The city centre of Melbourne represents the city's cultural, entertainment and financial heart. Locally called the Central Business District, the CBD or simply the City, it is where international and interstate visitors spend the bulk of their time. Most must-see attractions sit within the city's grid-planned centre, as is much of the accommodation and nightlife.
- Melbourne Visitor Centre, Federation Square, cnr Swanston & Flinders Streets. Daily 9am-6pm, closed Christmas Day and Good Friday. Provides information and tips about the city, accommodation advice and hands out free maps and travel brochures.
- Southbank — This major entertainment precinct spans the southern bank of the Yarra River, opposite the CBD. The riverfront features a large number of fantastic, but expensive, restaurants. The area is a hub of activity and movement, complemented by its family-friendly landmark, the Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex.
- Docklands — Just west of Spencer Street in the CBD, the old shipping yards have been redeveloped into a mixed-use residential, commercial and entertainment district perched upon the waterfront. A variety activities, sights and shopping facilities exist throughout the area. Although often touted by tourism boards as a must-visit, the development has been widely criticised as stoic, clinical and unlively.
- Chinatown — Melbourne's Chinatown is the longest continuous Chinese settlement in the Western world. It dates back to the times of the Victorian Gold Rush of the 1850s, which saw mass Chinese immigration. The locality has only grown since then and is still a mecca of activity and good food. Most of Chinatown is situated on the eastern part of Little Bourke Street.
- Greek Precinct — Famous for its good food and Hellenic architecture and culture, the precinct is located in the general area surrounding the intersection of Lonsdale and Russell Streets.
The City Centre is Melbourne's hub of public transport. Every train line and most tram routes pass through or terminate in the city. All suburban trains will stop at the city's busiest interchange, Flinders Street Station. Country trains terminate at Southern Cross Station. Trams mostly run east to west along Bourke and Collins Streets, and north to south along Swanston Street.
Much of Melbourne's freeway network is also designed around moving cars into the city, with the major citybound freeways being the Eastern, Monash, West Gate and CityLink. Most locals opt to leave the car at home and use public transport to reach the city centre, owing to often all-day congestion, very high parking rates and the ease of getting to the city by other means.
The PTV Hub. (M-F 7am-7pm, Sa-Su 9am-6pm). is located at Southern Cross Station, and is able to assist with any transport or myki related enquiries, including the sale of tourist packs.
The simplest and most traditional way to get around the inner city is by tram. Most major thoroughfares are serviced by a tram. The north-south routes with trams are Spencer, William, Elizabeth, Swanston and Spring Streets. La Trobe, Bourke, Collins and Flinders Streets are the major east-west tram routes.
If travelling only within the central grid, there is often no need to work out what tram route or number you need to catch. Trams typically travel along the entire length of a street in the city centre, and do not turn (apart from some notable exceptions along the edges at Spencer, Spring, Flinders and La Trobe Streets). Therefore, simply get on a tram that is going in the direction you want to go, and get off at the stop you need.
Although the frequency of trams is high, they can be very slow for even a short distance. In busy periods, you may see pedestrians moving faster! Experiencing congestion inside a tram is more than likely; just make sure you hold on to the rails, as the trams often accelerate and brake suddenly.
Over the past five years, Melbourne has had a major shift towards becoming a bicycle friendly city. New bike lanes and infrastructure are constantly under construction in the inner city. The main bike routes in the CBD are:
- Swanston Street, north-south, lanes all the way down past St Kilda and up to Melbourne University in the inner north. Parts are segregated by concrete with right of way, others are on-road lanes right next to traffic and parked cars. In the centre of the city, remember to stop behind boarding trams at the new shared superstops.
- William Street, north-south, segregated from traffic
- La Trobe Street, east-west, segregated from parking and traffic
- Various bike lanes and routes in the Docklands precinct
- Trails including the Capital City trail along the Yarra and past Southbank
The Melbourne Bike Share scheme makes it fairly straight forward for visitors to borrow a bike to travel around the city with. There are just over 50 bike stations and 600 bicycles around the city centre, recognisable by their distinct blue branding.
