Thursday, June 4, 2015

Planning Melbourne Itinerary >> 72 Hours in Melbourne: A Guide!

When I initially sat down planning for Melbourne, what I had with me is a list of about ten odd places that I wished to visit during my four-day trip to the city.

Question that followed was:
How to group all these places so as to create an amazing itinerary?

I arrived in Melbourne with no map and itinerary in hand. My planning at home had been raw - just a rough roadmap with no fixed schedule. Soon after arriving though, I decided to mend my ways. I picked up a city map and a couple of other reference booklets from the hotel lobby and got down to work. I plotted on the map all the places from my Melbourne bucketlist, so now I had a fair bit of an idea on the places that could be clustered based on their proximity. The booklets were helpful too. Aside from giving me a sense of all the latest happenings in the city, it also offered exclusive discount coupons for many attractions like the Edge which was instantly torn off and kept safely in my pocket.

Three icons - City circle tram and Flinders street station, Eureka Sky deck Melbourne Australia

For any doubts that remained – I turned to the best people around – the Melburnians, especially the hotel staff. I remember standing with Ananda, the concierge at Hotel Citigate on my first night with my city map, yatra book and pen in hand - asking all sorts of questions I could possibly ask and gathering all sort of local information not always available in the tourist brochures and booklets. After gathering all the information, I left it to the city to do the rest which was indeed a very good decision! (Melbourne by the way, is one those cities that knows how to delight its guests with surprises!)

And today, happily back having lived it all, here I am sharing my itinerary on My Yatra Diary as a future reference for all those wishing to visit Melbourne.

GETTING AROUND: Modes of Transportation and Living -

Take the City Circle Free Tourist tram: In addition to being a free and convenient form of transportation, the City Circle Tram is a 'hop on, hop off' service covering major sites across the Melbourne CBD area. The trams pass by frequently, and major attractions like the Flinders Street, Federation Square, Old Treasury Building, Parliament House, and Princess Theater are in its route. Make sure to grab the ‘easy to understand’ map before settling on your window seat, the informative leaflet along with the running commentary adds delight as you gaze at the historical and architectural beauty unfolding outside.

Melbourne Visitor Shuttle Bus: Another wonderful way to explore the city’s attractions is the Melbourne Visitor Tourist Shuttle Bus that covers attractions not covered by the tram service. The 'hop-on, hop-off' service has enough on offer to keep you occupied through the entire day – it’s wise to get yourself a full day ticket for $5 that can then be freely used on any of these red-colored Shuttle busses any number of times during the day. The bus is quite comfortable, not very crowded and goes with an informative on-board commentary about the city.

Rent a Campervan or a Motorvan: If you are open to step out of the generic mould and try something more adventurous and fun, you can hire a campervan in Melbourne to explore the city. Make sure to choose a campervan that suits your budget otherwise it can be a bit costly. The biggest advantage about them is that they free you from all the other transportation and accommodation hassles thereby allowing you the freedom to travel at your own speed and in your own style.

Myki Cards: Myki card is your permit to discover Melbourne through the city’s privately operated trams, buses and trains. Myki cards are available at Vending machines, located at major train stations and bus interchanges and can later be topped after every travel at one of these stations again or additionally at 7/11 stores. These cards can come across as a bit confusing in the beginning but that’s how it is for everyone. You can read more about them here: A Travel Blogger's Guide to Melbourne's Myki.

DAY 1: EXPLORE CBD AND AROUND.


Right in the heart of the city, St. Paul’s cathedral provides a quick escape from the busy chaos of Melbourne into a world of peace and tranquility. You can easily spend an hour here walking around the halls and spending a few moments in self-reflection.

- Flinders Street Station (diagonally opposite to the cathedral).

The oldest of stations in Australia dating back to the 19th century, Flinders street station is a golden marvel of Victorian architectural beauty. With its famed catchphrase ‘Meet me under the clocks’, Flinders is an out and out people’s place which entertains thousands of commuters and tourists on a daily basis. Take a vantage point at a distance and watch the world slide by this significant landmark - makes for quite a striking sight.


Yarra River flows through the heart of Melbourne and you can see many of the city attractions speckled all around while wandering through this peaceful stretch of the riverside. The Yarra Bridge is a good vantage point to take in the panoramic views of the city. Spend a restful evening on the breezy Southbank footbridge over the Yarra; it has the fascinating love locks which ooze a charm of their own!

