The first stop on any visitor’s itinerary should be the Melbourne Visitor Centre, Federation Square, Swanston and Flinders streets (tel. 03/9658 9658; www.thatsmelbourne.com.au). The center serves as a one-stop shop for tourism information, accommodations and tour bookings, event ticketing, public transport information, and ticket sales. Also here are an ATM, Internet terminals, and interactive multimedia providing information on Melbourne and Victoria. The center is open daily from 9am to 6pm (except Christmas Day). The Melbourne Greeter Service also operates from the Melbourne Visitor Centre. This service connects visitors to enthusiastic local volunteers who offer free one-on-one, half-day orientation tours of the city at 9:30am daily. Book at least 24 hours in advance (tel. 03/9658 9658 on weekdays, 03/9658 9942 on weekends). The Melbourne Visitor Centre also operates a staffed information booth in Bourke Street Mall, between Swanston and Elizabeth streets, open daily 9am to 5pm. In the central city area (mainly along Swanston St.), also look for Melbourne’s City Ambassadors—people, usually volunteers, who give tourist information and directions. They’ll be wearing bright red shirts and caps.
Good websites about the city include CitySearch Melbourne, www.citysearch.com.au; as well as the official City of Melbourne site, www.melbourne.vic.gov.au; and the official tourism site for the city, www.visitmelbourne.com. Also worth a look is the locally run site www.onlymelbourne.com.au.
Melbourne is on the Yarra River and stretches inland from Port Philip Bay, which lies to its south. On a map, you’ll see a distinct central oblong area surrounded by Flinders Street to the south, Latrobe Street to the north, Spring Street to the east, and Spencer Street to the west. Cutting north to south through its center are the two main shopping thoroughfares, Swanston Street and Elizabeth Street. Cross streets between these major thoroughfares include Bourke Street Mall, a pedestrian-only shopping promenade. If you continue south along Swanston Street and over the river, it turns into St. Kilda Road, which runs to the coast. Melbourne’s various urban “villages,” including South Yarra, Richmond, Carlton, and Fitzroy, surround the city center. The seaside suburb of St. Kilda is known for its diverse restaurants.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.