To borrow a bike, you will need a valid credit/debit card; cash is not accepted. You are also legally required to wear a helmet, available to share for free on the bikes as of July 2013, although also purchasable from 7/11 outlets for $7. At a station, follow the prompts, inserting and removing your credit card. Either view or print the short 5-digit code; if you forget it or the printer fails, simply reinsert your credit card. Then punch the code into the left side of the dock of the bike you want and yank it out. When returning a bike, it requires a strong push into the dock and you will need to make sure it beeps and flashes a green light. Apps such as Spotcycle (iOS/Android/BlackBerry) and bcycl (Windows Phone) assist in finding the nearest bike stations, including the number of bikes and free spaces available.
There is an inescapable, base cost of $2.70 to subscribe for a day, or $8 for a week, along with a $50 deposit that is eventually returned to your card. Then, there may be an additional cost depending on the length of time you hire a particular bike between stations. If you hire and return a bike within 30 minutes, there is no additional fee. If you spend up to an hour, it is an extra $2; up to 90 minutes, $7, before it starts becoming fairly expensive. The best way to travel is to time yourself and make sure you dock the bike at a station every 30 minutes, making journeys free each time. After docking a bike, you are free to rehire a bike by reinserting your credit card at no extra base cost; you will just have to wait 2 minutes between docking and rehiring.
The City Loop forms the backbone of the entire Melbourne train network and serves the city centre. It runs around the edges of the grid layout, with a mix of sunken, elevated and underground sections. The iconic Flinders Street Station in the south serves as the hub of all suburban rail travel throughout Melbourne, while the also iconic Southern Cross Station in the west is the hub of rural rail and bus travel. Parliament, Melbourne Central and Flagstaff stations are all underground, located in the east, north-east and north-west respectively. Melbourne Central is built into a major shopping centre, while Flagstaff is closed on weekends and public holidays.
There is no single service that continually runs around the Loop, but rather a selection of suburban services which pass through. Each station in the CBD has a TV display of popular stations, including the next two train services and the platform they depart from. Trains are frequent enough that there isn't a need to plan inter-CBD travel and you won't have to wait more than 10 minutes.
The design of the city centre's roads may look straightforward on a map, but it is a fairly different situation on the ground. The abundance of trams means that at many intersections, vehicles have to make right-hand turns from the far left lane. Cars in the turning lane must wait until the traffic light perpendicular to them changes to green before they can finish their turn. This infamous manoeuvre has come to be known as the hook turn, and is sometimes touted as a unique Melbourne experience.
Other important things to note are to stay clear of the centre tram lane, watch for wayward pedestrians and bikes, and that most of Swanston and Bourke Streets are permanently closed to car traffic in favour of trams, bikes and pedestrians. Parking is mostly provided through multi-storey or underground garages, but can be very expensive on weekdays.
- Flinders Street Station, Cnr Flinders and Swanston Streets, toll-free: 1800 800 007. Open 24 hours, daily. Arguably the defining landmark of Melbourne, this colonial-era railway station was designed in an 1899 competition. The station's front steps, below a row of clocks announcing train departure times, are a popular meeting point for locals. It is the busiest suburban station in the Southern Hemisphere. Although grand from the outside, the interior has become dilapidated over the years and many rooms including the ballroom are closed to the public. A 2013 design competition by the government hopes to bring it back to its former glory.
- Government House.
- Governor La Trobe's Cottage.
- Melbourne Town Hall, Cnr Swanston and Collins Streets (Tram routes 11, 31, 48, 109 or 112: Stop 6), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Tours: M-F 11am and 1pm. Built in 1870, the city's town hall can be describes as no less than grand and historic. 1 hour tours allow visitors to see the ornate Council chambers, the richly-carved Grand Organ and sit in the Lord Mayor's chair. Bookings recommended. Free.
