Melbourne

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Melbourne is Australia's second largest city, and the capital of the south-eastern state of Victoria, located at the head of Port Phillip Bay. Melbourne is Australia’s cultural capital, with Victorian-era architecture, extensive shopping, museums, galleries, theatres, and large parks and gardens. Many of its 4 million residents are both multicultural and sports-mad. Reasons to visit Melbourne include to attend major sporting events, to use it as a base for exploring surrounding regions such as Grampians National Park, The Great Ocean Road, and to visit Phillip Island to view the penguin parade. Many UK visitors come to Melbourne for tours of filming locations of soap opera Neighbours. (less...) (more...)

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Points of Interest in Melbourne

While most tourists may simply use the city as a stopover on the way to some of Victoria's other attractions, Melbourne in its own right is worth a visit. There are a wide and varied assortment of attractions and sights that every traveller will appreciate. Most are located in the City Centre, in close reach of public transport.

Federation Square

St Paul\'s Cathedral

Block Arcade

Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI)

Eureka Tower

Melbourne Town Hall

Eureka Skydeck 88

Melbourne Central

Immigration Museum

Birrarung Marr Park

Melbourne Arts Centre

Melbourne Aquarium

Forum Theatre

Bourke Street Mall

Royal Arcade

Regent Theatre

Rialto Towers

Parliament House of Victoria

Princess Theatre

Victoria University of Technology

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Popular events in Melbourne in the near future

Date: Category: The event list provided by Eventful
The event list provided by Eventful

About Melbourne

History

The settlement of Melbourne commenced in 1835 when settlers from Tasmania "purchased" land on Port Phillip Bay and the Yarra River from the local Aboriginal tribes. The streets of central Melbourne were carefully laid out in 1837, with some streets 30 metres wide. The settlement was named "Melbourne" after William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, the British Prime Minister at that time. The first British lieutenant-governor, Charles La Trobe, arrived in 1839 – his Cottage still stands and can be visited in the Kings Domain. The year 1851 was a landmark for Melbourne — the colony of Victoria was separated from New South Wales and very soon after, gold was discovered in Victoria, sparking a huge goldrush. Aspects of the gold rush history can be seen at the Gold Treasury Museum, housed in the Treasury Building built in 1858. Gold was the catalyst for several decades of prosperity lasting through to the late 1880s and examples of the ornate Victorian-era structures built during this time still stand. In 1888, the property boom collapsed and Victoria suffered the depression of the 1890s. Throughout the gold and building booms, Melbourne managed to retain its many spacious parks and gardens and these remain to this day.

In 1901, the British colonies of Australia became an independent federation and Melbourne the temporary capital of Australia, with the Federal Parliament meeting in the Parliament House of Victoria until 1927 when the new Federal capital of Canberra was founded. After World War II, Melbourne grew rapidly, with its mainly Anglo-Celtic population boosted by immigration from Europe, particularly from Greece and Italy. Today Melbourne has the biggest Greek city population (over 800,000) outside Greece and the biggest Italian city population (over 230,000) outside Italy. The significant pre-war Jewish population was also boosted after the war. From the mid-70s, many immigrants came from South-east Asia, particularly Vietnam and Cambodia. Melbourne has had a Chinese population since the gold rush of the 1850s and Chinatown has existed from that time but the population of Chinese and other East Asians has also been boosted by immigration in recent years.

New highrise buildings replaced many of Melbourne’s interesting old structures in the construction boom of the 1970s and 80s. Melbournians belatedly recognised the loss of their architectural heritage and steps were taken to protect what was left. Construction of the huge Crown Casino (briefly the largest casino in the world) in the 1990s upset some Melbournians with its introduction of a gambling culture. Melbourne’s development continues in the 2000s with the opening of the Melbourne Museum, Federation Square and the Docklands precinct.

Climate

The city's climate has a notoriety for its changeability, often referred to as "four seasons in a day". Its climate can be described generally as temperate, with warm summers and cool winters. During the summer of December to February, temperatures hover around 26–30°C (79–86°F), but it is not out of the ordinary for the city to swelter through heatwaves of over 40°C (104°F). Humidity is rarely an issue, with mildly comfortable nights down to about 16°C (61°F). With approximately 600mm of rainfall annually, Melbourne gets only half as much rain as Sydney. October is typically the wettest month.

