5 Reasons to stay at Mantra Southbank – Family Accommodation in Melbourne


It was cider time. On a Sunday. In Federation Square. With old friends.

Had it been 17 years ago, when we lived in London together it would have been snakebites. We’re a bit tamer now as we all have kids in tow, but we still had too much to drink to be able to drive back to our tent in the caravan park in Point Lonsdale, 2 hours from Melbourne.

By 9pm, we decided we better book in somewhere. We were at the Transport Hotel and just across the Yarra River was Mantra Southbank. It was a no-brainer. We phoned, they had vacancies and at a great price.

No hassles about getting there, as it was only a 5-minute walk. We walked it a lot when we stayed there for 5 nights in January.

We checked in at 9:30pm and when we opened the door to our 2-bed apartment, it felt like we’d returned home. It was a welcome break from the tent.

Mantra apartments are one of our favourite chains in Australia. We stay at them often and even had my 40th celebration and our big road trip farewell party at Mantra Ettalong Beach in our home town. We’ve also stayed at Mantra Mooloolaba on the Sunshine Coast and Mantra on Salt Beach in Kingscliff.

This is what we loved about the Melbourne property.

5 reasons to stay at Mantra Southbank
1. Apartments rock for families

Most big-city hotel rooms were not built for families with young kids. They usually have no refrigerator or microwave, floor space is at a premium, and neighbours can hear every tantrum. But with an apartment you get more space, thicker walls, a kitchen, a washing machine, and separate bedrooms.

These extra facilities on a long stay can make your trip so much more enjoyable, and our 2-bed apartment was bright and roomy.

Mantra Southbank - Melbourne, AustraliaLiving room and kitchen
Mantra Southbank - Melbourne, AustraliaMaster bedroom
Savannah chillin on the couchSavannah chillin on the couch


2. Eating out is Expensive

Melbourne’s cafe and restaurant scene is second to none in Australia. It’s just one of the reasons we love this city, but eating out three times a day as a family of four is expensive.

If it was just a weekend stay we’d probably eat out all the time, but as we were staying for 5 nights having a fully-equipped kitchen and being able to self-cater on several meals plus store snacks and bottled water was priceless.

Mantra Southbank - Melbourne, AustraliaCaz doing her thing
3. Indoor heated pool & spa

Melbourne might be famous for its culinary scene, but it’s also famous for its unpredictable weather and cold winters. No fear, Mantra Southbank has an indoor pool and spa that will keep you, and especially your kiddies, happy no matter what’s happening outside.

Mantra Southbank - Melbourne, AustraliaMantras indoor pool
4. City Views

If you stay in a 2 bedroom deluxe apartment like ours, you get a private balcony with city views. We overlooked the Victorian Arts Centre, the MCG, and the Southbank precinct.

Mantra, Southbank - Melbourne, Australia

Mantra Southbank - Melbourne, Australiaoverlooking the Victorian Arts Centre
5. Location, Location, LOCATION

We love being able to walk to as many attractions and places to eat and drink from our accommodation, and Mantra Southbank is central to many of Melbourne’s highlights.

Places we could easily walk to with our 6 and 2-year-old daughters included:


We were literally a 60-second walk to Southbank Promenade and Southgate Restaurant and Shopping Precinct on the Yarra River.

Melbourne Victoria 096Craig & Kalyra overlooking the Yarra & Southbank

City Centre and Flinders Street Station

A five-minute walk across the Yarra took us to Swanston street (Melbourne’s main thoroughfare) and Flinders Street Station where we could catch a train or tram to anywhere in and around Melbourne.

Melbourne, AustraliaSavannah on the pedestrian bridge over the Yarra
Flinders Street Station, Melbourne, AustraliaFlinders Street Station

Rod Laver Arena and the MCG

We ticked off one of our bucket list items on our visit to Melbourne and attended the Australian Tennis Open. Caz even got to see the great Roger Federer play. Staying at Mantra Southbank it was just a 20 minute stroll along the Yarra to the tennis centre.

Roger Federer at the Australian Tennis OpenRoger Federer in action

Federation Square

Also a five-minute walk was Federation Square, one of our favourite locations in Melbourne. Especially when there is a sporting event on as they play the matches on the big screen.

