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Where to stay in Melbourne – a travel guide to Melbourne’s neighborhoods

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In the centre, by the beach or on the urban fringe – Melbourne hotels are spread across the city. Our guide to the different neighborhoods will help you decide where to stay in Melbourne.

Melbourne city centre

Melbourne’s city centre on the Yarra River’s north bank is an orderly grid of tree-lined streets overseen by a serrated skyline of Victorian office buildings and skyscrapers of steel and glass. The main artery, Swanston Street, stretches north from the city’s main intersection dominated by the Gothic spire of St Paul’s Cathedral, the yellow and red Edwardian architecture of Flinders Street Station and Federation Square’s angular prisms and shards. The main shopping thoroughfares, Collins Street and Bourke Street Mall, run east-west, mirrored by smaller streets linked by covered arcades and laneways. It’s in these hidden byways that you’ll find apartment-style Melbourne hotels, fashion boutiques and chandelier-lit bars.

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East Melbourne

The streets radiating from Spring Street, on central Melbourne’s eastern border, lead to East Melbourne. This tranquil, highly sought-after residential area of Art Deco apartment buildings and elegant terrace houses with iron-lace balconies is best known for its gardens. On the city’s edge, the landscaped Treasury Gardens run into the Fitzroy Gardens, where elm-lined avenues lead to quaint Captain Cook’s Cottage. A pedestrian bridge takes sports fans over the rail lines to the Melbourne Cricket Ground, or you can continue walking to Bridge Road in Richmond, with its discount fashion outlets and multicultural restaurants.

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Carlton and Fitzroy

Nudging the city’s northern edge on Lygon Street, Italian-flavoured Carlton is where to stay in Melbourne if you’d like a good supply of restaurants, delicatessens, bookstores and shops. It’s only a short walk to the city centre or the sandstone cloisters of the University of Melbourne. Carlton’s skyline of immaculate terrace houses is lit by the illuminated dome of the Victorian-era Exhibition Building crowning Carlton Gardens. Head a few streets east to Brunswick Street and you’re in the heart of Fitzroy, where the original workers cottages have been gentrified and the designer shops, energetic eateries and live-music pubs have an earthy, bohemian flavour.

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South Melbourne

South Melbourne heads south from the thronged banks of the Yarra River to the beaches lining Port Phillip Bay. Luxury hotels and restaurants on the Southbank boardwalk have postcard views of Melbourne’s skyline reflected in the Yarra River, lit by jets of fire shooting into the air from the Casino boardwalk. St Kilda Road leads to the Arts Centre, National Gallery of Victoria and Royal Botanic Gardens. Several tram routes wind south to the South Melbourne Market and the residential beaches of Port Melbourne and Albert Park, favourites with joggers, dog-walkers and kite-boarders.

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St Kilda

Follow beachfront Beaconsfield Parade south from Albert Park and you reach Melbourne’s seaside playground, St Kilda. A heady mix of red-gabled Edwardian houses, Art Deco flats and modern high-rises, St Kilda is Melbourne’s relaxed seaside destination, with the focus on Fitzroy Street and Acland Street. It’s a particularly lively part of town at weekends, with a beachfront Sunday market, the Luna Park funfair, hedonistic bars and restaurants. Shades of its former life as a mecca for musicians, poets, artists and bohemians add spice to the mix.

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