Melbourne: Traveling Solo

Melbourne, Australia

Melbourne, Australia

by Jason Hall,

The cultured and hip city of Melbourne, with its welcoming layout and plentiful attractions, is a wonderful destination for the solo traveler. Here are some handy tips for getting around along with some suggestions for what to see and do there while visiting solo.

Situated on the Yarra River, Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne is very friendly to navigate and it offers the diversity of different vibes in different neighborhoods, keeping things entertaining and engaging.  There are plenty of galleries, museums, cultural, entertainment and sports attractions, and whether you choose a Budget car hire, use public transportation, or take advantage of both, they’re all easily accessible.

If you opt for a car hire, it’s useful to take a drive around town to orient yourself, or jump on the city circle tram which runs on the half hour from stations at four different stops (Flagstaff, Parliament, Melbourne Central, and Flinders Street stations). If you’re an experienced frequent solo traveler, you probably already know the importance of getting your bearings as soon as you arrive in a new city. If it’s a new way of traveling for you, putting this routine into practice on your first solo trip will help you get the most out of your Melbourne experience. By spending some time lazily roaming about without a hard and fast itinerary, you’ll get a sense of the city.  If you prefer a more regimented schedule, pick a destination, then do your wandering before and after you visit it. There are many options that are excellent for solo travelers. The Melbourne Zoo, for example, is a good choice, located convenient to the city’s center.  After admiring the fauna, the nearby Queen Victoria Market with its multicultural vendors is the perfect place to relax, have a snack, and of course, check out the crowd. Ask the vendors about what’s going on in town during your visit; they’re a friendly, knowledgeable bunch who often love to chat with travelers about their communities and the unique experiences they have to offer.

When you’re ready for some action, you might want to attend a sports event. Football is hugely popular, played at several fields around the city, most often Friday through Sunday, and attracts big crowds. A great option is The Melbourne Cricket Ground, a top venue which hosts both football as well as cricket, depending on the time of year.

Want to snap a few breathtaking photos? Try Rialto Towers, which has a wonderful observation deck that offers sweeping views of Melbourne.

Good dining options are plentiful in Melbourne, but for solo diners, Chinatown, located in the heart of the city, is particularly suited, especially if you’re watching your wallet. There are dozens of options ranging from humble noodle shops to extravagant gourmet banquets, and many of them have their menus posted on their windows and doors so you can check them all out first, and then pick the one that most appeals to your taste and budget

When you’re looking for some rest and relaxation, head to The St. Kilda Beach and Pier. The beautiful sandy white beach is sparkling clean and there’s a pathway for pedestrians and cyclists, making it another great place to people watch or to get lost in conversation with a fellow traveler’ or perhaps one of the local residents. Aceland Street is located near the beach and is deservedly famous for its sweet shops, great places to recharge with a coffee after a few lazy hours on the beach. On Sundays there’s a large flea market there too, with handicrafts, art, and souvenirs;  it’s another good place to meet fellow tourists and trade Melbourne recommendations and experiences. To enjoy more natural wonders after leaving the sea, head over to the Dandenong Ranges in Belgrave. This remarkable national park, with its lush foliage and lovely winding trails, is less than an hour away, and it’s easily accessible by car.

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