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Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne is Australia's second largest city, and the capital of the south-eastern state of Victoria, located at the head of Port Phillip Bay.

Melbourne is Australia’s cultural capital, with Victorian-era architecture, extensive shopping, museums, galleries, theaters, and large parks and gardens. Many of its 4 million residents are both multicultural and sports-mad. Melbourne continues to be a magnet for migrants from all over the world and consistently ranks as one of the world's most liveable cities.
Reasons to visit Melbourne include to attend major sporting events, to use it as a base for exploring surrounding regions such as Grampians National Park, The Great Ocean Road, and to visit Phillip Island to view the penguin parade. Many UK visitors come to Melbourne for tours of filming locations of soap opera Neighbours.
Central Melbourne:

Melbourne, Australia


Melbourne is Australia's second largest city, and the capital of the south-eastern state of Victoria, located at the head of Port Phillip Bay.

Melbourne is Australia’s cultural capital, with Victorian-era architecture, extensive shopping, museums, galleries, theaters, and large parks and gardens. Many of its 4 million residents are both multicultural and sports-mad. Melbourne continues to be a magnet for migrants from all over the world and consistently ranks as one of the world's most liveable cities.
Reasons to visit Melbourne include to attend major sporting events, to use it as a base for exploring surrounding regions such as Grampians National Park, The Great Ocean Road, and to visit Phillip Island to view the penguin parade. Many UK visitors come to Melbourne for tours of filming locations of soap opera Neighbours.
Central Melbourne:

  • City Centre (CBD, Southbank, Docklands). Melbourne's Central Business District (CBD) and historical core north of the Yarra River, including the new, cosmopolitan Docklands to the west and the Southbank entertainment precinct on the Yarra River.
  • St Kilda. Sunny beaches and a great restaurant, bar and nightlife scene.
  • Inner south (Port Melbourne, Albert Park). Includes the old ports of Melbourne, the historic Clarendon Street town center and famous Grand Prix circuit. 
  • Inner north (Carlton, Parkville, North Melbourne). The University district, as well as Lygon Street, famous for Italian culture and cuisine.
  • Inner east (Fitzroy, Richmond, Collingwood). Working-class and Bohemian quarter, with some trendy boutiques and pubs full of character.
  • Stonnington (Toorak, Prahran, South Yarra). An expensive, upper-class neighborhood of Melbourne, with high-end shopping and dining.

Greater Melbourne:

  • Eastern suburbs (Boroondara, Box Hill, and Glen Waverley, Manningham and Nillumbik, Ringwood and surrounds). Stretching from almost inner suburbs of Kew, Hawthorn, and Camberwell in Booroondara to the outer cities like Maroondah and the Dandenong Ranges.
  • Northern suburbs (Brunswick and Coburg, Hume, Northcote and Ivanhoe). Covering suburbs like Tullamarine, Broadmeadows, South Morang, Epping, Bundoora, and Nillumbik Shire. 
  • Southern suburbs (Brighton and Caulfield, Dandenong and surrounds, Frankston). Spread along the coast of Port Philip Bay and covers areas like Brighton, Elwood, Sandringham and the cities of Frankston and Dandenong. Its main attraction is the beach along the bay.
  • Western suburbs (Footscray, Flemington and surrounds, Sunshine and Melton, Hobsons Bay, Wyndham). Includes areas like Altona, Williamstown, Point Cook, Footscray in Maribyrnong, Werribee in Wyndham, Ascot Vale, Moonee Ponds, Caroline Springs, Sunshine, Melton, Keilor, and Sydenham.

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Melbourne, Australia: Port Information

Melbourne is served by several international cruise ships throughout the year, particularly in the Summer cruise season.
All passenger ships serving Melbourne arrive at and depart from Station Pier in Port Melbourne, about 5 km from the city center.
Station Pier has four operating berths, two on each side of the wharf. Each berth has a maximum draft of 10.3 meters.
Tram route 109 (towards Box Hill) departs frequently from the old railway station across the road from the Pier, traveling into the heart of Melbourne along Collins St. You can purchase mykis at the tram stop's machine or from a visitor desk in the peak season.

Get around Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne has a very large metropolitan area, but most sights of interest are within the city center, and most of the rest can be reached within about 20 minutes on the train or tram. Melbourne's city center is laid out in an orderly grid system, similar to the grid system of Manhattan, meaning that navigating the city center is easy.

By public transport

Melbourne has a fairly reliable public transportation system consisting of trams, trains, and buses: trams and trains branch out from the city center to the suburbs, while buses usually cover the rest. There are connections to all the major attractions of the city, and it is fairly easy to get around without a car. Most of the network is wheelchair and pram accessible, with the major exception of the tram network, which mostly operates with older, step-entry vehicles. Train, tram and major bus services generally operate between 5 AM and midnight Monday–Saturday and after 8 AM Sunday. On Friday and Saturday nights, all-night train, tram and bus services run on a limited night network.

Public Transport Victoria coordinates public transport and provides timetables, maps, disruption info, and a very useful journey planner. Mobile apps are available for iOS and Android devices; Google Maps also integrates train, tram, and bus information.


