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Melbourne/Inner city

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Travel Guide Oceania Australia Victoria Melbourne Melbourne/Inner city

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Introduction

Melbourne Mall

Melbourne Mall

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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.

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Sights and Activities

Royal Botanic Gardens

Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens are an ideal place to escape a hot day and enjoy some of the rare plant specimens inside. Over 10,000 individual species of native and non-native plants can be found in the 87 acres landscaped garden. You can find the gardens on St Kilda Road on the south bank of the Yarra.

The Tan is one of Melbourne's most frequented jogging tracks and runs for 3.8km along the perimeter of the gardens.

The gardens are open daily from 7:30am. They close at 5:30pm from May-August, 6pm during April, September & October and at 8:30pm from November to March. The Gardens Visitor Center is open on weekdays from 9am-5pm and on weekends from 9:30am-5pm.

Transport to the gardens is a 15 minute walk from Flinders Street Station across the bridge. Alternatively, you could catch a tram down St Kilda Road. Routes 3, 5, 8, 16, 64 and 67 will do. Two and four hour parking spots are available directly around the gardens.

Other

  • National Gallery of Victoria - The NGV consists of two galleries. One on St Kilda Rd displays international art, while one in Federation Square displays their Australian art collection.
  • South Bank - A nice place to go for a stroll along the Yarra River - If you're feeling lucky, Crown Casino might be your best bet.
  • Melbourne Central - At the centre of this large shopping centre is historic Coops Shot Tower, built in 1890. (Location: Corner of LaTrobe & Swanston Streets)
  • Victoria Market is a great place to wander around. Soak in the multiculturalism and buy some local produce while you're at it! (Location: Corner Elizabeth and Victoria Streets. Ph: (03) 9320 5822. Open Tue & Thu: 6am-2pm, Fri: 6am-6pm, Sat: 6am-3pm, Sun: 9am-4pm)
Flinders Street Station Melbourne

Flinders Street Station Melbourne

© All Rights Reserved Utrecht

  • Flinders Street Station : This train station is an icon of Melbourne. Pretty hard to miss for anyone visiting the inner city. (Location: Corner Flinders and Swanston Street)
  • Climb the Rialto Tower for a great view of the city. (Location:525 Collins Street. Open 10am–10pm daily.)
  • Alternatively, the Eureka Skydeck 88 on the 88th floor of the The Eureka Tower, the tallest apartment building in the world, features a scary glass floor and shattering glass sound effects. (Location: 1 Riverside Quay, City Road, Southbank. Open 10am-10pm daily.)
  • The Laneways: Melbourne's inner city hides away many of its most interesting shops, restaurants and bars in back alleyways. Start at Degraves St, directly opposite Flinders Street Station and follow the smallest roads you can find. These little streets bustle with people drinking coffee, having a late breakfast or indulging in a mid-afternoon drink.
  • Immigration Museum explores stories of the diverse people who have immigrated to Victoria since the 1880s. (Location: 400 Flinders Street. Open 10am-5pm daily. Ph:(03) 9927 2700)
  • Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) - Dedicated to everything about the moving image - from TV and films to games and screen-based art. (Location: Federation Square)
  • The State Library of Victoria is worth wandering into to have a look at its recently renovated domed reading room. (Location: Corner of LaTrobe & Swanston Streets)
  • The Old Melbourne Gaol is where Australia's most famous bushranger Ned Kelly was hanged. You can see the revolver and death mask of Ned Kelly at the gaol. Admission is $20.00 for an adult and $11.00 for a child. (Location: Russell St, between Victoria and La Trobe St. Open daily 9.30am-5pm except Christmas Day and Good Friday. Ph: (03) 8663 7228)
  • Cooks' Cottage was the original home of Captain Cook's parents. Build in Great Ayton in Yorkshire, England, it was bought for £800 in 1933 as a gift to Victoria. It was taken apart brick by brick, all numbered, then transported to Australia and reconstructed in Melbourne. The Cottage is located in the Fitzroy Gardens in East Melbourne. It is open daily from 9am to 5pm, except on Christmas day. Admission is $4.50 for an adult and $2.20 for a child.

