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.


  • 3 self rated
    15 - 21 Therry Street Melbourne 3000 Australia
    Located in Melbourne’s CBD (Central Business District), ibis Melbourne Hotel and Apartments offers modern accommodation in a convenient position. The hotel features a restaurant and bar. All guests can enjoy complimentary Wi-Fi access throughout the hotel. Ibis Melbourne Hotel and Apartments is only...more

    Mantra City Central

    4 star
    318 Little Bourke St Melbourne 3000 Australia
    Located in the heart of Melbourne, Mantra City Central offers modern apartments with stylish décor. The property is next door to the iconic shopping destination, The Emporium Melbourne. Mantra City Central is a 25 minute drive from Melbourne Airport. Public transport options are situated directly ou...more
    4 self rated
    1 William Street Melbourne 3000 Australia
    Clarion Suites Gateway offers spacious, self-catering and fully serviced studios and 1 and 2-bedroom suites and has the best of Melbourne on its doorstep. Free WiFi is available. Clarion Suites Gateway is located on the banks of the Yarra River, in the heart of Melbourne CBD. From here it is only a...more

    Mantra on The Park

    4 star
    333 Exhibition Street Melbourne 3000 Australia
    Located in the heart of Melbourne CBD, Mantra offers self-contained accommodation with a private balcony and views of the city skyline or Carlton Gardens. It features a swimming pool and sauna. Mantra On the Park is opposite the Exhibition Street Stop of the free City Circle Tram. Melbourne Central...more
    4 star
    11-17 Cohen Place Melbourne 3000 Australia
    Punthill Apartment Hotel - Little Bourke offers modern accommodation in Melbourne's Chinatown. All self-contained apartments include high-speed internet access and flat-screen cable TV. Punthill Apartment Hotel - Little Bourke is surrounded by the restaurants, bars and cafes of Melbourne’s vibrant C...more
    5 self rated
    1 Southgate Avenue Melbourne 3006 Australia
    Situated on the banks of the Yarra River, The Langham Melbourne features an indoor swimming pool with views across the city. The elegant interior includes a grand marble staircase, cascading fountains and magnificent chandeliers. The Langham is 600 metres from Crown Casino and 850 metres from Bourke...more
    5 self rated
    16 Murphy Street Melbourne 3141 Australia
    Offering free Wi-Fi, a day spa and a fitness centre, the 5-star Lyall Hotel And Spa is located in fashionable urban South Yarra. It is within walking distance of the restaurants and shops of Toorak Road and Chapel Street. The rooms at the Lyall Hotel are stylish and spacious. Each room has under-flo...more
    4 self rated
    441 Royal Parade Parkville 3052 Australia
    With a stay at Vibe Hotel Carlton in Parkville, you'll be in the entertainment district and minutes from Princes Park and close to Melbourne Cricket Ground. This 4-star hotel is within close proximity of Melbourne Zoo and State Netball Hockey Centre.Rooms Make yourself at home in one of the 87 air-...more
    4 self rated
    131 Lonsdale Street Melbourne 3000 Australia
    Enjoy some of the best views in Melbourne CBD, from the heated rooftop swimming pool at Hotel Grand Chancellor Melbourne. Located in the heart of the theatre district, it offers a choice of 2 restaurants. Offering easy access to the city’s vibrant theatres, nightlife, shopping and sporting precincts...more
    4 self rated
    575 Flinders Lane Melbourne 3000 Australia
    Located in Melbourne's CBD, on the corner of Flinders Lane and Spencer Street, this hotel offers a heated outdoor pool, a garden terrace and a fitness centre. All rooms have a flat-screen TV with cable channels. There are tram and bus stops directly outside the hotel. Children aged 17 years and belo...more
    4 self rated
    2-4 Marmion Place, New Quay Melbourne 3008 Australia
    The Sebel Residences Melbourne Docklands is located in Melbourne’s vibrant waterfront district of NewQuay. These self-catering apartments offer a private balcony, plus access to a fitness centre. Most rooms have stunning bay views. The Sebel Residences Melbourne Docklands is less than 10 minutes’ wa...more
    5 star
    2 Convention Centre Place, South Wharf Melbourne 3006 Australia
    Pan Pacific Melbourne offers luxurious and stylish accommodation, with panoramic views of the city, Port Phillip bay or Yarra River. Guests enjoy the finest facilities including a fitness centre, and the intimate service of fine and casual dining options and the Pacific Club Lounge, complete with ou...more
    4 self rated
    66 Aurora Lane, Docklands Melbourne 3008 Australia
    This Travelodge is located in Melbourne’s Docklands area, just 200 metres from Etihad Stadium. It offers air-conditioned rooms with satellite TV and en suite bathrooms. Guests receive 100MBs of free WiFi per 24 hours. All rooms have internet accessible work desks, a kitchenette with a microwave and...more
    5 star
    187 Flinders Lane Melbourne 3000 Australia
    Situated in the heart of the vibrant Flinders Lane shopping and dining precinct, Adelphi Hotel boasts free WiFi, free local phone calls and free in-room snacks and refreshments. Conveniently located in Melbourne CBD, Hotel Adelphi is within 5 minutes’ walk of Flinders Street Station and Federation S...more

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