The train network is operated by Metro Trains Melbourne with blue branding. A partly-underground "City Loop" forms the basis of the network, with all the other lines branching off to the suburbs like the spokes of a wheel. The lines are named after the station at the end of the line, and all run through Flinders Street Station, the city's famous suburban railway hub. Trains to the suburbs generally operate at 10-20 minute frequencies, with higher frequencies (but more overcrowding) in peak times. Be aware that some trains skip suburban stations when running express to and from the city; check information screens carefully to be sure.


Trams are a prominent feature in Melbourne's urban landscape. The city has the largest network in the world. The network is operated by Yarra Trams with green branding. Most tram lines branch out from the city center like spokes. In the city, they often become crowded, and you are unlikely to get a seat. The network is operated by a mix of newer, low-floor trams with stop announcements and older models with step-entry. Stops in the inner city generally have platforms, although most stops require hailing the tram from the side of the road; take care at these stops and look for distracted cars which may illegally speed past.

Yarra Trams' official iOS and Android app, tramTRACKER, is very useful for tracking real-time tram arrivals and following the tram's progress onboard. Most tram routes will have 8-12 minute service during the day, with higher frequencies in the peak, but lower frequencies of 20-30 minutes in the evenings.

Travel on all trams in the city center is free. The boundary of the Free Tram Zone is marked with plenty of signage, but remember to touch on if you leave the FTZ. This is in addition to the City Circle, a free tourist tram in the city center, which runs past many major sights in historical trams.


Buses serve as connections to places without rail transport, often connecting to major shopping centers and train stations. Denoted by orange branding and stops, most buses are low-floor and air-conditioned. A few major trunk routes (including ones such as the 200/207 in the inner north, the 900 to Chadstone, 907 to Doncaster, etc) operate at 10-15 minute frequencies, although for most buses, it is necessary to use the journey planner or check timetables, as service tends to be far less frequent than trains and trams.

Tourist services

As mentioned above, the free City Circle Tram (Route 35) runs around the CBD perimeter, operated by vintage-style maroon or green trams. The audio commentary provides information about attractions that are passed. These trams are geared to visitors and provide access to sites of interest to the tourist. More information is provided in the City Centre guide.

The Melbourne City Tourist Shuttle is another option that also extends to key tourist destinations just outside of the city center, including the MCG, Lygon Street, and the Royal Botanic Gardens. The buses run at 30-minute intervals between 9:30 AM and 4:30 PM daily. A complete circuit takes 90 minutes, with onboard commentary. Tickets may be purchased online, at the Melbourne Visitor Centre or with a credit card or coins at ticket machines at each stop.

By bike

The inner suburbs of Melbourne have a good network of bike paths by the standards of English-speaking countries, plus a generally flat terrain, making pedal-power a great way to take in the city. Most paths are "shared footways" under the law, although the majority of users in most places are cyclists. This means cyclists should expect to share the path with pedestrians, dog-walkers, rollerbladers, joggers, prams, and tricycles. Some trails contain on-road sections (in marked bike lanes). It is legal to cycle on footpaths only when supervising cycling children or when the path is marked or signposted as allowing bikes. Helmets are required by law, as light when riding at night.


  • Yarra River Trail. Runs from the mouth of Melbourne's iconic Yarra River, through the city and onwards to Westerfolds Park in the outer suburbs.
  • Capital City Trail. Runs a circuit through Melbourne's inner suburbs, the Docklands precinct, and the city. It's a good way to see a slice of day-to-day life.
  • Bay Trail. A pleasant trek around Port Phillip Bay, running from Port Melbourne, through the bustling beach-side precinct of St Kilda, past the famous bathing sheds of Brighton, all the way to Carrum. A punt operates under the West Gate Bridge on weekends and public holidays allowing a start at Altona Meadows along the Williamstown Trail, across the punt, and joining with the Bay Trail. Cyclists can't use the West Gate Bridge.
  • Maribyrnong River Trail. Starting at Southbank and finishing at Brimbank Park in Melbourne’s west, the Maribyrnong river trail is a 28-km trail with easy to moderate riding on a good track. The trail takes you past the Polly Woodside ship and through the Docklands to Footscray Road. You’ll then ride along the Maribyrnong River, passing Flemington Racecourse before crossing the river and over to Pipemakers Park. The remainder of the trail takes you through bushland and river reserves and underneath bridges before finishing up at Brimbank Park.

Bicycles may be taken freely on trains, although there may not be space during the peak. Only folding bikes are permitted on trams and buses.

By car

Driving in Melbourne's city center is generally inadvisable. Congestion tends to be bad, street parking difficult to find, and parking in multi-storey carparks tends to be rather expensive. In addition, you will have to learn how to execute a hook turn (described below) due to a large number of trams in the city. That being said, driving is generally the best way of getting around Melbourne's suburbs, as the public transport network tends to be less reliable, less frequent and more thinly spread out than in the city center, particularly in the outer suburbs. If traveling from the outer suburbs to the city, it's generally best to park your car at the nearest railway station and catch a train in. Motorcycles and scooters may park on footpaths legally for free as long as they do not obstruct pedestrians or crossings.

The major car rental chains are well-represented and include Avis, Bargain Car Rentals, Budget, Europcar, Hertz, and Thrifty. Independent car rental companies are also plentiful and can offer good value for money. Many of the rental companies are located close to Melbourne's Southbank, so if you are staying close to or on the outskirts of the CBD, it should be relatively easy to find both the well represented and independent car rental companies. Comparisons between the local car hire companies can also be made on VroomVroomVroom, Car Rental Buddy or Car Hire Choice. If you are looking to cover a long distance by car, ensure your rental policy includes unlimited mileage – most economy to standard sized car rental include this already.