Winter (June–August) is usually cool with a mix of clear, sunny weather and cold & damp conditions. Temperatures in winter can range from chilly overnight lows as low 2 °C (36 °F) to daytime highs as high as 19 °C (66 °F) at times. Light snow has been recorded in and around Melbourne during the winter months only a couple of times over the last century, although the hills east of the city however usually see a snow shower or two every winter. You should consider visiting Melbourne in the autumn and spring — temperatures during these periods are usually very pleasant, without being unbearably warm with daytime highs are usually in the 20s °C (70s °F).

With such wild and unpredictable weather, it can be difficult deciding what to wear when planning a day out in Melbourne. A common tip is to wear layers of clothing, that can be removed or worn as the day goes on.

Activities

  • See interesting films at the Art Deco-styled Astor Theatre in St Kilda. There are several moonlight cinema programmes in summer. The Melbourne International Film Festival [23] is on in August.
  • Alternately, visit the Cinema Nova on Lygon Street (tram 1 or 8) on a Monday for $6 films before 4PM.
  • Visit a comedy club. The Comic's Lounge [24] has shows for $10–25 including a show filmed for Channel 31 on Mondays, or dinner and show for $45. The Comedy Club [25] has dinner and show for $32 and shows only beginning at $7 (discount ticket price).
  • Watch the mesmerising process of personalised hard candy being hand-made at Suga. Around lunch time is a good time to see (and sample!). There is a store at Queen Victoria Market, but if you visit the Royal Arcade location, you can also watch chocolate making next door at Koko Black [26].
  • Watch a game of AFL football at the MCG or Etihad Stadium during the winter, or a Cricket Match during the summer.
  • Kick back at one of Melbourne's fantastic cafes in the CBD (Degraves St, The Causeway, and other laneways are fantastic for this), South Yarra (Chapel Street) or Fitzroy (Brunswick Street, Smith Street).
  • Melbourne has an exceptionally vibrant live music scene. Many bars and pubs will have copies of the free magazines "Beat" and "Inpress" which provide local gig guides. Fitzroy, Collingwood and St. Kilda are generally your best bets for seeing some of the great local talent Melbourne has to offer. Venues where you generally can't go wrong include: "The East Brunswick Club", "The Evelyn" ,"The Espy" (Esplanade Hotel, St Kilda) and Corner Hotel in Richmond.
  • The Black Light Mini Golf [27] is located at the Docklands. This is an 18 hole mini golf range designed around an Australiana theme. It is under black light with a light and sound system and featuring fluorescent colours. It is located behind the Big Wheel Being located indoors means that you can play all year round, Admission pricing is $13 for an adult and $10 for a child. It takes around 1 hr to play. A recently added attraction to the Black Light Mini Golf is "The Coffin Ride" [28] this is as freaky as it sounds, you take a virtual ride in a coffin with the lid closed, there are sounds, smells and your mates can have a really good laugh watching you on TV.
  • Melbourne is an excellent place to master your photography skills. So many places to take a fantastic picture.

Food

For the culinary traveller, Melbourne is one of the best destinations in the world. There is an abundance of affordable, high quality restaurants representing almost every cuisine. Eating out is cheaper than in Western Europe but not as affordable as North America. The service in Australian restaurants may be more discreet than many North Americans may be used to. Service staff in Australia are paid considerably more than their North American counterparts so tipping is not customary, though you may choose to give a tip if the service was exemplary.

Excellent eateries can be found sprinkled throughout all of the inner (and some outer) suburbs, while certain neighbourhoods have become magnets for residents and restaurants of particular countries. A large range of restaurants and cafes offering high quality food, and representating various cultures and countries, are scattered through the central city, Southbank, Carlton (mostly Italian and touristy), Victoria Street in Richmond (many low cost popular Vietnamese and South East Asian restaurants), Docklands, South Yarra and Prahran. Sydney Road in Brunswick and Coburg is known for its many Middle Eastern, Lebanese, Greek and Turkish restaurants. The popular tourist area of St Kilda offers a large range of good quality restaurants and cafes, especially on Acland Street, and Fitzroy Street.

