You want to visit Melbourne, this city well known for its cuisine, its coffee and the gold rush? Come on to see my tips to visit most of the town in 2 days (plus a day trip).

ITINERARY - AUSTRALIA & NEW ZEALAND: here is the full itinerary for a tour of these 2 countries.

Melbourne - Southgate shopping mall

Melbourne is not as interesting as Sydney and Canberra in terms of historical visits, but is of course still worth seeing. And like its two neighbors, it is a city that can totally be visited on foot. In addition, in the inner city, the streets are organized in blocks what makes everything easier. The other advantage is that in the city centre, the tram network is totally free. More than that, you can sometimes find tourist office employees standing in the streets, ready to help if you are lost or if you need directions. According to me two days are enough to visit the city. And you can stay one more day to go to Phillip Island if you want to see little penguins and koalas.

With that being said, let’s go to see the details of the schedule:

Schedule - Melbourne, 3 days

Day 1: exploration of the city

To begin the exploration of the city, I recommend joining, as in Sydney, a « free tour ». It starts at the State Library and it lasts 3 hours. There are 2 tours a day, one at 10.30 am and another one at 2.30 pm. This visit allows you becoming more familiar with the city and as the tour is free, if you enjoyed it, just tip your guide.

Melbourne - marina

After this quick tour (if it was in the morning), go to have lunch and then you will be able to go to visit the city more deeper. You can start with the Parliament House, but it’s necessary to join a 30 minutes free guided tour to visit it. There is a tour every hour, from 9.30 am to 3.30 pm, when there are no parliamentary sessions. Then take a free tram (No. 35, 70 or 86) to go to the Docklands to visit the harbour. And for the end of the day, go back down in the south of the city to go to the Crown Casino and to Southgate (which is a shopping centre).

Day 2: market day!

Melbourne - Queen Victoria Market Melbourne - Queen Victoria Market - avocados and tomatoes Melbourne - Queen Victoria Market - cabbage Melbourne - Queen Victoria Market - organic fruits and vegetables
Click to enlarge images.

If your second day in Melbourne doesn’t fall on a Monday or a Wednesday, I suggest starting the day by going to the Queen Victoria Market. You will find fresh products (fruits and vegetables), souvenirs, clothes … Once you’re done visiting the market, get back down to the south of the city to go to visit the NGVI (free admission) which is a museum composed of several floors, each dedicated to one continent. You will find Aboriginal art, Asian art, European art … Then, continue heading down to the south of the city going through the Royal Botanic Gardens, and you will arrive at the Shrine of Remembrance (free entry). It’s a monument set up in memory of soldiers who died during the Second World War. Then go to have lunch, before going to the Federation Square, located opposite to Flinders Street Station, to go to visit some museums, ACMI and NGVA (free admission).

Melbourne - Flinders Street Station Melbourne - garden Melbourne - Shrine of Remembrance
Click to enlarge images.

Day 3: Phillip Island

On this island you can see little penguins, koalas, fur seals and pelicans at Phillip Island Nature Parks. And you can also visit a chocolate factory which makes penguin shape chocolates.

To get there, you have two choices:

  • bus: with the V/Line company which leaves from the Southern Cross Station (the one where also arrive the Greyhound and the Skybus). A one way ticket costs AU$10.40, and the trip takes 2 and a half hours, but it requires a change of bus because there is not a direct line.
  • ferry: with the Interisland Ferries company. A return ticket costs AU$26/adult and AU$12/child, between Stony Point (Melbourne) and Cowes (Phillip Island), it takes 45 minutes. But before taking the ferry, you need to take a train to go from the centre of Melbourne to Frankston Station (the trip takes 1 hour) and then another train to go from Frankston Station to Stony Point (the trip takes 35 minutes).