- Old Melbourne Gaol, 377 Russell St (2 minute walk from Melbourne Central Station, or tram routes 24, 30 or 35 (City Circle)), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Daily 9:30am-5:30pm except Good Friday and Christmas Day. Night tours: M, W, F and Sa. Built in 1841, it is now a penal museum, with a watch house and magistrate's court also on-site. Bushranger Ned Kelly was hanged here in 1880. The scaffold on which he and many others were hanged is displayed, as is Kelly’s death mask. There are other displays in many of the cells. Allow an hour or so for your visit. $25 adult, $20 concession, $13.50 child (5-15yrs), family tickets available..
- Parliament House of Victoria, 110 Spring St (Parliament Station or tram routes 35 (City Circle), 86, 95 or 96: Stop 9), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 9:30am-3:45pm. Tours: Sa-Su 9:30, 10:30, 11:30am, 1:30, 2:30 and 3:45pm; on sitting Tuesdays, 9:30, 10:30 and 11:30am. Built between 1856 and 1879, the Australian federal parliament sat in this impressive building from 1901 to 1927 while Canberra was built. The majestic façade can be seen right down Bourke St. Tours of the assembly halls and libraries are conducted when parliament is not in session. Visitors are also welcome to sit in the public gallery when parliament is in session. Free.
- Scots Church, Cnr Collins and Russell Streets (Tram routes 11, 31, 48, 109 or 112: Stop 7), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-F 11am-2:30pm; Sunday visits only for Mass services. Gothic church built in 1873, the first Presbyterian house of worship in the city. Free.
- Shrine of Remembrance.
- State Library of Victoria, 328 Swanston St (Melbourne Central Station, or tram routes 1, 3, 6, 8, 16, 67 or 72: Stop 8), ☎ . M-W 10am-9pm, Th-Su 10am-6pm, except public holidays. Built in stages beginning in 1854, it has an impressive classical revival façade. Includes a good newspaper reading room, genealogy room and an art collection, as well as the fantastic La Trobe Reading Room and its huge dome. Bushranger Ned Kelly's armour is stored permanently on display, along with a variety of galleries and exhibitions. Internet terminals are provided for research only, not email, and usually need to be booked because of high demand. Coin-operated lockers are available just off the lobby, where large bags must be deposited before entry. Free Wi-Fi and guided tours are also available. Free.
- St Michaels Uniting Church, Cnr Collins and Russell Streets (Tram routes 11, 31, 48, 109 or 112: Stop 7), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. M-F 10:30am-1:30pm. Romanesque-style church built in 1866. Free.
- St Patrick’s Cathedral, 2 Cathedral Pce, East Melbourne (2 minute walk from Parliament Station, or tram routes 11, 31, 109 or 112: Stop 11), ☎ . M-F 9am-5pm. The original part of this Gothic Revival cathedral was built in the 1850s. It was consecrated in 1897 and the spires added in 1939. It is the largest and tallest church in Australia. Free.
- St Paul's Cathedral, 198 Flinders St (Flinders Street Station), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-F 8am-6pm, Sa 9am-4pm, Su 7:30am-7:30pm. Gothic-revival cathedral on the site of the colony's first church services in 1836. Free.
- Crown Entertainment Complex, 8 Whiteham St, Southbank (5 minute walk across river from Flinders Street Station), ☎ . 24h daily, closed 4AM-noon Christmas Day, Good Friday, and Anzac Day.. A Las Vegas-style gambling palace (including the Crown Casino), also containing restaurants, upmarket boutiques, nightclubs, two hotel towers, a cinema complex and floorshows. Free.
- Eureka Tower, 7 Riverside Quay, Southbank (5 minute walk across river from Flinders Street Station), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 10am-10pm. Contains the highest observation deck in the Southern Hemisphere on level 88, with panoramic views of the entirety of Melbourne. Only recommended in clear weather. Also offers an additional cost "Edge" experience whereby visitors are protruded outside of the building inside a glass-panelled cube. $18.50 adult, $14 concession, $10 child (4-16yrs) and various family tickets. Discounted price for additional same-day visit at nighttime..