Federation Square, Melbourne, AustraliaCaz and the kids enjoying Federation Square

Degraves Street and Centre Place

Walk five minutes over the Yarra and you get to Degraves Street and Centre Place, two of our favourite laneways for coffee and graffitied walls. (Don’t forget Hosier Lane too!)

Melbourne , AustraliaSavannah in Centre Place

Yarra River Walks

It was also perfect for our afternoon Yarra River walks or bike rides. A welcome activity in any busy city.

Melbourne, AustraliaYarra River Walk

Eureka Tower & Skydeck

Literally across the road from the Mantra is the Eureka Tower. Make sure you experience ‘The Edge’ – a glass cube which projects 3 metres out from the building 300 metres above the ground – freaky!

The Edge, Eureka Skytower, Melbourne, AustraliaThe Edge

But that’s not all, you can easily walk to these locations:

  • Royal Botanic Gardens – 5-minute walk
  • Melbourne Aquarium – 10-minute walk
  • Crown Casino – 10-minute walk
  • Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre – 10-minute walk
  • Southern Cross Station – 15-minute walk
  • Albert Park Grand Prix Circuit – 20-minute walk
  • Etihad Stadium – 25-minute walk

If you’re looking for family friendly accommodation in the heart of Melbourne, Mantra Southbank offers so much at reasonable rates. And after staying there twice now, it really feels like our home away from home.

Mantra Southbank, Melbourne, Australia

The Facts

Room types & Facilities

  • One and two bedroom apartments
  • 24-hour reception
  • Restaurant and Cocktail Bar
  • Undercover parking (limited availability fees apply)

Location: Mantra Southbank is located adjacent to the Victorian Arts Centre at 31 City Road, Southbank.

  • To book a stay at the Mantra Southbank check out our partners Booking.com
  • For more places to stay in Melbourne click here. We’ve done the research for you!
  • Want more information? Read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor

Disclaimer: Part of our accommodation costs were covered by Mantra.


  1. When I travel I tend to keep an eye out for local art or jewelry I like to decorate my house (and myself) with memories of my trips. I also pick up postcards and fridge magents if I see them (and they aren’t crazy tacky).

  2. I’m so glad to see you!! You look so happy and your in good company!! 🙂 I’m with Niki and Lisandra – I’ve been waiting and waiting for your posts. Glad to see your finding all the cute guys in Oz (but it’s not hard to do).

  3. Great post as always! Every time I travel in countries where I think the people will not be welcoming to me once they discover that I’m American, I’m always shocked that I’m actually embraced. It’s the other Western countries that always give me hell and make me so angry, ahem Australia I’m looking at you pal!

  4. Right, I am seriously looking into this as another cheap way to see the world. Thanks for the inspiration.

  5. Never been to Norway, but this post is inspiring. I like the colourful mix of wooden houses. Very interesting!

  6. Hey Earl/Derek, my name is Haley Young. I came across your blog post today when I searched ‘traveling alone’. I am currently walking through an unwelcome and unforeseen divorce. I truly desire to travel and to meet and know the people and the different cultures of our world and to share Jesus outside of a mission project. I am pretty introverted and semi-antisocial, so this is extremely forward for me, however, I am wary of traveling alone and felt I should reach out to you upon reading your post. I know it’s a couple of years old and your life is probably very different at this point in time, but I would love any advice or wisdom you may have to share with someone in my current state. I have multiple projects I would love to embark on outside of my home state and country, some circling the realm of sustainable living/farming, and many encircling my deep desire to share the gospel. I would love nothing more than your advice or feedback. Thank’s so much for your time…


    Haley Young

  7. Why have you not mentioned Georgia Republic as a country you can live in for less than $1000 per month? My son lived there for a couple of years on far less than that amount. And he done well. I may have overlooked it but I don’t recall Georgia Republic on your list. I am thinking of moving there someday if I decide to move back overseas.
    Retired Millitary and Retired on SS

  8. Great list!
    I’m a big fan of national parks. Last year I took a road trip from LA to NYC and visited Grand Canyon West Rim, Zion, Bryce Canyon, Capitol Reef, Arches, Colorado National Monument and Rocky Mountains. The year before that, Grand Canyon South Rim, Death Valley and Yosemite.

    Next year I’ll drive from Seattle to New Orleans and there will certainly be parks…


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