In the city center, a number of intersections require you to perform the infamous hook turn to turn right due to tram tracks running down the center of the road. Follow the signs: move into the left lane and move as far forward as possible, wait and when the traffic signal for the street you are turning into turns green, make the turn.

There are two major tollways in Melbourne, both of which have no manual tollgates and require day passes to be purchased in advance or up to three days after the trip online or over the phone. Registration number and car details should be provided; failure to buy a pass can result in expensive fines, and car rental companies will often stack their own administration charges on top of these. Be aware that major rental companies will often offer a toll option, which is usually cheaper than purchasing your own passes. Tollways are represented by blue and yellow road signage rather than the usual green and white signs.

CityLink is the T-shaped tollway through the city core, connecting the West Gate Freeway in the west, Monash Freeway in the south-east and Tullamarine Freeway in the north. These freeways are useful for traveling to Geelong and the Great Ocean Road, Phillip Island, and Melbourne Airport respectively. 

EastLink is a north-south tollway through the eastern suburbs and is useful for reaching the Mornington Peninsula and Frankston. If you are likely to be using both tollroads, it may be worth purchasing a Melbourne Pass for $5.50 in addition to the regular toll costs depending on the length of the trip. Tags from other Australian cities work on CityLink and the EastLink tollway, but passes do not.

By foot

Melbourne is an excellent city for walking and you should have no problems navigating the CBD grid. A brisk walk may even see you keeping up with the trams, as they crawl through the city center.

By taxi

Melbourne taxis are ubiquitous in the centre but less often spotted in the suburbs. The largest companies are 13CABS (☎ 13-CABS/132227), Silver Top Taxis (☎ 131008). There are personalized luxury airport taxi service operators such as CabInMinutes (☎ 0416271787). Taxis are traditionally yellow in color, although silver and white colors also exist. 

Additionally, Uber services are also widely available in Melbourne.

What to see in Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne attractions are here listed according to their respective districts.

City Centre
The City Centre has much to attract the traveler, including theaters, art galleries, cafés, boutiques, plenty of live music, department stores, and interesting Victorian architecture, which can all be sampled on foot.

