Melbourne City Guide Introduction
Dripping in culture, sport, music, the arts, shopping, and foodie nirvana, Melbourne is the cool, cosmopolitan Europe of Downunder (but shh, don’t tell Sydney that).
Hop on a tram to St Kilda, gorge yourself along Lygon St, shop til you drop at designer stores, discover hidden gems in the CBD back streets and laneways, take in a show, tell the ref he’s dreaming along with 50,000 footy nuts at the MCG, or kick back for a while in the parks, gardens and friendly eateries. The only question is, where to first?
Best time to visit
The official word is ‘Melbourne has a moderate but unpredictable climate’. Let us put that in perspective. This city was the inspiration for Crowded House’s hit “Four seasons in one day”. How many cities can say they’ve had an international chart topping song written about its weather?
While most days average out to a mild ‘Hmm-I-could-live-here’ kind of feel, it’s not uncommon to stroll out in the morning and be greeted by a big grinning sun and blue skies only to find yourself running for cover from icy rain and winds by lunch, so pack those layers.
Spring and August are the best time to visit when there’s longer periods of mild weather and mostly clear skies. Summer temperatures can hit 40C, and winter may shrivel up to the low teens.
Major events in Melbourne
In December, get into the Christmas mood with some celebrity singalongs at Carols by Candlelight.
In January, everyone’s for tennis as the Australian Open hits town.
If you can’t find something to do here in March you have some serious entertainment issues. There’s the Formula One Grand Prix, Melbourne Moomba Waterfest, Food and Wine Festival, International Flower and Garden Show and Melbourne International Comedy Festival, and that’s just for entree.
As the thermometer drops, snuggling up with a DVD and a bottle of red takes on a new meaning in Melbourne, with The Winter Wine Weekend (June) at Mornington Peninsula and the Melbourne International Film Festival (July-August)..
When the days get longer and spirits lift, the frocks, hats and horses come out of the closet for the famous Spring Racing Carnival. This includes ‘the race that stops a nation’, the Melbourne Cup. For less childish behaviour around animals, there’s loads of family fun at the Royal Melbourne Show, with petting zoos, fun rides and exhibits for all ages.
Getting around Melbourne
Melbourne's an easy city to navigate by foot or car, and even easier on public transport. The main roads of the CBD run parallel and fan out like wheel spokes to the suburbs. The famous trams are a fun, simple, cheap way to get around the city, while trains and buses are also highly competent.
Hotel.com.au Staff Favourites
The Hotel.com.au team have road-tested some of our Melbourne hotels and here are a few personal recommendations of their favourite places to stay.
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- The Sebel Hawkesbury was excellent. Great friendly staff and excellent rooms. 11/10 Highly recommend this Hotel A Denman
- .... reservation process was fast and smooth. Grand Hyatt hotel has met our expectations. Our flight was very late and they allowed us to have late check out at 4 pm without extra charges. Definitely we will book again with Hotel.com.au D Purnamasari
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- The resevation service was simple to use and efficient. L Britz