Melbourne Guide For First Time Visitors

You find Melbourne, the capital city of Victoria in the south-east of Australia. Established in 1835, Greater Melbourne is now the home of nearly five million people. You end up in the Azores in Portugal would you dig a tunnel to the other side of the world.

Which are the most beautiful parts of Melbourne? Good question. Depends on who you ask. There are as many answers as there are fish in the sea. Obviously. As always in life, it depends. There are no universally valid answers. Do you have many children, one, two, three, four or maybe even five? Then, you might fancy a rather quiet, leafy suburb, it sounds like you're going to be delighted with neighbourhoods like Kensington, Kew or Hawthorn. Do you want to be where the action is, do you want to go out every night? Then probably St Kilda, Fitzroy, Prahran or Carlton is your thing. That's so generalized now. Melbourne has countless neighbourhoods. Every single one has something somewhere, and more or less exciting and less exciting corners. Charm is the thing most of them have.

Travel Australia. Melbourne Overview For First Time Visitors

There are many neighbourhoods by the ocean. You should not call it the ocean, it's just a bay. But wait, it's blue, sometimes turquoise, there are sandy beaches, there are fish, seals, dolphins, pelicans, jellyfish, yachts, penguins, algae, starfish and even cruise ships, ferries and container ships around. So, for the sake of simplicity, and because it sounds so beautiful, it remains for me the ocean. Port Phillip bay stretches from Point Lonsdale to Point Nepean or, if you like that better, from Point Nepean to Point Lonsdale for over 260 km of coastline. There are around 40 beaches and Melbourne only makes up a part of it. It's perfect to live by the ocean. But it can actually be also quite pretty in some borough far away from the bay. Sure, there in these grey corners of town you will find the proper trendy people. Wherever you visit, keep in mind, that being hip comes from the inside, that's a feeling, the neighbourhood you are going to live in or travel to won't help much.

Here is a brief overview of a selection of neighbourhoods in the city of Melbourne, just to give you an idea what's going on in town.


Gorgeous old houses next to absolutely modern complexes. A successful mix of old and new. There are many bookshops, cinemas, countless boutiques, cafes and restaurants along the Chapel or even Greville Street. Prahran is equally popular with fashion lovers, gourmets and everybody who loves a good party

A day in Prahran is always a good idea. Since we are in Australia, we should not rush and first have breakfast in one of the countless cafes. Then do some shopping or window shopping. If you want to stroll along the entire Chapel Street, you will certainly need several hours.

If you have the serious intent to browse through every single store on Chapel Street, you'll need to stop off for lunch to stay energized. The good thing about Prahran is that you do not have to think long about which café you would like to be in. There are so many cafes and restaurants, you can almost always and everywhere stop to drop into a café. After lunch, however, there is more shopping, there are over one thousand shops on Chapel Street. This is a great place to people watch. Overall it is a wild mix of singles, families with small children and dogs, couples in love, half-naked groups of teenage girls, excited teenagers and business people in suits. The best way to do that is with a coffee in one of the sidewalk cafes.

In the 'Chapel Off Chapel' you can watch a theatre or music performance in the early evening. Then it's time for dinner. Go dancing and have drinks to end the day.

What to do in Prahran: Borsch, Vodka & Tears. Polish cafe / restaurant / bar. Australian cuisine influenced by European traditions. 173 Chapel Street, Prahran. Gorman. A fashion label from Melbourne. Not only is the clothing beautiful, but the interior of this boutique is also absolutely worth seeing. A place to feel good, touch and be amazed. 248 Chapel Street, Prahran. Design a Space. Unknown designers are offered the opportunity to offer their goods, to make their breakthrough. You can do one or two bargains and probably you end up buying the hottest piece of the future. 142 Chapel Street, Windsor, Prahran.

Facades of one yellow and one green Victorian house.

A green tram in front of a row of colourfull period houses.


Richmond is one of the oldest districts in Melbourne. Small attractive terraced houses and industrial buildings converted into apartments or townhouses and lofts. Not only that, but Richmond is also just fantastic for bargain hunting. Bridge Road houses almost only Outlets. There are also a lot of cafes and restaurants where you can have breakfast, lunch and drink coffee.

However, in general, as soon as the businesses close at about 6pm, it gets rather quiet here. Many restaurants and cafes are still open, but it is not really exciting at night. Richmond is more of a shopping destination. There is also Ikea in this part of town. You will find amazing murals around Swan Street and Richmond Station. This area is also the home of the MCG, the Melbourne Cricket Ground.

What to do in Richmond: Richmond Hill and Larder. 48-50 Bridge Road, Richmond. There is a great cheese to be had here.


The West rocks and Yarraville is very special. It is a short ride from Flinders Street on the Werribee Line to Yarraville station. On Anderson and Ballarat Street you will find cafes, restaurants, organic food shops, bakeries, small boutiques and an art deco style cinema, first opened in 1938. It's just fun to be here. It is a village in Melbourne.