  • Flinders Street Railway Station— Arguably the defining landmark of Melbourne, a nice, colonial-era railway station at the junction of Flinders Street and Swanston Street. The main entrance is known for several clocks hanging over it and is a popular meeting spot for locals. "Meet you under the clocks at Flinders Street station" is in the DNA of every Melburnian.
  • Docklands— An entire new precinct filled with shops, bars, restaurants and things to do for all the family as well as a large sports stadium with a waterside setting. Boat trips touring Melbourne's rivers and Port Philip Bay leave from here. The Melbourne Star Observation Wheel - one of only 4 giant observation wheels in the world, and the only one in the Southern Hemisphere can be found here.
  • Eureka Tower— Tallest observation deck building in Melbourne, panoramic views of the whole of Melbourne.
  • Parliament House of Victoria— The first seat of the Australian federal government, free tours are available on weekdays.
  • Queen Victoria Market— The largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere, 'Vic Market' as it's nicknamed is huge and colorful with an assortment of fresh and dry produce, souvenirs and other interesting things. A must-see experience.
  • State Library— Worthwhile if you're into books, amazing city architecture, and free internet. Also has the former largest 'Domed Reading Room' in the world, capable of holding over 1 million books.
  • Southgate— Pretty promenade on the south bank of the Yarra, with lively restaurants, bars, and a Sunday art & craft market.
  • Federation Square— Modernistic and popular meeting space - fascinating architecture - to see Melburnians enjoy life whilst sitting down at cafes and bars. Also the home of the Australian Centre for the Moving Image, galleries, and more
  • Immigration Museum— Located on Flinders Street, explore the moving stories of people from all over the world who have migrated to Australia
  • Police Museum— Also located on Flinders Street, see over 150 years of stories and displays of crime, justice, courage, forensic techniques and examples of how police are making Victoria a safer place to live.
  • Old Melbourne Gaol (Jail), 377 Russel St (between La Trobe St and Victoria St). Daily 09:30-17:00. A 1900s era gaol that held many famous criminals of the era (including Ned Kelly). The tour is self-guiding, although there are often interpretive guides scattered throughout. The tour mainly consists of informational signs in each cell along with some videos and artifacts. Not the most exciting for young kids. Recently added is the crime and justice experience which involves being "arrested" and placed in a modern era jail. Could be a little scary for younger kids.
  • The Yarra— famous as the "river that flows upside down" (because of it's brown coloration) the Yarra winds its way through the heart of Melbourne with beautiful walks, enjoyable boat trips, and frequent opportunities to picnic or use the public free BBQs along the riverside by the botanical gardens for the full Aussie eating experience.
  • Shrine of Remembrance— Located on St Kilda Road, Major War Memorial with unique Ray of Light demonstration every half hour. Also offering panoramic views of Melbourne parks from rooftop balcony.
  • Coop's Shot Tower— 50m high shot tower from 1888, incorporated into Melbourne Central complex underneath an 84m high glass roof.
The attractions in Carlton are mostly historical as it houses the Melbourne museum, and cultural with its strong Italian heritage.
  • Melbourne Museum— It is the largest museum in the Southern Hemisphere and home to seven main galleries, a children's gallery and a temporary exhibit gallery on three levels, Upper, Ground and Lower Level.
  • Lygon and Rathdowne Streets— Crammed with Italian restaurants, gelaterias, and coffee shops, which all serve some of Melbourne's best hospitality.
  • IMAX Cinema— Right next to the museum. It shows both new releases and documentary films, in 3-D format.
  • Royal Exhibition Building and Carlton Gardens— UNESCO World Heritage site (tours available through the museum).
  • Melbourne Zoo— Usual assortment of zoo animals in a natural-like setting with lots of Australian native species too. Jazz at the Zoo is a popular weekend evening function over the summer months for a picnic, music and evening stroll around the animal enclosures.
  • University of Melbourne— The premier university of Victoria, and internationally recognized as a leading university, it is a hub of students, fine Victorian architecture and gorgeous sprawling gardens.
St Kilda
St Kilda is Melbourne's beach-side nightlife precinct and is a tremendously popular area for beachcombers and those looking to grab a bite or sip on a latte by the sea.
  • Luna Park— Historic amusement park built in 1912.
  • St Kilda Pier— Popular spot for fishing and walking.
  • St Kilda Esplanade— Fine place for walking, skating, sunbathing and on Sundays, discovering new treasures at the Esplanade Sunday market.
  • St Kilda Botanical Gardens— With the first trees planted in 1859, the Botanical Gardens are a sprawling oasis of tranquility and greenery.
  • Jewish Museum of Australia— Depicts the history of the Jewish community in Australia.
South Yarra
Greenery and high-end living are the main draws to South Yarra.
  • Chapel Street/Toorak Road— Kilometer-long strip of fashionable but often unaffordable shops plus some top end restaurants to match.
  • Royal Botanic Gardens, Birdwood Avenue, South Yarra, Victoria, Australia, ☎ 61 3 9252 2300. Features nice old trees, drought tolerant displays, a cafe and grassy places to loll about. The Children's Garden is fun with streams, fountains, hidden paths, etc. In summer you can see outdoor movies and Shakespeare plays. You will feel miles away from the city next door as soon as you step in the garden. Free.
Prahran lies to the south of the city and shopping is the main draw.
  • Chapel Street— Famous for its street cafes and designer fashion boutiques. Cheaper stores are found at its southern end.
  • Prahran Market is a market dedicated to the finest quality fresh food. You can find gourmet delights here that you will find in no other place in Melbourne. Prahran Market also has children's activities and a large Market Square to sit and enjoy.
  • Commercial Road— Known for food and shops.
Northern Melbourne
Tullamarine— Home to Melbourne's International airport.
  • Woodlands Historic Park— Immediately north of Melbourne Airport, contains a 1840s homestead and a nature reserve.
Southern suburbs
Brighton— Melbourne's prime bayside suburb featuring excellent upmarket cafes and boutique shops. This suburb is truly a national treasure
  • Brighton Beach— One of Melbourne's favored beaches, be sure to check out the famous 'bathing boxes', brightly colored boxes that are dotted along the sand.
Fitzroy/Collingwood - Trendy 'bohemian' suburbs north of the CBD, filled with eclectic cafes and stores.
  • Brunswick St - Long and lively cafe/bar strip with cheap and decent eats.
  • Gertrude St - Charming street with cafes, bars, and unique clothing (and other) shops and art galleries. Currently running an after dark light show. Centre of the local Aboriginal community.
  • Johnston St - Western end is home of the local Hispanic community. Many restaurants, bars and pubs, and the infamous Tote Hotel.
  • Smith St - Slightly run down yet charming street with cafes, bars, and unique clothing (and other) shops.

