Since I moved from Sydney to Melbourne, I have been busy experiencing what this city has to offer. Although I live here now, I have solo traveled to 70+ countries so I understand what travelers look for when backpacking in Melbourne. This blog covers everything you need to know from where to find cheap eats in Melbourne, where to stay in Melbourne, things to do, where to find a job if you are on a working holiday visa, and more.
Loads of memories to make, bucket list items to tick off, and new friends to meet! Whether you are solo traveling or short on time, there are so many interesting places in Melbourne, that it’s normal to feel overwhelmed when planning your trip. You can bookmark this backpacking Melbourne blog, so you can come back to it anytime you want.
Melbourne also known as “Naarm” identifies with the Wurundjeri people who are the traditional owners of the land where the Yarra River runs. Whether it is sunny, rainy, winter, or in fact any other season, there is plenty to do and see in Melbourne.
In no particular order, let me present you with, the Ultimate Backpacking in Melbourne travel guide
Backpacking in Melbourne 2024
- Backpacking in Melbourne 2024
- Do I need a visa for Melbourne, Australia?
- When is the best time to travel to Melbourne?
- Where to book a cheap flight?
- How to get around Melbourne?
- Where to stay in Melbourne?
- Where to find a job in Melbourne?
- Is WIFI any good in Melbourne? What about the local sim?
- What cell phone/plan is good?
- Where to eat in Melbourne?
- Read the most wanted travel resource here.
- Backpacking in Melbourne Travel Guide 2024
- Free walking tour
- 37 Melbourne Bucket list that you can’t miss
- Best Day Hikes from Melbourne
- Over 90 things to do in Melbourne at night
- 13 most Instagram worthy places in Melbourne
- 10 secret Melbourne walks
- Things to do in Melbourne when it is raining
- Yarra Valley Itinerary and the must-see in the Dandenong ranges
- Melbourne In Spring For Locals and Visitors
- Best walks in the Dandenong ranges
- Melbourne Day Trips In Winter
- Melbourne to Grampians road trip
- Secrets of Melbourne (hidden bars)
- Day Trip from Melbourne to Bendigo
- What to do in Geelong, Victoria
- Best Things To Do In Ballarat, Victoria
- Things to do in Lake Eildon, Victoria
- Best Things to do in Portarlington, Victoria
- Best Things to do in Wilson Prom
- Best Wilson Prom Walks
- 11 Best spots for Free camping on Great Ocean Road
- A quick guide to camping on Phillip Island
- Best Healsville wineries
- Grampians itinerary for 3-4 days
- 5 tips for moving from Sydney to Melbourne
- Let me know in the comments
Currency = Australian Dollars
Hello = Good Day, G’day!
Bye = See you later!
Capital City = Canberra
Main cities and 6 states = (Sydney -New South Wales, Melbourne -Victoria, Adelaide -South Australia, Perth -Western Australia, Brisbane -Queensland, Hobart –Tasmania) and 2 territories (Canberra -Australian Capital Territory and Darwin –Northern Territory)
Do I need a visa for Melbourne, Australia?
There are many options to choose from when it comes to visas. Australia wants the world to come and enjoy our great weather and beautiful sights!
It could be just a holiday visa, working holiday, student, partner, joining a family, starting a business, investing, and more types of visas are available. You can use this official Australian Immigration website to find out which visas fit you best and how to apply. This is a brand new government site that they are testing at the moment (Sep 2018) and you can provide feedback as well.
If you wish to use the old and trusted website, go here.
As most of my readers are from the USA – Most U.S. passport holders traveling to Australia for tourism or business purposes for less than 90 days can obtain an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA). Apply on the Australian government’s official website here.
Remember while on the tourist visa, working isn’t legal in Australia unless you have a working holiday visa.
The visa application fee is non-refundable, so make sure that your information is entered correctly the first time and that your photo meets the specifications.
When is the best time to travel to Melbourne?
Every season offers something different to experience in Melbourne. Below are months and weather guides but keep in mind, that Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere, it would be the exact opposite of the Northern Hemisphere temperature. For example, during Christmas and New Year sun is at 30 degrees in Australia!
Melbourne, renowned as ‘one of the most livable cities in the world,’ offers a unique blend of four distinct seasons usually all in a day! So, when planning your visit, it’s wise to layer up and be prepared for any weather surprises.
Summer – the three hottest months are December, January, and February.
Autumn – the transition months are March, April, and May.
Winter – the three coldest months are June, July, and August.
