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Solo Travel Melbourne Australia: How to Spend 5 Days in Melbourne Alone

Are you planning a solo trip to Melbourne Australia? Located in southern Australia, Melbourne is the sports capital of Australia. It is known for Australian Football League, hosting the annual Australian Grand Prix and Melbourne Cup, Australia’s most famous annual thoroughbred horse racing.

But if you follow my blog, you may know that I am into art, cultural experiences, food, and more food. Ha! What attracted me to Melbourne immediately was the graffiti laneways, exploring vintage and retro shops and the famed coffee culture.

After spending a few weeks in the city, I can honestly say Melbourne is one of the best cities for solo female travellers. The city is safe and most attractions are accessible on foot and by public transportation.

In this post, I will show you how to spend 5 days in Melbourne by yourself. My comprehensive five-day Melbourne itinerary covers all the best highlights in the city and includes a side trip to the Great Ocean Road.

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What you need to know before spending 5 days in Melbourne alone

Before you start your solo trip to Melbourne, take a look at my list of 17 things you need to know before travelling to Australia. I included information about Australia including applying for ETA, transportation, money and accommodation.

Here are additional travel tips that you may find useful when you are spending 5 days in Melbourne by yourself:

  • Australia is rated as the 13th safest place in the world which makes Australia one of the best solo female travel destinations for first-timers.
  • Melbourne is rated in the top ten of the most expensive cities in the world. But it shouldn’t discourage you at all. I included many budget tips in my Melbourne itinerary so you can spend five days in the city on a relatively good budget.
  • Get a Myki card to take public transportation and take advantage of the Free Tram Zone.

How to get to Melbourne Australia

Air

Most solo travellers will arrive at Melbourne Airport. The easiest way of getting into the city is by taking the Skybus.

Skybus has six routes that will take you to different parts of the city. Purchase a ticket at the kiosk at the Skybus stop with your credit card and hop on the next scheduled bus. For more information about Skybus and different routes, check the Skybus timetables.

Long distance bus

Greyhound Australia is Australia’s only long-distance bus operator. The bus system has many routes connecting different parts of the country to Melbourne.

The bus is comfortable, has USB chargers, and free wifi. And the easiest way to purchase a ticket is online on the Greyhound Australia website. First, select your route, select your seat and pay with a credit card. You don’t need to print your e-ticket for your bus ride. Just tell the bus driver your name or your ticket number.

Train

Alternatively, you could travel to Melbourne by Interstate Trains from Adelaide, Canberra, Sydney, Brisbane, etc.

The railway connects most cities in Australia but it is the slowest way of travelling within Australia. However, the train ride is comfortable, and a restaurant onboard. The interstate trains go through Southern Cross Station and Station Pier (Port Melbourne). For more information about interstate train travel, check out the Australian Rail Maps website.

How to get around Melbourne

It is pretty easy to get around in Melbourne. Walking is the best way to see a city. But in between neighbourhoods, it might be wise to take public transportation. First, you will need to purchase a Myki Card.

Myki Card

A Myki Card is a rechargeable card that you can use for transportation in the state of Victoria. You can use it to take any public transport including tram, bus and trains. Just tap on and off on the Myki reader when you travel and the system will deduct the lowest fare.

It costs $6AUD to purchase the Myki Card. They can be purchased at Metro stations, Myki kiosks, 7-Eleven and other participating retailers. The card is not refundable. Simply top up your card before you take public transportation.

Each ride costs $4.60AUD and you can ride any public transportation for the next two hours. And if you take multiple rides on the same day, the system will cap it at $9.20AUD as per the daily maximum.

Free Tram Zone

The Free Tram Zone is one of the best things about travelling within CBD. The zone is east of Docklands, north of Flinders Street, west of Spring Spring and south of Victoria Street. If you are travelling only in the free zone, you don’t need to tap your Myki Card at all. Check the Free Tram Zone Map for the exact zone.

5 days in Melbourne: things to do alone in Melbourne

Melbourne is a big city and has many interesting neighbourhoods. And because it is quite expensive to travel in Melbourne, I put together a jam-packed 5-day Melbourne itinerary.

The best way to see Melbourne is by touring through different neighbourhoods. Here is a summary of what you will see during my Melbourne 5-day itinerary:

  • Day 1: CBD, Carlton, Fitzroy
  • Day 2: South Yarra, St Kilda, Brighton Beach, Richmond
  • Day 3: Port Melbourne, South Melbourne, Southbank
  • Day 4: Great Ocean Road
  • Day 5: Great Ocean Road

Day 1 in Melbourne: CBD, Carlton, Fitzroy

Day one is all about seeing the Central Business District (CBD) and getting familiar with the center of the city. During the evening, have dinner in Carlton and a drink in Fitzroy.