What to do in Melbourne, Australia

  • See interesting films at the Art Deco-styled Astor Theatre in St Kilda. There are several moonlight cinema programmes in the summer. The Melbourne International Film Festival is on in August.
  • Alternately, visit the Cinema Nova on Lygon Street (tram 1 or 8).
  • Visit the Queen Vic Markets
  • Fans of Neighbours can do a tour of filming locations
  • Visit a comedy club. The Comic's Lounge has various shows including a show filmed for Channel 31.
  • Watch the mesmerizing process of personalized hard candy being hand-made at Suga. Around lunch time is a good time to see (and sample!). There is a store at Queen Victoria Market, but if you visit the Royal Arcade location, you can also watch chocolate making next door at Koko Black.
  • Watch a game of AFL football at the MCG or Etihad Stadium during the winter, or a Cricket Match during the summer.
  • Kick back at one of Melbourne's fantastic cafes in the CBD (Degraves St, The Causeway, and other laneways are fantastic for this), South Yarra (Chapel Street) or Fitzroy (Brunswick Street, Smith Street).
  • Melbourne has an exceptionally vibrant live music scene. Many bars and pubs will have copies of the free magazines "Beat" and "Inpress" which provide local gig guides. Fitzroy, Collingwood and St. Kilda are generally your best bets for seeing some of the great local talents Melbourne has to offer. Venues where you generally can't go wrong include: "The Evelyn," "The Espy," The Corner Hotel in Richmond & The Northcote Social Club.
  • The Black Light Mini Golf is located at the Docklands. This is an 18 hole mini golf range designed around an Australian theme. It is under black light with a light and sound system and featuring fluorescent colors. It is located behind the Big Wheel Being located indoors means that you can play all year round. It takes around 1 hr to play. A recently added attraction to the Black Light Mini Golf is "The Coffin Ride" this is as freaky as it sounds, you take a virtual ride in a coffin with the lid closed, there are sounds, smells and your mates can have a really good laugh watching you on TV.
  • Melbourne is an excellent place to master your photography skills. So many places to take a fantastic picture.
  • Melbourne's museums are generally well-regarded and worth a visit if you have time to spare. The Melbourne Museum and National Gallery of Victoria often have interesting temporary exhibitions.
  • Visit the beach (St Kilda, Brighton, or Frankston on the east side. Williamstown on the west side.)
  • Watch tennis in January. The Australian Open or Kooyong Classic
  • Experience fine dining in an inner city tram
  • Be entertained at Crown Casino
  • Go hiking on scenic Mt Dandenong -Challenge yourself physically on the 1000 steps, or visit the cute towns of Sassafras or Olinda, or take a ride on the century-old Puffing Billy steam train
  • Chill out in the Botanical Gardens or one of the many parks (Albert Park, Carlton Gardens, Fitzroy Gardens)
  • Have a laugh at the Melbourne International Comedy Festival in March/April each year
  • See amazing sand sculptures in nearby Frankston from the end of December to April each year (catch Frankston train line)
  • Watch the Australian Grand Prix in March/April each year
  • Visit the Eureka Skydeck for the best view of the city on level 88 of the Eureka Tower. Or indulge in fine dining by booking on level 89 of the Eureka Tower.
  • Visit one of Melbourne's outdoor cinemas in the warmer months of the year (November to April)
  • Get dressed up for "the race that stops nation" on the first Tuesday of November The Melbourne Cup, or one of the other races in The Spring Racing Carnival
  • Visit any or all of the three amazing zoos.
  • Take a free tram ride around the city on the free city circle line (route35).

What to eat and drink in Melbourne, Australia


For the culinary traveler, Melbourne is one of the best destinations in the world. There is an abundance of affordable, high-quality restaurants representing almost every cuisine. Eating out is cheaper than in Western Europe but not as affordable as North America. The service in Australian restaurants may be more discreet than many North Americans may be used to. Service staff in Australia are paid considerably more than their North American counterparts so tipping is not customary, though you may choose to give a tip if the service was exemplary.

Excellent eateries can be found sprinkled throughout all of the inner (and some outer) suburbs, while certain neighborhoods have become magnets for residents and restaurants of particular countries. A large range of restaurants and cafes offering high-quality food, and representing various cultures and countries, are scattered through the central city, Southbank, Carlton (mostly Italian and touristy), Victoria Street in Richmond (many low cost popular Vietnamese and South East Asian restaurants), Docklands, South Yarra and Prahran. Sydney Road in Brunswick and Coburg is known for its many Middle Eastern, Lebanese, Greek and Turkish restaurants. The popular tourist area of St Kilda offers a large range of good quality restaurants and cafes, especially on Acland Street, and Fitzroy Street.

English-style fish and chip shops are scattered through the suburbs – particularly in bayside areas. Souvlaki and gyros are very popular in Melbourne and outlets are plentiful through the inner and outer suburbs. Japanese nori rolls and sushi is very popular and many stores through the city and suburbs sell these items.


There is a concentration of African cafes in Nicholson St, Footscray and Racecourse Road, Flemington. Most serve a small range of Ethiopian cuisine and coffee and are frequented by the local African residents. The Abyssinian is a well-regarded Eritrean/Ethiopian restaurant popular for locals and tourists for a more elaborate dinner. The stewed foods are served on a large pancake (injera) in the middle of the table. Everyone eats with their hands which is messy but fun.


"Australian cuisine" is a nebulous concept that may include traditional native foodstuffs and more modern cafe infusions of international influences. Items such an emu and kangaroo meat are unusual and are most likely to be found only at the high-end fine dining restaurants as a specialty item. You can, however, find great kangaroo steaks at the Napier Hotel (Napier St, Fitzroy), or at the Edinburgh Castle pub on Sydney Rd, Brunswick.

Meat pies are available from bakeries and convenience stores.

Café/delicatessen food

High-quality delicatessen style eating available in many of cafes in the small lanes of central Melbourne. Many high-quality deli style diners can be found outside the city, in Acland Street, St Kilda.


Chinese cuisine has a long tradition in Melbourne and a large number and range of quality restaurants exist. Many are in Chinatown (Australia's oldest Chinatown) in Little Bourke Street, City center. They are also dotted through the inner and outer suburbs, with concentrations in Richmond, Footscray, and suburban Box Hill, Glen Waverley and Springvale.

Most of the food is from the Southern (Cantonese) school of cooking, although Northern favorites like dumplings are also available. Eating dim sum, which is consumed either during breakfast or lunch (called yum cha or "drinking tea" in Cantonese) is an extremely popular Sunday pastime for Australians of all ethnic backgrounds.

If you're after a budget option, try Camy's dumpling house (Shanghai style dumplings) on Tattersalls Lane in the CBD. In the evening, the easiest - and most amusing - option is the all-you-can eat service. Service is dicey, but always exciting.


