If you are travelling from India, we would recommend, a minimum of 3 days is required if you have to see the important places in Melbourne. Since we have seen Melbourne from a local perspective, it was easy for us to frame a schedule which would be easy and enjoyable for a tourist. Again this is not a set itinerary and it varies based on your interest. We have made this plan based on our likings.
Things to Know before you Go
Melbourne is the 2nd biggest city in Australia after Sydney. The advantage of Melbourne is that most of the sightseeing places are inside the Central Business District commonly known as CBD. Travelling inside CBD by Tram is free for all, so you don’t have to spend any money on transportation.
Driving inside the CBD is so complicated for any traveler, so we don’t recommend it. Also finding a parking space in the peak hours are next to impossible and need to pay $14/ hour. Wilson parking is the most common parking facility available, again it is expensive than street parking.
How we got to Melbourne
We flew from Chennai International Airport to Melbourne International Airport via Singapore. It took us 16 hours including transit
Airport bus is the quickest way to get to the city, will arrive at Southern cross station. Tickets cost is AUD 18 one way. You can also hire a car at southern cross station or at the Airport. There is no Metro connecting airport & the city. Taxi's will cost AUD 60 approx. Ubers too operate
If you are connecting thru south east Asia, Scoot & Air Asia are the budget carriers to choose from.
Hotels in CBD/South bank are expensive and budget hotels will range from AUD 75/night. Airbnb's are preferred.
Ethnic restaurants will be the cheaper option costing AUD 15 per person/meal.
Trams in CBD are free to go around. So no transportation cost
Where to Stay
As we mentioned earlier, we stayed in Hostels, Hotels, Resorts, Airbnb’s
Here are some of my favourite places to find accommodation options around the world:
If you’re traveling solo, we recommend staying in a hostel. You will meet fellow travellers and it’s a great way to have fun. It saves you money. If you prefer privacy, you can still get a private room, but you can also get to know people.
Central Business District is the place to stay if you don't want to move away fro the city. Trams run throughout CBD and you can move around easily. CBD is also pedestrian friendly.
Southbank & Docklands are other prime areas in the city known for its high rise buildings
48 Hours in Melbourne!!Places to See?
Day 1 you can visit the most iconic spots in Melbourne.
The City Circle Tram service provides a free and convenient way to get around central Melbourne. The route number is 35. Basically this tram follows a circular route and stops at all major tourist destinations. There is also an audio commentary running indicating the places & its importance’s, occasionally you’ll have guides in the tram.
Click here to download tram route & details of city landmarks
Day 2: Great Ocean Road or Penguin Island
The Most Popular is the Great ocean road. Alternatively you can visit Phillip island known for its penguins
If you have another night staying in Melbourne, you can add the day trip which you missed or you can explore other parts of the city
Day 1: Melbourne City Tour
Start your City tour in Flinders street station, the iconic train station & a beautiful place to take a photo. You can see people rushing in and out at all times. Federation square, Botanical gardens, Federation Square & National arts gallery is all the major spots nearby, few minutes by walk
Shrine of remembrance is just outside the free tram zone, so either you need to use myki(travel card in Melbourne) or walk for another 10 minutes
Tram 35 is the simplest route to follow, but you can also board other trams in the city(free of charge) and visit places based on your interests.
City view from Yarra River
City view from Shrine of Remembrance
SouthBank, Casino & Yarra River
Southbank, Housing some of the important businesses, skyscrapers, Eureka and so on. It is now one of the prominent places in Melbourne. Best location to take photos. You can capture the cities iconic buildings along with the yarra river in one frame.
Docklands, Another prime location in the city for pictures. It houses the Melbourne observation star, District docklands mall, Marvel stadium, the Bolte bridge and nice views of the bay.
State library Victoria, A Melbourne landmark and cultural icon, the State Library is a magnificent 19th-century building with some of the city’s most beautiful heritage interiors. You might want to take a look at this view.
Enjoy the evening visiting the Eureka Skydeck or Melbourne star
The Eureka Tower is more than just a tall building; it is a popular tourist spot. The tower stands tall at 297 meters. What makes this a very popular spot for tourists is the amazing view from the Eureka Towers. From the top floors, one can get extraordinary views. This also happens to be the highest observation tower in the Southern Hemisphere.
Melbourne star is a giant Ferris wheel in the Waterfront City precinct in the Docklands area. It also gives you a panoramic view of the city. The whole ride take 30 minutes and you’ll be witnessing Melbourne view going around in a capsule. If you are lucky, you’ll get the entire capsule for yourself.
Apart from the places to see, there are couple of Must do things in Melbourne!!
Casino, if you have not been to any casino’s before, then this is a must go. You don’t have to gamble, but it’s a different experience to see what’s happening inside a casino. Entry is free, all you need to have is an ID (for tourists, their passports)
Melborne Zoo & a close up encounter with kangaroos
Kangaroos are the first thing you hear when you think about Australia. We don’t see them in India and yes, it is fascinating to see them close. For people who have this in their bucket list and have very little time in Melbourne, they can visit Melbourne zoo and book a close up encounter with kangaroos. This is the first thing we did after moving to Australia.
Expenses split up:
Melbourne zoo Entry – AUD 38 (Approx 2000 INR)
Close up encounter – AUD 30 (Approx 1500 INR)
Train Charges – AUD 9 per day( Approx 450 INR), can use this pass for unlimited travel whole day in Melbourne & suburbs
St.Kilda Beach, Bars & Nightclubs
The best place to spend the Night. Plenty of bars, pubs, restaurants & nightclubs
Day 2: Great Ocean Road
The Phillip Island
The best and most recommended day trip from Melbourne will be the Great Ocean Road. The road trip is something we enjoyed, having been here more than 5 times in 2 years. It happened to be our favorite long weekend spot. It has the best coastline road journey, beautiful view points, beaches to surf and apostles (hill like free standing structure inside the sea)
It is not easy for any 90’s kid to forget the iconic “Enna vilai alage’ song from Kadhalar dhinam. It was shot here. We are going to take you through our itinerary and all the top tips and tricks to help you when planning your adventure.
We would recommend a 2-day trip to enjoy the road trip with an overnight stay, if you have just one day, you can still do a day trip, like how we used to do. Again, the question is, will you be driving or joining an organized tour. Below is the map of Great ocean road and highlights
Lack of time, budget and no rent a car, then the only option is going through organized tours. There are many good operators operating small group tours to large coach tours. Tour prices vary between AUD 60 to AUD 115. You can still cover the highlights, but it will be less flexible.
If you are staying for 3 or 4 days in Melbourne, do rent a car. It is the best option to go around.
Lock Ard Gorge
Alternative day trip from Melbourne for Day 2
Phillip island is known for its penguins, not just one or two. You can see thousands in one place, that’s why there are so many tours operated to this small island. Its relatively nearer when compared to Great ocean road. Apart from the penguin parade, you have all the usual island activities.
Here is the catch!!
The Penguins normally arrive after the sunset & in summers, the sun set will be around 8.30 pm, which leave only 30 minutes for the tour operators to wind up and head back to Melbourne. If you have your own car, you can stay back till the Centre closes. Drive will take 2 hours to reach Melbourne.
Conclusion & Our Recommendation
There are many more things to do in Melbourne, but if you are here only for a short duration, do a city tour & go on a day trip to the Great ocean Road.
If you are there for 3 days, Visit Phillip island, Penguin parade is a must
Wondering How to travel from Chennai to Melbourne??
We love Melbourne, Must visit place