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Getting There

By Train

All the metropolitan train routes lead into Melbourne's centre. At the heart of the network are the stations located on the City Loop. Stations in the City Loop are (in "clockwise" order):

  • Flinders Street Station, located on Flinders Street on the banks of the Yarra River, just next to Federation Square.
  • Southern Cross, an architectural masterpiece, located on Spencer Street, near the Docklands.
  • Flagstaff located at the northern edge of Melbourne's CBD, near Flagstaff Gardens and the Queen Victoria Market.
  • Melbourne Central is situated under the Melbourne Central shopping centre in the heart of the inner city, opposite the State Library.
  • Parliament is named after the adjacent Parliament House and is the nearest station to the Royal Exhibition Building and Melbourne Museum.

All the stations in the City Loop are in Zone 1. See Melbourne#Getting Around for more information on tickets.

By Car

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.

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Getting Around

By Public Transport

Melbourne's inner city is well served by public transport. Trams are the main ways to get around, although depending on where you're heading, the City Loop (described in the Getting There section) is also a good option.

The free City Circle tram service is the cheapest option combined with walking. It operates every 12 minutes from 10am - 6pm Sunday to Wednesday and runs till 9pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday. It runs in both directions, but here are the stops in clockwise order: Flinders Street - Harbour Esplanade - Docklands Drive - La Trobe Street - Victoria Street - Nicholson Street - Spring Street - Flinders Street .

Most of Melbourne's tram routes also pass through the centre at some point, you can also hop on any one of them. Railmaps.com.au has a detailed map of Melbourne's train and tram routes.

By Foot

If you are feeling energetic, the inner city can quite easily be explored by just walking. Walking from one end of the inner city to the other (Spring Street to Spencer Street) would take you about 25 minutes.

By Bike

Bicycle access is generally pretty good in the inner city. The main route cyclists use is along Swanston Street, as it is car free. It is the busiest cycling stretch in Australia. There are also some nice dedicated walking/cycling tracks along the Yarra River that can take you to nearby suburbs as well.

  • Rentabike at Federation Square can provide you with a bicycle. Special family and weekly rates. Ph: 0417 339 203

By Car

Once you are in the CBD there is probably little reason to drive around. See the By Car section in the Getting There section for important information about driving in the CBD.

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Eat

The food options in Melbourne's inner city are simply too numerous to contain in one article. Below is a list of some favourites that rarely disappoint. For many of these places, particularly in the Mid-Range and Upscale categories, it is a good idea to book ahead to avoid disappointment.

Budget

  • Degraves Espresso Bar is a typical Melbourne breakfast haunt serving great coffee in a tucked away city lane. (23 Degraves Street)
  • Don Don's is a Japanese takeaway joint. Rockbottom prices (~$6), great food and the food comes out so fast it's scary. They have two outlets, one at 321 Swanston Street (corner of La Trobe St) and another larger one at 330 Little Lonsdale Street.
  • Journal is a café attached to Melbourne's City Library. A popular place for coffee and light lunches. Shop 1, 253 Flinders La.
  • Pellegrinis Espresso Bar serves no-nonsense Italian food and coffee in a bar setting that feels like something from a different era. A Melbourne institution and worth a visit for the experience alone. Prices are around $15 for a meal. (66 Bourke St)
  • Sataybar serves up some excellent, you guessed it, satay (Corner of Flinders Lane and Custom House La)
  • Camy Shanghai Dumpling Restaurant, on Tattersall's Lane in Chinatown, serves up filling plates of dumplings for around $6. (25 Tattersalls La)
  • Yu-U, hidden behind a nondescript door down one of Melbourne's lanes, serves great Japanese food at reasonable prices. (137 Flinders La)