Central Business District (CBD)

The Central Business District (CBD) is the center of Melbourne. High-rises, high-end retail stores, shopping malls, markets and educational centres are all within the city centre.

Touring around some of Melbourne’s best laneways is a must! The city is known for its graffiti street art, particularly in the CBD alleys. Hosier Lane is the most famous graffiti alley in Melbourne. You can also find graffiti at Centre Place, AC/DC Lane, and Croft Alley.

While meandering through the graffiti alleys, look for Melbourne’s iconic laneway, Degraves Street. The short pedestrian street has many al fresco restaurants and coffee shops.

And if you want to do some shopping, hop on over to Bourke Street, the main avenue in CBD with lots of retail stores. And shop at Block Arcade and marvel at the Victorian interior that resembles Milan’s Galleria Vittorio Emanuele.

The State Library of Victoria is one of Australia’s oldest public libraries and a cultural icon. Visit The Dome inside the library and take photos of the octagonal space. There is a free gallery inside, and you can even join a free library tour.

Across the street from the State Library is the Old Melbourne Gaol. It held Melbourne’s most dangerous criminals from 1845 to 1924. Today, you can still see the original cells on all three levels.

If you have a chance, visit Federation Square, an open space for art and culture and other public events. And the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI) is right next door.

Or you can hop on a scenic 2-hour river cruise along the Yarra River and see CBD from another perspective.

Where to eat in CBD

Melbourne has some of the best brunch places, coffee shops and other food venues. I’ve tried many places and I narrowed it down to a few favourites in CBD.

Market & Restaurants in CBD

  • Queen Victoria Market – a historical landmark in the city and a market that sells fresh produce and has a variety of restaurants covering all types of cuisine. The market opens on Tuesday, Thursday to Sunday.  And there’s a night market every Wednesday during the summer months.
  • Higher Ground – one of the most popular brunch places in Melbourne. Come early and order one of the prettiest dishes like the ricotta hotcake.
  • Rustica – considered Melbourne’s iconic bakery-cafe, Rustica has fresh baked goods, pastries and delicious brunch. There are several locations in Melbourne.
  • The Cypriot Kitchen – is part of different food events like the night market at Queen Victoria and the Lonsdale Street Greek Festival. If you ever come across one, you must try their traditional Cypriot food like halloumi chips with red beet sauce. Oh yum!
  • Stalactites Restaurant – Melbourne has the biggest Greek community in Australia. That means there is a lot of excellent Greek food in the city. Stalactites Restaurant has been around since 1978 and is still going strong.

Coffee & Beer in CBD

  • Tulip Coffee – Melburnians love their coffee! Try their flat white, Melbourne’s signature coffee.
  • Industry Beans – also serves a solid flat white. And they have good pastries too.
  • Lune Croissanterie – try the almond croissant; the pastry looks like it should be displayed in a museum. It was a bit crumbly, but every bit tastes like heaven.
  • Boilermaker House – the microbrewery bar serves craft beer and malt whisky. The bar is quite fancy. But if you are going for a proper drink, this is the place to be!

Carlton

One of the best things to do at night in Melbourne is to visit the neighbourhood of Carlton, aka Little Italy.

Many people have dinner and drinks at one of the alfresco restaurants along Lygon Street. Both sides of the main street are full of Italian eateries, old-school bars, gelaterias, dessert shops and coffee shops.

Besides food, Carlton is known for the theatre scene and some of the best historic buildings, including the Melbourne Museum and Royal Exhibition Building, both in Carlton Gardens.

Where to eat in Carlton

  • Cafe Cavallino – a popular restaurant on Lygon Street. Really good authentic pasta and pizza. I particularly like the casual atmosphere as it reminded me of Italy.
  • Brunetti – save room for dessert if you want to try at least one item at the popular cafe. There is so much to choose from!
  • Pidapipo Gelateria – a favourite gelateria in Melbourne! Try the Nutella gelato. Actual Nutella is injected right into your gelato.

Fitzroy

Just east of Carlton, Fitzroy is a bohemian suburb best known for street art, music and vintage stores.

Along Brunswick Street are vintage clothing stores, second-hand bookstores, restaurants and bars, etc. Lost and Found Market is an excellent shop for vintage and second-hand clothing, furniture, books, and other knick-knacks.

On the weekends, the Rose Street Artists’ Market has up to 120 stalls selling handmade crafts by local artists and designers. It is one of Melbourne’s best art and design markets.

But for this Melbourne itinerary, visiting Fitzroy in the evening means getting a yummy bevie after dinner. Or you can opt for (another) gelato.

Where to eat in Fitzroy

  • The Everleigh – have a drink at one of the best bars in Fitzroy. The Everleigh has some of the best cocktails in the area.
  • Gelato Messina Fitzroy – is one of the best gelato places and there are shops all over the country. Sample a few flavours before you commit to a big scoop of ice cream.

