Where to stay in Melbourne?
March 9, 2008 3:27 PM   Subscribe

Where to stay in Melbourne, Australia? Need lodging for 5 nights in mid-April. Looking at hostels, but there are so many options and neighborhoods to choose from!

Thanks to everyone who gave advice in this thread a few months ago.

My flights are all booked, and next month I'll be flying: Los Angeles -> Sydney -> Brisbane -> Cairns -> Melbourne -> Los Angeles. I have hostel bookings in all of the cities except Melbourne.

Using sites like TripAdvisor, LonelyPlanet and HostelWorld I've found a few different hostels that all seem quite reasonable, but they're all in different parts of town and I'm looking for any advice.

In the city center there are options like Greenhouse Backpacker and Urban Central. In North Melbourne there are options like YHA Melbourne Metro. In St Kilda there are options like Cooee and Base.

Does anyone have any insight into these hostels, or the parts of town that they're in? I'm a 24 year old guy who is traveling alone, so I'm interested in staying places where I can meet people to hang out with, or duck out on my own for a day of exploring without needing to travel too far to reach the interesting attractions.
posted by adamk to Travel & Transportation around Melbourne, Australia (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The YHA is up in North Melbourne, which is not the most exciting part of town. If you want to meet people and go to the interesting places, I'd recommend one of the St Kilda options. St Kilda is a beachside inner suburb, about a 20-minute tram ride from the city centre. There are loads of bars and good places to hang out, and the general atmosphere is interesting.

THe options in the CBD look ok, although Urban Central is actually further from the city centre than it sounds. However, the city centre can be pretty dubious at night and a lot of it closes down; it's more for daytime office workers than tourists. Most of the really cool stuff in Melbourne is just a wee bit outside the city centre anyway, on the fringes - St Kilda to the south, Lygon Street to the north.
posted by andraste at 3:43 PM on March 9, 2008

Melbourne is very, very big. The public transit works well, particularly the trams, but understand that getting around the city takes awhile. I had a nice time staying in the South Yarra neighbourhood when I visited. The CBD benefits from being, well, central.
posted by Nelson at 3:58 PM on March 9, 2008

I think North Melbourne will be too quiet for you as a solo traveller - nice neighbourhood and quite close to the city centre (walkable), but fairly residential.

I have had friends stay at the Greenhouse and I popped in to have a look - clean and bit of stuff happening (ie organised activities), so I would recommend it. Very central, and right next to a police station. I wouldn't describe the city centre as dubious at night, although it is obviously a bit quieter during the week. There are lots of great bars and so on in the city, but probably not so good for meeting people (though there are a few 'backpacker' pubs). I think mid-April is the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Time - worth getting along to a few shows, some are only about $10.

Staying in St Kilda is not too far for getting into the city, and is your best bet for meeting likeminded people (I think, anyway - probably more the party set than you may get in the city centre). Lots of cafes, bars, pubs, you can stroll along the foreshore, and just hang about (good people watching!).

Another option would be Fitzroy (also north of the city). While I'm sure lovers of the place will deride me for this - I would think of it as the St Kilda of the north, but with a few less backpackers! Lots of funky shops, cafes, bars. Short tram ride from the city, or you could walk. No specific recommendations for places to stay, but I know there are some.
posted by AnnaRat at 4:10 PM on March 9, 2008

24-year-old guy travelling alone -> St Kilda. No question.
posted by flabdablet at 4:30 PM on March 9, 2008

I made a similar trip a couple years ago, also traveling by myself. I stayed in Fitzroy and liked it a lot. It's cool. Lots of bars, cafes, restaurants, and shops. I didn't think it was too remote from anything else I wanted to do or see. My impression was that it was a little more urban and a little less toursity than St. Kilda. You'll be fine in either.

I stayed at the Nunnery. It's a decent hostel. Nothing fancy, but there is a big common area that's pretty social, so there are opportunities to meet new folks.
posted by jewishbuddha at 6:52 PM on March 9, 2008

seconded. as a melbourne resident, i'd also recommend the Nunnery.

never been inside it, but the location is just what you'd want.

downtown is irritating and you won't want to spend 5 nights there. the nunnery is in between Fitzroy and Carlton, both interesting fun neighborhoods, and walking distance from downtown. St. Kilda is a decent tram ride from the CBD. 20-30 minutes? it's okay down there, but FAR from everything else, considering lots of stuff is the other side of the CBD from St. Kilda. Also, by April the weather may not be so great for hanging out on the beach.

good pubs and food near the Nunnery as well.
posted by xz at 9:32 PM on March 9, 2008 [1 favorite]

I third the nunnery. When I lived in Melbourne I had friends and family stay there and they loved it.

The museum and Carlton are at your front door as is the tram to the city and St Kilda.

Fitzroy and Collingwood (Pubs! Music! Foods! Shops!) are at your back door.
posted by t0astie at 10:15 PM on March 9, 2008

I stayed in the nunnery and some big, corp. style hostel downtown. Everyone was nice, but if I could do it again I would totally stay in St. Kilda.
posted by Acer_saccharum at 9:32 AM on March 10, 2008

Thanks everyone! St Kilda it is.

I booked at Cooee. I chose it over some of the other options in St Kilda due to the availability of smaller dorm rooms... bunking with three strangers is far different than bunking with seven.
posted by adamk at 1:36 PM on March 10, 2008

Oh well. If anybody else comes looking, I recommend the Toad Hall Hotel. There are dorms, but you can also get a very reasonably priced double with an ensuite bathroom.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 5:10 PM on March 10, 2008

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