Melbourne Travel Guide

Explore Melbourne

Artsy, stylish and hip: this Australian city reminds most people more of Europe rather than the continent down under. Dubbed as Australia’s cultural capital, the city is a melange of bohemian enclaves, world-class museums, edgy street art and hipster districts that give the city an air of coolness.

On the other hand, the city’s colonial architecture and multicultural population give it more dynamic and cosmopolitan vibes. Located on the large natural bay of Port Phillip, Melbourne is just a stone’ throw away from beautiful natural attractions like the Dandenong mountain range, Mornington Peninsula, and Yarra Valley.


Top Things to Do

Flinders Street Railway Station

As the centrepiece of the city, this European architectural masterpiece dates back to 1909 and still stands as the cultural icon of Melbourne. Listed on the Victorian Heritage Register, the landmark is a stunning sight, thanks to its prominent dome, arched entrance, tower and clocks. Standing at the cross roads of Flinders and Swanston Streets, it backs onto the Yarra River in the heart of the city.

Royal Botanic Gardens

Over 38 hectares of landscaped gardens sprawl across the south bank of the Yarra River, adding a large green space to this otherwise cosmopolitan city. The internationally renown botanical gardens have an impressive collection of over 10,000 species of both native and exotic vegetation.

Queen Victoria Market

For a peek into Australia’s colourful local culture, head to the Queen Victoria Market, the largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere. Now a major landmark in the city, it is also listed on the Victorian Heritage Register. Today, the market is a popular tourist destination, with hundreds of stalls selling poultry and seafood, gourmet and delicatessen foods as well as specialty delicacies.

Sunshine Mosque

Officially known as The Cyprus Turkish Islamic Community of Victoria, this is the main mosque of Melbourne. Located in the Sunshine suburb, the Ottoman-style mosque was actually designed to mirror the Sultan

Phillip Island

At just 140km from Melbourne, this island is a popular day trip from Melbourne. It draws in massive crowds with the Penguin Parade, a daily spectacle at sunset where penguins come ashore in groups to Summerland Beach. Another interesting spot is The Nobbies outcrop, an area of boardwalks and lookout points which overlooks Seal Rocks, home to Australia’s largest fur seal colony.

Where to Eat and Drink

In a global city like Melbourne, you won’t have problems finding affordable food with European flair, Asian flavours or Middle Eastern influences. While Melbourne’s dining choices may not be as impressive as that in Sydney, it still ranks high in the international culinary scene. Halal diners will once again be spoiled for choice here.


RECOMMENDED PLACES TO EAT

Sezar

Considered one of the best halal restaurants in Australia, this modern Armenian restaurant takes a fresh and modern approach to traditional Armenian cooking techniques and flavours, incorporating Australian influences. Most meat dishes are prepared using halal-certified meat and while the kitchen itself is not 100% halal, utensils are strictly kept separately to avoid cross contamination.

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Attica

Voted as one of San Pellegrino World’s Top 50 Restaurant, this award-winning fine dining restaurant promises a special dining experience in an intimate setting. Headed by New Zealand Chef Ben Shewry, the restaurant serves gastronomic meals using natural, local ingredients such as bunya bunya, red kangaroo, rosella flower.

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400 Gradi

This is the brainchild of chef Johnny Di Francesco, winner of the Pizza World Championship 2014. Gradi’s menu is a showcase of the food of Naples in southern Italy, home of the wood-fire pizza. As the flagship store of a restaurant chain, this Sydney branch features walls painted with golden calligraphy, antique gold pendant lights and a charcoal Terrazzo style polished floor.

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Jimmy Grants

Another hugely popular restaurant chain, Jimmy Grants gives an Australian twist to an old-fashioned souvalaki joint, serving delicious Greek food that caters to Melbournites (Melbourne has the largest number of Greeks outside of Greece). Since they don’t take reservations, we recommend going before the dinner rush if you want to get a table.

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Recommended Places to Stay

Sofitel Melbourne

Considered one of the best hotels in Melbourne, the exquisite Sofitel immediately impresses with its opulent design and high-end furnishing. With a prime city position at the top end of prestigious Collins Street.

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Adelphi Hotel

Melbourne’ first design hotel is a small, intimate affair with an edgy, uber chic design. Nothing here is ordinary — from its swinging couches to gold-glass interior and fluffy carpets.

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Larwill Studio

If you’re seeking something out of the ordinary, there’s nowhere else quite like this boutique hotel. Dedicated to the late Australian artist David Larwill, the hotel draws inspiration from his studio.

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Middle Park

Ideally situated near Albert Park, this 25-room midrange hotel is modelled on contemporary ‘traveller’s rest’ accommodation. Designed by the inventive Melbourne practice Six Degrees, the hotel features an all black-and-red decor.

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Best Time to Go

Thanks to its location in southeastern Australia, Melbourne enjoys a moderate climate, with temperatures around 16 to 27°C in summer (December to February) and 8 to 14°C in winter (June to August).

Summer is Melbourne’s peak travel season, so it’s best to avoid this period as it can get quite crowded and hotel prices can increase. Winter in Melbourne means dreary weather and dark skies, with temperatures lower than in Sydney or Brisbane.

The best times to visit Melbourne are in autumn (between March and May) and spring (September and November). These shoulder seasons feature moderate temperatures and tourist crowds, plus lower airfare rates. In fall, you’ll also see the city dotted with golden trees and beautiful foliage. The city is also exceptionally beautiful in spring when flowers bloom in all kinds of colours.


Getting There

Several airlines fly from Saudi Arabia to Melbourne, including Qatar Airways, Etihad Airways, and Jet Airways. There are no direct flights, and most flights have one or two stops. The journey is at least 18 hours if flying from Riyadh.

Getting from Airport to City
  • By Bus

    SkyBus is the main airport shuttle from Melbourne Tullarine Airport to the Southern Cross Station in the city centre. It operates 24 hours a day, and leaves every ten minutes for most of the day. Travel times range from 20 – 35 minutes. A single fare costs $19 each way. The PTV (Public Transport Victoria) bus also runs a route, bus 901, from Terminal 4 to Broadmeadows. It’s much cheaper, at $4 per journey but it takes around 70 minutes to get there.

  • By Taxi

    Taxis are easily available at all the airport terminals and a single journey usually takes around 20 to 35 minutes depending on traffic. A one-way journey to the city centre costs around $55 and $65, including the compulsory airport fee and CityLink tollway charges.

  • By Car Rental

    Hiring a car is quite common in Melbourne as it’s a great way to explore the national parks surrounding Melbourne. The airport is 23km from the city centre and it takes around 20 minutes to drive each way. Several car hire offices can be found at the airport, including Avis, Budget and Europcar.



Extra tips
  • The most-spoken language of Australia, including Melbourne, is English.

  • The currency in Australia is the Australian dollar (AUD). The current exchange rate is 1 SAR to 0.35 AUD.

  • Australia uses 220-240 volts.

  • The plugs in Australia have two flat metal pins shaped like a V. Some plugs also have a third flat pin in the center.