Don’t get on a bus (you can do that anywhere), drive (have you ever heard of pollution?) or run (are you mad?) – these are the best ways to explore the city of Melbourne and all its secrets and scenes.
You’ve got two legs, use them. Melbourne is handily built on a grid system meaning that it is almost impossible to get lost, and is so captivating and creative that even if you do you won’t mind as each corner leads to further discovery. Whether you use one of the city’s self guided maps available from the information centre or explore with a tour such as the excellent Laneways with Mel Tours it is a delightful wander.
An extensive cycle network and affordable city rental scheme makes Melbourne a great city to explore by bike, especially if you don’t mind the odd hill. Grab a blue bike, swipe your credit card and head off down to St Kilda for the beach, over to the east to wind along the river, or north to see Carlton. You could join a tour, such as with Melbourne Bike Tours where you will cover the CBD, Southbank, Carlton, Botanic Gardens and more, as well as be treated to some culinary delights and have plenty of laughs as a local person shows you down.
Most Melburnians and visitors see the Yarra from the city. Why not turn this trend and see the city from the Yarra. A kayak tour from Docklands to Federation Square takes you through, under and past all the sights, including the eco friendly AMX, the Crown casino and it’s jn famous shooting flames, and the aboriginal inspired artwork of the Webb Bridge. Just opposite Federation Square is the rowers wharf and every day clubs and schools will be out training. If you are not an expert or in town long enough to do this then join Melbourne Kayak for their moonlight tour to get magic and a fish & chip supper thrown in.
Hop on the number 35 tram that circles the CBD and takes in all the sights, from the Old Treasury Building, Parliament House and the Princess Theatre, offering a detailed and running commentary on each. Decked out the traditional livery it’s a nice step back in time – and is free! The circular route takes you all around and is a novelty for those of us used to smoggy and busy public transport.
Melbourne is a city easy to explore and simple to navigate, making it an ideal way to trial different ways to travel. Foot, river, wheels, alone or with a tour, fast or slow -transport can be a highlight rather than a hindrance in this city.
Francesca Baker is a freelance writer, currently travelling around South East Asia, Australia and New Zealand. A fan of exploring she scribbles about what she sees. Follow her on twitter at @andsoshethinks and be sure to check out her website www.andsoshethinks.co.uk.
Can’t get enough of Australia? Go on over and take a look at our section that is all about Australia here. Also this is part of our travel tips section where you get some advice on how to make your travel experience that much more smoother.