- Federation Square, 2 Swanston St (Flinders Street Station), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. The city's most popular meeting place. The striking architecture of its buildings create a nice backdrop to this open plaza, directly opposite Flinders Street Station. There are usually live, free performances from various groups, along with coverage of major sporting and cultural events on the huge television. A number of museums and organisations call the site home, as well as Melbourne's major visitor information centre in the 'shard' building.
- Melbourne Aquarium, Cnr Flinders St and Kings Way (Tram routes 35 (City Circle), 70 or 75: Stop 2), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 9:30am-6pm, last admission at 5pm. Home to over 10,000 aquatic creatures, there are four distinct areas of the aquarium dedicated to Antarctica, seahorses, the rainforest and the ocean, the latter of which includes a glass walk-through experience. Shark diving and animal feeding available. $35 adult, $21.50 child (4-15yrs), $29 concession, $92 family (2ad+2ch); discounts online.
- Melbourne Star, 101 Waterfront Way, Docklands (Tram routes 35 (City Circle), 70 or 86: Stop D11), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Loathed by Melburnians for its exorbitant cost and constant faults, this observation wheel opened late to much fanfare in 2008, to only be closed a few months later due to engineering faults and cracks. The whole wheel is currently being completely rebuilt to reopen in late 2013, though it can still be viewed from the ground.
Galleries and the arts
- Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily 10am-5pm, except Christmas Day. A museum, gallery and collection of cinemas dedicated to film, TV, video games, new media and art, both old and new. Regularly holds a number of interesting exhibitions. General entry free; charges apply for exhibitions.
- Hosier Lane (Across from Federation Square). If you want to sample street art, head for this little lane full of ever-evolving, colourful graffiti from end to end.
- The Ian Potter Centre (NGV Australia), Federation Square (At the back of Federation Square), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Tue-Sun 10:00-17:00, except Christmas Day and Good Friday; 13:00+ on ANZAC Day. Houses over 25,000 works of only Australian art, including paintings, sculptures, photography and fashion. Famous artists such as Frederick McCubbin and Sidney Nolan are on display, along with a fine collection of Indigenous art. Free for the permanent collection.
- National Gallery of Victoria (NGV International), 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Wed-Mon 10:00-17:00, except Christmas Day and Good Friday; 13:00+ on ANZAC Day. The premier venue for international fine art exhibitions in Melbourne, with a permanent collection and international collections. A must-see for art lovers. Free for the permanent collection.
- Victorian Arts Centre.
- ANZ Banking Museum, 380 Collins St (Tram routes 11, 31, 48, 109 or 112: Stop 4). M-F 10am-3pm except public holidays. Housed in the late-19th century Gothic Revival ANZ Bank building, it walks through the history of Australian banking from Indigenous bartering economies to finance of the future. Free.
- Chinese Museum, 22 Cohen Place, Chinatown (Just off Little Bourke St, near the plaza with the Chinese arches. Nearest trams at Cnr Russell and Bourke Streets), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Daily 10am-5pm, closed Good Friday, Christmas and New Year's Day. Situated in the midst of Chinatown, it documents and explains the history of Chinese immigrants in Australia. The 'millennium dragon' is on display, the largest Chinese dragon in the world, along with an interactive underground exhibit highlighting the goldfields. Also on-site is a free visitor centre and a gift shop. The museum runs 2 hour walking tours of Chinatown by appointment ($15 adult, $10 child). $8 adult, $6 child/concession.
- Fire Services Museum, 39 Gisborne St, East Melbourne (Tram routes 11, 24, 30, 31, 109 or 112: Stop 12), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Th-F 9am-3pm, Su 10am-4pm. A largely niche museum, it is the largest fire service-related collection in Australia. Houses historical uniforms, vehicles, photos and other memorabilia.
- Immigration Museum, 400 Flinders St (Tram routes 35 (City Circle), 70 or 75: Stop 3), ☎ . Daily 10am-5pm except Good Friday & Christmas Day. Located in the restored Old Customs House, it covers customs and immigration history over the past 200 years. Details the stories and experiences of immigrations to Australia, both past and present. $6 adult, children/concession free..