Lonsdale Street in the City Centre is Melbourne's Greek precinct with bars, cafes and restaurants, and cake shops. Greek restaurants and food outlets can be found in Sydney Road in Brunswick, Swan Street, Richmond, Coburg and Oakleigh in the southeastern suburbs which have many Greek cafes specializing in frappe, cakes and good souvlaki.


Indian restaurants can be found throughout Melbourne, particularly in the city, North Melbourne, and inner eastern suburbs such as Richmond and Hawthorn. There are also numerous Indian snack bars in the city that serve cheap but tasty curries and samosas, cafeteria-style.

Nepalese food is also popular in Melbourne, and some restaurants feature both Nepalese and Indian cuisine on their menus. An increasing number of Indian restaurants offer home delivery.


Befitting its large number of Indonesian students, Melbourne has many Indonesian restaurants. One of the most famous is Blok M which many famous Indonesians have visited. Another popular restaurant is Nelayan with two restaurants on Swanston Street and Glenferrie Rd, Agung on Glenferrie Road, Bali Bagus on Franklin Street, Es Teler 77 on Swanston St, Nusantara in Caulfield and Bali Bowl on Flinders Lane. There are also Warung Gudeg, specializing in Yogyakartan local cuisine, as well as Pondok Bamboe Koening, focusing on serving Indonesian noodles to locals in Clayton. Warung Agus in West Melbourne serves Balinese cuisine on a rather upscale atmosphere.


With its large Italian population, Melbourne has countless Italian restaurants, mostly offering food from the southern regions of the Italian peninsula. Pizza outlets are very much part of the Melbourne landscape, with many chains and standalone restaurants in all suburbs.

Italian cafes and restaurants are plentiful throughout Melbourne but are in the greatest concentration in Lygon Street, Carlton, just north of the city center. Lygon Street is where Melbourne's coffee culture originated. Suburban Italian restaurants are often large and family orientated and tend towards the pizza, pasta, seafood, and steak formula.


A quick "sushi" take away lunch can be bought on almost every block where there is food. In and out of Chinatown there are also plenty of places that have good bento, udon, and donburi as well.

For dinner, many of the inner city suburbs have Japanese restaurants, but in the city itself, there is a long and interesting Japanese restaurant history that continues to this day. Both Melbourne's oldest, Kuni's (which has been around since 1978) and it's sister restaurant Kenzans are known for a very authentic, if expensive, meal. There are a plethora of choices for those on stricter budgets as well.


St. Kilda East and Caulfield are home to vibrant Jewish communities and kosher bakeries and cafes abound most situated on Carlisle Street in Balaclava, Kooyong Road in Caulfield North and Glenhuntly Road in Elsternwick.


Malaysians and Singaporeans feeling homesick will find a host of restaurants and food court outlets offering items like roti canai/paratha, nasi lemak, prawn noodles, laksa. Many are in the City Centre; there are Malaysian restaurants scattered throughout Melbourne. Little Bourke Street has a few Malaysian run eateries as well as QV's Kopitiam (corner of Lonsdale and Swanston St, CBD), Boxhill has a new Malaysian run (with Malaysian cooks – most Malaysian run eateries employ cooks from China) eatery called Petaling Street which has provided the most authentic fare so far.

Middle Eastern

Arab, Lebanese, Moroccan and Turkish restaurants tend to be concentrated in Sydney Road in Brunswick and Coburg to the north of the city center. These restaurants can also be found in the outer suburbs that are home to those communities, including Dandenong.centre. These restaurants can also be found in the outer suburbs that are home to those communities, including Dandenong.centre. These restaurants can also be found in the outer suburbs that are home to those communities, including Dandenong.centre. These restaurants can also be found in the outer suburbs that are home to those communities, including Dandenong.


Thai restaurants are ubiquitous in Melbourne: even dining precincts mostly known for Italian or Vietnamese food boast Thai restaurants.


Vegetarian food is widely available in Melbourne, and you can expect every restaurant or cafe to have a few vegetarian or vegan options. There are also many vegetarian restaurants: Vegie Bar in Brunswick St, Fitzroy, Gopals in Swanston St and Shakahari in Lygon St, Carlton are just some of the options. Crossways at 123 Swanston St. serves a very popular all you can eat vegetarian lunch, Mon-Sat.Lygon St, Carlton are just some of the options. 


Melbourne's Little Vietnams are in Footscray, North Richmond, and Springvale out in the far eastern suburbs. The streets in these areas are lined with pho (noodle) shops and restaurants offering other Vietnamese favorites. Many outlets have also appeared along Swanston Street in the City Centre. However for convenience to the city and reasonable prices, Victoria Street in North Richmond is your best bet.


Spanish, Argentinian, Burmese and Polish restaurants can be found in the Richmond/Collingwood/Prahran area.

Melbourne has some Cajun/Creole restaurants and one or two American style diners, but US cuisine is otherwise absent: Foods like Southern-style barbecue and clam chowder are nearly impossible to find.

Korean restaurants are well represented and are scattered throughout the city.

Hopetoun Tea Rooms in Block Arcade on Little Collins Street offer sweets ranging from cakes and pastries to high tea.



Melbourne has a long and rich coffee culture beginning with Victorian era coffee palaces and further enhanced by Italian migrants arriving in the aftermath of World War II.

