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What to do in Melbourne

As I spent 2 months living in Melbourne I thought it is time to recommend you some spots you definitely have to see when visiting this great city. I have to admit Melbourne was not a wow city at first sight for me but after a while I really liked the city. I’ve been there again at the end of my time in Australia and I have to say that it is really a good place to live. Melbourne is meant to be the most European city with the best coffee places in Australia.

Summer Festivals

What I like most about it is that there are heaps of festivals going on during summer. I would claim that there is no weekend without one. And you certainly have to go to at least one festival during your stay if it’s summer. The most famous one is apparently St. Kilda festival. It’s right at the beach with some live music stages and a lot of stalls with different food and crafts from all over the world. Go and stroll a bit along these stalls eating some Dutch pancakes, German bratwurst or Mexican burritos while listening to live Reggae music and then enjoy the sunset sitting at St. Kilda beach or in a bar while drinking a beer (it’s actually forbidden to drink alcohol at the beach).

St. Kilda Festival

Pinguins at St. Kilda beach

It might sound weird but when the sun is gone you can go to the end of the pier at St. Kilda beach and you will see some pinguins coming out of the water and looking for their place to sleep. Please don’t pay money and do the excursion to Phillip Island to see pinguins. Probably there will be more pinguins to see, I haven’t been there. But I would just save the money to do a Great Ocean Road tour for example as you can see them at St. Kilda beach as well. It’s so cute how theywaddle when they come out of the water. I’ve been there about three times and always saw at least one pinguin.

That's a pinguin ;)

Botanical Gardens

I actually haven’t been there when I spent the two months in Melbourne. I don’t know why. But when I’ve been there the second time, I’ve been in Melbourne with a friend I met on Fiji and I showed him the places I liked most. And at our last day he said now we have to go somewhere where you have not been before too. So we decided to walk to the Botanical Gardens. It is a bit of a walk from the city centre and not as big as the Botanical Gardens in Sydney but absolutely worth it, especially on a sunny day. Go there to walk a bit around and relax at the small lake, drinking a coffee and enjoy the day.

Fitzroy

Fitzroy should be an absolute must on your to see list. It’s the alternative and cutting edge part of the city. There are a lot of extraordinary cafes, pubs and shops all over Brunswick, Johnston and Smith Street. On the streets you can feel the flair of the part of the city very well too as there is a lot of street art to be seen.

Federation Square

Federation Square is more or less the main square of the city. There are some museums around and in summer (or at least during the Australian Open) you could sit outside on some beach chairs and meet other people. If you are at Federation Square go and have a look at Flinders Street Station, it’s one of the nicest train stations buildings I’ve ever seen. Alexandra Gardens are also close where you can walk along the river.

Federation Square

Flinders Station

Southbank

Also only a stone’s throw away is Southbank. When it is a nice and warm day you might have the feeling that everyone is walking along Melbourne’s river at Southbank. There are some cafes again and you might find the Melbourne Aquarium and the Crown Casino which is a good place to go out btw.

South Bank

CERES

CERES is a not for profit educational organisation located on 4 hectares of rehabilitated landfill in East Brunswick, Melbourne. It is really interesting to go there, they support sustainabilty and have a nursery, market and cafe and the best: They have a place where you can go with your old bike and kind of  “renovate” it. There are some volunteers helping you to fix your bike or you can buy an old one and fix this right there. So if you stay a while in Melbourne and you do not want to pay expensive tram tickets, go there.

CERES

Fix your bike!

Catch the free tram

As I just wrote about expensive tram tickets: There is one exception. You will see an really old fashioned tram going through Melbourne. On this one you can jump on for free and there is even some touristy guidance on the way. The only thing is that a lot of locals take this tram as well and it’s quite noisy if you are taking this tram during the main hours so you can’t understand the guidance. So my advice: Take it during weekdays in the morning or early afternoon.

Free Tram

Hostel Tip: Discovery Melbourne

The first days in Melbourne I spent in Melbourne International Backpacker. The rooms were big enough and they had breakfast included, but the thing which disturbed us was the smell of stinking feet all over the hallways ;). Additionally they cleaned the bathrooms just during check out time which in my opinion is really inappropiate. So I decided not to go back there for my second stay in Melbourne.

My second hostel was the Hotel Discovery which is now called Discovery Melbourne. It is actually on the same street at the MIB but definitely better. Breakfast is also included but it’s better. If you arrive relatively early you can even get some warm breakfast. There is a bar, but if you wanna sleep it’s not loud in your bedroom. I did not hear anything from downstairs. The bathroom is huge, I never had to wait for a shower and they have a lot of stuff going on like cinema nights or games nights and things like this.

Pub Tip: Retreat Hotel

The Retreat Hotel is not in the city centre but not far away. It is on Sydney Road in Brunswick. A place which you should see as well if you’re in the neighbourhood. There are many international stores and places to eat and it’s like a whole other world. But back to the Retreat Hotel. It was like our local hangout during our stay as it was close from our apartment. They have a huge room inside but as well a beer garden kind of part of the pub. It’s really good to sit there, have a beer and enjoy your day after work or sightseeing. The prices are like everywhere else in Melbourne I would say. And they often have live music.

Retreat Hotel

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9 thoughts on “What to do in Melbourne

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