Melbourne has great food, great people, and great adventures. Take a look below at the costs that I incurred on my weekend trip there to give you a general idea of how to budget for your trip to Melbourne.
Here are my experience and advice of budgeting weekend trips to Melbourne.
Expenses (in Australian Dollar)
On rare occasions, the flights can cost only $100 AUD for roundtrip airfare. Other flights, more commonly, are around the $200-$250 AUD range. The variation of price obviously depends on the time of travel, the day of travel, and the season of travel. Realistically, expect to spend a few hundred on your flight from Gold Coast to Melbourne. Melbourne is VERY worth it if you can make it happen! Keep these things in mind while travelling to and around Melbourne.
1. Take Uber or SkyBus when you arrive at the Melbourne airport.
The Melbourne airport is located a decent distance outside of the city. If you are traveling with a group, split an Uber! If you are traveling alone, use the transportation provided by SkyBus. SkyBus operates 24/7 providing transportation to and from the airport for $19.75 AUD each way. After your flight lands at the airport, use the self-service screen to purchase your SkyBus ticket to the city.
2.Purchase a MyKi Card.
This acts like Gold Coast’s GoCard and Sydney’s OpalCard. Purchase one at a local gas station or convenience store…it makes traveling around much easier!
3.Once in the city, use the public transportation.
Melbourne offers buses, trains, and even a trolley system (which is free—yes, FREE—in the heart of the city)! Once again, much cheaper than Uber. And you’ll be another one of the locals.
I stayed in the Melbourne Central YHA for a fairly cheap rate. However, some of my friends I met up with in Melbourne booked an incredible Airbnb with astonishing views over the city. Keep this in mind if you’re with a group!
Melbourne’s food scene is unreal. So unreal, that our program director sent a personal email to me with some of her best suggestions, which I am going to share with you now:
1. The suburb of Carlton
From what I’ve heard, this place is Italian food heaven. In Carlton, head towards DOC Pizza. As was recommended to me, book a reservation in advance here…it is a really well known place.
2. St. Kilda
is a food gem. I went to St. Kilda, and found there to be a plethora of yummy options. Time it up for dinner there so that you can head out to the pier to watch the penguins return to the pier for the night as the sun sets (depending on the season, of course).
Head to one of their two locations for some yummy tapas. Not the cheapest, but worth it.
4. Brunch, breakfast and coffee.
For those of you who enjoy artsy, trendy, hip coffee and breakfast places, you will actually, literally fall in love with Melbourne. There are gems everywhere. Block Arcade, as I was told, is riddled with 19th century architecture. Other off the beaten path breakfast spots include East Elevation, Barry, The Reverend, Trei Café, Seven Seeds, and Petty Officer.
Melbourne isn’t the major beach or hiking hub that other Australian cities, and therefore “free” activities such as going to the beach, swimming, or hiking are going to be replaced by things that you have to pay for. Don’t sweat! There are PLENTY of amazing things to do here, some are more expensive than others. Here’s what I did my weekend in Melbourne:
Ok, it is still an Australian city, despite the lack of sheer miles of beach! Come visit to check out the famous and oh-so-adorable Brighton Beach Houses.
If it is in your budget to split a car rental with a group of friends or pay for a tour, make it happen. It’s pretty spectacular, and a must-see in Australia.
I caught Cindy Blackman Santana at the New York affiliate jazz club Bird’s Basement. This was a ton of fun! And if you’re not into Jazz, don’t worry. Do a little research, and you’ll find the music you are looking for.
4. Comedy shows
Melbourne has a pretty substantial audience for comedy. We saw an “improv” show for fairly cheap at a comedy club in Melbourne. It is very worth it to pick up the local humor.
5. Local museums
Many of these are free, or student discounted. Do a quick search on Google to find more! Many are near hubs for public transportation (use that MyKi card)!
Melbourne’s weather is known to be quite volatile. You’ll get burned by the sun during the day, then feel freezing when the sun drops at night. The wind can kick up near piers, and rain can fall at any moment. Pack for any weather situation!
Read Alex’s blog post about budgeting for a weekend trip to Sydney.