Day 2 in Melbourne: South Yarra, St Kilda, Brighton Beach, Richmond

Day two of your Melbourne solo trip is about visiting other suburbs outside of CBD. Bring your walking shoes and Myki card as the day will be a combination of walking and taking the tram and visiting South Yarra, St Kilda, Brighton Beach and Richmond.

South Yarra

Located southeast of CBD, South Yarra is a high-end neighbourhood full of boutique retail stores, and trendy restaurants. You will find all the interesting shops and cafes along Chapel Street, the main road in South Yarra.

And when you stroll through the neighbourhood, you will find many colourful art murals along the smaller streets in South Yarra.

The best way to start the day in South Yarra is by taking the train or tram to South Yarra and starting the day with a proper brekkie.

Where to eat in South Yarra & Prahran

  • Abacus Bar & Kitchen – a popular brunch spot in South Yarra serves the prettiest dishes! Everything that comes out of the kitchen is like a piece of art. And the flat white is excellent!
  • Prahran Market – find many different types of produce at Prahran Market. They have a lot of stores selling organic products and also beautiful flower shops selling the most unique flowers I have ever seen!

St Kilda

St Kilda is the seaside suburb in Melbourne where you will find a pedestrian street full of stores and restaurants, a popular city beach, an amusement park and a quiet pier where penguins live.

First, visit St Kilda Pier. Stroll around the pier, and if you are lucky, you might even find penguins sleeping behind the rocks.

Continue walking to St Kilda Beach, one of the city beaches in Melbourne. And if you want to be a kid again, visit Luna Park nearby. It is an amusement park with a roller coaster ride right in the heart of the city.

Then return to Fitzroy Street where you can find many great restaurants and cafes. A perfect place for lunch!

And if you are in St Kilda on a Sunday, check out the St Kilda Esplanade Market for stalls selling local arts and crafts.

Brighton Beach

The colourful bathing boxes at Brighton Beach were built over a century ago for seaside bathing. Each of the 82 bathing boxes is constructed from a timber frame and iron roof and is painted in bright colours. The myriad of colours against the yellow sand and blue water makes Brighton Beach one of the most photographed (and Instagram) beaches in Melbourne.

If you want to take a dip in the water, make sure to bring your bathing suit and beach towel. And hopefully, you can catch a gorgeous sunset.

Richmond

After a full day of touring around Melbourne, visit Richmond for an authentic Vietnamese meal in Little Saigon. And end the night with a drink or two on the rooftop patio at Corner Hotel, one of the best venues for live music.

Where to eat in Richmond

  • Thanh Ha 2 – a bustling Vietnamese restaurant serving some of the most authentic Vietnamese food I’ve tasted (outside of Vietnam). Try their bánh cuốn (steamed rice paper cake) and bánh xèo (Vietnamese pancake).
  • Corner Hotel – I asked several friends where I should listen to live music while in Melbourne, and they all collectively said Corner Hotel! They have a really lively and cool rooftop and another area for live music. I don’t have anything to compare it to, but I quite liked it!

Day 3 in Melbourne: Port Melbourne, South Melbourne, and Southbank

On day three, visit all the best sites and attractions south of Yarra River, starting in Port Melbourne. Then visit a food market and try more of Melbourne’s best cuisine in South Melbourne. And finish the day in Southbank.

Port Melbourne

Two things would pique your interest in Port Melbourne: Pink Lake and Princess Pier.

Also known by the official name, Salt Water Lake at Westgate Park, the Pink Lake is not chemically engineered at all. Due to its high temperature, concentrated salt levels, and sunlight, which allow algae to grow in the salty water and thus, produce a red pigment. And that’s why the lake stays a deep pink during the summer months.

Then walk in the southeast direction until you find Princess Pier. The pier was once a major pier at Port Melbourne for passenger and cargo terminals. But today, many locals come here to fish. The area has bicycle paths and trails which makes the pier quite accessible. And visitors like to come here to take photos of the numerous old wooden pylons in the water.

South Melbourne

After some site seeing in Port Melbourne, visit South Melbourne Market in South Melbourne for lunch and souvenir shopping. The market has some of the best food in the city and is a place where you can find ethnic food, fresh seafood, and little knick-knacks that you might want to bring home.

Where to eat in South Melbourne

  • South Melbourne Market – you can find all kinds of produce and ethnic food inside the market. The perimeter of the market is full of gourmet restaurants, and cozy coffee shops. And during the summer months, there is a night market with live music every Thursday.
  • Simply Spanish – dine-in or take away their delicious Spanish tapas. But don’t miss their award-winning big pan paella. They won the title of Best Paella (outside of Spain) at a food competition.
  • Proper & Son – the little restaurant inside South Melbourne Market serves good brunch and delicious salad.
  • Padre Coffee – a busy coffee shop in South Melbourne Market that makes a superb flat white!
  • Penang Road – for an authentic Malaysian meal, try the char kway teow (Malaysian stir-fried rice noodles). The flavour is pretty close to the ones I’ve tried in Penang, Malaysia. And you can BYOB.
  • Hunky Dory Fish & Chips – you have to try fish & chips at least once in Australia! The portions at Hunky Dory are pretty substantial. Order the classic fish & chips and see for yourself!

