Accommodation – Equitana Melbourne 2010

While there is a truckload of accommodation in and around the centre of Melbourne, when there is a lot on, only dodgy pubs and extremely expensive hotels remain unoccupied.

I have learnt my lesson from a past mistake and missed out on ideal accommodation by booking too late, and thus was left staying in an outrageously over-priced fire-trap fleapit that I had to carry heavy gear up many stairs to reach every evening (in Rockhampton, in case you’re wondering). It was a nightmare. So I have just booked accommodation for Equitana Melbourne (November 2010) to avoid ending up in a crook location or paying top dollar for a dead dog. When you’re working at an event (eg as an exhibitor) the last thing you need is to add to already exhausting days by spending extra time at the crack of dawn and in the evening, travelling by tricky public transport or trudging miles with loads of gear from distant parking (or worse, putting up with feral guests partying next door all night). And washing breccy dishes in the bathroom. Equitana visitors have flexible hours and can take the pick of accommodation located in and around Melbourne CBD, a rock’s throw from a railway station or tram stop; nice hotels or good value backpacker places; or if with a car, somewhere with great restaurants such as Carlton, if there is energy to fit in some shopping elsewhere, or go out at night. However exhibitors really need to stay as close to the venue as possible (even if the area is less convenient in other respects) because they’ll be attending every day, must be on time (early am), may have heavy items to carry and usually want a basic kitchen to negate the need for night sorties in search of takeaway tucker.

There is relatively little accommodation on offer around Flemington (where the Melbourne Show Ground is located), but I did dig up a few Bed & Breakfast and short-stay apartments, some of which may still have a vacancy during Equitana 2010:

Quest Flemington is the closest self contained unit-style accommodation I could find however it is apparently already booked out by Equitana (either regulars, or maybe for packaged deals to be released later). (If you want to stay there for Equitana 2012, maybe try booking now!) There is other accommodation not too far from the Melbourne Showground, in North Melbourne, such as the North Melbourne Serviced Apartments. There is some other nicely located accommodation in Parkville (near Melbourne Uni) although not so convenient for a direct public transport route; such as the Park Squire Motel & Apartments. On the other side of the Melbourne showground (i.e. to the north – probably easier to park at & drive from, than the CBD) are motels at Essendon, such as the Essendon Comfort Inn (motel). Looking for accommodation located near the northern end of the train or tram lines running past the showground would be a smart move, because at least in the early mornings on weekdays there would be plenty of services heading into the CBD, carrying commuters. Maybe not so good getting home, if you finish very late, however as this accommodation is likely to be much cheaper accommodation than what’s on offer in the CBD, if bookings are tight (and they will be, if Equitana out-of-town visitor numbers are accurate), the cost savings would cover a few evening taxi fares with cash left over.

For anyone who doesn’t know Melbourne well – the Royal Melbourne Show Ground is not far from the centre of Melbourne and the suburbs between it and the CBD are North Melbourne, Kensington & Flemington/Ascot Vale. Apparently Equitana ticket holders will be able to travel anywhere on Melbourne public transport for free, during the event, and many stay in the CBD and at Southbank. Trains to the showground leave from Flinders Street & Southern Cross (Spencer Street) stations in the CBD, and the number 57 tram runs along Elizabeth Street (CBD), heads north/northwest and stops at the main showground entrance in Epsom Road (Ascot Vale). Melbourne showground public transport information can be found at Metlink.

A long time ago I lived in North Melbourne for a while so know the area a bit but even so, finding good accommodation has been tricky. I was very surprised to find how scarce accommodation is, close to the showground and surprised to find so much booked up so far in advance. If you are visiting Equitana Melbourne in 2010 and you need accommodation, I recommend finding a good spot to stay and booking now, to get a better deal and/or a better spot to stay. If you are visiting rather than working at Equitana, I recommend finding a nice hotel in the Melbourne CBD ASAP and paying a deposit (ask for a discount for staying several evenings in a row) and travelling out on public transport each day.