Best things first: You can hire bicycles for free! Yes, you heard right! Now there is a trick behind that. The bike share stations are spread all over Melbourne and you can hire one for 30 minutes for free. After 30 minutes it starts to charge you - but not if you return it, wait 5 minutes and take another bike out again, for another 30 minutes.
Though if you do not feel like changing every 30 minutes, just get a day ticket for $2.80. It is still cheaper than a bus trip!
On the website of Melbourne Bike Share you can find more details, locations and printable maps with suggested cycling routs.
St Kilda is an crazy, bohemian and quirky place with many attractions and lots to do. Stroll along the pier and have an ice cream, try paddle boarding or kite surfing, or just sunbath and relax on the “Melbourne Riviera”. Check out the Esplanade, while taking in the market on a Sunday. Or have a drink and enjoy a band at the Esplanade Hotel. If you are more a beach bum, check out Republica or the Boardwalk Café for your coffee fixes at the beach.
Walk down Acland Street and find fine European bakeries with magnificent cakes and sweets. In fact, many of Melbourne’s finest restaurants are to be found in St Kilda – mostly on Fitzroy and Acland Street.
Now here is another very interesting fact about this amazing suburb - did you know you can see penguins here? Many tourists travel around 200km down the cost to Philipp Island to se those little flightless feathered friends - but only a few know, that there are some right at the gates of Melbourne. Every night just a bit after sunset they swim ashore for their nights rest at the very end of St Kilda pier. If you are lucky you might even see a baby one hiding in the stones waiting for mum and food.
Travel to nearby Chapel Street (which stretches over several suburbs, including St Kilda, Prahran, South Yarra etc) with amazing shopping , op shops and restaurant and cafés. It is a shopping paradise with many fine designer stores and more – surely you will not get bored with the around 3 km long shopping precinct! Chapel Street is definitely one of Melbourne’s hottest food and fashion districts.
By the way, both suburbs are focused on artists, backpackers and other people with not a lot of money - so you can find mouth watering and good cheap eats around here! For more details check out the Food Section on this website!
A quiet suburb with a lot to offer. Or in other words - my home... So you might find a lot of details for this place. It does not mean that this place is better than the rest - but I just know more about it!
Got to the beach! On a hot day, when St Kilda seems to be more like a meat market than a relaxing zone, come to South Melbourne instead - it will be so much more quiet!
The beach is also home to a big playground, a pier and cafés. In summer there are beach volley ball nets on the beach and some people meet for a game. Check out their website if you are interested in volley ball and want to go for a coaching session, or just a game.
Probably one of my personal favourites is the South Melbourne Market. Multiple butchers, bakers, grocers and fishmongers, fortune tellers and snack stands making good use of the produce at hand make this one of the best fresh markets in the city. Worth mentioning is, that always in summer a night market with food, music and arty stalls talkes place on Thursday nights. The opening hours of the market otherwise are Wednesdays and Friday until Sunday 8am-4pm; Fri 8am-5pm.
Need your shopping fix or just need to get some food? Claredon Street calls for all your retail needs. C – and much much more.
Lygon Steet, Carlton
The suburb of Carlton has got many brilliant spots for shopping or going out, though one of the all time favourites must be Lygon Street! Crammed with Italian restaurants, gelatarias and coffee shops, which all serve some of Melbourne's best hospitality. After a good dish “a la mama” you can hit the art house cinema “Cinema Nova”. Little tip: Cheap films are to be seen on Mondays! Viewings before 4 pm only cost $6 and after 4pm a sheer $8!
Looking for something more quiet and out of the city? Why not head further down the coast towards the Mornington Peninsula. You can either take public transport, rent a car, or hire a bicycle for the day. It will make a nice cycle along the beach - pass South Melbourne, St Kilda, Elwood to Brighton.
Once there, the beach and the view towards the city skyline is probably the highlight. So kick back, relax and don't forget your camera for a load of real touristy photos!
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Only about one hour out of Melbourne city is the Yarra Valley. The hilly landscape is one of Victoria's premier wine regions. Though next to an abundance of wineries you'll also find beautiful restaurance, lovely scenery, national and wildlife parks and the famous steam train "Puffing Billy".
The Yarra Valley has got something to offer for every one. For the out-doorsey person: great walking treks, camping grounds, fishing spots and cicle routs. For the foodies: beautiful wineries, cheeseries, restaurants and boutique cafés. Must sees are not only the wineries, but also the Healsville Sanctuary. For more info what to do, visit the Yarra Valley Tourist Information, and also Lonley Planet has got a very good article on what not to miss in the Yarra Valley (even though I hate to send you to other websites, they captured it pretty well).