Southbank

Southbank is a neighbourhood south of CBD and Yarra River. The area is known for commercial high-rises, apartment towers, and also numerous art museums and green spaces.

First, check out the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia’s oldest gallery. There are free exhibits on contemporary artwork over several floors and also a paid exhibition on the top floor. Before you visit the museum, check the NGV website for upcoming exhibits.

Walk over to Buxton Contemporary which is not far away. The five galleries at Buxton Contemporary have the best contemporary art exhibits and one of Australia’s largest outdoor digital screens.

And finally, end the day by strolling through the Royal Botanical Gardens Victoria which is just east of the museums.

Day 4 in Melbourne: Great Ocean Road

You really can’t miss the Great Ocean Road while you are visiting Melbourne. It is one of the best things to see outside of Melbourne.

And the best way to see the scenic road is by doing a self-drive over two days.

During the first day on the Great Ocean Road side trip, you will see 12 Apostles, Gibson Steps, Island Arch Lookout, Loch Ard Gorge, and other viewpoints in Port Campbell National Park. The day ends with eating seafood at Apollo Bay and sleeping overnight in Lorne.

Day 5 in Melbourne: Great Ocean Road

During the second day on the side trip to Great Ocean Road, you will see Erskine Falls, Fairhaven Beach, Split Point Lighthouse, Bells Beach, Winkipop and Torquay before returning to Melbourne in the late afternoon.

I included all the details for a 2-day self-drive itinerary in my Great Ocean Road post.

But if you travelling on your own and don’t want to bother with a rental car, join an organized 2-day tour to Great Ocean Road. The tour visit similar spots along the scenic road.

And finally, depending on when you return to Melbourne, you can still have an awesome dinner in the city and stroll around CBD, Richmond, or Fitzroy.

Other things to do in Melbourne alone

The 5 day itinerary in Melbourne includes many of the city’s best highlights. But if you have more time in the city and want to venture on a solo trip outside of Melbourne, here are some suggestions for you:

  • Day trip to Yarra Valley – visit four wineries in Yarra Valley where the tour includes lunch and of course, wine tastings.
  • Day trip to Phillip Island – visit the Moonlit Sanctuary Wildlife Conservation and see the nightly penguin parade at Summerland Beach
  • Grampians National Park – see kangaroos, rock formations and waterfalls in the national park by hiking through the canyons.

Where to stay in Melbourne as a solo traveller

The bad news is Melbourne is not a budget destination. But the good news is there are excellent hostels and a handful of inexpensive hotels around the city.

I recommend staying in the CBD area for this 5 day Melbourne itinerary so you can be close to everything. Here are some options for solo travellers:

  • Space Hotel ($) – Get a clean dorm bed and a private locker or a single room all to yourself. The hostel is close to State Library and Old Melbourne Gaol in CBD.
    • Check prices & reviews: Agoda
  • Ibis Melbourne Central ($$) – I really enjoyed the standard room at Ibis Melbourne Central. The room is a bit small, but all the finishes are new, and the double bed is super comfortable. Best of all, the hotel is centrally located in CBD.
    • Check prices & reviews: Agoda
  • Adelphi Hotel ($$$) – The 5-star Adelphi Hotel is one of the best luxury hotels in CBD. The guest rooms are spacious and modern. Best of all, you can enjoy the free candy and other sweet treats from Om Nom Kitchen! A favourite hotel amongst travellers and approved by Melburnians too!
    • Check prices & reviews: Agoda

Are you ready to solo travel to Melbourne?

I hope you enjoyed reading my Melbourne itinerary. There are so many things to do in Melbourne solo that you can easily pack five days with lots of activities.

And it is safe to take a solo Melbourne trip even if you visit the city for the first time. Even though Melbourne is a safe city, you should always practice your regular safety precautions.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about my solo Melbourne 5 days itinerary or if you have additional questions.

Thank you for reading my Melbourne solo trip post

You might also like these other posts on solo travel in Australia:

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About Author

Hi, my name is Queenie, and I've been a solo traveller for 20+ years and currently based in Hong Kong. Follow me on my adventures through Instagram and my blog!

2 Comments

  • Don Schuldes
    November 13, 2019 at 6:25 pm

    I can visit Melbourne whenever I want to because I actually live in Victoria for me it’s just one bus trip and one train trip and then I’m there

    Reply
    • queenie mak
      November 14, 2019 at 3:44 pm

      I am so jealous!! Melbourne is such a lovely city!!

      Reply

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