Love locks along the Yarra River footbridge, Melbourne in Australia

The cruise is also an option but I missed it due to bad weather conditions but even the walk along the riverside is a great activity to do.

DAY 2: EXPLORE ATTRACTIONS IN A SHUTTLE BUS SERVICE; THEY ISSUE A FULL DAY TICKET FOR A FEW DOLLARS.


The largest open air market of the southern hemisphere, Queen Victoria Market stacks a lot of different varieties of veggies, fresh fruit produce and locally crafted merchandise. I bought for myself a few apples and ate them with great relish! It is spread in a large area so a leisurely stroll for an hour or two at least is needed to get a good hang of this 120-year old place.

- MCG.

One of the largest and oldest sporting venues in the world, Melbourne Cricket Ground is an iconic landmark that needs little or no introduction. It takes pride in holding the infamous boxing Ashes test every year which is high on passion and energy, a must see if you are in Melbourne during those times. Simply strolling down the circumference of this famous stadium makes for an enjoyable experience which you can further heighten by taking one of the personal guided tours that will grant you access in the restricted player arenas.

- Royal Botanical Gardens.

The Royal Botanical Gardens is a vast peaceful expanse of gorgeous, colorful and exotic flowers, shrubs and trees alluring millions of visitors annually. It’s very close to the city center and you can spend as many hours strolling or relaxing as you may like in its quiet shady environs. It’s a favorite picnic spot for a lot of Melburnians especially during the weekends – joining them is a wonderful idea!

DAY 3: WALK - LET MELBOURNE GUIDE YOU.

Walk around Melbourne and explore the graffiti street art hidden in Lanes and alleyways.

Graffiti in Melbourne Victoria, Australia

Melbourne is an outstanding cultural art city – a fact that gains weight through its intriguing art and graffiti splashed in narrow lanes and alleyways hidden carefully amidst the busy sprawling streets of the metropolis. You really don’t need to go out looking for one of these; instead you can join specialized tours to guide you into one of the city’s many artful treasures.

- Check out Bourke Street Mall.

A quality shopping area characterized by a long strip of alluring shops and relaxing cafés, Bourke Street Mall is every shopper’s delight. What makes this lively stretch especially striking is the fact that it is nearly traffic free, open only to pedestrians and trams, which makes it a great area for an evening stroll. Among other things to watch out in this area are Melbourne’s street performers that include some of the best musicians and artists showcasing their skills.

- Royal Arcade.

Royal arcade is an elegantly styled little gem that is home to many beautiful specialty and boutique shops, standing long since the 18th century. The arcade is fully roofed that passing through it is a captivating experience. The stuff on sale might come across as a bit on the pricey side but the delectable handmade chocolates and drinks are worth a try.

- Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery Buddha Art Gallery (non touristy but really peaceful).

Step out of hubbub and chaos and retreat into a world of peace and tranquility at Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery Buddha Art Gallery. Nestled quietly in the busy suburbs of Queens Street, the art gallery is house to culturally and aesthetically rich artworks like paintings, sculptures, pottery, books and other such antique and inspiring collections that appreciate the profound culture of Buddhism. Walk through the gallery and admire the artworks, there is an adjoining tea house and restaurant where they serve excellent vegan food. Do not miss spending some time in the meditation hall on the first floor – it’s divine!


The panoramic views of the city offered by the highest building in the southern hemisphere, The Eureka Sky Deck 88 is too awesome to be missed. From an elevated height of almost 300 meters, you can see many of the major attractions around the city.

Golden reflections at the Eureka Sky deck, Melbourne Victoria Australia

The best time to drop in there is during the evening just before the sunset, so you can enjoy both the setting sun and the night landscape for a single ticket price. Pay a little extra and get on the Edge experience – it’s not for the faint-hearted for sure!

If time permits: Other attractions I would recommend -

- Spend some time in the Federation Square; the ISKCON Temple is a nice spiritual retreat as well (It’s a little off from the city center though).

- Many locals vouch for an evening sunset at St. Kilda too, though I missed it personally.

Other Traveler Tips to keep in mind:

- There's a lot to see and do in the city - be flexible with your plans and don't cram in much.

- Ask the locals like the hotel staff, they are generally the best people who will guide you to the nearby places which are worth a visit.

- Pick up freebies like the Melbourne map and city information leaflets from your hotel lobby – besides serving as wonderful pointers to significant information and happenings in the city, you also get to enjoy attractive discount deals and coupons that are incredible money-savers!