Mid-Range

  • Bottega serves well-presented, modern Italian food. (74 Bourke St)
  • Cookie, a cool upstairs bar on Swanston Street, serving modern Asian food and a magnificent wine and beer collection. (Level 1, Curtin House 252 Swanston Street)
  • MoVida Bar De Tapas serves exquisite Spanish food and wine in a typical Melbourne alleyway. (1 Hosier Lane)

Upscale

  • Ezard, one of Melbourne's most prestigious restaurants. (187 Flinders Lane)
  • Vue de Monde serves sophisticated French food at astronomical prices. (Normanby Chambers, 430 Little Collins St)
  • Flower Drum is Melbourne's most reputed Chinese restaurant and even considered by some to be one of the best Cantonese restaurants in the world. You will have to be on a waiting list for months, but once you're in, expect nothing short of perfection. (17 Market La)
  • The European provides sophisticated meals in a warm, inviting atmosphere. (161 Spring Street)
  • The Press Club delivers modern Greek cuisine and great service. (72 Flinders street)

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Drink

Melbourne's café culture has been going strong since the 1950's when Pellegrini's Espresso Bar (66 Bourke St) opened. Try some of these if you are in need of a good fix.

  • Pellegrini's Espresso Bar (66 Bourke Street) - Melbourne's original espresso bar opened in 1954. Worth a visit for the history and atmosphere, but not necessarily the best coffee.
  • Degraves Espresso Bar (23 Degraves Street) is always a favourite. A nice cozy interior down one of Melbourne's most popular lanes.
  • Brother Baba Budan (359 Little Bourke St) has a tiny shop packed to overflowing with coffee lovers. Despite the lines, service is amazingly fast and the coffee is always top notch.
  • Sensory Lab (297 Little Collins St) serves up Japanese style siphon coffee. The experience is as fascinating as the coffee is fantastic.
  • Cup of Truth (12 Campbell Arcade - Degraves St Underpass) is an unassuming little place with some really great coffee. This underpass is largely used by people getting off at Flinders Street Station, but even if you're not getting off the train, the Degraves St Underpass is worth a visit for the interesting shops and art exhibits on display. Enjoy a nice coffee while you're there.

Melbourne's numerous bars are never far if you are in need of something alcoholic. Try some of these popular options.

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Sleep

PropertyAddressTypePhonePopularity
All Nations City Backpackers2 Spencer StreetHostel71
City Centre Budget Hotel22-30 Little Collins StHostel79
Elephant Backpackers250 Flinders StreetHostel74
Elizabeth Hostel1/490-494 Elizabeth StHostel-
Exford Hotel199 Russell StreetHostel76
Flinders Station Backpackers35 Elizabeth StHostel73
Hotel Discovery167 Franklin StreetHostel74
King Street Backpackers197-199 King StreetHostel74
Melbourne Connection Travellers Hostel205 King StreetHostel68
Melbourne International Backpackers450 Elizabeth StreetHostel9662 406674
Miami Hotel Melbourne13 Hawke StreetHostel84
Nomads Industry196-198 A'Beckett St.Hostel72
Spencer - City Central475 Spencer StreetHostel73
Urban Central334 City Road, SouthbankHostel80
Victoria Hall380 Russell StreetHostel82
The Greenhouse BackpackerLevel 6, 228 Flinders LaneHostel9639 6400-
The LanghamHotel-
Sofitel MelbourneHotel-
Grand Hyatt Melbourne123 Collins StHotel-
Crown Towers8 Whiteman St, SouthbankHotel-
Adelphi187 Flinders LaneHotel-

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Keep Connected

Phone

See also International Telephone Calls

Post

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 $0.55. Internationally, it costs $1.40 to send postcards anywhere in the world. Letters cost $1.45 to send within the Asia Pacific region and $2.10 to anywhere else in the world.[1]. It is also possible to send things as parcels or by express mail.

References

  1. 1 Australia Post: (PDF). Sourced 05 Feb 2010

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This is version 54. Last edited at 19:21 on May 16, 13 by Sander. 2 articles link to this page.

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