Every Question You Have About Melbourne Answered

By Teo Spengler

Discovering Melbourne: coastal, cultural, cosmopolitan and cool

Every Question You Have About Melbourne Answered

Talk about a cultural melting pot. Melbourne, the coastal capital of the Australian state of Victoria, includes immigrants from England, China, Italy, Vietnam and Lebanon, and more folks of Greek heritage than any city except Athens. With its cafe culture, numerous green spaces, eye-catching street art and European-flavored tree-lined boulevards, Melbourne is cosmopolitan, but you'll feel at ease here. Get ready for your trip by finding answers to your biggest questions.

Q: What is Melbourne known for?

A. Melbourne (pronounced Mel-bun) is known for its extraordinary cultural diversity, stately European-style architecture and beautiful public parks, such as Queen Victoria Gardens, the Royal Botanic Gardens and Albert Park, built around Albert Park Lake, with amazing views of Melbourne’s skyline. Melbourne is also called the sporting capital of Australia, with the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground (the MCG); the Rod Laver Arena, where the Australian Open tennis final is played; and Flemington Racecourse, where horses race for the Melbourne Cup.

  • Royal Botanical Gardens is a famed Melbourne park with 94 acres of glorious Victorian-era landscaping in the middle of the city.  The Royal Botanical has incredible plants from around the world as well as special mini ecosystems. These include a cacti and succulents garden, an herb garden and an indigenous rain forest.

Q: Why is Melbourne the most livable city?

A: In quality-of-life surveys, Melbourne is consistently rated among the "world's most livable cities." People who live there, love it, and it's easy to see why. Water and water views are everywhere. Melbourne enjoys a privileged site on a coastal plain on beautiful Port Phillip Bay. The Yarra River runs through town to the bay. A drive along famed Great Ocean Road takes you past Bells Beach as well by the limestone stacks known as the 12 Apostles, an iconic Australian landmark.

Another delightful aspect of Melbourne life is its free public transportation system. The City Circle tram, route number 35, loops the Central Business District (the CBD), with stops near the city’s best-known attractions. Just hop on; no tickets required. The city also offers a free shuttle bus.

Melbourne has a tidy city center with an easily navigated grid of streets. This is where you'll find the state parliament buildings, the financial district and also elaborate Victorian buildings that were built in the gold rush. Federation Square is nearby. Beyond the downtown area, Melbourne is a city of neighborhoods, each with its own character and charm. Despite its population of some 4 million people, Melbourne feels friendly and completely accessible.

  • Federation Square is a city block that serves as a place to congregate as well as a cultural center. Fed Square is paved with 460,000 hand-laid cobblestones from Western Australia, with lines identifying the location of important Melbourne landmarks.

Q: What is the climate in Melbourne, Australia?

A: If you like moderate weather without any dramatic extremes, Melbourne is for you. It enjoys a temperate climate with summers that hover between warm and hot, mild springs and falls, and chilly winters. It has four distinct seasons, and each is pleasant in its own way.

Remember that Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere, so seasons are reversed. For example, the first official day of summer is December 21. January and February are the heart of summer with hot weather, some rain and occasional rough winds. March and April can still have very warm weather, but temperatures cool at night. By mid-May, warm is turning to cool, with lows well above freezing, a temperature that continues through August. July and August can be wet and are often windy. Spring creeps in during September and blossoms in October and November.

Q: Is Melbourne water safe to drink?

If you've heard warnings about Melbourne water, they may apply to Melbourne, Florida, rather than to Melbourne, Victoria. You can fill up your water bottle at any tap in Melbourne, Victoria.

Q: How long is a flight from Melbourne to Bangkok?

A: If you catch a direct flight, you can fly from Melbourne to Bangkok in nine hours and 38 minutes.

Q: How long is it from Melbourne to Sydney?

A: You can fly from Melbourne to Sydney in one hour and 23 minutes. The driving distance is 544 miles.

Q: How to get to Melbourne Airport from CBD?

Melbourne Airport is also called Tullamarine Airport. It is 12 miles northwest of the city's CBD, the central business district. If you need to get to Tullamarine Airport from the city center, catch an express airport bus operated by SkyBus. You can also catch the SkyBus at the airport heading to CBD. The SkyBus leaves every 10 minutes in the day and every 20 minutes late nights, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The trip takes about 20 minutes.

No direct train service exists for this trip. Your best alternative to the excellent SkyTrain is to take a taxi. If you are catching one from the airport to the CBD, join the taxi ranks on the ground level of the airport in front of each terminal.

Q: How long is a flight from Melbourne to Fiji?

A: A direct flight from Melbourne to Fiji is five hours and 20 minutes.

Q: How far is Ft. Lauderdale from Melbourne?

It is 9,702 miles from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, to Melbourne, Australia.

Q: How far is Portsea from Melbourne?

It's 68 miles from Melbourne to Portsea.

Q: How long is the flight from Melbourne to New Zealand?

A: Catch a flight from Melbourne to New Zealand, and you'll be there in three hours and 37 minutes.

Q: How long is it to fly from Melbourne to Los Angeles?

A: It's a long way from Los Angeles to Melbourne. A direct flight will take you 16 hours and 22 minutes.

Q: How long does it take to get from Melbourne to Adelaide?

A: The flight time from Melbourne to Adelaide is one hour and 19 minutes. It is 450 miles.

About the Author

Teo Spengler earned a J.D. from U.C. Berkeley's Boalt Hall. As an Assistant Attorney General in Juneau, she practiced before the Alaska Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court before opening a plaintiff's personal injury practice in San Francisco. She holds both an M.A. and an M.F.A in creative writing and enjoys writing legal blogs and articles. Spengler splits her time between French Basque Country and California.