Spring – the three transition months are September, October, and November.
If you can, plan your travels to Melbourne during the summer. Otherwise, the rest of the year isn’t bad either. Australia is one of the best places for solo traveling, road trips, and solo trips for females are increasing daily with its lower crime rate.
Just get your phone or camera battery fully charged every night because there are way too many beautiful and Insta-worthy places to capture.
Where to book a cheap flight?
Skyscanner lets you search “everywhere” to see where it is cheaper to fly to and from! It also lets you search full month if you are flexible with dates. Momodo lets you filter by airline alliance, which is also helpful when trying to earn frequent flyer miles in a particular loyalty program. It also displays an overview of information about your route and the factors that affect the price.
Remember to use an incognito window for searching or clear your browser’s cache after searching to avoid price increases! But if you are using Skyscanner mobile app there is no need for incognito mode.
How to get around Melbourne?
First of all, let me share, the backpacker-friendly way to get to the city from the airport. Once you land at Melbourne airport, you will notice ATMs are inside the airport, and once you withdraw AUD you can purchase the Sky bus ticket at the counter which is right outside of the arrival gates, or on the Skybus website. If you buy a return ticket. you get a small discount.
Currently, Melbourne doesn’t have a train from the airport so your best bet is to get on one of these iconic red buses if you need to get to the city on a budget.
All SkyBus tickets are valid for 3 months, giving you the flexibility you need when you’re on the go. With services running from 4 am to 1 am, 365 days a year, 0 stops in between, and departures every 10 minutes between 7 am and 7 pm, you’ll be at Melbourne airport or the city center just 30 minutes during off-peak hours Plus, you can enjoy unlimited luggage and free Wi-Fi on board!
Alternatively, you can order Uber/didi to the city which is more expensive but the discount codes are below.
Once you are in the city, note the main train stations are called Flinders Street Station and Southern Cross Station. There is a free tram zone within Melbourne city which is called the free city circle tram. With this free tram, you can hop on and off anywhere within that zone. For example, You can take the free tram from the Flinders station to Queen Victoria Market (QVM), then go to the waterfront at Docklands.
The city’s Free Tram Zone #35 extends from Queen Victoria Market to Docklands, Spring Street, Flinders Street Station, and Federation Square. Travel on the City Circle Tram is also free. Hop on and off the historic trams as often as you like.
If you start or finish a journey outside the Free Tram Zone, a valid Myki card is required. Purchase it at the train station if you are traveling outside of the free tram zone or planning on day trips outside of Melbourne. Once you have the card, you can top up online or at the station too. Head to ptv.vic.gov.au for more info
Bus route service is available. Check the website or your Google map for convenient and current routes.
Rail lines service much of the city plus inner and outer suburbs.
Taxis, cars, and Rideshare
Taxi ranks are available around the city and at the airport. Ride-share service Uber operates in Melbourne, with a designated pickup area at the airport. Car hire is available at the airport and points around the city from companies including Avis, Budget, Thrifty, and Hertz.
Use code k7zapn for $10 off your first Uber ride and use code WT7BSQD2 for a $20 Didi discount which is a rivalry to Uber.
Where to stay in Melbourne?
Area wise I would recommend either basing yourself in the city or around St Kilda Beach. City because it is central and with public transport nearby it is easier to get to places. St Kilda if you like to stay near the beach.
That said, you could perhaps consider staying in Brighton, Apollo Bay, or near Great Ocean Road for that ocean vibe.
Some hostels also offer work with accommodation and food covered. Suggest inquiry within.
There are 1000+ hotels available in Melbourne too. In 2023 hostel price starts at $20 AUD and hotel prices start at $70 AUD per night for 1 adult per room. Check out trusted booking.com to see all the properties and find one that suits you best. Alternatively, Agoda offers various accommodation options.
Lastly, check out Airbnb couch surfing, or trusted housesitters.
Here is the best area to stay in Melbourne CBD
Where to find a job in Melbourne?
In case you are on a working holiday visa, student visa, or any other visa that allows you to work, you are in the land of opportunities. I hope you will find work that you will enjoy. In no particular order, look up jobs on Seek, Indeed, Jora, Gumtree, LinkedIn, and even some local Aussie backpackers’ Facebook groups.
Is WIFI any good in Melbourne? What about the local sim?
Compared to international standards, WIFI is a little slow here in Australia but it does the job. Most cafes would give you a password once you order your coffee. For free WIFI head to the nearest library.