Perhaps the most famous Italian style cafe is Pellegrini's, 66 Bourke St, Melbourne city. Fitzroy is known for funky, bohemian-style cafes. Collins Street features many elegant cafes. Many Italian style cafes are found in Carlton; Brunetti's is open late and always packed.

Serious espresso connoisseurs would enjoy visiting St Ali cafe/roastery in South Melbourne, Auction Rooms (Errol St) in North Melbourne, or the Maling Room café in Canterbury.

  • Atomica cafe (268 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, tel +61 3 9417-4255) serves a strong, but well-balanced mix of coffee and silky smooth milk. Atomica also has seats on the footpath, if the upbeat music is too much for your coffee buzz and, on a warm sunny day, it is an ideal spot to mix it with the Brunswick Street crowd.
  • The Green Refectory (115 Sydney Rd, Brunswick, tel +61 3 9387-1150), Easy to miss, but better you don't. Serves great value homemade food, and quality Illy coffee to accompany it. The crowd is an eclectic mix of the Brunswick artsy crowd, university students and young professionals pushing prams. Despite its nondescript exterior (look for the 'Illy' coffee sign that juts out from the front windows), the difficulty of locating this place hasn't affected its popularity at all.
  • 7 grams (505 Church St, Richmond, ☎ +61 3 9429-8505) has a 'best in show' coffee. The cafe itself is unpretentious, with understated decor and a row of black-topped, chrome-legged stools along a mirror bar.
  • 65 Degrees (309 Exhibition St, ☎ +61 3 9662-1080) is itself a recent addition, but its owners have a long history of accolades. Champion barista, world latte artist and award-winning coffee blend, gridlock coffee. Fast, friendly service and some of the finest coffee around.
  • Image Superstore Cafe (690 Elizabeth St, ☎+61 3 9349-5529) serves great coffee with superb staff where you can enjoy high tea surrounded by funky New York and Paris inspired interior design. What makes this cafe even more unique is you can have your photo taken by a professional photographer on the spot.

Bars and Clubs

Melbourne nightlife is 24 hours, loud, colorful and anything goes. Door policies can be strict but once inside high-quality entertainment is guaranteed. DJ's, live music, artists, beautiful people and so much more can be found. There truly is something for everyone and every taste. It has a massive live music scene, with many inner-suburbs pubs catering many genres, with drink and food specials all week. The key is to find one you like the most!

Alongside its many clubs, Melbourne is also a fast-rising festival city. Global event companies such as ID&T, Global Gathering, Ministry of Sound and Trance Energy have begun taking notice of the city and bringing their events. 

The city center has a number of pubs, the most famous being the Young and Jackson. Melbourne is also famous for its many trendy bars in the CBD. Most of these, however, are down narrow alleys and streets and are therefore hard to find unless you know where you are going.

The inner northern suburbs, such as Collingwood and Fitzroy cater for the young, laid-back, and bohemian crowd. Here you will find lots of live music, cheaper prices, and a relaxed atmosphere. Head for Brunswick and Gertrude Streets in Fitzroy and Smith Street, Collingwood for cafes, bars and live music, while Lygon Street, Carlton has a range of Italian restaurants and cafes with a student vibe, as it's located near the University of Melbourne. Victoria Street, North Richmond is the heart of Melbourne's Vietnamese community, with many cheap and cheerful restaurants serving good food.

Chapel Street/ Toorak Road in South Yarra and Prahran has the most glamorous bars and clubs. Here, expect high prices, strict dress codes, and beautiful people who want to be seen partying with the best. St. Kilda has a little bit of everything. With its proximity to the beach, it is often regarded as the Melbourne suburb that feels most like Sydney.

The past decade has seen a revival of Melbourne's inner-city bar scene, with dozens of weird and wonderful watering holes opening up within forgotten alleyways and anonymous lanes of the City Centre (CBD). Melbourne also has its fair share of stylish places to drink, although the better ones can be hard to find. The theory seems to be: the harder your bar is to find, the more people will talk about it. Secrets are tucked around areas like Prahran, South Yarra, and many other areas. However, there are plenty of alleyway bars, once you find one they seem to pop up everywhere you look. Melbourne's clubs often market a members only rule which can upset your more upmarket traveler. The rule is in place to prevent fighting and unappealing groups of men from entering a nice club and destroying the atmosphere.

Australian licensing laws are very similar to those in the UK, i.e. you are not allowed to be drunk on licensed premises. Some pubs and clubs are quicker to eject patrons than others, but it's only ever a short walk to another. Licensing is more liberal then what one may be used to, as you can still expect to find a drink past 2 AM. This has lead to a culture of late night drinking where some venues won't get busy until some time after 11 PM, especially true during summer.

Melburnians often draw a distinction between 'bars', meaning the small watering holes described above, and 'pubs' which are larger establishments in the usual Australian or British sense of the word. Melbourne's pubs, particularly those in the city and inner suburbs, usually serve restaurant-standard food and a wide range of local and imported beers. Pubs usually offer lunch from approximately midday to 2 PM and reopen their kitchens for dinner from approximately 6 PM-10 pm.