English-style fish and chip shops are scattered through the suburbs – particularly in bayside areas. Souvlaki and gyros are very popular in Melbourne and outlets are plentiful through the inner and outer suburbs. Japanese nori rolls and sushi is very popular and many stores through the city and suburbs sell these items.

African

There is a concentration of African cafes in Nicholson St, Footscray and Racecourse Road, Flemington. Most serve a small range of Ethiopian cuisine and coffee, and are frequented by the local African residents. The Abyssinian (www.theabyssinian.com.au) is a well-regarded Eritrean/Ethiopian restaurant popular for locals and tourists for a more elaborate dinner. The stewed foods are served on a large pancake in the middle of the table. Everyone eats with their hands which is messy but fun.

Australian

"Australian cuisine" is a nebulous concept that may include traditional native foodstuffs and more modern cafe infusions of international influences. Items such an emu and kangaroo meat are unusual, and are most likely to be found only at the high-end fine dining restaurants as a speciality item. You can however, find great kangaroo steaks at the Napier Hotel (Napier St, Fitzroy) for around $20, or at the Edinburgh Castle pub on Sydney Rd, Brunswick for around $10.

Meat pies are available from bakeries and convenience stores.

Café/delicatessen food

High quality delicatessen style eating available in many of a cafes in the small lanes of central Melbourne. Many high quality deli style diners can be found outside the city, in Acland Street, St Kilda.

Chinese

Chinese cuisine has a long tradition in Melbourne and a large number and range of quality restaurants exist. Many are in Chinatown in Little Bourke Street, City centre. They are also dotted through the inner and outer suburbs, with concentrations in Richmond, Footscray, and suburban Box Hill, Glen Waverley and Springvale.

Most of the food is from the Southern (Cantonese) school of cooking, although Northern favourites like dumplings are also available. Eating dim sum, which is consumed either during breakfast or lunch (called yum cha or "drinking tea" in Cantonese) is an extremely popular Sunday pastime for Australians of all ethnic backgrounds.

If you're after a budget option (meals $5–10), try Camy's dumpling house (Shanghai style dumplings) on Tattersalls Lane in the CBD. In the evening, the easiest – and most amusing – option is the all-you-can eat service for $12 per person. Service is dicey, but always exciting.

Greek

Lonsdale Street in the City Centre is Melbourne's Greek precinct with bars, cafes and restaurants, and cake shops. Greek restaurants and food outlets can be found in Sydney Road in Brunswick, Swan Street, Richmond, Coburg and Oakleigh in the south eastern suburbs which have many Greek cafes specialising in frappe, cakes and good souvlaki.

Indian

Indian restaurants can be found throughout Melbourne, particularly in the city, North Melbourne, and inner eastern suburbs such as Richmond and Hawthorn. There are also numerous Indian snack bars in the city that serve cheap but tasty curries and samosas, cafeteria-style.

Nepalese food is also popular in Melbourne, and some restaurants feature both Nepalese and Indian cuisine on their menus. An increasing number of Indian restaurants offer home delivery.

Indonesian

Befitting its large number of Indonesian students, Melbourne has many Indonesian restaurants. One of the most famous is Blok M on Commercial Rd, Prahran, which many famous Indonesians have visited. Another popular restaurant is Nelayan with two restaurants on Swanston Street and Glenferrie Rd, Agung on Glenferrie Road, Bali Bagus on Franklin Street, Es Teler 77 on Swanston St, Nusantara in Caulfield and Bali Bowl on Flinders Lane. There is also Warung Gudeg, specialising in Jogjakartan local cuisine in Clayton. Warung Agus in West Melbourne serves Balinese cuisine on a rather upscale atmosphere.

Italian

With its large Italian population Melbourne has countless Italian restaurants, mostly offering food from the southern regions of the Italian peninsular.

Italian cafes and restaurants are plentiful throughout Melbourne but are in the greatest concentration in Lygon Street, Carlton, just north of the city centre. Lygon Street is where Melbourne's coffee culture originated. Suburban Italian restaurants are often large and family orientated and tend towards the pizza, pasta, seafood and steak formula.

