Melbourne is one of those cities that you have to love (even if you’re from Sydney!). Fantastic coffee, cool street art, lively bars and clubs, bohemian districts and tucked-away laneways hiding epic finds all make it a city worth exploring for several days. To help you make the most of your visit, our local Melbourne tour guides have compiled their tips on everything you need to know, from getting to and from the airport, to the best Melbourne books you should read, to the cool local spots you should check out.
SkyBus is pretty much the only economical way into town from the airport. Just buy a ticket out front of the airport and you’re good to go. An adult return ticket is about AUD 30; a one-way will cost you AUD 18.
In general, buses run every 10 to 15 minutes, and the trip takes about 20 minutes. SkyBus operates 24/7, including public holidays.
Getting around Melbourne is safe and easy; there are a few transit options, taxi and ride-sharing options such as Uber, and it’s pedestrian-friendly, with lots of shady parks and grafitti-laden laneways to shortcut through as you explore.
Tram: The City Circle Tram is a free tram service that operates in the city centre (CBD). It runs in a circle and passes many of the major tourist attractions. It’s both the best and worst thing about Melbourne – free, but always crowded!
Taxi: Use the SilverTop smartphone app for your Melbourne taxi needs.
If you haven’t been to the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), you haven’t been to Melbourne! Try as best as you can to catch a football game here on a Friday night, as it’s a pretty definitive Melbourne experience. You can buy tickets and get info on upcoming games on the Ticketek website.
For another truly local experience, check out Section 8. This spot is a laneway, graffiti hub and a bar inside a shipping container, and pumps out some great local dub step or trip hop, 7 days a week.
If you just want a leisurely ‘local life’ day, go for a stroll through Fitzroy from Gertrude Street to Johnson Street, down Gore Street and George Street, so you can check out some of the coolest street art pieces in the city. Stop into one of the old school local pubs in the area, like the Napier or the Rainbow. Hit up Juddy Roller for a coffee and then get to the Standard Hotel on Fitzroy Street for dinner, before the beer garden fills up!
What’s On Melbourne is the best resource for checking out what’s happening in the city during your visit. (Yes, we know it’s not particularly ‘trendy’ but it really does have a lot of the best events listed!) If you’re into live music, Moshtix is the site used by Melbourne locals to check out what’s on.
Looking for more things to do? Urban Adventures offers several day tours in Melbourne, all led by local experts that will give you a taste for local life in the city:
Booze Makes History Better
Through gold rushes and rebellions, Olympics and royal visits, Melburnians have turned to ales, whiskeys, wines, and cocktails for comfort. Experience Melbourne’s unique bar scene with a local guide and visit its unique watering holes. By the end of his tour, you’ll discover that history really is better with booze (as if there was ever any doubt)! .
Melbourne Bites & Sights
Start at Melbourne’s highest viewpoint and weave your way through its streets. Sip a famous Melbourne flat white, discover the street art scene, sample multicultural food, and finish things off with a hidden laneway bar. From what makes it famous to why the locals love it, we’ll show you the best of Melbourne!
Made In Melbourne
Take a shopping tour with a twist through the charismatic, multicultural hipster suburb of Brunswick — bursting with independent cafés, street art and colourful characters, with plenty of history around every corner. Browse the eclectic shops filled with vintage treasures and products designed and made by Melbourne craftspeople. Visit artists’ studios, meet the artists, and see how they create their wares behind the scenes.
Multicultural Markets of Melbourne
The markets of Melbourne are buzzing, colourful reflections of the city’s soul. Half of Aussies are first- or second-generation immigrants, and this diverse cultural tapestry is on full display in its markets. Go behind the scenes, taste the food, meet the vendors and discover the local culture.
Beer Lovers’ Guide to Melbourne
Get acquainted with bohemian beers, bespoke microbrews and salacious sandwiches on this carb-unfriendly Melbourne walking (or is that stumbling?) tour.
Funky Fitzroy Cocktail Tour
Discover Melbourne’s groovy bohemian side on a guided romp through trendy Fitzroy and Collingwood! Experience a decadent scene grown out of multiculturalism and sample the flavours of the neighbourhood, crafted from ingredients, recipes, and techniques from all around the world.
United States of Food
It’s no secret that Australians share common values with our neighbours across the Pacific. And now, Melburnians are embracing that culture with an American food renaissance. Join our Yankee guides and experience the rich cultural heritage taking hold in our city. Learn about American and Aussie barbecues’ shared heritage, and discover a secret bar playing host to an American tradition from 1869: pinball.
Dogs in Space, about a group of young music fans in 1980s Melbourne, is the movie to watch to get you in the mood for Melbourne — and it stars Michael Hutchence from INXS. Legend!
Spiderbait’s ‘Greatest Hits‘ is the quintessential album for roaming around the laneways of Melbourne.
Looking for a good book to read that oozes Melbourne? Check out Monkey Grip by Helen Garner; the story of a struggling single mother in 1970s Melbourne is noww considered a classic of modern Australian literature. It’s also one of the first examples of the country’s ‘grunge lit’ genre.
To help with planning your Melbourne visit, or to book an Urban Adventures tour of the city, contact us at +61 (0) 418 106 427 or via email at email@example.com. You can also follow us on Instagram for live updates from Melbourne!
Melbourne was settled by Europeans only 180 years ago, but thanks to the discovery of gold in the 1850s, you’d never know it. Stunning Victorian arcades, theatres and government buildings line the city’s historic boulevards. These streets are filled with the city’s 4 million (and ever-increasing) multicultural residents that love watching just about any sport (particularly Aussie Rules Football), discovering hidden laneway bars, and searching for the city’s best eats.