- Old Treasury Building and Gold Museum, 20 Spring St (Parliament Station or tram routes 11, 35 (City Circle), 42, 48, 109 and 112: Stop 8), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Su-F 10am-4pm, closed Good Friday, Christmas and Boxing Day. Built in 1858 by a 19 year old architect, it was the city’s first Italian Renaissance building and many consider that its elegance has not been surpassed by anything in Melbourne since. Contains displays on the history of Melbourne as well as the history of gold in Victoria, including the original gold vaults. Fun activities for children, including the chance to earn a novelty gold license. The expansive Treasury Gardens behind the building are also worth a visit. Free.
- Polly Woodside Maritime Museum, 2A Clarendon St, South Wharf (Near the Exhibition Centre; tram routes 96, 109 or 112: Stop 124A), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Daily in Summer, July school holidays and weekends in Winter: 10am-4pm. A maritime museum based aboard the restored 1885 sailing ship "Polly Woodside". Various kids activities available, including Pirate Sundays. $10 adult, $7 child.
- Victoria Police Museum, 637 Flinders St (Tram routes 35 (City Circle) or 70: Stop D6), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-F 10am-4pm. Displays with over 150 years of stories and of crime, justice, courage and forensic techniques. Includes some of the famous Kelly Gang's armour, the burnt out car used in the Russell Street Police HQ bombing and various records about famous gangland figures. Regular free exhibitions are on display. Free.
Parks and nature
- Alexandra Gardens.
- Captain Cook's Cottage and Fitzroy Gardens, 230 Wellington Pde, East Melbourne (Tram routes 48 and 75: Stop 10), e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Cooks' Cottage: Daily 9am-5pm, closed Christmas Day. Features Captain Cook’s Cottage which is the cottage that belonged to Captain James Cook’s parents and was transported from Yorkshire to Melbourne in 1934. Cooks' Cottage: $5 adult, $3 concession, $2.50 child (5-15yrs).
- Queen Victoria Gardens. Features memorials to Queen Victoria and King Edward VII, sculptures and a floral clock of 7000 plants.
- Royal Botanic Gardens. Recognised as one of the world’s finest botanic gardens, with over 10,000 species and 50,000 individual plants in the 38 hectare gardens.
- Medibank Icehouse, 105 Pearl River Road, Docklands (Tram routes 35 (City Circle), 70 and 86: Stop D11), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. 10am-10pm daily. The largest ice recreation venue in the Southern Hemisphere, the Icehouse allows visitings to skate around a large ice rink. Free beginners classes on weekends and school holidays. Regularly holds public events such as dancing, games and music parties. $25 adult, $23 concession, $21 child (includes skates).
Melbourne’s vibrant retail scene thrives with alluring labels, products and shopping experiences. It's an eclectic mix of high end fashion, funky boutiques and mainstream stores, all of which have a home in the city’s laneways, retail centres and tree-lined streets.
- Bourke Street Mall (Easily reached by any Bourke or Swanston St tram.). A popular pedestrian and tram-only mall in the city centre lined with both big-name fashion brands and start-up designers.
- Hussy, 338 Bourke St. A cult designer label that caters to a ultra chic and fashion forward clientèle.
- Fat, Shop G03, GPO, 350 Bourke St. Renowned for discovering some of Australia's most beloved labels; stocks emerging labels as well as the now established brands.
- Myer, 314-336 Bourke St. The flagship store of Australia's largest department store chain.
- Aesop, 35 Albert Coates Lane. QV A Melbourne born brand starting 17 years ago, Aesop is decked out in apothecary style and uses botanical extracts and natural preservatives where possible. Their products will definitely earn a prized rank in your bathroom.
- City Hatters, 211 Flinders St (to the right of Flinders St Station), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Mo-F 9.30am-6pm, Sa 9am-5pm, Su 10am-4pm. A famous icon for many Melbournians, the City Hatters sits just beneath the main entrance to Flinders Street Station on the right. It has survived the test of time, opening at the location in 1910, and stocks a wide variety of accessories, mostly for men. The store also provides hat cleaning and measurement services.