Shopping in Melbourne, Australia

Shopping hours in metro Melbourne are typically 7 days a week, 9 AM–5:30 PM weekdays and 9 AM (maybe later)–5 PM weekends. Most suburban shopping centers such as Chadstone have later closing hours on Thursdays and Fridays – mostly up to 9 PM. Supermarkets have extended hours 7 days, the majority opening at 7 AM and closing at midnight or 1 AM; there are also many 24-hour supermarkets.

Alcohol in Victoria can be purchased at licensed shops/venues, and supermarkets often have an adjoining bottle shop that closes earlier than the supermarket. Some stock alcohol in the supermarket, if they close at the same time as their license. You must be over 18 years old to purchase alcohol. Most bottleshops close by 10 PM to midnight (even on weekends), but some open until 3 AM (e.g. on Riversdale road in Booroondara and Russell St Melbourne), and 24-hour bottleshops on both Chapel and Lygon streets, in Stonnington and Melbourne respectively.

City Shopping

Melbourne is known as the fashion capital of Australia with numerous malls and boutique-lined streets.

In the CBD itself, Little Collins Street is home to some of the world's top designers and fashion houses; Collins Street also boasts other high-end shops such as Louis Vuitton and Hermès. Brunswick Street (Fitzroy), and the southern end of Chapel Street in Prahran/Windsor have clusters of stores selling an eclectic mix of vintage, rave, retro and alternative gear such as Shag, Fat Helen's and Beaut Vintage to shop around.

Melbourne Central is another shopping mall based in the city, adjacent to the underground station of the same name. The Bourke Street Mall with the department store David Jones, as well as the flagship store of Myer, Australia's largest department store chain, is another city-central shopping hub.

For the bargain shopper, there is a DFO Outlet Malls located on Spencer Street, Melbourne city, just north of Southern Cross Railway station.

It is also worth noting, for Backpackers, that Elizabeth Street has plenty of Bargain backpackers stores, for example, Mitchell's Adventure (255–257 Elizabeth Street), which can offer outdoor products for bargain prices.

Suburban Shopping

Bridge Road in Richmond is a strip where warehouse direct outlets rule and no one pays recommended retail price. Chapel Street in South Yarra is a favorite among the locals, with its spread of exclusive boutiques, cafes and well established chain stores. There are also several huge shopping complexes in the outer suburbs, such as Chadstone and Southland (Cheltenham) in the South-East. Doncaster Shoppingtown, Eastland (Ringwood) and Knox City are in the outer East. Northland in the north, Highpoint in the west.

Melbourne is also home to many of Australia's largest shopping centers; including Chadstone Shopping Centre in Malvern East (the largest shopping center in the Southern Hemisphere) which has over 530 stores, Knox City Shopping Centre which has 350 stores, and Fountain Gate Shopping Centre in Casey which includes approximately 330 stores.

Looking for something in particular?

For those in the bridal market, High Street in Armadale, Stonnington and Sydney Road in Brunswick, Moreland are the two main clusters for bridal apparel and accessories. For those who are looking for local, aspiring designer creations, try Greville Street in South Yarra, Stonnington or Smith Street and surrounds in Yarra.

To buy funny souvenirs and Australian typical stuff, walk or take the tram to Victoria Market. You'll find all you need there and the price is usually a half or a third of the prices in the souvenir shops downtown. Make sure to try a bratwurst dog and check out the cheese stalls while you're there.

Safety in Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne is generally a very safe city for its size, although some parts of Melbourne are best avoided at night; these include parts of the western suburbs around Footscray and Sunshine, some northern suburbs such as Broadmeadows and southern suburbs like Frankston and Dandenong. The city center, particularly the area around the nightclub and strip club district of King Street, can be a hotspot for alcohol-fuelled violence late at night. However, you are more likely to be heckled by drunken revelers and street walkers than you are to be actually threatened or randomly attacked. Demonstrating normal safety precautions and staying to well-lit streets is a good way to avoid trouble.

Protective Services Officers (PSOs) patrol Melbourne's railway stations from 6 pm to the last train, with all stations possessing a 'safety zone' with increased lighting, CCTV cameras and easy access to the red emergency button. Trains also contain buttons in the case of an emergency, while it's a good idea to sit close to the driver while on a train, tram or bus late at night. The public transport network is generally safe, although drug or alcohol affected travelers occasionally give other commuters grief.
If driving a car, beware of car theft or break-in. Keep valuables out of sight when parked, always lock the car and leave the windows up before you leave. If you are waiting in your car, lock the car as well. A police officer will always show ID before asking you to open your door or window.

Pickpocketing is rare in Melbourne, but be aware of your belongings in and around Flinders Street Station and the crowded block between Flinders and Collins Streets on Swanston Street. Beggars frequent the southern ends of Elizabeth and Swanston Streets, although are unlikely to give you trouble.
Although scams are rare in Melbourne, some real estate agents attempt to prey on foreigners by deducting costs for non-existent reparations and cleaning from the bond. The Tenants Union of Victoria can help with these issues when moving in and out.

It is important to take care around tram lines. Trams are heavy and it can take over 100 meters for a tram to safely stop. Even if a tram has passed, look carefully both ways, as trams will often run nose-to-tail on busy corridors like Swanston Street. If driving, it is illegal to U-turn across tram tracks or pass a tram while the doors are open and passengers are disembarking.

Language spoken in Melbourne, Australia

English is the main language.


11:41 pm
January 22, 2022


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