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The Melbourne Map – A Guide to Exploring Australia’s Culture Capital

August 14, 2019 Destination Global No Comments Email Email

When a city has as much to offer as Melbourne, a holiday there can start to seem overwhelming. Solo travellers find themselves spoiled for choice, and can feel like they’re missing out on one thing by choosing another.

Couples and families may find themselves divided, or making more compromises than any one person is truly happy to be making. What you need is a plan. When planning, however, make sure you keep a few things in mind.

 Base of Operations

First and foremost, making sure you don’t have to up and move every two or three days will free up valuable hours of exploring. Hotel rooms are the obvious choice, offering the bare necessities – really just a place to sleep between shows, exhibits and crafters markets. Of course, this is not everyone’s ideal holiday. If you are a solo introvert, or a few members of your travelling family or friends have that tendency, serviced apartments are ideal at creating a temporary home away from home. Having a kitchen and dining area for shared meals also makes unifies the experience for travelling groups who need to pursue separate interests during the day.

Location is obviously going to have a big impact on the experience, too. If staying in or near the CBD is unappealing, it is a good idea to take advantage of Melbourne’s robust public transport network. Making sure you’re equipped with a myki card will give you access to more of the city. Keep in mind that the city centre has a free tram network that covers the entire CBD.

 “Fuelling Up” While You Explore

One of the key things that Melbourne City provides itself on is its coffee, and no guide would be complete without at least a quick nod to the quality brews that are on offer. The competition between cafes is fierce, and this has a double-edge. First, yes, great coffee is out there. The flipside is that the sheer number of cafes can be overwhelming. Do some quick research, and mark off the cafes that sound right up your alley, or at least along your route.

Hand in hand with the coffee is the food. The usual range from fast-and-cheap to luxury-wallet-busting fare is available in the CBD. Catching a tram to one of the inner suburbs opens things up considerably. Heading east on the way to St Kilda beach, for example, will take you by dozens of brilliant independent bakeries, while Fitzroy or Collingwood in the inner northern suburbs is home to award-winning restaurants and cocktail bars.

 Get a Little Culture

There are the obvious choices, on offer, of course. A single tram ride along Swanston Street can take you from the renowned NGV, past the Ian Potter Gallery in the famous Federation Square, by the Bourke St Mall, and even the Melbourne Museum. Some things, however, require a little more digging.

Sydney Road, for example, is home to plenty of Op-shops and retro clothing stores, not to mention offering access to plenty of gallery spaces and, at night, live music and shows.

If long walks and views are more your thing, the Esplanade in St Kilda is just off the beach, and boasts access to a number of cafes and restaurants, as well as local crafter’s market stalls and food trucks, and the famous Luna Park. 

There is no way to fit everything on offer into a single guide. The City of Melbourne is an ever-changing, ever-expanding melting pot of art, music, food and fun. Having a single, comfortable base to explore from, and a flexible plan for your time, you can make the most of your visit. And, if you like it, you can always come back to see the things you missed on your trip to Australia’s culture capital.

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