Melbourne Backpackers


by eliduke/flickr

Calling all sports fans, arty types, foodies, night owls, and shopping fanatics. If you are looking for a stop on your backpacking adventure where you can do all of this and more, Melbourne is for you.

Known as the sporting and cultural capital of the country, Melbourne packs a punch when it comes to things to do. It’s the home to Aussie Rules and the Spring Racing Carnival, world class museums and art galleries, a thriving live music scene, and every type of dining experience you can imagine. And while in Melbourne make sure you also include a visit to some of the renewed areas of the city, such as Southbank and Melbourne Docklands, or, better yet, paddle the Yarra River and enjoy the views from the water.

Melbourne is also the most multicultural city in Australia, and this is evident in everything from daily life to the range of activities and restaurants on offer. What is so special about Melbourne is that all of this exists in and amongst the distinctly Victorian architecture, gardens, and parks found in the city.

One of the best ways to experience Melbourne is to simply choose an area to explore and give yourself over to it. Some suburbs, such as St Kilda, offer strips of shopping, bars, and cafes, while Melbourne city is a labyrinth of arcades and laneways waiting for you to discover them. A good approach is to make no plans and to go with the flow.

A trip to Melbourne’s Victoria Market is also a must for anyone looking for bargains and souvenirs. The markets are held on weekends and on certain days during the week, so check local guides for the details. The Markets are also easily accessible by tram, but you may need a taxi to help you carry all of your bargains back to where you are staying.

Melbourne is Australia’s second largest city, behind Sydney, and is home to approximately four million people. Despite being a large city, it is in a relatively very small area, meaning it is densely populated and very compact—a lot like a small town with a lot of people. The great thing about Melbourne is that there’s almost always something going on in there.  It is a tourists paradise; a massive theme park of things to do.

If you’re a backpacker looking for affordable accommodation in Melbourne, hostels are your best friend and are now the standard for backpackers and travellers; they will make your trip one for the books. Hostels are regarded as a cost efficient housing system for youth who are on a tight budget, and they are also excellent facilitators of parties that last well into the morning hours (or until everyone passes out). St. Kilda is where most backpackers in Melbourne stay, right by the beach and in the center of the 24 hour party located on nearby Fitzroy Street.

There are plenty of things to do in St. Kilda. Aside from its non-stop nightlife, hip restaurants, impeccable climate, surreal beaches, and shops, it also has some famous tour attractions almost right beside it. The most prominent of these is Luna Park. The best place to look for hostels in Melbourne is Flinders Street Station, which is centrally located right by the landmark federation square. There are a large number of hostels and backpackers in this area because this location is right in the centre of almost everything. Because Melbourne is so compact, most of the city’s greatest attractions will be within walking distance from federation square. There is also a free shuttle bus and circle tram that operates in the city centre. Melbourne is a prime tourist destination and, thus, tourism generates a lot of revenue and income for the area, as it does for a lot of regions within Australia. For this reason, it is set up to entertain and engage tourists.

The best Melbourne hostel, centrally located right in the heart of Melbourne’s nightlife scene, is the Home at The Mansion hostel, which was voted the number one hostel by hostel world customers nearing the end of 2010. Melbourne’s newest hostel, it is cosy and set up perfectly in a way that makes everyone feel like they are a member of a temporary family, encouraging conversation and communal activities. Every room actually has its own flat screen television, which is a very rare attribute. This is one of the few hostels in Australia that includes this kind of service. The spectacular facility includes internet access, a BBQ area, a community TV room, and kitchen, as well as laundry facilities. This is truly the pinnacle of hostels in Melbourne. Everything is within walking distance from this location, if you ever find the willpower to actually leave it. Museums, an Imax Theatre, Melbourne’s main shopping center, federation square, and the free city circle tramline are are close by. St. Kilda beach is also right outside the hostel. If you’re unsure of what hostel might be right for you, this hostel is probably it.

In the instance that the Home at The Mansion hostel is all booked up, the Home Travellers Motel is right on St. Kilda’s beach and boasts just about everything that Home at The Mansion has. Home Travellers Motel is packed with amenities. Like its competitor, it is a smaller building and places emphasis on interaction between tenants. It is fully equipped with a community kitchen, TV room, table tennis, and Free DvD Hire, and has beds starting from $21 dollars. There is little to distinguish these hostels from one another; they are both the top hostels in Melbourne. If you want to be as close as possible to the beach, Home Travellers Motel would be your best choice. Regardless, they are both no more than a few minutes’ walk from the St. Kilda beach.