Tours

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Tours

A free City Circle tram run by Metropolitan Transit operates every 10 minutes 10-6 Sunday-Wednesday and 10-9 Thursday-Saturday on the fringe of the Central Business District, with stops on Flinders, Spencer, La Trobe, Victoria, and Spring streets. Look for the burgundy-and-cream trams. A free orange tourist bus (the Melbourne City Tourist Shuttle) does a loop around central and inner Melbourne suburbs daily, every 30 minutes between 9:30 and 4:30, stopping at 13 destinations including Federation Square, Docklands, South Yarra, and the Botanic Gardens. Metropolitan buses operate daily until around 9 pm to all suburbs, while the NightRider bus service runs between 1:30 am and 4:30 am on Saturday and 1:30 am and 5:30 am on Sunday.

Boat Tours. One of the best ways to see Melbourne is from the deck of a boat on the Yarra River. Melbourne River Cruises' fleet of modern, glass-enclosed boats operate 1- and 2½-hour Yarra River cruises daily (A$23 and A$29, respectively), traversing either west through the commercial heart of the city or east through the parks and gardens, or a combination of the two. Cruises run roughly every half hour from 10 to 4.

Bus Tours. Gray Line has guided tours of Melbourne and environs by bus and boat. The City Tour visits the city center's main attractions and some of the surrounding parks. The 3½-hour, A$65 tour departs daily at 8:10.

AAT Kings, Australian Pacific Tours, and Melbourne's Best Day Tours all have similar city highlight tours.

Food Tours. Foodies Dream Tours (A$40) and cooking classes (2½ hours, A$90–A$180) are conducted at Queen Victoria Market.

Chocoholic Tours offers several Saturday tours for chocolate lovers: the Chocoholic Brunch Walk (10-noon) and the Chocoholic Indulgence Walk (12:15-2:15), among others. Each offers a different combination of chocolate-fueled tastings and activities (A$37 each). Bookings are essential and departure points vary.

Vietnam on a Plate runs a guided walking tour of the Asian precincts, visiting traditional Chinese herbalists, food stalls, spice and herb specialists, and the "Little Saigon" shopping districts of Footscray and Springvale. The tour includes lunch and food tasting. Tours are usually given Saturday 9:30-12:30, and cost A$66. Reservations essential.

Walking Tours. The Melbourne Greeter service, a Melbourne Information Centre program, provides free two- to four-hour tours by pairing you with a local volunteer who shares your interests. Melbourne's Golden Mile Heritage Trail runs guided walking tours of the city's architectural and historic sites. Tours, which cost A$20 and take two hours, depart daily at 10 am from Federation Square and finish at the Melbourne Town Hall weekdays and the Melbourne Museum on weekends.

Tour Operators

AAT Kings (Federation Square E, Flinders and Russell Sts., City Centre, Melbourne, VIC, 3000. 1300/228546. guidedtours.aatkings.com.)

Australian Pacific Touring (APT) (1230 Nepean Hwy., Level 4, Cheltenham, Melbourne, VIC, 3192. 03/9277–8555 or 1300/336932. www.aptouring.com.au.)

Chocoholic Tours (145/28 Southgate Ave., Southbank, Melbourne, VIC, 3006. 03/9686–4655. www.chocoholictours.com.au.)

Foodies Dream Tours (Queen Victoria Market, Queen and Elizabeth Sts., City Center, Melbourne, VIC, 3000. 03/9320–5822. www.qvm.com.au.)

Golden Mile Heritage Trail (03/9928–0000. www.melbournegoldenmile.com.au.)

Gray Line (Federation Square East, Flinders and Russell Sts., City Center, Melbourne, VIC, 3000. 1300/858687. www.grayline.com.au.)

Melbourne's Best Day Tours (Federation Square, Flinders and Russell Sts., City Center, Melbourne, VIC, 3000. 1300/130550. www.melbournetours.com.au.)

Melbourne Greeters (Federation Sq., Flinders and Swanston Sts., City Center, Melbourne, VIC, 3000. 03/9658–9658 (weekdays); 03/9658–9942 (weekends). www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/greeter.)

Melbourne River Cruises (Vault 11, Banana Alley, 367 Flinders St., City Center, Melbourne, VIC, 3000. 03/8610–2600. www.melbcruises.com.au.)

Vietnam on a Plate (Footscray Market, Hopkins and Leeds Sts., Footscray, Melbourne, VIC, 3011. 03/9332–6848. www.vietnamonaplate.com.au.)

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