In regards to the local sim, if you have an unlocked phone that is compatible with Australian GSM technology, then all you will need is a SIM card and a prepaid plan. Having said that, there are other options available too. For example Package deals, data deals, capped inclusions, and contract options. I suggest comparing either one of the following 4 major cell phone carriers in Australia and buying what suits you best.
1 Telstra – Australia’s leading provider of mobile phones, mobile devices, home phones, and broadband internet, 2. Optus – second in the area covered behind Telstra; about 30 personal plans + 8 business plans; 3. Vodaphone – the smaller of the 3 major providers and covers mostly metropolitan and larger regional areas; about 38 plans; and 4. Virgin Mobile – uses the Optus network; with about 27 plans.
What cell phone/plan is good?
Well, that depends on what you are after. If you are like me a social media fanatic then perhaps best to get a data plan but if you are into talking and texting a lot then getting a call and msg plan would suit you. There can be many considerations like how much data you might need, what network coverage is available and whether you should enter into a contract or go prepaid. But if you are here for a short amount of time, I wouldn’t worry too much, and just get a prepaid plan that you can cancel anytime.
However, if you are planning to travel or live in Australia for over 3 months, then spend some time researching beforehand as many options are available. Weigh up prepaid vs entering a contract.
Where to eat in Melbourne?
Melbourne is a foodie paradise as there are thousands of restaurants and cafes spread around everywhere in town. But as you are backpacking in Melbourne, I assume you want to save money right? so the best thing to do is to cook your own food. Shop at one of the supermarkets Coles/ Woolworths or IGA.
Actually, even better to shop at Queen Victoria Market (QVM) if you are staying in the city. This market is not open Monday or Wednesday though otherwise is a great place to stock up on veggies, organic milk (I’m obsessed with it), meat, souvenirs, soaps, hats, and more. It is quite a big market so there is a normal veggie section, a separate organic section, separate meat, seafood, bread, and a separate section full of fast food.
When it comes to veggie prices it is slightly cheaper than the supermarkets. Check out the Borzk place in QVM, I usually get spicy lamb borzk for $4.50 only. I am positive you will find many other bargains there too.
And if you would like to treat yourself some days, I recommend the below places to eat in Melbourne for under $30 as of 2022
Nepalese: Chilli Everest in QV has the best Thai at $17.99 which is priced reasonably. Also, try out their momos and chowmein.
Indian: Next door Chilli India has the best goat curry! I kid you not but if $20 for curry is too much, head to Delhi Rocks in Lonsdale Street for $12 Thai with unlimited rotis! But if you ask me, free Rotis is a nice touch but curry is best in Chilli India.
Thai: I like eating out at RPS in Hardware Lane.
Chinese: If you love Sichuan spicy meals, head to Musom they make the best dry Sichuan bowl. Yum
Mexican: Miznon in Hardware Lane makes the best falafel wrap and more.
Read the most wanted travel resource here.
After years of full-time traveling, I’ve spent hours trying to figure out how to travel cheaper and better. This is a collection of the best travel resources when it comes to flights, accommodation, gear, travel insurance, and more. I have personally used all of those items listed and recommend them to you.
Now that we covered the essentials, let me share what to do in Melbourne once you are settled and fed.
Backpacking in Melbourne Travel Guide 2024
Free walking tour
I think going on a free walking tour is a fun idea to see the city from the local’s perspective and meet other travelers at the same time. You can then share or gain some travel tips too. Free walking tours typically cover street art which is famous in Melbourne, the Yarra River, and important landmarks. Don’t forget to pay as you think it’s worth it in the end.
That said, it is absolutely manageable to walk around and visit the city on your own too. Some of the main sights to see around the city are
– Yarra River
– Eureka Tower
– Iconic Street art
– Aboriginal History
– Early settlement history
– Old Melbourne Gaol
– Carlton Gardens
– Royal Exhibition Building
– Princess Theatre
– Federation Square
– Bourke St
– Flinders St Station
– State Library Victoria
– State Parliament of Victoria
– Melbourne’s first coffee machine
– Ned Kelly
You may click on the links or the pics to read the full guide.
37 Melbourne Bucket list that you can’t miss
If you click the photo above, you can find 37 bucket list things to do in Melbourne, and probably can skip most of the other guides below.
Yarra Valley Itinerary and the must-see in the Dandenong ranges
A quick guide to camping on Phillip Island
I hope the travel guides above assist you in backpacking in Melbourne.
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Let me know in the comments
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Read the most wanted travel resource here.
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