Melbourne: A Complete Travel Guide

travel melbourne

Melbourne is the capital of Victoria, a state in the southeast of mainland Australia. Home to a number of Australia’s best-known landmarks, such as The National Gallery of Victoria and the Royal Exhibition Building (listed by World Heritage), Melbourne is a popular destination for tourists from around the globe and one of the most visited cities in Australia.

Melbourne is lively and welcoming with varied entertainment and leisure options, cultural attractions, and an exciting gastronomic scene.

Travelers planning a trip to the city can find useful information below including when to visit, where to stay, and how to obtain a visa for Australia.

Do I need a Visa to Go to Melbourne?

Everyone who is not an Australian citizen must obtain a visa before entering the country. Only citizens of New Zealand do not need a visa for Australia.

Most foreign nationals are now able to apply for an Australia visa online in a simple process which takes just a few minutes to complete. This time-saving method means tourists are not required to attend an embassy or consulate to present documentation in person.

Different types of Australian visa are available depending on the nationality of the applicant and the purpose of the visit.

The Australia ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) is available to citizens of 9 non-European countries visiting Melbourne for tourism or business purposes whilst travelers from European countries should apply for the Australia eVisitor visa.

Holders of the ETA and eVisitor visas are permitted to stay for 90 consecutive days (3 months) in Australia.

Both visas are valid for 12 months and are multi-entry, this means that it is possible to enter and leave Australia multiple times until the passport or the ETA/eVisitor expires, whichever happens first.

When is the Best Time to Visit Melbourne?

Melbourne can be enjoyed all year round provided that travelers pack suitable clothing for the season. The hottest months in Melbourne are January and February whilst winter extends from June to August.

Offering moderate weather conditions, Autumn (March to May) and Spring (September to November) are generally considered to be the best seasons to visit Australia.

Winter in Melbourne: June to August

  • Temperature range:  43 – 57 °F (6  – 14 °C)
  • Cold and cloudy
  • Overnight frost
  • Heavy rainfall rare
  • Some snowfall in north-east Victoria.

Spring in Melbourne: September to November

  • Temperatures range: 49 – 67 °F (9 – 19°C)
  • Variable weather conditions, sunshine and storms possible
  • October is the wettest month of the year.

Summer in Melbourne: December to February

  • Temperature range: 57 – 77°F (14 – 25°C)
  • Dry with occasional heat waves lasting a few days
  • January and February are the hottest months, temperatures can go above 86°F (30°C).

Autumn in Melbourne: March to May

  • Temperature range 51 – 68°F (11  – 20°C)
  • Cooler weather and clear sunny days.

How to Get from the Airport to Melbourne City Centre

Melbourne Airport, the second largest airport in Australia, serves the city of Melbourne. The airport is situated 23km from the city center and, with several transport options available, reaching the center is straightforward.

Taxis can be pre-booked or picked up outside the terminal. The journey time is around 30 minutes, depending on traffic, and costs in the region of 60 AUD (40 USD).

Another convenient means of travel is the shuttle bus which runs to and from Southern Cross Station 24 hours per day. The journey time is 20 to 40 minutes and a one-way ticket costs 19 AUD (13USD).

Which is the Best Neighborhood to Stay in Melbourne?

The suburbs which make up the city of Melbourne are numerous and varied, with a vibe to match every kind of tourist.

From the quirky and alternative to the elegant business quarters, visitors from all walks of life will find an area of the city in which they feel at home.

It is a good idea to book accommodation in advance, online portals are a convenient way to find hotels, apartments and guest houses in the city.

Melbourne Central Business District

Melbourne Central Business District is a vibrant area boasting open spaces, the royal gardens, and high-end shopping opportunities.

Tourists mix with office workers in the area’s many cool cafes and restaurants.

Fitzroy: the alternative side of Melbourne

The streets of the Fitzroy neighborhood are lined with secondhand book stores, vintage clothing boutique and independent shops. The food offering is equally eclectic with numerous vegan and vegetarian eateries.

Southbank: a borough by the water

A sophisticated waterside suburb with cultural attractions including the Malthouse Theatre and Melbourne Recital Centre as well as public art displays.

There are also plenty of fine-dining options on the promenade in Southbank.

Popular Tourist Attractions in Melbourne

Melbourne offers a wide range of attractions for visitors to enjoy. In addition to exploring the cobbled streets lined with coffee shops and independent boutiques, there are numerous sites of cultural and historical interest.

  • Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria: 8,500 plant species and varied wildlife
  • Eureka Skydeck 88: the fastest elevator in the Southern Hemisphere
  • National Gallery of Victoria: the most visited art museum in Australia
  • Captain Cook’s Cottage: the house of Captain James Cook’s parents brought to Melbourne from North Yorkshire in 1934
  • Melbourne Star Observation Wheel: panoramic views of Melbourne from a giant Ferris wheel.

Is Melbourne Safe for Tourists?

Australia is known for being a safe country and Melbourne, ranked the world’s 10th safest city in The Economist’s Safe City Index 2019, is no exception.

With the risk of criminal activity against tourists very low,  visitors can feel safe exploring Melbourne on foot, including in the evening.

Unlike many other large cities across the world, Melbourne is also considered to be a safe destination for female travelers.