Laneways and arcades
- Block Arcade, 280 Collins St through to Elizabeth St (Tram routes 19, 57 or 59: Stop 2; or routes 11, 31, 48, 109 or 112: Stop 5), ☎ . M-W 8am-6pm, Th-F 8am-9pm, Sa 8am-5pm, Su 9am-5pm. A historic shopping arcade built in 1891, lined with boutiques and cafés, housed within carved stone and wood walls with a glass canopy above.
- Royal Arcade, 331 Bourke St Mall (Tram routes 85, 86 or 96: Stop 5; or routes 19, 57 or 59: Stop 3), ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. M-Sa 9am-5:30pm, Su 10am-5pm. Built in 1870, it is a historic shopping arcade that runs between Little Collins St, the Bourke Street Mall and Elizabeth St. The carved statues standing guard next to the iconic clock are worth a look, along with the numerous small shops.
- The Melbourne Shop by Lumbi, S2, 8 Driver Lane (behind the GPO), ☎ . M-Th 10.30am-5.30pm, F 10.30am-6pm, Sa 10am-5pm, S 12-4pm. A variety of high-quality wares such as mugs, cushions, phone cases, clocks and a Melbourne-style Snakes and Ladders rip-off. Items are assembled in Yarraville in the city's west.
- Outre Gallery, 211 Elizabeth St. For the art lover that doesn't have a lot to spend, Outre can get you started with originals for under $100.
- Arts Centre's Sunday Market, Between Hammer Hall and Arts Centre Melbourne (Just across the river from Federation Square). Sun 10am-4pm. Every Sunday, the small park between Hammer Hall and Arts Centre Melbourne is filled with stalls that sell arts and crafts locally made by the sellers. The place is animated with live performance at 12 noon. Free.
Between Degraves St and Centreplace (which link Flinders St to Collins St, between Swanston St and Elizabeth St), you will find several breakfast restaurants. Most open from 7AM and serve all kinds of breakfasts. Competition is strong and keeps quality up so the range of choice is impressive.
- Aix (Centreplace.). Has a huge selection of mouthwateringly good crepes.
Melbourne's Chinatown district centred on Little Bourke St is filled with cheap Chinese options and some well-hidden (but excellent) Japanese alternatives. Search Tattersall's Lane for deliciously cheap dumplings. The CBD is also suffused with postmodern Oriental restaurants catering to the large Asian student market.
- Camy Shanghai Dumplings, 25 Tattersalls Lane, ☎ . Chinese food in large servings, notable for its dumplings. Meals served with complimentary tea.
- White Lotus (Victoria St near Victoria Market.). Offering good vegetarian Chinese for those on a no meat diet.
- Gigi, 237 Swanston St, ☎ . This is the place for Japanese served fast and friendly.
- Gaylords, 4 Tattersalls Lane, ☎ . Kitschy ode to Bollywood in the heart of Chinatown.
- Crossways, 123 Swanston St.. M-Sa 11:30AM-2:30PM. Tasty lunch cafe with a 2-course vegetarian all-you-can-eat meal. May be possible to work 30 minutes for your meal. $6.
- Gopal's Vegetarian Restaurant, 139 Swanston St., ☎ . M-Sa 11:30AM-8:30PM. Sister restaurant to Crossways
- Medallion, 209-211 Lonsdale St, ☎ , fax: 03-9484-6474. Serves gyros and other standard Greek lunch fare. $5-15.
- Stalactites, 177/183 Lonsdale St, Melbourne, ☎ . 24h. This Greek restaurant decorated with stalactites has delicious gyros and earthy meals.
- Melbourne Bar & Bistro, 168 Elizabeth St (Near Bourke St.). Hungry budget travellers can eat all they want. $7.95.
The CBD holds some hidden gems as far as coffee is concerned. Once again, Degraves Lane is the most popular destination while those seeking a little bit more style can head to the many malls for their fix.
