My Melbourne City Trip

Published on 4/4/2020

During my time in Australia last winter (their summer), I was lucky enough to spend time in Melbourne. This was my first time in Melbourne, and I was amazed by this cosmopolitan and stylish city. So in case you also decide to head that way, which you definitely should, here are my top tips for a Melbourne city trip. Everything you need to know about visiting Melbourne, including accomodation, restaurants and sightseeing!

Accomodation in Melbourne

Our three days in Melbourne were separated by a road trip down the Great Ocean Road. For our first night, we stayed at Melbourne City Backpackers. This hostel in Melbourne is very centrally located on King Street, and had great facilities, including a large communal kitchen. I think it’s a great place to stay if you need accomodation in Melbourne on a budget, and plan to use their cooking facilities. It’s also very social, with a large area for people to chat, drink and meet others.

For the two nights following our road trip, we wanted private accomodation in Melbourne. We had loved travelling in a campervan, but definitely felt like catching up on sleep in a comfy bed and taking our time to wash off the dirt. We found City Lifestyle Accommodation, and paid the same for a private ensuite as we did for our hostel room shared with four other girls! It was located further down on King Street. It was a little bit odd as it was located in a residence building, but they had plenty of rooms and clean facilities for a great price - so I’m not complaining! I would recommend this private accomodation in Melbourne to people who prefer a private room and their own bathroom.

Travel in Melbourne

Getting around Melbourne is super easy due to the fantastic transport lines. To get to and from the Tullamarine airport, I recommend booking with Skybus. You can book it in advance, and the Melbourne City Express will have you at CBD within 20 minutes!

$19.75 one-way, and $36.50 for a return.

For travel within Melbourne, all you need is a Myki Card. Similar to an Opal card in Sydney, this touch on/touch off system allows you to use trams, buses and more! You can purchase this at the airport or any stations, and top it up at numerous locations - including the 7/11! Returning your card after can allow you to be refunded for the remaining amount. Keep in mind that Zone 1 and Zone 2, right in the centre, are a free zone so you can use the tram between them for free.

Things to Do in Melbourne

1. Bourke Street

This is a great area to do a bit of shopping in Melbourne! It is one of the main streets in the Melbourne Central Business District and is filled with a variety of stores, restaurants and cafes.

2. Botanical Gardens

I love visiting botanical gardens when travelling, as it’s such a tranquil hideaway in a big city and great way to spend a sunny afternoon! We had spent a morning full of sightseeing, so retreated to the Melbourne Botanical Gardens for a stroll. It was beautiful, with various sights and paths to enjoy. We also witnessed some kind of a show being filmed, so it’s also #famous, and maybe we’re in the background!

They also make a great backdrop for your photoshoot!

2. Queen Victoria Market

You cannot visit Melbourne for a city trip and not stop at the Queen Victoria Market, it is simply unacceptable! This market was incredible, one of the best I’ve ever seen. It was well organised so that you could move through the stalls and not miss any. The stalls ranged from clothing and jewellery to pottery, handmade cards to cutlery, and more. All of the stalls were comprised of small, local businesses. I hadn’t intended to buy anything, but ended up leaving with a full shopping bag. They also had live music, which set the perfect atmosphere.

My favourite purchase at Queen Victoria Market was from The Iris Photo, an incredible close up photo of my eye! They had plenty of examples and took they time to really discuss it with me, and then looked carefully to decide which iris to photograph - as fun fact: they’re not identical. My photo was printed within two hours and I was so happy with the result - I have it hanging behind me in my home office!

3. Penguins at St. Kilda

A few weeks before visiting Melbourne, someone mentioned to me that you could see penguins there, and I was honestly flabbergasted. I had never seen penguins outside of a zoo, and given that I no longer visit zoos, I was incredibly excited! I did some research, and most of the options seemed to involve paying quite a lot and being distanced depending on the ‘package’ you purchased.

But then I heard a local tip of heading to the pier at St. Kilda for sunset, where you could see the penguins coming out of the water and burrowing under the rocks! So we did that instead, and I’d definitely recommend it.

But keep in mind the following when visiting the penguins at St. Kila:

  • It can be quite cold and windy out on the pier, so bring a warm jacket.
  • I arrived 20 minutes before sunset, and that was not early enough for a good spot. If you want to be up close or be able to sit, you need to come about 40 minutes before.
  • On that note, don’t underestimate how long it takes to walk the pier. It is a very long and crowded pier.
  • The penguins don’t care about your schedule. They arrived at about thirty minutes past sunrise when we went, so only go if you’re okay with this possibility. Although I’ve heard often they’re right on the dot or a few minutes past.
  • The penguins don’t care about the viewing area. When I went they arrived on the opposite side to what they usually do! Which meant the crowd rushed to the other side for a glimpse and those with "good spots" were left at the back. But luckily a few followed routine and came the correct way.
  • Be aware that there is quite a crowd! So if this is something that makes you uncomfortable, perhaps give this a miss.
  • Listen to the volunteers, they have the penguins best interests at heart and know better than we do. Many people kept climbing onto a rock for a photo (of themselves, not even of the penguins) and becoming irritated when asked to move. Think of the penguins, man.

