A number of years ago I caught the wanderlust bug, an affliction that keeps me dreaming of far away places. A brunch catch up with my best friend yesterday, had me remembering that I live in a wonderful city with so many great things to do and see and that for many, a visit to Melbourne is on their bucket list of places to see. If you plan to come for a visit to Australia here’s a few tips for an inexpensive weekend in Melbourne:
Where to stay in Melbourne
If you are staying for a weekend or only a few days, accommodation in the city centre is a great option. You will be close to great attractions, shopping and lots of food options. If you are staying longer you might like to venture a little further out to the inner city suburbs or places by the beach like St Kilda. There are a variety of accommodation types available at different price points that will fit into your budget.
Getting in to town
The main airport in Melbourne is Tullamarine. It’s a about 30 mins from the city centre and not serviced by trains so you will need to catch a taxi (approx $50 – $60) or a bus to get into the city. Regular Skybuses run from the airport to the city and St. Kilda and cost:
- $19 Adult – one way (city and St Kilda)
- $37 Adult – round trip (St Kilda)
- $38 Adult – round trip (city)
- Skybus also now runs services to the Mornington Peninsula and western suburbs of Melbourne.
- Skybus also services Avalon airport
(Prices current as at 4 May 2019. The Skybus is a great economical option and operates daily:
- Airport to/from Melbourne city – operates 24/7, including all public holidays, running every 10 minutes.
- Airport to/from St Kilda – operates 6am to 7pm, 7 days a week.
Why not make Melbourne a stop on your road trip down the East Coast of Australia.
Things to do and see
There are plenty of things to see and do on a weekend in Melbourne, but with two days up your sleeve, here are a few things I recommend:
Spend a morning at The National Gallery of Victoria
Free to enter and a great way to spend a morning is the NGV. By far the most well-known gallery in Victoria with over 70, 000 works from all disciplines. Large, international exhibitions often take stage and these will cost you money, but the NGV-owned collections are a history’s worth of viewing. If you venture to Federation Square, you’ll find the Ian Potter Centre, another branch of the NGV that houses Indigenous art from the colonial to contemporary, and exhibits the works of contemporary artists.
Take a walking food tour or venture off on your own to taste the delights of the Melbourne food scene
Up until this year Melbourne has been awarded ‘The World’s most Liveable City’ for five years running. A significant part in that has to be our intense passion for what we cook, eat and drink. Melbourne is known for it’s international food experiences and its very easy to find food influences from all over the world. Melbournians love their coffee and it’s pretty hard to find a bad cup in this city. There are a number of companies that offer walking tours for foodies, offering a glimpse into the different cuisines you can find in the city.
Explore the Melbourne Laneways
Melbourne is famous for its wonderful laneways that showcase the cafe lifestyle, unique boutiques, buskers and local street art. Here are the top 6 must see laneways in the CBD:
- Centre Place
- Hosier Lane
- AC/DC Lane
- Tattersalls Lane
- Meyers Place
- Hardware Lane
Queen Victoria Markets
Queen Victoria Market is the heart and soul of Melbourne. Eat, shop, explore and discover your way through food halls and heritage sheds where you’ll find an array of fresh produce, clothing and nic nacs. Soak up the atmosphere of the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere.
Take a free ride on the Melbourne City Circle Tram
Melbourne’s iconic trams are a great way to get around the city. The City Circle Tram is free to ride and will give you a taste of what’s on offer. It’s also a great way to see Melbourne’s beautiful architecture. You can hop on and hop off as you please.
Take in the architectural beauty
Much of inner Melbourne has a distinctly Victorian architectural character courtesy of the gold rush and the 1880s land boom, The stock of boomtime buildings was further enhanced in the 1920s and 1930s, by many elegant pre-war buildings. Much of early Melbourne character has been destroyed post the 1956 Olympic games by a wave of Modernism and Internationalism urban renewal that gives parts of downtown Melbourne a feel similar to that of downtown Chicago or New York. More recently, the architectural fabric of the city has been somewhat sympathetically restored through the postmodern architecture movement of the 1990s. Check out Flinder’s Street Station and Federation Square where you’ll see the juxtapostion of old and new architecture that really defines Melbourne.
Jump on a Number 96 tram for a trip to St Kilda Beach
If you want to escape the CBD for a while, grab yourself a Myki card (available at train stations and little grocery shops around the city), top it up and take a Number 96 train to St Kilda Beach. You can catch the number 96 along Bourke Street and take it to the last stop at Ackland Street in St Kilda. Here you’ll find an eclectic mix of people, cake shops that will make you drool just looking in the window and great places to stop and have a meal. St Kilda Beach is also home to Melbourne’s Luna Park, and even if you don’t go in, Luna Park is worth having a sticky beak at.
Check out the beach boxes in Brighton
These beautiful bathing boxes at Dendy Street beach in Brighton are a Melbourne ikon. You’ll see people from all over the world taking photos of these 82 little boxes that were built over 100 years ago.
There’s so much more
A weekend in Melbourne will leave you wanting more. There is so much to see and do here that I haven’t mentioned but you will have fun finding Melbourne’s gems for yourself. The perfect city for a solo vacation.