As a tourist you are always a bit lost. Every new city raises the same question. Where is the hostel/hotel? How does the public transport work? Where can I find a map? Different cities have different ways of providing you with the necessary information. In my opinion Melbourne is a good example of a tourist friendly city.
Good info starts with a good information center. Most hostel provide some flyers and brochures of what you can do around town, but for good information you visit the enormous information center on Federation Square. You find everything from flyers about the city and walking routes, to information about the different areas of Victoria. There is always someone prepared to answer your questions and you can even book organized tours.
To get familiar with the city’s history there is a free tour through Federation Square (meet at the visitor center). Besides that, you can find information in the free circle tram. The tram loops the center and tells you exactly what you can find at each stop. Unfortunately the tape is not always done playing before arriving at the stop. Melbourne seems to have too many interesting things to visit. Besides the tram you can also take a free bus. The bus’ loop is a bit bigger and takes you to some places further from the center. The bus driver also tells you exactly what you can see and do. Every now and then the lines have the same stops and you can transfer from one to the other.
When you get off the tram or bus in the center of town, you’ll probably see one of the information volunteers. They are there to help you find your way around town. A lot of buildings have free entry or tours and a lot of the museums are free. Even as a poor backpacker you can entertain yourself in Melbourne. Melbourne feels friendly, like its volunteers. Maybe other cities can learn from this.