I found I got an issue, guess everyone also face the same – “where to stay” if you never been to the city before. I had been scratching my head, looking at the map at every single corner of Melbourne when I planned for my family trip.
Then, I make a conclusion that CBD (Central Business District) shall be the best place to stay, easy to travel (walk) to other point of interest. Plus point, it is also in free tram zone, which means tram travel is free within Melbourne’s CBD and Docklands (trip within Free Tram Zone – myki ticket not required). One more to add is I enjoy the energy of center.
Melbourne CBD basically divided to Central, West, East, North & South. You can choose your stay based on your style and kind of trip.
- Centre: The best area for shopping, next to the Bourke Street Mall area, Melbourne Central, Emporium and the incredible choice of shops. It is the busiest part of the city and tends to be a bit noisy. Melbourne Central is the closest train station and you will have access to almost all of the tram lines. Plenty of bars and restaurants.
- West: Probably the quietest part of the CBD, together with the north. It tends to be quiet in the evening and weekends because there is not a great choice of bars and restaurants. Here, you have Southern Cross Station, the main station from where most of the trains departs. I stayed here (opposite Southern Cross Station) during my last visit. Since it is in free tram zone, it is easily to travel around too.
- North: Another quiet area of the CBD. The main attraction is the Queen Victoria Market and the Flagstaffs Garden. There are few eatery options, mostly Asian style. It works great if you are after a market experience. In the summer the QV Market opens also on Wednesday night with live music and a huge amount of street food options.
- East: Most of the luxury related shopping is here. Lots of fantastic restaurants, bars and cafes of which some really hidden. Minutes away from Fitzroy, another lovely neighborhood for food and live music. And, lastly, it’s close to the Fitzroy Garden, perfect spot for some walking or jogging. Not really recommend since the food price is rather high here. Unless you like Green.
- South: It is considered to be the heart of Melbourne, with Federation Square used as meeting point or landmark for everyone. The Information Center is right in the middle of the square, great spot to start your holiday (they can also organise and book tours for you). The river area is really beautiful in the summer as it tends to get a bit of sea breeze. The south has the biggest concentration of art and history options with the NGV (National Gallery of Victoria), the Arts Centre, the Immigration Museum, Hosier Lane (famous in the world for the amazing street art) and so much more.