Street South Melbourne||HOSTEL||-|
|Bendigo Hotel||125 Johnston st Collingwood||HOSTEL||-|
|Victoria Hotel Backpackers||380 Victoria Street Brunswick||HOSTEL||-|
|The Aerie||395 Little Lonsdale St||Apartment||-|
|Tram Stop 14 Backpackers||151-153 Brunswick Street Fitzroy||HOSTEL||-|
|SAV||32-34 Kangerong Road Box Hill||HOSTEL||-|
|LampLighter Motel||1440 Dandeong Road Oakleigh||Hotel||-|
|Chadstone Executive Motel||1362 Dandenong Road||Hotel||-|
|Albany Motel Melbourne||1 Millswyn Street South Yarra||HOTEL||-|
|South Yarra Designer Apartment||Claremont St South Yarra||Apartment||-|
|Hotel Colombo||54 Acland St||Hotel||-|
|Padd-Prop5||1 Grafton Street||HOSTEL||-|
If you are eligible to work in Australia (ie. you have a Working Holiday Visa or other visa allowing work), it is possible to find decent employment around Melbourne. The hospitality industry is a popular employer, especially around the St. Kilda area.
If you want to head a little further afield, fruit picking jobs are not too hard to come by. The Yarra Valley and Dandenongs region have quite a few places, though other areas around Victoria also have good opportunities for fruit picking. In terms of income, most fruit picking jobs pay per the quantity that you pick: if you're quick, it's possible to earn quite a substantial amount of money.
Melbourne has a number of reputable universities. At the fore is the University of Melbourne and Monash University, though others such as La Trobe University, RMIT and Deakin University also have a high standard of education. There are also a wide number of TAFE colleges, which provide hands-on courses with a vocational bent. TAFE courses are substantially cheaper than university courses.
Many of these universities and TAFE colleges offer short courses or exchange programs. The Centre for Adult Education also has an excellent selection of short courses in everything from Indonesian to web design or beginner's guitar.
There are a large number of internet cafés scattered around Melbourne. A good number of regular cafés also offer free wifi access to their customers. If you have your own laptop with you another option could be to buy prepaid mobile broadband. They usually start at around $49 for about 1GB of data.
See also: International Telephone Calls
Australia is on a GSM 900/1800 network, so if you have an unlocked phone that works on those frequencies, you will be able to buy a prepaid SIM-card and stick into your phone when you're in Melbourne. You will receive a new Australian phone number with the SIM-card.
To dial out of Australia use the prefix 0011, followed by the calling code of the country you are trying to reach, followed by the area code of the city/town (without the 0!) and finally the phone number.
Within Australia, it is necessary to add an area code to the phone numbers if you are calling from outside the area.
Melbourne's area code is 03, which is the same for all of Victoria and Tasmania. If dialling interstate, use one of the following area codes.
02 - New South Wales & Australian Capital Territory (Sydney, Canberra)
07 - Queensland (Brisbane)
08 - Western Australia, South Australia & Northern Territory (Perth, Adelaide, Darwin)
000 is the emergency telephone number in Australia, but the international GSM mobile emergency telephone number 112 also works on mobile phones.
Australia Post is the government's postal service. Most suburbs will have at least one post office. A standard letter or postcard sent within Australia will cost $0.60. Internationally, it costs $1.70 to send postcards anywhere in the world. Letters cost $1.85 to send within the Asia Pacific region and $2.60 to anywhere else in the world.. It is also possible to send things as parcels or by express mail.
Melbourne's General Post Office, located on the corner of Elizabeth and Bourke St, was gutted by a fire in 2001. It was eventually decided to turn it into an up-market shopping arcade, known as Melbourne's GPO. The new main post office is located directly next to it on Elizabeth Street.
Small post offices can be found scattered throughout the city, and are often linked to a newsagent.
Do a day trip into the Yarra Valley and taste wines at any number of the dozens of quality wineries. Make sure you get someone else to drive, or do it as part of a tour group (cost varies, but around $100).
The Healesville Sanctuary is also well worth a visit to see native animals in a natural environment. The platypus exhibit is very well done, and the free flight bird show is not to be missed.
The Great Ocean Road is one of Australia's most popular road trips - and with very good reason. The dramatic cliff edge drive is enthralling, even before you make it to the 12 Apostles.
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Mornington Peninsula is a beach holiday destination southeast of Melbourne. The farther you travel down the peninsula, the more upmarket the houses become. Some of Victoria's most expensive houses can be found in this part of the state.
Great views of the city can be seen from these hills to the east. Other attractions include some beautiful gardens, a steam train known as Puffing Billy and William Ricketts Sanctuary, a fascinating sculpture garden. Read more about the Dandenong Ranges
Watch the penguins waddle their way to the sand dunes at Phillip Island. One of the state's most popular attractions.
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Ask Peter a question about Melbourne
I'm a resident of Melbourne for the last 13 years or so. Happy to answer any questions!
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I currently live in Melbourne and have been here for 5 years now. I am more than happy to try and assist anyone one looking to travel this amazing city, and if I don't know something, I know where to find out about it as well.
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Local living in the inner city with much knowledge on Melbourne city and the State of victoria
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I have lived most of my life in the Northern suburbs of Melbourne, and can help with information about getting around, and things to do.
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I've visited the city numerous times in my life and have spent the past two years living there! It's an amazing gem of a city with lots to offer and explore... It is one of my favorite city's in the world.
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