What to do in Yarraville: Bopha Devi. 27 Ballarat Street, Yarraville. Cambodian food to die for in a cute setting with the friendliest of people. Sun Theatre, Art Deco Cinema, 8 Ballarat Street, Yarraville.

South Melbourne

Fifteen years ago this area seemed somewhat neglected, and that changed quickly. South Melbourne is sandwiched between the city centre and the beach. Emerald Hill is surrounded by beautiful old Victorian houses. Glamorous boutiques, kitchen accessories shops, interior designers, book shops, restaurants, cafes and bars and its biggest star, the South Melbourne market, make this one of the most delicious areas in Melbourne.

What to do in South Melbourne: Gas. Be pampered with small and large bites while reading the newspaper. 253 Coventry St, South Melbourne. South Melbourne Market. Who needs a supermarket? You will never want to shop for groceries elsewhere. St Ali Coffee Roasters. Breakfast, lunch, dinner? Yes, yes, yes please, sorted. And coffee. 12-18 Yarra Place, South Melbourne.


Many Italian immigrants live here. If you walk along Lygon Street, you will pass restaurants, cafes and delicatessen shops. A visit is worthwhile at any time, be it day or night. Unfortunately, there are now more and more shops of the big chains, but it shouldn't hold you back from visiting.

What to do in Carlton: Cafe Brunetti. Here, the term cake fight immediately comes to mind. The cake selection is breathtaking and delicious. Until late at night, guests sit over coffee and cake to chat. 380 Lygon Street, Carlton. DOC Espresso. Perfect place for Aperitivo, you can stay for pasta too. 326 Lygon Street, Carlton. DOC. Pizza place and Mozzarella Bar. This actually is my benchmark for Pizza, wherever I go to in this world, I compare it to this one, no one ever wins. Mushroom and Truffle oil Pizza followed by a sweet Pizza with Belgian chocolate. 295 Drummond Street, Carlton.


In this part of town, there are many really cheap cafes, restaurants, bookshops, second-hand stores and galleries, mainly along Brunswick Street and Gertrude Street. There is hardly any green, but a lot of greys. If you want to completely ignore that Melbourne is located by the sea, this is the place you should definitely visit. A nice change from the eternal blue sky over Melbourne's beaches. In the evening there is a lot going on in the bars and then there is the Rose Street Market on weekends.

What to do in Fitzroy: Black Pearl. An oldie but a goldie (it is over a dace old), it was just named the best bar in Australasia in World’s 50 Best Bar Awards. 304 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. Naked for Satan. Pintxos (Spanish snacks) plus a rooftop bar with stunning views. 285 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. Provincial Hotel. The food and the atmosphere are fun, you can ignore the fact that everything looks a little worn off. Or does it have to be like that? That is the charm of Brunswick Street. 299 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.


This is a showpiece of a suburb. Although it is relatively far away from the city centre, it is a beauty of a place. Vacation, vacation, vacation. Blue sky, white yachts, a marina and sandy beach.

This place in the west of Melbourne and has a true small village centre. There are boutiques and shoe shops next to Deli's, where you can buy snacks and treats. From the marina, you can enjoy a magnificent view of the Melbourne skyline. Amazing photo opportunity. It is a very popular residential area and also a weekend destination for Melburnians. Most people who live here have at least one Golden Retriever and a few happy children.

In summer, the tourists arrive in train loads, but it is never hectic, but always relaxed and friendly. Swimming, jogging, sailing, cycling, playing tennis, walking the Golden Retriever, sightseeing with a seaplane, it is all happening here.

What to do in Williamstown: Go for walks through the Jawbone Flora and Fauna Reserve, a bird sanctuary. Lunch or dinner at Shelly’s Beach Pavilion. Real beach house feeling in the restaurant directly by the sea. 26 Esplanade, Williamstown, Hobsons Bay. In summer, take the ferry from Gem Pier to either St Kilda or South Gate. Titanic Restaurant. Regardless of whether you choose to experience the sinking of the Titanic in the first or in the third class, the evening will end in disaster. Nevertheless, fun night out. Book in advance. 1 Nelson Place, Williamstown.

A blue door of a white weatherboard home surrounded by green leaves. Rocks on a beach. Boat harbour with the skyline of a city in the background.


Futuristic skyscrapers wherever you look. City planners go out of their way to make this part of the city exciting.  You can go for a free trip on the Circle Line, but there is also public transport.

What to do in Docklands: Restaurants New Quay Promenade, Docklands. Southwarf Shopping Center. Visit a rock or pop concert at the Docklands Stadium (Etihad).

A white designed brdige. The colourfull facade of a modern house. A tall ship with a city skyline in the background.


Along the Yarra, you have the best view of the city centre with Flinders Street Central Station in front of it. In short, you find a good restaurant next to a bad one, the selection is massive. This is the place for rowing or even just strolling. The scenery is unique, especially at night. A confirmed cliché, everything looks glamorous at night.

