When to go
October and November sees ladies frock up and gents get suited for the Spring Racing Carnival, with the Melbourne Cup a highlight. There’s a party atmosphere in summer (December to February) with plenty of free activities on offer. Winter (June to August) may be a little cold and wet but clear skies suit wine tours in the nearby Yarra Valley or Mornington Peninsula (www.visitmorningtonpeninsular.org).
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PlanesMelbourne Airport (www.melbourneairport.com.au), 22 kilometres north-west of the centre, services domestic and international flights. Smaller Avalon Airport (www.avalonairport.com.au), 40 minutes west of the city, handles some Jetstar flights.
TrainsMelbourne’s main railway hub is Flinders Street Station in the CBD, just one stop away from Southern Cross Station where trains depart for rural Victoria and interstate destinations (see www.vline.com.au).
AutomobilesSkybus (www.skybus.com.au) operates a shuttle service from Melbourne Airport to Southern Cross Station in the CBD for AU$17 single or AU$28 return. Melbourne’s compact grid and network of trains, trams and buses means you won’t need wheels; to ride on any metropolitan public transport pick up a Myki card (www.myki.com.au) at accredited newsagents or train stations, which you can then top up at stops, stations or select retailers, including 7-Eleven stores. If you’re roaming further afield, the usual car hire firms are on hand at the airport.
TaxisCabs can easily be flagged down in the street or found at ranks in the CBD. Can’t see one? Call Silver Top Taxis (13 10 08), and one will come to you.
Known for its sporting passion, cultural edge and cool take on music, fashion and food, Victoria’s capital is Australia’s most liveable city. And, The Prince Hotel, in the bohemian St Kilda district, is a flattering reflection of its locale – particularly Room 413, featuring an Arne Jacobsen Egg chair, a Philippe Starck tub and private balcony. The cityscape is a quirky clash of elegant Victorian houses, skyscrapers and gardens, along with hidden laneways brimming with hip bars, graffiti-strewn galleries and high fashion stores. Tap into Melbourne’s creative underground with private tours of speciality boutiques and local designers, or follow a bespoke map to of-the-moment restaurants and cellars, one quaff at a time. Both strolls offer a must-see peek of this cool, cosmopolitan city.