- Degraves Espresso Bar, 23 Degraves Street, ☎ . Tucked into a bluestone laneway near Flinders St Station, this outlet has long-held the title of Melbourne's best coffee. Hours: Mon–Fri 6:30AM–7:30P, Sat–Sun 7:30AM-6:30PM.
- Laurent Bakery, 306 Little Collins St, ☎ . If Parisian pastries and good coffee are what you crave, then head here to a now franchised establishment with well-trained baristas.
- A typical Italian Wine Bar Wine Lane (24 Artemis Lane, ) dedicated to wine and cheese lovers. They have also a good selection of prosciutto and dried cured meat and a surprising range of truffles specialties, just something different.
- Serious cocktail aficionados should check out The Gin Palace (190 Little Collins St; 9654-0533), for a welcome mix of knowledgeable bartenders, funky bordello ambiance and a laid-back crowd.
- The Carlton Club, 193 Bourke St. Melbourne. Great late night joint on middle of the day, very functional with heaps of little spaces to get cosy and open areas to get your Sunday on. The rooftop bar in up there with the best in town. A must for people coming to Melbourne.
- A little more upmarket is Tony Starr's Kitten Club (267 Little Collins Street, tel 9650-2448 ) which offers a leopard-print throwback to the smooth cats and cool jazz of the 50's. The weekday crowd of funk loving twenty-something professionals sip on a range of cocktails blended and shaken by well-trained and attentive staff. The upstairs performance area hosts local and visiting funk, jazz and cabaret acts.
- The Croft Institute (21-25 Croft Alley, tel 9671-4399) epitomizes the kitschy-hidden-bar trend of the past few years. Tucked within the narrowest and smelliest alley in Melbourne, this place is somewhat charmingly fitted out like a high school laboratory; complete with beakers, test tubes and retorts. Check out the upstairs 'gymnasium' playing house and electro, and the hospital gurney (with stirrups) on display near the women's toilets.
- Arthur's Lounge (Corporation Lane, tel 9654 9744) is a decadent club / bar with prices and door policies to match. A crowd-friendly mix of house and electronica will keep you going, and the fun-loving (but sometimes pretentious) patrons are a pleasant mix of funky bohemia, city glamour and party people.
- For a taste of Fitzroy in the CBD, drop into the cheerful Rue Bebelons (267 Little Lonsdale Street, tel 9663-1700) for a reasonably priced coffee or beer. The Nepalese family behind the bar mix up great music and a friendly vibe to a crowd of laid back artists and students from nearby universities.
- Misty's (3-5 Hosier Ln, tel 9663 9202) hosts a smiliar crowd, but in slightly cooler retro-sci-fi surrounds. The staff are friendly, live DJs spin groovy tunes most nights and it makes a great launching pad for shows at the nearby Forum.
- Cookie (Swanston St between Lonsdale and Bourke opposite the Lounge). Excellent bar and cocktails with an upstyle crowd that likes to party hard. Has a restaurant upstairs for dinner serving excellent thai inspired meals.
- "Section 8" (27 - 29 Tatersalls Lane)bar in a car park made from shipping containers. 'nuff said?
- Bar Americano on Presgrove Pl serves up awesome cocktails and excellent coffee, but we warned, they don't serve skim or soy milk.
- Madame Brussels (63/59 Bourke Street PH:(03)9662 2775) This English Garden party themed bar is located on the roof and serves up excellent cocktails by staff in Tennis outfits. Cocktail jugs $30 and $50, 2+ and 4+ serves respectively
- The Workshop Bar (Upstairs Cnr Elizabeth and A'Beckett Sts)This relaxed bar is located in a former motorcycle workshop hence the name. The Workshop has reasonable priced drinks and an outside (roofless) smokers area. It's run by the same people who run e55.
- All Nations Backpackers Hostel, 2 Spencer St, ☎ , toll-free: 1800 222 238, fax: +61 3 9620 1033, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. 24-hour reception. Dorm beds from $19, single $38, double $48.
- Arthouse Hotel, 616 Elizabeth St, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Also a live music venue so it may be rather noisy at night.
- Elephant Backpackers, 250 Flinders St (opposite Flinders St Station), ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Offers amenable facilities.
