Melbourne quirks
November 3, 2011 12:55 AM   Subscribe

What to do in Melbourne this weekend?

I will be in Melbourne from 2pm Friday until 9ish pm Tuesday visiting my beau who regretably has work to do some of the time. What can I fill my hours with cheaply, and easily (public transport a must), day or night.

While we're talking about public transport, can someone tell me how to catch a tram?

Oh, I will be sleeping in Brighton (near North Brighton train station).

Things I like: Art (but I think I have that covered), food, literature, graffiti, music, plants, architecture, people watching, and stuff I haven't thought of that might interesting and fun for one or two (just in case he changes his mind and joins me).
posted by b33j to Travel & Transportation around Melbourne, Australia (8 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
1. Catching a tram. You can buy a ticket on the tram from a machine in the middle of the tram, but you need to have change, they don't take notes. If you're only going to be here a few days, just get daily tickets. These are about $6. You can also buy a tram ticket at a newsagent or 7-11, and I'd recommend doing that on Sunday because you can get a Sunday saver for $3.10 which will cover you for the whole day. (not available on the tram) Don't bother getting a myki - they're a hassle and hard to top up. Metcard is the best option for a couple of days.
2. Things to do: Melbourne city is great to walk around in to look at people, graffiti, architecture, etc. There's a lot of laneways with cool graffiti that often have little coffee shops or bars - the best would be Degraves lane, off Flinders Street. Newsagents and bookshops sell a deck of cards that have details about a lot of these. Oh, there's a free city circle tram, which is old and rattly and fun. You could catch a 112 tram down to St Kilda, which is Melbourne's popular city beach. In the other direction, the 112 goes through Fitzroy which is an interesting area to walk around - eclectic shops, people, etc.. On weekends there's the Rose St artists market in Fitzroy: Collingwood, which is a few blocks over from Fitzroy is cool to walk around in. Uh, more locals, less tourists..(meaning there might be a few junkies) You can catch an 86 tram back to the city from there.
There's a cool cafe that is at the base of a pylon right in the middle of the Yarra River called Ponyfish Island and Federation Square, nearby and opposite Flinders St station is good for people, I could go on, but I'm sure other Melbourners might have some suggestions too. Walk around a lot! People tend to be pretty friendly here, so don't be afraid to ask for directions.
posted by lazy robot at 3:15 AM on November 3, 2011

Tram - take enough coins to buy a ticket on board, or buy at a train station or shop with a Met ticket sign. All trams only need a Zone 1 ticket (either a 2-hour for $3.80-ish or all day ticket $7 ). Tickets are valid for all trams, trains, buses. For Sundays, you are better off to buy at the shop or train station so you can buy a Sunday Saver (costs less than a 2 hour ticket but lasts all day). If you buy your ticket on the tram, it is already valid. If you buy it elsewhere, you need to insert and remove it into the green boxes on board - put it with the arrow pointing down and the coloured side of the ticket facing towards you. Press the buttons (on poles) or pull the cord before your stop to let the driver know to stop there - they only stop if there are people at the stop or passengers indicate.

For graffiti, a good wander around Fitzroy - look at streets coming off Brunswick St - there are probably suggestions for specific side streets on the internet. Tram 112. Mario's on Brunswick St can be good for people watching (though busy on weekends) - I often see semi-celebrities having coffee there (warning - no soy milk, no skinny milk, no decaf!).

While you are up this end of town, the Village Festival is on in the Edinburgh Gardens (North Fitzroy, tram 112) Thurs - Sun including "So You Think You Can Interpretive Dance" competition, music, theatre, dog show. Edinburgh Gardens is good for people watching on a good day and hanging out on a picnic rug, so if it is good weather, this would be good fun, even for one.

For food, visit Prahran Market (open Fri/Sat/Sun). I suggest this as it is on your train line, get off at Prahran. If you like cooking (equipment, rare ingredients, books), visit The Essential Ingredient

The Botanical Gardens are lovely for a wander if you like plants. There is a book market at Federation Square on Saturdays. Most stuff for this weekend is booked out, but if you come to Melbourne again, have a look at the Wheeler Centre (books, writing, ideas). Will come back if I think of something else.
posted by AnnaRat at 3:18 AM on November 3, 2011

Oh, I just re-read your post...I assume you'll be catching the train from North Brighton into the city to look interesting area that's on that train route is Balaclava - it has really excellent cafes, graffiti, varied population,etc. And if you got off the train there, you can catch a tram into the city from there as well - either a 16 or 3. (Btw, your train ticket is also your tram ticket, once you have one, you don't need to buy another one)
posted by lazy robot at 3:20 AM on November 3, 2011

I feel I'd be remiss if I didn't provide some suggestions for my adopted home. You could always join me and a few locals Friday at Puggs around five or six in Carlton for POETS drinks. If you choose to check out Fitzroy and Brunswick street either Saturday or Sunday (worth it, btw), be sure to drop into the Centre for Contemporary Photography and check out some current Indonesian work as well as the CCP Documentary finalists.

You could also join Photography Nightwalks on Sunday for $20 bucks. It's a two hour guided walk with an emphasis on getting some good shots and experiences. It's aways a nice group. I think this Sunday is Abbotsford, which by the way is another good idea. Stop by The Convent anytime on Saturday or Sunday for sun, warmth, food, entertainment and arts and crafts. Definitely worth it and essentially free.

I think it's hard to find a miss for good coffee in Melbourne, but Seven Seeds (I haven't been there myself yet) seems to be the currently most talked about in town. It's close to the Vic Markets which could be fun and free as well if you're into that sort of thing.

Feel free to memail me if you want some other ideas.
posted by michswiss at 7:13 AM on November 3, 2011

Just so you know, if you're catching the train from North Brighton, the advice above about trams holds true for your train ticket too, except that you can't buy a ticket on the train - you'll have to get it at a shop or the station. But your ticket will work on both trains and trams. North Brighton is in zone 1, so you'll just need a zone 1 ticket, unless you plan to go further out.

Train map

(Having just returned from London, I am ashamed at how difficult it is for visitors to pay for and navigate Melbourne's relatively piss-ant public transport system).
posted by Diag at 12:59 PM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

Oh, and Hosier Lane in the CBD for graffiti. It's a dumpy back alley, but there's always some awesome graffiti there.
posted by Diag at 1:02 PM on November 3, 2011 [1 favorite]

You could post to IRL with your availability to suggest/organise a MeFi meet up!
posted by goshling at 10:26 PM on November 3, 2011

Not sure if you're still watching this thread now that you're here, but another suggestion is to visit Veg Out, a fabulous community Garden in St Kilda. You can just hang out on the grassy area in the sun or wander around and check out all the little garden plots with their quirky letterboxes and art. Say hi to the chickens too!

It's located in St Kilda, tucked behind Acland Street, next to Luna Park.
posted by {quick brown fox} at 2:59 AM on November 4, 2011

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