I’ve had the pleasure of visiting Melbourne Australia on a few occasions. This trip, however, has been the longest trip to date. I’m spending 25 nights here in Melbourne and so I’ve had the opportunity to explore the city more throughly.
Normally I write about spending 48-hours in a city, however, there’s no way you’d want to fly half-way around the world (depending on where you are when you’re reading this) to spend 2 days in Melbourne, so I’ll cover more than normal here.
As you know, Australia is in the midst of summer while the northern half of the world is experiencing one of the wildest winters on record. I left Charleston, South Carolina after a record-setting ice storm in early February and arrived to temperatures of over 100 degrees in Melbourne. The average summer temperature in Melbourne is between 75 – 80 degrees, but can reach up to 114 degrees and January and February are the warmest months. While the statistics say the average is around 75-80 degrees, it’s been above 80 every day since I’ve been here with a few days above 95 and 100.
Melbourne is an easy city to navigate and public transportation is easily accessible. There are trams and trains that make it easy to get from here to there. The city is pretty safe and I’ve felt comfortable exploring on my own.
I’ve selected the Westin Melbourne Australia for my stay and it’s very centrally located. Of course, I’ll write up a full report on the hotel after my stay ends. The Westin is located about 2 blocks from the Flinders Street Station which makes it a great location for business and leisure travelers alike. The price, however, can be prohibitive so I’d recommend using points if you have them. I was lucky enough to negotiate a long-term stay rate that was within my budget.
Melbourne is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Melbourne was ranked the most livable city in the world and at the same time, the 5th most expensive city in the world two spots behind Sydney, Australia. Be prepared to spend some money when you visit Australia. Unless you’re going to eat every meal at a fast-food restaurant (which there are plenty of here) you’ll need a healthy budget here. According to the Mercer Cost of Living Report, the average cup of coffee costs $4.83 (USD), a soda costs $6 (USD), mid-scale restaurant for dinner for two $67 (USD) no alcohol included and $293 (USD) for a 3-course meal for two in a top-rated restaurant.
A few of the items that have shocked me: A pint of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream is $14 (USD) here vs $4 – 5 in the US. A bottle of OPI Nail Polish, a very popular brand, is $19 in Melbourne and around $8 in the US. I paid $12 for a mojito at the Westin Moana Surfrider in Hawaii while a mojito at the Westin Melbourne cost $20 (USD). A grande latte at Starbucks in Charleston, SC costs just about $4 while a grande latte in Melbourne costs $6.5 (USD) (interestingly, a latte in Oslo, Norway will cost you $9! (USD) In New Delhi, India you’ll only shell out a mere $2.8 (USD). )
So, enough about the cost, let’s move onto some of the attractions. Melbourne is a great jumping off point for a trip to Australia’s Great Ocean Road – the longest memorial to World War II (there aren’t any monuments or exhibits about WWII, the road was built by Veterans and is dedicated to their memory.) The Great Ocean Road provides for great views and a chance to see some Australian Wildlife!
There are plenty of museums and exhibitions around the city. The Melbourne Museum has unique exhibits and easy to access via public transportation. The Royal Botanical Gardens are beautiful and make for a great day outdoors. The Gardens are close to the Central Business District (CBD) and you can catch a tram for easy access. You can also visit the nearby Shrine of Remembrance honoring Australia’s war veterans.
Even without children a trip to the Melbourne Zoo is a must. You can get to the zoo via the train and there’s a stop directly in front of the zoo. I’ve been to the zoo twice now and love walking around and seeing the animals. The zoo can be busy at times and many people visit during the morning to avoid the heat in summer. The zoo is open from 9-5pm and you can buy food there or bring your own. Admission is $30 for adults, children under 4 are free and children 4-15 are free on weekends and public holidays and $13.20 during the week.
No matter what you do in Melbourne, prepare for unpredictable weather in summer. It can be hot and dry or hot and rainy and it can even get cool some days and especially in the evenings.
Next Post: Melbourne’s Restaurant Scene