- Elizabeth Hostel, 490 Elizabeth St, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Friendly and relaxed atmosphere.
- Flinders Station Hotel, 35 Elizabeth St (cnr Flinders Lane), ☎ , fax: +61 3 9620 5101, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.. 24-hour reception. Centrally located. Twins and doubles have TV. 4-bed dorm bed $27/night or $160/week, twin/double $672/night or $439/week, double ensuite $84/night or $499/week.
- The Friendly Backpacker, 197 King St (near Little Bourke St), ☎ , fax: +61 3 9670 9911, e-mail: email@example.com.. Includes free internet and breakfast. Dorm bed $25, double $80.
- Greenhouse Backpacker, 228 Flinders Lane, ☎ , fax: +61 3 9639 6900, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.. Free internet and breakfast included Dorm bed $30, single $60, double $78.
- Melbourne Central YHA, 562 Flinders St, ☎ , e-mail: email@example.com. Centrally-located hostel in the backpacker hub of Melbourne. Shared room from $33.50, Double $78.50 (YHA members get $3.50 discount).
- Nomads Melbourne Backpackers Hostel, 196 A'Beckett St, ☎ , toll-free: 1800 447 762. Shared dorm from $19, double room from $70.
- Toad Hall Hotel, 441 Elizabeth St (just north of Becket St), ☎ , fax: +61 3 9600 9013, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.. Dorm beds from $25, single from $60, double from $70..
- Victoria Hotel, 215 Little Collins St, ☎ , toll-free: 1800 331 147, fax: +61 3 9650 9678, e-mail: email@example.com. . Single $56-$155, twin/double $78-$155, triple $99-$165.
- Atlantis Hotel, 300 Spencer St, ☎ , fax: +61 3 9600 2700, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.. 24 hour reception From $140, with cheaper specials online.
- Explorers Inn, 16 Spencer St, ☎ , toll-free: 1800 816 168, fax: +61 3 9621 1922, e-mail: email@example.com. 24 hour reception Twin/double from $118.
- Rydges Melbourne, 186 Exhibition Street, ☎ . Opposite Her Majesty’s Theatre, one block from The Comedy and Princess Theatres, and only a few more to other popular Melbourne theatres.
- Travelodge Southbank Melbourne, 9 Riverside Quay, Southbank, ☎ , fax: +61 3 9690 1160. Parking available
- The Westin Melbourne, 205 Collins Street, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Modern, chic and elegantly understated.
- Park Hyatt, 1 Parliament Square (Near St Patrick's Cathedral), ☎ , fax: +61 3 9224 1200, e-mail: email@example.com. Superior service. With Italian marble bathrooms complete with a deep sunken bath with inset TV, twin basins, separate lavatory and therapeutic shower.
- Grand Hyatt Melbourne, 123 Collins Street, ☎ , e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Acknowledged as one of Melbourne's finest hotels, it features Art Deco set against Veronese marble, highlighted by art commissioned from around the world. All rooms receive access to the Regency Health Club, open daily from 6AM.
- Hotel Windsor, 111 Spring Street, ☎ , fax: +61 3 9633 6001, e-mail: email@example.com. Built in 1883, the Hotel Windsor bills itself as Australia’s only remaining grand hotel. It possesses old world charm with modern luxuries and is opposite Parliament at the top end of Collins St.
Wi-Fi is plentiful throughout the CBD. Federation Square and the Melbourne Visitor Centre have free Wi-Fi, as does Flinders Street Station, the Crown Casino Complex, City Library and the State Library of Victoria. McDonalds outlets throughout the city will also offer free Wi-Fi with some moderate censoring. Local bars, cafés and restaurants sometimes offer their own password-protected Wi-Fi, which can be accessed on request (if you're a paying customer, of course). The City of Melbourne keeps a list of retailers with Wi-Fi access.
The State Library of Victoria has a number of internet-connected computers available that can be used for free without registration. Some may be used on-the-spot for up to 15 minutes, while it is also possible to book a computer for up to an hour in advance.