Melbourne packs in a lot of hidden gems and gorgeous beauties that are best discovered by yourself. I have designed this itinerary just to give a fairly rough idea on the places that can be clubbed together in such a way so as to leave ample space for flexibility - Roam around and go where the paths take you, with curiosity in your eyes and a spring in your footsteps and of course - no fixed plans!

Wish you a fabulous trip!



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22 comments:

  1. Over a month I am reading re-reading your blogposts on Australia. This one is a summary of what I was looking for. Thanks for writing this.

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    1. I am glad to know my posts help you, Saru - I am very excited for your trip to Melbourne; all the best!

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  2. Interesting that you remark on the Love Locks as I have just been reading that many of the locations in France are disposing of them as they are causing so much structural damage.

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    1. That's a great point you bring up, Tracy because I just heard from a Melburnian on Twitter that these love locks no longer exist now for the same reasons you mention!

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  3. Hello Arti, Let me thank you for helping Saru out with your trip experience. You seem to have had an awesome trip.
    We are excited for our trip too :)

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    1. Anytime - always a joy to share :) Melbourne is a city with an amazing character and I am sure both of you are going to have a wonderful time exploring it together. And as always, if you guys need any assistance anytime - I am always around.

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  4. These are some great places to see in Melbourne! All the trams in the CBD are now free which makes traveling around the city so much easier! Sunsets in St Kilda are quite amazing! But Port Melbourne and Brighton are just as nice (I actually prefer Port to St Kilda). Did you get a chance to see the Shrine of Remembrance whilst at the RBG?

    Stephanie
    Adventures in Aussieland

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    1. Unfortunately, I missed out on Shrine of Remembrance even though it was one of the places I had wanted to visit. Next time, maybe. I never read about Port Melbourne and Brighton - they certainly sound like great options to check as well - thanks for sharing them here, Stephanie!

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  5. Melbourne has many delightful secrets to reveal. Sounds like you had a great trip, Arty!
    I've planned several trip then forget my itinerary at home. Usually when I return home, I realize I hit everything on the list.

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  6. Lots of first hand information and meticulous planning. I am sure these will come very handy for someone planning their first time trip to Melbourne. And I hope to use this one day!

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  7. What a coincidence. As for my final master's project I created an Ebook to Creative Melbourne with a great help of Tim of Urban Duniya. I found out that Melbourne has so much to offer! More than I thought!

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  8. Australia, one of my dream destinations and a place to cherish. Your writings made me even more inclined towards traveling the continent. Hope to go their soon. Thank You.

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  9. Very interesting and useful blog post with travel itinerary.
    Australia is a dream destination for many...

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  10. Hello Arti, as usual you have provided lots of useful info..this brought alive my Melbourne post and all the research I did while writing it :) But you actually went there!!

    Would like to know how much you had to spend out of pocket..i guess the ticket and hotel was sponsored by Tourism Australia?

    Weren't you tempted to do some neighboring sightseeing like Great Ocean Road or yarra valley etc.?

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    1. Hey Pragati - It was actually an ALL expense paid trip (hotel, tickets and local travel included) by Melbourne Victoria Tourism Board (and IndiBlogger) but since they were offering me a travel package by SOTC, I opted out of it since I was more keen on exploring Melbourne freely on my own rather than following someone.

      I din't spend too much from my own pocket since I was determined to travel Melbourne on a budget and worked on my planning accordingly. Yarra Valley and Great Ocean Road - Yes! In fact I had even planned a ride on the Puffing Billy train for the last day of my trip but then I realized, there was so much left to explore in Melbourne itself that at the last moment, I decided not to go for it and rather spend the day wandering in the city itself.

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  11. This one the one everybody needs before planning a trip. :) Thanks for writing this.

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  12. Your posts on Australia are always a delight to read :-) Loved the photos as always... :-)

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  13. Your post has been indeed a great one. Not me, but one of my close friends is planning a trip overseas. I would certainly recommend him to read some of your OZ articles. This one, by far, for me is the best one. And as you said to Saru's reply, this is indeed pretty much helpful.
    Thanks for covering your trip :)

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  14. Perfect Guide.Amazing shots.Thanks for sharing Arti.
    http://www.srikri.com/

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  15. This is how to plan it right...loved your post and pics

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Delighted u stopped by... Your suggestions, feedback are really appreciated. Thanks a lot! Hope you visit again!

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