Pizza outlets are very much part of the Melbourne landscape. These include Piazza 51 in Sydney Road, Brunswick, Spiga in Melbourne Central, Pizza Meine Liebe in Northcote, and countless options in Lygon Street.

Japanese

A quick "sushi" take away lunch can be bought on almost every block where there is food. In and out of Chinatown there are also plenty of places that have good bento, udon and donburi as well.

For dinner, many of the inner city suburbs have Japanese restaurants, but in the city itself there is a long an interesting Japanese restaurant history that continues to this day. Both Melbourne's oldest, Kuni's (which has been around since 1978) and it's sister restaurant Kenzans are known for a very authentic, if expensive, meal. There are a plethora of choices for those on stricter budgets as well.

Jewish/Kosher

St. Kilda East and Caulfield are home to vibrant Jewish communities and kosher bakeries and cafes abound most situated on Carlisle Street in Balaclava, Kooyong Road in Caulfield North and Glenhuntly Road in Elsternwick.

Malaysian/Singapore

Malaysians and Singaporeans feeling homesick will find host of restaurants and foodcourt outlets offering items like roti canai/paratha, nasi lemak, prawn noodles, laksa. Many are in the City Centre; there are Malaysian restaurants scattered throughout Melbourne. Little Bourke Street has a few Malaysian run eateries as well as QV's Kopitiam (corner of Lonsdale and Swanston St, CBD), Boxhill has a new Malaysian run (with Malaysian cooks – most Malaysian run eateries employ cooks from China) eatery called Petaling Street which has provided the most authentic fare so far.

Middle Eastern

Arab, Lebanese, Moroccan and Turkish restaurants tend to be concentrated in Sydney Road in Brunswick and Coburg to the north of the city centre. These restaurants can also be found in the outer suburbs that are home to those communities, including Dandenong.

Thai

Thai restaurants are ubiquitous in Melbourne: even dining precincts mostly known for Italian or Vietnamese food boast Thai restaurants.

Vegetarian

Vegetarian food is widely available in Melbourne, and you can expect every restaurant or cafe to have a few vegetarian or vegan options. There are also many vegetarian restaurants: Vegie Bar in Brunswick St, Fitzroy, Gopals in Swanston St and Shakahari in Lygon St, Carlton are just some of the options. Crossways at 123 Swanston St. serves a very popular $5 all you can eat vegetarian lunch, Mon-Sat.

Vietnamese

Melbourne's Little Vietnams are in Footscray, North Richmond and Springvale out in the far eastern suburbs. The streets in these areas are lined with pho (noodle) shops and restaurants offering other Vietnamese favourites. Many outlets have also appeared along Swanston Street in the City Centre. However for convenience to the city and reasonable prices, Victoria Street in North Richmond is your best bet.

Others

Spanish, Argentinian, Burmese and Polish restaurants can be found in the Richmond/Collingwood/Prahran area.

Melbourne has some Cajun/Creole restaurants and one or two American style diners, but US cuisine is otherwise absent: Foods like Southern-style barbecue and clam chowder are nearly impossible to find.

Korean restaurants are well represented and are scattered throughout the city.

Hopetoun Tea Rooms in Block Arcade on Little Collins Street offer sweets ranging from cakes and pastries to high tea.

Drinks

Coffee

Melbourne has a long and rich coffee culture beginning with Victorian era coffee palaces and further enhanced by Italian migrants arriving in the aftermath of World War II.

Perhaps the most famous Italian style cafe is Pellegrini's, 66 Bourke St, Melbourne city. Fitzroy is known for funky, bohemian-style cafes. Collins Street features many elegant cafes. Many Italian style cafes are found in Carlton; Brunetti's is open late and always packed.

Serious espresso connoisseurs would enjoy visiting St Ali cafe/roastery in South Melbourne, Auction Rooms (Errol St) in North Melbourne, or the Maling Room café in Canterbury.