Apologies for my lack of photography skills...

On that note, it was still amazing to see penguins that close. Especially to know that they’re wild, they’re there by choice and doing their own thing. I loved it, and I would definitely visit the penguins at St. Kilda next time I’m in Melbourne - but I’d bring a jumper!

Places to Eat in Melbourne

If you’ve read my Sydney City Trip blog, you’ll know that I’m a sucker for brunch. I’m not sure why, maybe it’s being vegetarian or a morning person, or maybe I’m just so grateful to eat after that huge gap after dinner! But finding the best places for brunch in Melbourne was a definite goal for me, I was determined, and complete intricate online research.

I was thrilled with my two finalists, here were my best brunch places in Melbourne:

1. Hardware Société

My first meal in Melbourne, if you don’t count the pot noodles I made in the communal hostel kitchen upon arrival the night before. And I certainly don’t, but if you’re curious they were from 7/11 and also pretty good.

The Hardware Société has two locations in Melbourne and one in Paris, and we headed to the one at 10 Katherine Place. It is a small restaurant, but still had two tables free. I got a matcha latte - it just seemed too Instagram worthy to miss- and my sister had a chai latte. Then we shared a coconut parfait with a side of charcoal and a feta egg dish. They were delicious! The menu is filled with unique options, although the majority do include meat.

They also sell an adorable cookbook, “No eggs on toast”, with three dozen recipes that claim to redefine brunch.

2. Bricklane Melbourne

Now this ended up being my favourite brunch place in Melbourne, and perhaps even during my entire time in Australia! Tucked away on Guildford Lane, keep an eye out or you’ll stroll right past this adorable little cafe. I had a latte, which turned out to be a generous size! And then me and my sister shared a chilli corn waffle with poached eggs as well as a halloumi egg dish with baba ganoush. Both were incredible, we finished our whole plates and were stuffed till dinner. We even need a post brunch nap in the Botanical Garden to recover. Bricklane Melbourne also had delicious fresh juices, making them a great Melbourne brunch choice.

But you can’t sustain yourself on brunch for your whole city trip in Melbourne, so we better look at the two other restaurants I visited.

For dinner in Melbourne, I enjoyed the following:

1. Sushi Hotaru

We had a craving for sushi, and thus rifled through Google for the best sushi places in Melbourne. Sushi Hotaru was recommended, with someone claiming to be a Melbourne local who will not going anywhere but there for sushi - how can you argue with such a review? So we trekked into town, and followed Google Maps to the Midcity Arcade. But then our directions stopped, and we still couldn’t find it! We walked up and down, went inside and then back outside. Only to realise we had to go upstairs first - the limitations of Google Maps!

Once found we were seated at the sushi train and the most interesting sushi dishes I had ever seen began to float past. Some were disturbing - cheeseburger sushi- but the rest were absolutely delicious. The sushi is created in front of you, and there are extras you can order via a screen. We had arrived just in time, as a queue began to form outside the door, confirming our belief that it was a popular spot for locals. It was well priced, at $3.90 a plate. But be aware that it does not serve alcohol, you can instead pay a small amount and drink your own.

2. Queen Victoria Market

I mentioned Queen Victoria Market previously as one of the best places to visit in Melbourne, but given that we ate there as well, it deserves to be included as one of the top places to eat in Melbourne! Queen Victoria Market has a variety of food stalls, featuring cuisines from across the entire globe. I saw everything from Ethiopian to Dutch (pancakes!), Nepalese to Jamaican, and of course French crepes! There were so many choices, it was honestly a bit overwhelming. Not the place to eat in Melbourne if you fear choices.

We shared a portion of kottu roti as I had been missing it since visiting Sri Lanka a few years ago, and some vegan buffalo wings. Both were delicious and we devoured them quickly. You can accompany your food by a drink from the organic wine stalls, gin and tonic bars or craft beers.

It was extremely busy considering it was a weekday, so be sure to set aside enough time for waiting in line, and don’t arrive too hungry! I was able to pay by card at most stalls, but bring cash to be on the safe side.

Combining Melbourne with Further Travel

Melbourne is a great place from which to start the Great Ocean Road, as I did. This stunning route can be easily managed within 3 days and takes you past incredible sights!

And there you have it, short but sweet, my Melbourne city trip! Visiting Melbourne is a must whilst in eastern Australia, and you won’t be disappointed by this vibrant and exciting city.

Have you visited Melbourne, do you have any tips to share? Let me know below!

Fleur

Fleur

Welcome to Symptoms of Living! A place where I like to relieve myself of the barrage of thoughts and ideas filling my mind. Here I'll take a look at various topics, from books to BPD, series to self-harm, there's nothing that we can't, and shouldn't, talk about.

Having struggled with mental illness since the age of 15, one of the hardest parts was how alone I felt in it. While mental illness is beginning to be discussed more openly, and featured in the media, I still think there is room for improvement. So whether it is mental illness or merely mental health, a bad day or a bad year, let's make this a place to approach it and strip it back. Everyone has their own symptoms of living, and you certainly won't be the only one with it.

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