Once there, you can view wildlife. Among the most popular activities, you have:

  • Penguin Parade (admission: AU$20/adult and AU$10/child): to see the world’s smallest penguin.
  • Koala Conservation Centre (admission: AU$10/adult and AU$5/child): to observe koalas from a tree top boardwalk and from close viewing areas.
  • Churchill Island (admission: AU$10/adult and AU$5/child): it is a farm that features exhibits on farming techniques.

Tip: if you’re planning on visiting these 3 attractions, you can buy a pass that costs AU$34/adult and AU$17/child (so you will save a little bit of money).




To get to the airport, you have two options:

  • Skybus: AU$18/adult and children (under 16) travel for free. When you make a booking, you can try to ask them to pick you up at your hotel. But notice that the pick-up is only available at some hotels, so if yours is not part of their list, they won’t be able to pick you up and you will have to take the Skybus from a regular station.
  • Private taxis: for about AU$58, they take you to the airport and the trip takes about 25 minutes. You can ask your hotel to make the booking. The taxi make you save money only if your are more than 3 people.

Bus station

The Southern Cross Station is located at about 15 minutes walk from the city centre. You can easily go from the station to your hotel on foot, if it’s located in the inner city. But if you don’t feel like walking, you can take the tram. You won’t need to pay if your hotel is located within the free tram zone (because the Southern Cross Station is also located into that zone).


Melbourne - Free Tram Zone
Click to enlarge the image.

The tram network is free in the inner city, in a defined area, but there is two types of trams:

  • The Sight Seeing Tram, that operates in a circular route passing major tourist attractions : No. 35.
  • Normal Trams which are free, but only in the downtown area.

However, if you want to go beyond the city centre, you will need to purchase a card to be able to use public transportation. It is the Myki card, that costs AU$6, which are non-refundable at the end of your stay. So you just need to put money on it, and when you get on a tram, a bus or a train, just tap on and when you get off, just tap off. That way, the fare will be deducted from your card.


To get Australian dollars, there are, to me, 2 excellent ways:

  • Global Alliance: if your bank is a member of this alliance, then you can withdraw cash at any of the cash withdrawal machine of the Westpac bank in Australia, with your credit card. They don’t take commission and have one of the best rate.

Tip: for example, the members are:

  • Barclays in the UK
  • Scotiabank in Canada
  • Bank of America or Bank of the West in the USA
  • BNP Paribas or Hello Bank in France
  • Currency exchange offices: you can also carry some cash and go to change it over there (or even change it before going). And if you need money at the airport, just change what you need there, you’ll change the rest in town.

Tip: one of the best places to change money in Melbourne is located opposite to the « Target Centre » on Bourke Street. Typically you will see many people already queuing there. And on the screen that displays the exchange rate, you’ll neither see the dollar nor the euro, but don’t worry you’ll obviously be able to change these currencies. Just wait in line!


If you are lucky to be in Melbourne on a Wednesday, I recommend going to the night market at Queen Victoria Market. It is really festive and there are a lot of small stalls cooking specialties from around the world. And if you like Asian food, just go to Chinatown, you will surely find something good in one of the many restaurants there.


During my stay in Melbourne, I stayed at the Ibis Budget. I would say that it was a pretty good value for money.

Description: the rooms are really tiny and there is not a real bathroom, just a shower and a sink into the room, which are separated by a curtain. There are also toilets located just next to the shower but in a separate room.
The hotel has 7 floors, but the lift is very slow and is quickly filled up.

Price: it’s one of the cheapest hotel in the city centre. You’ll see that all the hotels of the city are quite pricey.

Location: it’s really well located in the inner city, it’s close from everything. Around it, you’ll also find some convenience stores.

How to get there: from the « Southern Cross Station », head to the « Little Collins Street » and walk straight for about 10 minutes until you see the « Elizabeth Street ». Then turn right to go into the street and walk straight until you see the hotel. Once you get there, go to the first floor to reach the reception.

Pros Cons
the price (one of the cheapest hotel in town) really tiny rooms
really well located in the inner-city no free WI-FI (about AU$1/10 min)
- no free left-luggage service (about AU$6/day)

Thanks for reading :)