I take any chance I can get to visit one of my favourite cities, Melbourne. Every now and again Alex will have some business in Melbourne and I’ll fly down to make a long weekend of it. I’ve visited this city enough in the past three years to feel somewhat like a local. Well, it’s also encouraging that the locals make you feel like one of them. I revisit my favourite cafes and restaurants, along with exploring familiar laneways. But during my most recent trip, with my travel blogger hat on, I did some research, asked around, and found some new establishments, along with local favourites. Here’s my guide to my favourite Australian city, Melbourne.
Punthill Apartment Hotels: With three prime locations within the city centre, these reasonably priced contemporary apartments are perfect for any stay in Melbourne.
Adelphi Hotel: For the ultimate boutique hotel experience in the centre of Melbourne.
See and Do
Melbourne and laneways are synonymous. I could wander the laneways for days, and I usually do when I visit. I always frequent Degraves Street for a particular Canadian breakfast (though I haven’t encountered this breakfast in Canada), eventually working my way northeast, discovering new cafes and boutiques along the way.
Carlton Gardens and Melbourne Museum
North of the laneways, you’ll find Carlton Gardens and the Melbourne Museum. The gardens surround the famous Royal Exhibition Building, a hallmark of Victorian architecture, and the contemporary Melbourne Museum. This is one of my favourite museums in Australia, with the best animal exhibition I’ve seen.
Just northeast of the Museum, you’ll find the trendy area of Fitzroy. Wander up and down Brunswick Street for cafes, restaurants, and even rooftop bars.Queen Victoria Markets and South Melbourne Markets
No trip to Melbourne is complete without visiting these markets, at either end of the city centre. These historical 19th century landmarks cater for all your shopping needs, from produce to home wares. But my favourite is the night markets, occurring one night a week during the summer, serving any food imaginable that is thoroughly enjoyed with some sangria!
A quick tram ride from the city centre will drop you off at Melbourne’s famous beach community. Though the beach here struggles to rival other famous Australian beaches, a walk along St Kilda Pier is worth it to see some penguins and seals. From here, head to Acland Street for pastry shops galore. Pace yourself, you’ll want to try a pastry from the dozen or so shops.
This street in South Yarra has always been my go-to shopping destination. With a classic high street feel, you’ll find brand name shops amongst boutiques and cafes.Shopping
Speaking of shopping, I was happy when a local friend of mine informed me of Melbourne latest and greatest shopping centre, the Emporium, just north of Bourke Street in the city centre. It’s probably the best shopping centre I’ve visited, with every shop imaginable, and a food court that almost seems refined.
There’s even more to discover when the sun goes down. My best advice would be to get the Broadsheet App and bar hop the secret bars listed, trying a cocktail at each one. You might feel lost trying to find a bar down a dingy laneway, but trust me it’s all part of the experience to find that one door with the smallest of signs that opens to a world of fun.
Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG)
Melbourne is the sporting capital of Australia, particularly the Australian Football League (AFL aka Aussie Rules) capital. If sport is your thing, try to catch an AFL game or cricket match at the MCG. I’ve been dragged to this stadium more times than I would like, but a sporting arena with the capacity of over 100, 000 is a sight to be seen.Eat
Industry Beans: Hipster coffee central, serving yummy food and tea as well, in an industrial setting off of Brunswick Street.
Journal Canteen: Tucked away off Flinders Lane overlooking Degraves Street, this rustic café offers daily specials with a home cooked feel.
Oriental Tea House: I’ll never forget the Sunday morning my mom went ballistic for dim sum here, a perfect start for shopping on Chapel Street.
Little Creatures Dining Hall: For good craft beer and classic bar food in the heart of Fitzroy.
Chin Chin: Serving Asian fusion, this restaurant is the hottest ticket in town. One catch, no reservations, so you’ll have to wait an hour in their basement bar, which isn’t so bad with cocktails as good as their food.
Hutong Dumpling Bar: Known to serve the best dumplings in town, this establishment is perfect for late night laneway bites.
Florentino Grill: This is a recent discovery of mine, even though it is the oldest restaurant in Melbourne, on Bourke Street. Alex enjoyed dinner here twice in one week, taking me back after his first time here with colleagues. I was warned to prepare myself during the day for the epic 5 courses to come. This Melbourne institution is the best for Italian fine dining.
Ombra: Next-door, included in Grossi’s food empire, you’ll find this salumi bar, perfect for pre dinner snacks and drinks.
Pellegrini’s Espresso Bar: Just down the street from Grossi’s establishments, you’ll find another local institution for some of the best coffee in town.
Naked for Satan: There are some great rooftop bars in Melbourne and this is no exception. On Brunswick Street, it offers great views of city along with great drinks.
Double Happiness: No trip to Melbourne is complete without a trip to this tiny bar. Nestled in a laneway, the cocktails are enjoyed among Chinese communist propaganda décor.
Eau de Vie: For the best cocktail experience in Melbourne, this bar is hidden down another laneway.
Berlin Bar: And the hidden laneway bar tour continues to this unique experience. Half of the bar is themed as East Berlin and the other half as West Berlin. Your overall experience depends on where you’re seated.
Melbourne is one of Australia’s largest hubs, easily accessible by many international airlines. Once in Melbourne, it is best to stay in the city centre, as most attractions are within walking distance from here. Alternatively, trams and trains can take you to the surrounding suburbs, but sometimes taxis are cheaper and easier for most visitors.