Melbourne is an exciting city to experience, especially in the summer months. You’ll have no shortage of options for how to spend your time, whether you like the outdoors or arts and culture. If you’re going to Melbourne, use this guide to find out travel tips for Melbourne and get advice to prepare for your visit.
Summer in Melbourne
Summer in Melbourne runs from December to February and is one of the city’s most popular travel seasons. The temperatures in summer average 20°C, but it can get hotter. On occasion, Melbourne gets cooler temperatures, so it’s a good idea to pack a few clothing options and layers to prepare for unexpected cool days or rainy days. You should also pack outdoor options in case you want to hike or swim in nearby areas, such as athletic shoes and swimwear. It’s always good to know before you go and prepare for weather changes.
How to get around
Melbourne has numerous public transport options. The bus is one of the primary modes of public transport and travels to major hubs, such as attractions and shopping centres. The fare is determined by the zones you’re travelling through, and you need a myki card to ride.
There are also free trams that run through the Central Business District. Taxis and rideshare are popular, but they can be on the expensive side. Many residents of Melbourne bike throughout the city and you can hire a bike or get a day pass for the city’s bike-share program.
Prepare for accessibility
If you or your travel companions have mobility concerns, research will provide you with what to know before you visit an attraction and options you’ll wish you knew. Many of the historic buildings and cobblestone streets are fascinating and charming, but they don’t always have access to accommodate wheelchairs or crutches. Federation Square, one of the most popular attractions in Melbourne, has an array of staircases and jagged stonework that can present challenges for mobility issues. Before you visit an attraction, take a look at the accessibility options to ensure you can enjoy a safe and comfortable experience.
Safety in Melbourne
Melbourne is a safe city that’s popular with travellers and backpackers, even if you’re travelling alone. Locals are familiar with travellers and are often helpful, but it’s important to exercise caution and sense. Guard your valuables, avoid unfamiliar or remote areas at night and make copies of your personal and travel documents.
Summer is bright and sunny, so be sure to pack sunscreen and apply it liberally to avoid a burn. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated and take breaks from the sun to avoid sunburn or heat stroke.
Respect the native people
In Melbourne, you’re likely to come across indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people during your trip. It’s important to treat them with respect and kindness, especially before ceremonies or events.
Many of the shops in the city offer indigenous handicrafts and artwork to purchase, but it may not be authentic or ethically sourced. Australia has an Indigenous Art Code that provides ethical standards for commercial dealers, so if you want to take home an indigenous souvenir, you can check that the establishment follows the code and inquire about the origin of the work.
Relax at sheltered beaches
Though known for its beaches, Melbourne’s coast is absent of waves and turbulent sea. The beaches are located on Port Phillip Bay, providing a sheltered environment with gentle, shallow waters, which is great for families with children or swimmers looking for a calm and safe experience. The placid waters are great for underwater adventures as well, such as diving and snorkelling.
If you’re more of a water sports enthusiast looking to surf or sail, you can travel to Phillip Island or other areas of the coast for more adventurous and wave-filled waters that are ideal for water activities.
Enjoy free museums and galleries
Melbourne has an array of top-notch museums and galleries that are free or inexpensive to visit, such as the National Gallery of Victoria, the Melbourne Museum, Arts Centre Melbourne, the Ian Potter Centre, the National Sports Museum and the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. Depending on your interests, you can see everything from modern and indigenous artwork to natural history artefacts and film archives, all on a budget. Many of the galleries and museums host rotating exhibits in addition to the permanent displays, so there’s always something new and exciting to experience.
Explore the outskirts
Melbourne has an array of options for attractions and activities, but there are some hidden gems that lie just outside the city. The Yarra Valley, one of the country’s top cool-climate wine regions, is a great option for a short day trip and a relaxing day of wine tastings and a cellar door tour. You could also take an organized bus tour to explore the wine region with the safety of a sober driver. Another must-see attraction is the Great Ocean Road, a scenic route that passes some of Australia’s top wonders, including the Twelve Apostles.
Catch a glimpse of unique wildlife
Like the rest of the continent, Melbourne has an abundance of unique and fascinating wildlife that you can view during your trip. The city has many animal attractions for land and sea, such as the SEA LIFE Melbourne Aquarium, the Melbourne Zoo, the Werribee Open Range Zoo, the Healesville Sanctuary and the Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation Park.
There are plenty of places to experience local wildlife near the city as well. Flying foxes are abundant in Melbourne and often hang from the trees near the Yarra River, so you can see them for free from the Bellbird Picnic Area.
Visit the Dandenong Ranges National Park
Dandenong Ranges National Park is one of Australia’s gems and a lush location to explore. It’s known for its mountain ash trees and vibrant fern gullies, clear streams, glistening waterfalls and an extensive network of hiking trails. You can spend time wandering the trails to listen to sounds of the birds, such as kookaburras, cockatoos and crimson rosellas. There’s an array of other wildlife as well, such as platypus, deer, bats, koala, swamp wallabies and wombats, that live in the park.
Ready to plan your trip?
If you’re planning a summer trip, you have all the essential information you need before visiting Melbourne. Check out Expedia to learn about Melbourne holidays and prepare for the trip of a lifetime!