What to do Southgate: Royal Botanical Gardens with more than 50,000 plant species. There is also a great café in the visitor centre. Visit the Eureka Tower, it is 300 m high, on the 88th floor is the Skydeck. You have a glorious view from 'The Edge' - a glass cube, which stands out 3 meters from the building. Visit the National Gallery of Victoria, the Performing Arts Museum and the Victorian Arts Center with State Theater, Playhouse and George Fairfax Studio for a culture fix.

Lush garden with palm trees around a lake overgrown with lily pads.

Port Melbourne

A hotel, a jetty and mail service, launched in 1839 and known since 1884 as Port Melbourne. This part of town has really made big changes over the last decade.

On the palm-lined promenade sits a welcoming city beach. You can practically go swimming next to the ferry, the Spirit of Tasmania, which starts the daily journey to Tasmania from Station Pier. Every day, when the ferry leaves, you can hear the sound of its horn, which gives the whole the flair of the big wide world. There are many modernized fisherman's houses, but also swanky apartments, located in converted warehouses.

Bay Street with its organic food stores, boutiques, bakeries, shoe shops, bookstores, opticians and yoga studios is well worth a visit. Have breakfast, go swimming, shopping, have coffee and cake, get a spa treatment, go jet skiing, jump on a cruise ship, have dinner. In Port Melbourne, everything is possible in one day.

What to do Port Melbourne: Diva Scandinavia. Boutique with Scandinavian fashion, run by friendly Swedes. 96 Bay Street, Port Melbourne. Punchbowl Canteen, where the motto is ‘keep it simple but do it well’. 1 Fennel Street, Port Melbourne.

People swimming on a white sandy beach with three large passenger ferries in the background.

Albert Park

Old Victorian houses with colourful front gardens where cats lie lazily in the sun behind white-painted fences. A borough straight from a picture book. On the main street in Albert Park, Victoria Avenue, there are numerous cafes, bakeries, restaurants, a bookshop to browse, antique shops and great boutiques. The beach is only a few metres down the road. And then there is a lake and an Olympic swimming stadium. If the Formula One race is not on at the lake, you can go jogging or just lying on the grass, there is also a golf club.

What to do Albert Park: Kamel is a café-restaurant serving dishes from the Middle East where the staff always wears a smile on their faces. The Avenue Food Store. 69 Victoria Ave, Albert Park. Cute cafe, close to the beach, serving the best apple cake with cream in the Southern Hemisphere (if not in the whole world). Browse for books at the Avenue Bookstore, 127 Dundas Place. Go swimming at the Olympic pool, Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre, Albert Park Lake.

Skyline of a city in the background of the ocean and a white sandy beach..

Sunset over a lake. The facade of a white Victorian house. A tiger cat looking through the front door of a Victorian house. Apple cake served with cream.

St Kilda

There are beautiful and less beautiful corners. Most houses were built in the early 20th century in the Edwardian era. Nightlife, which is not always nice to look at during the wee hours on weekends, because many drunks are on the road and even have a liquid laugh (out loud) is a big drawcard for many. However, since this is the case at night in entertainment districts around the world, this should not put anyone off from coming here. Life takes place on the beach and on Acland Street and Fitzroy Street. On the beach, there is a fitness centre and a seawater swimming pool. Kitesurfing is also possible on the beach at St Kilda West (Beaconsfield Parade).

What to do St Kilda: Pier and kiosk. Cafe and restaurant on stilts in the sea with great views over the beach towards the CBD. Stroll through Catania Gardens after dark to see if you can spot some of the possums that live in the palm trees. Theatre Works. 14 Acland Street, St Kilda. Theatre in the heart of St Kilda. The constantly changing program makes it easy to become a theatre lover. For great food and drinks on the beachhead to Stokehouse. 30 Jacka Boulevard, St Kilda.

Two people watching the sunset on the ocean. A boardwalk through green grasses. Palm trees and a ferris wheel in the blue hour.

Two people in the distance on a long wooden pier with boats and the skyline of a city in the background. A Victorian house on a wooden pier with a view of the ocean. Kite surfers at dawn.

A Victorian house on stilts in the ocean with a town in the background.

Four palm trees in a row illuminated by fairy lights and the orange sunset over the ocean.

Melbourne has been voted the most liveable city in the world for a reason, I have shown you just some. Please read 9 things Melburnians and visitors love to do. The city is excellent for

Best time to visit Melbourne

The weather is perfect during spring, and perfect but often hot in the summer months. Autumns are generally pleasant and winters are cool-ish with temperatures at around 10 to 15 degrees Celsius during the day, it can go towards zero degrees Celsius.

How to get to Melbourne

Flights from Europe are long, travel time between 24 to 36 hours depending on the connection, but manageable. Stop-over in Singapore or Dubai if you can’t do it in one trip. You fly to Tullamarine Airport; get a rental car (best to book in advance), or grab a taxi to the city (about AUD 65).

From Berlin with love