  • Atomica cafe (268 Brunswick St, Fitzroy, tel +61 3 9417-4255) serves a strong, but well-balanced mix of coffee and silky smooth milk. Atomica also has seats on the footpath, if the upbeat music is too much for your coffee buzz and, on a warm sunny day, it is an ideal spot to mix it with the Brunswick Street crowd.
  • The Green Refectory (115 Sydney Rd, Brunswick, tel +61 3 9387-1150), Easy to miss, but better you don't. Serves great value homemade food, and quality Illy coffee to accompany it. The crowd is eclectic mix of the Brunswick artsy crowd, university students and young professionals pushing prams. Despite its nondescript exterior (look for the 'Illy' coffee sign that juts out from the front windows), the difficulty of locating this place hasn't affected its popularity at all.
  • 7 grams (505 Church St, Richmond, ☎ +61 3 9429-8505) has a 'best in show' coffee. The cafe itself is unpretentious, with an understated decor and a row of black-topped, chrome-legged stools along a mirror bar.
  • 65 Degrees (309 Exhibition St, ☎ +61 3 9662-1080) is itself a recent addition, but its owners have a long history of accolades. Champion barista, world latte artist and award winning coffee blend, gridlock coffee. Fast, friendly service and some of the finest coffee around.
  • Image Superstore Cafe (690 Elizabeth St, ☎+61 3 9349-5529) serves great coffee with superb staff where you can enjoy high tea surrounded by funky New York and Paris inspired interior design. What makes this cafe even unique is you can have your photo taken by a professional photographer on the spot.

Bars and Clubs

Melbourne nightlife is 24 hours, loud, colourful and anything goes. Door policies can be strict but once inside high quality entertainment is guaranteed. DJ's, live music, artists, beautiful people and so much more can be found. There truly is something for everyone and every taste. It has a massive live music scene, with many inner-suburbs pubs catering many genres, with drink and food specials all week. The key is to find one you like the most!

Alongside it's many clubs, Melbourne is also a fast-rising festival city. Global event companies such as ID&T, Global Gathering, Ministry of Sound and Trance Energy have begun taking notice of the city and bringing their events. Upcoming electronic music events are well catalogued on [32]

Gay, lesbian and transgendered party goers are welcome everywhere as Melburnians are on the whole very tolerant and welcoming people. Perhaps the one bad thing is that nothing really starts happening until midnight!

The city centre has a number of pubs, the most famous being the Young and Jackson. Melbourne is also famous for its many trendy bars in the CBD. Most of these, however, are down narrow alleys and streets, and are therefore hard to find unless you know where you are going.

The inner northern suburbs, such as Collingwood and Fitzroy cater for the young, laid-back, and bohemian crowd. Here you will find lots of live music, cheaper prices, and a relaxed atmosphere. Head for Brunswick and Gertrude Streets in Fitzroy and Smith Street, Collingwood for cafes, bars and live music, while Lygon Street, Carlton has a range of Italian restaurants and cafes with a student vibe, as it's located near the University of Melbourne. Victoria Street, North Richmond is the heart of Melbourne's Vietnamese community, with many cheap and cheerful restaurants serving good food.

Chapel Street/ Toorak Road in South Yarra and Prahran has the most glamourous bars and clubs. Here, expect high prices, strict dress codes, and beautiful people who want to be seen partying with the best. St. Kilda has a little bit of everything. With its proximity to the beach, it is often regarded as the Melbourne suburb that feels most like Sydney.

The past decade has seen a revival of Melbourne's inner-city bar scene, with dozens of weird and wonderful watering holes opening up within forgotten alleyways and anonymous lanes of the City Centre (CBD). Melbourne also has its fair share of stylish places to drink, although the better ones can be hard to find. The theory seems to be: the harder your bar is to find, the more people will talk about it. Secrets are tucked around areas like Prahran, South Yarra and many other areas. However there are plenty of alleyway bars, once you find one they seem to pop up everywhere you look. Melbourne's clubs often market a members only rule which can upset your more upmarket traveler. The rule is in place to prevent fighting and unappealing groups of men entering a nice club and destroying the atmosphere.