There are several ways to get there: Public transport exists, but is not the best option. Probably best is to rent a car and be independent. During summer you could even make it into a 2-day cycling tour or if you like it easy, choose one of the many Yarra Valley tour buses, which bring you to and from the wineries - and you do not need to worry about not tasting the great wine or getting caught by the police.
Many of the wineries might charge you for the wine tasting, thoug here are some to mention are worth going:
If you go by yourself, why not download the tourist maps of the Yarra Valley here:
Phillip Island is a great daytrip out of Melbourne. Especially for nature enthusiasts the little island has got a lot to offer.
Most famous it of course the penguin parade, where the little flightless birds come in at night to nest and rest for their fishing trip the next day. Especially great is it during Spring time, when the birds have young onces and are forced out fishing to feed their kids. In winter they can get lazy and might not be spotted that easily as during the warmer months.
Though if it is just for the penguins you want to go to Phillip Island, let me tell you that you can see them for free every night at the end of St. Kilda.
The south of the island offers surgers some nice beaches and a bit a surf. You can also visit the Kuala Rescue Centre on the island or jut go for some nice long walks.
Maps are to be founds here:
The Mornington Peninsula has it all:
This is probably the most famouse landmark in Victoria, but before you read all about the Great Ocean Road, the 12 Apostle and what to see, be warned: DO NOT UNDERESTIMATE THE ROUTE!
The dirve is long, and if you want to do it in one day, then start super early and plan well. If you have got the time, rather take your time and spend 2 or 3 days along the cost. It is well worth it. If you drive along the coast from Melbourne to the 12 Apostle, it will take you about 5 hours in driving time alone. If you go directly inland via the Pricness Hwy it will take you about 3 a half hours (but you miss out on all the nice thins). Best tip - go along the coast and come back the fast way, so you get to spend more time at the nice spots.
Here is all to driving yourself out of Melbourne along the cost:
First stop: Geelong!
Geelong is a little industrial town with a nice port are and a lot of wooden figures along the water. If you have got the time, stop, have a little wonder along the water - it is not the highlight, but still worth stopping.
Also to mention is the Geelong Boat House Fish&Chips shop, which is a old ship converted into a take out restaurant. Very fresh fish and the right atmosphere for it!
Seconldy, make your way further down to Torquay and the surfcoast!
Torquay marks the start of the Great Ocean Road, and is in itself a beautiful little place with plenty of little sea side cafés, surf shops and surfing brands factory outlets. Why is Torquay all about surfing you ask? Because just 10 minutes further down is Bells Beach, the birthplace of Australian surfing and the location where the annual international surf competion of the Rip Curl Pro series takes place. Once you have been there during automn and winter time and see the massive surf, you understand why. Welcome to the surfcoast of Victoria.
If you have got time, take the plundge into the cold wet yourself and have a paddle. Many of the surf shops here also hire out boards and offer surf courses.
Though Torquay is not the only place to surf - all along the coastal towns of Anglesea, Lorne and Apollo Bay you have got the chance of giving surfing a go.
Along the drive from about Lorne to Cape Ottway there are plenty of light houses. 2 of the easiest stops are Aireye Inlet light house with a nice little costal walk and a nice outlook. The seocond one is Cape Ottway light house itself, though be aware that you need to pay to get into the grounds of Cape Ottway as it also houses a little museum and in winter you might even spot a whale (whale season is mid-June until Ausgust).
Some other great lookouts along the way are listed here:
Half way there: Ottway Ranges and National Park
Along the route towards the 12 Apostles are the Otway ranges, a hill/mountain ranges, which offers a lot of hiking and walking ways, waterfalls, rainforest and the Cape Otway National park. If you have got the time, stop and do some of the walks. There are more difficult and really easy ones. To find one for you, you best visit the Tourist Information in either Apollo Bay or Lorne and ask directly the locals.
One highlight is also, on the way to the Cape Ottway light house, you will drive through the forest - look up! Up high in the trees are plenty of Kualas, that's of course if you can spot them. Good luck!
If you are after an attraction of a bit a different sort, why not try something new? How about sky diving with a sea view, a helicopter tour or in the Ottway ranges try the Ottway fly - a zip like which lets you swing from tree to tree! Like your wildlife - and who does not like seals anyhow - try a kayak tour with Apollo Bay surf and Kayak and get up close with sea mamels
And finally: The 12 Apostle and Port Campbell
After a lot of driving you are there! Get out, walk around, take plenty of touristy pictures and just enjoy. If you are still energetic, go for the costal walks - and watch out for the wild life (Kangaroos in the evening, the odd snake or if you are lucky, even some sea animals).
Best maps and things to do, check out the list:
Official Great Ocean Road Tour Map - which can also be picked up at any Tourist Information office
Need more info to the destination - check out the Visit Victoria page