Deciding what to do in Melbourne, Australia for affordable luxury travel is a challenge.
It’s a cool city that offers so much…and there are approximately infinity day-trip adventures available from the city.
But it’s expensive.
So it’s definitely a fast travel place for affordable luxury travel!
Here’s how we chose to spend four days in Melbourne after flying down from Sydney.
- Affordable Luxury Travel Accommodations in Melbourne
- Day 1: Seeing Melbourne
- Day 2: Digging Deeper
- Day 3: Wine Tasting Tour of the Yarra Valley
- Day 4: St. Kilda, the Beach and Penguins
Lisa designed and sourced these awesome clear backpacks! Great for gameday at the stadium!
Affordable Luxury Accomodations in Melbourne
Because of the high cost of accommodations, during our four days in Sydney we stayed at the Marriott using points.
But Melbourne has more affordable AirBnBs.
So we stayed in a 1 BR flat just across the street from Southern Cross station – and yes, the Crosby Stills & Nash song was in our heads the entire stay! 😀
It wasn’t cheap but it was a lot cheaper than a hotel…which is the key to affordable luxury travel in expensive cities!
Using the map below you may or may not be able to do better.
The location made it excellent for access to the Melbourne free tram zone, the AirLink bus from and to the airport and walking around the city.
Day 1: Seeing Melbourne
We started our Melbourne sightseeing as we do in most cities: by taking a long walk.
We walked from our flat across the city checking out the cool side-streets and the various museums. We finished in Federation Square where the hop on hop off bus tour starts.
Hop On Hop Off Bus Tour of Melbourne
As we had in Sydney, we took the hop on hop off bus tour, splitting the 24-hour ticket between one afternoon and the next morning.
We didn’t plan ahead so had limited options. You can avoid that mistake by clicking here to get the best deal possible for the Melbourne hop on hop off bus tour!
Again, it was a great way to cover a lot of ground while getting the lay of the land and a feel for the city.
I hadn’t really thought of Melbourne as a comic book kinda town, but it turns out there is a serious comics rivalry going on. Marvel stadium abuts Batman Hill and Batman Avenue.
Talk about a comics-crossover!!!
Day 2: Digging Deeper
Hopping Back On
The next day we completed our 24-hour hop on hop off bus ticket by visiting the zoo, Carlton Garden, Melbourne Park, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Parliament House and the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground, aka, ‘The G.’
Sadly we were well out of cricket season and it was the wrong day of the week to take in an AFL (Aussie footie) match.
So we had a keto-friendly brunch in the funky and hip/hipster neighborhood of Fitzroy instead.
In the afternoon we took a long walk along the east side of the CBD, did some shopping and then took the free tram back to Southern Cross.
Day 3: Wine Tasting Tour of the Yarra Valley
Day three was dedicated to an amazing day of touring and tasting in the Yarra Valley wine region about an hour outside of Melbourne – we loved it so much there is an entire post dedicated to it.
I put this high on any list of things to do while visiting Melbourne for a few days!
Day 4: St. Kilda, the Beach and Penguins
We dedicated our last day in Melbourne to the beach area in St. Kilda south of the central business district.
We took the tram down to St. Kilda and wandered around for a bit taking in the beach and scene.
Eventually we arrived at Luna Park. This turned out to be an unexpected pleasure. It’s sort of a mini Coney Island park but with unique Australian flair.
Lisa LOVES roller coasters. And Luna Park features one of the oldest in the world, and the only roller coaster that still uses an on-board standing driver to control the speed of the ride!
I hate roller coasters. But I love Lisa. So we rode it and hammed it up for the camera.
Walking on the Beach
After Luna Park we took a long a long walk down the beach to the pier where penguins roost! The walk features some really cool views of the city.
St. Kilda Pier and Seeing Penguins in Melbourne
At the other end of the beach we arrived at St. Kilda Pier.
At the end of the pier you can watch a colony of penguins coming back from fishing to roost at sunset. And so we did!
And so did a LOT of other people!
It was actually a bit of a mad house.
Honestly if we had to do it again we would have taken a proper penguin tour in Melbourne.
Eventually though we were rewarded with maximum cuteness!
Dining and Drinking in Melbourne
We had no trouble whatsoever finding keto diet options in Melbourne, which has a great restaurant scene.
Our first night in Melbourne we ate at Palermo, and Argentinian steak house.
We LOVE provoleta followed by steak. It’s a perfect keto meal and Palermo did it to perfection.
Another night we had dinner at the French Bistro Bergerac. Enjoyed a leisurely French meal.
Juliet is a cool wine bar and restaurant in a downstairs setting where we had raclette, which is melted cheese off the wheel. It smells and tastes amazing. And it’s cool to watch them prepare it!
One night we were in the mood for Mexican so swing by Mamasita.
Really excellent wings, fish tacos (no tortilla!) and grilled meat.
Hardware Lane Restaurants
There is a tight cluster of restaurants in the central business district between Bourke Street and Little Lonsdale Street.
It’s definitely tourist central for dining as the little street is lined on both sides with outdoor dining options that practically overlap with servers aggressively inviting passersby to examine their menu and enticing diners with offers of free drinks or other special deals.
Meanwhile buskers practice their trade playing guitars and singing or in jazz trios.
We had dinner at IL Nostro Posto and the food was fine but the service was atrocious. That’s what we get for eating at tourist traps!
Back Alley Bars and Wine Bars
Probably the coolest thing to do in Melbourne is to seek out back alley bars.
Melbourne is chock full of hidden little bars down dark alleys. Not exactly speakeasies, but a slightly similar concept because if you don’t know the bar is there you would never suspect it.
With our friend James leading the way we found Arlechin between dumpsters in an alley.
Melbourne is also chock full of great wine bar/bistros like Embla, City Wine Shop and Bar Lourinha.
With so much to see, do and enjoy Melbourne would be the perfect place to spend a long time. But also a lot of money.
So for the sake of affordable luxury travel it was time to move on to Tasmania!