What to do in Melbourne?
October 5, 2005 3:11 AM   Subscribe

Dear TravelFilter, I've got a day or two in Melbourne, Australia to kill - I'm into photography, modernist art and the like, and I want to take in the MCG tour. I have no private transport and don't want to stray to far from the city. What should I do ?
posted by oliyoung to Travel & Transportation around Melbourne, Australia (7 answers total)
Best answer: Well I think the MCG tour is probably a bit boring, but who knows? Melbourne's two main art galleries are world class, there's the Australian Art at Federation Square and there's the NGV just up the road. Warning - one of them is closed monday, the other Tuesday. There are lots of private galleries up Flinders lane (parallel) if you want.

There's a tourist info centre at Federation square that should be informative.

Public transport in Melbourne for the inner city is reasonable, get an all day zone 1 ticket for ~$5, that's valid for trams trains and buses. The main train station is Flinders st opposite Fed square. If you want to do a paid tour I think Healesville sanctuary is pretty cool - lots of native fauna up close. The big popular one is the penguin parade, but I reckon it's severely overrated.

Catch a tram to St Kilda (straight down St Kilda rd) and have a coffee and check out the shops. Do the same thing in Brunswick street.

Go to the Museum, top end of the city (catch the free city circle tram).

If you're a walker, the innner city is really all quite walkable. The 'G is only 15 minutes from Fed Square, for example.

The botanic gardens are IMHO unmissable - but I like that stuff.

Well that's a braindump. Not sure what you'd want to do in the evening. The Age newspaper has the entertainment Guide every Friday - there are lots of free or cheap cultural things in there. If you're up for some pubs and clubs, pick up a copy of Beat or Inpress, the free street newspapers out every wednesday. They've probably got websites too.
posted by wilful at 3:53 AM on October 5, 2005

Best answer: There's not much I can add to wilful's advice, except some links:
NGV International (St Kilda Road, 5 mins from Flinders Street Station by tram, 10 minute walk)
Ian Potter Centre (Federation Square, across the road from Flinders Street Station)

The cricket season has just started, so you might decide to catch a game if you're heading to the G.

St Kilda is a decaying, beachy suburb well-known principally for the Esplanade Hotel, at which decent bands still occasionally play. Brunswick Street is shabby and counterculture and abundantly supplied with vegan cafes and menus which offer chai. Or there's Chapel Street, a short rail trip away, which is trendy and pushy and a consumer paradise. I loathe them all, but I daresay they are all amply laden with little galleries and things to photograph. If the pub/club scene is your thing, try browsing Beat.

If I personally were in Melbourne and only able to stay for a day or two (as opposed to living here), I'd probably seek out something that Melbourne has which few other cities do, namely the trams and the arcades. In a pinch you could try visiting the Queen Victoria Market (if it's open that day), or sauntering around Melbourne University or RMIT, both of which I think have public galleries (but check first). And of course, the VCA.

If your trip to Melbourne is in the near future, you might make it in time for the Spring Racing Carnival (ends Nov 16). The best timing would be Melbourne Cup Day, November 1st here and a public holiday. The carnival is about the only time I'd bother to place a bet on the horses: the prize money is high and everyone is forced to be honest. It's a crooked sport otherwise.

Crown Oaks Day is November 3, and is basically like Ladies Night, except for horse-racing. The Caulfield Cup on October 15 can also be fun - it's a bit more laid-back and genteel than the Melbourne Cup.
posted by Ritchie at 5:13 AM on October 5, 2005

Melbourne is awesome. I wanna go back! I consider it the San Francisco of Australia. Very artsy. You and your camera will be busy.

The Sydney Opera house gets all the ink, but the Victorian Arts Centre in Melbourne is by far more impressive on the inside. A tour of that is highly recommended.

National Gallery of Victoria

The Queen Victoria Market is a trip (1100 vendors). Right downtown. In fact, you can see a LOT just walking around the downtown area - including everything above.

Also check out: http://www.bugaustralia.com/melbourne/sights.html and the Wikipedia article on Melbourne.
posted by spock at 7:17 AM on October 5, 2005

I would agree with the above. Sydney is to Melbourne as Los Angeles is to San Francisco.

Melbourne + Photography = the Botanical Gardens definitely.
posted by Taken Outtacontext at 10:47 AM on October 5, 2005

Also, this link could be informative
posted by wilful at 4:38 PM on October 5, 2005

Ah, I forgot the Melbourne Arts Festival is on until October 22.
posted by Ritchie at 5:03 PM on October 5, 2005

I just remembered, the 'G is going to be a construction site between now and the Commonwealth Games in March. March 2006 would not be a good time to be here, with the Grand Prix then straight afterwards the Commonwealth Games.

Naturallt, teh Wikipedia entry for Melbourne will be reasonably informative (i've contributed a bit to it).
posted by wilful at 11:21 PM on October 5, 2005

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