Australian licensing laws are very similar to those in the UK, i.e. you are not allowed to be drunk on licensed premises. In practice though, Melbourne venues and bouncers draw the line very low. Ejection from a premises can be expected for fighting, vomiting, or frequent falling over. Some pubs and clubs are quicker to eject patrons than others, but it's only ever a short walk to another. Licensing is more liberal then what one may be used to, as you can still expect to find a drink past 2AM. This has lead to a culture of late night drinking where some venues won't get busy until some time after 11PM, especially true during summer.

Melburnians often draw a distinction between 'bars', meaning the small watering holes described above, and 'pubs' which are larger establishments in the usual Australian or British sense of the word. Melbourne's pubs, particularly those in the city and inner suburbs, usually serve restaurant-standard food and a wide range of local and imported beers. Pubs usually offer lunch from approximately midday to 2PM, and reopen their kitchens for dinner from approximately 6PM-10PM

Shopping

Shopping hours in metro Melbourne are typically 7 days a week, 9AM–5:30PM weekdays and 9AM (maybe later)–5PM weekends. Most suburban shopping centres such as Chadstone have later closing hours on Thursdays and Fridays – mostly up to 9PM. Supermarkets have extended hours 7 days, the majority opening at 7AM and closing at midnight or 1AM, however there are many 24-hour supermarkets around.

Alcohol in Victoria can be purchased at licensed shops/venues and supermarkets often have an adjoining bottle shop, which close earlier than supermarket hours. Some supermarkets that close at the same time as their licence stock alcohol in the supermarket. You need to be over 18 years old to purchase alcohol. Most bottleshops close by 10PM to midnight (even on weekends), but some open until 3AM (e.g. on Riversdale road in Booroondara and Russell St Melbourne), and 24-hour bottleshops on both Chapel and Lygon streets, in Stonnington and Melbourne respectively.

City Shopping

Melbourne is known as the fashion capital of Australia with numerous malls and boutique-lined streets.

In the CBD itself, Little Collins Street is home to some of the world's top designers and fashion houses; Collins Street also boasts other high end shops such as Louis Vuitton and Hermès. Brunswick Street (Fitzroy), and the southern end of Chapel Street in Prahran/Windsor, have clusters of stores selling an eclectic mix of vintage, rave, retro and alternative gear such as Shag, Fat Helen's and Beaut Vintage to shop around.

Melbourne Central is another shopping mall based in the city, adjacent to the underground station of the same name. The Bourke Street Mall with the department store David Jones, as well as the flagship store of Myer, Australia's largest department store chain, is another city-central shopping hub.

For the bargain shopper, there is a DFO Outlet Malls located on Spencer Street, Melbourne city, just north of Southern Cross Railway station.

It is also worth noting, for Backpackers, that Elizabeth Street has plenty of Bargain backpackers stores, for example Mitchell's Adventure (255–257 Elizabeth Street), which can offer outdoor products for bargain prices.

Suburban Shopping

Bridge Road [31] in Richmond is a strip where warehouse direct outlets rule and no one pays recommended retail price. Chapel Street in South Yarra is a favourite among the locals, with its spread of exclusive boutiques, cafes and well established chain stores. There are also several huge shopping complexes in the outer suburbs, such as Chadstone and Southland (Cheltenham) in the South-East. Doncaster Shoppingtown, Eastland (Ringwood) and Knox City are in the outer East. Northland in the north, Highpoint in the west.

Melbourne is also home to many of Australia's largest shopping centres; including Chadstone Shopping Centre in Malvern East (the largest shopping centre in the Southern Hemisphere) which has over 530 stores, Knox City Shopping Centre which has 350 stores, and Fountain Gate Shopping Centre in Casey which includes approximately 330 stores.

Looking for something in particular?

For those in the bridal market, High Street in Armadale, Stonnington and Sydney Road in Brunswick, Moreland are the two main clusters for bridal apparel and accessories. For those who are looking for local, aspiring designer creations, try Greville Street in South Yarra, Stonnington or Smith Street and surrounds in Yarra.

To buy funny souvenirs and Australian typical stuff, walk or take the tram to Victoria Market. You'll find all you need there and the price is usually a half or a third of the prices in the souvenir shops downtown. Make sure to try a bratwurst dog and check out the cheese stalls while you're there.

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Melbourne on Wikivoyage.

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