Seen the sights of Sydney and you’re looking for another Australian adventure? Or maybe it’s you’re first time Down Under? Melbourne is not to be missed.
Arguably one of the best cities in the world to live in, Melbourne, state capital of Victoria, is a great holiday destination too. With top-notch restaurants, and a vivid arts and culture scene, it is also the ultimate port of call for caffeine addicts. Blogger and travel enthusiast, Helen Hayden, a.k.a. A Pilot’s Daughter reveals 10 ways to delight in the effortlessly cool, always-charming city of Melbourne.
1. The Great Ocean Road
They didn’t name it great for nothing. An hour outside of Melbourne begins a 243km stretch of some of the world’s most beautiful seaside road. Travelling the route you’ll encounter the Twelve Apostles, a stunning set of rocks just off the shoreline – currently, due to natural erosion, only eight remain. Take your pick of beautiful beaches to surf, plenty of opportunities to snorkel and scuba dive, a host of local museums and galleries, and some wonderfully welcoming towns to turn into. So get behind the wheel and take a mini road trip whilst you’re in town.
Read more: 10 epic road trip adventures – in pictures
2. Shots, Shots, Shots! Of espresso
If you have a fondness for a good cup of java, there’s a fair chance you’ll be rescheduling your departure from Melbourne. One of the destinations for caffeine aficionados around the world, this city has somehow got it all right when it comes to crafting the perfect coffee concoction. Whether you’re after a smooth long black or a fantastically foamed cappuccino, almost every barista in town has been bestowed with the beans and the bravado to make it happen. Pop in to Aunty Peg’s in Collingwood for a premium roast without the milk, as they serve all of their beverages black. Insiders tip: try ordering an ‘ice coffee’ and see what happens…
Read more: Top 10 coffee capitals for caffeine addicts
3. Wind down in wine country
About an hour east of Melbourne you’ll find Yarra Valley, home to a thriving, world-class wine industry. Known for its chardonnays and pinot noirs, spend a few happy hours, or even days, sipping on the nectar produced by local vineyards. With over 120 wineries in the valley, there is no shortage of bottles to be tasted!
Read more: 10 wine tours around the world
4. Put your best fashion foot forward
Arguably the most fashion conscious city in Oz, Melbourne is home to fantastic shopping districts to suit nearly every taste and budget. Famed Chapel Street is an excellent place to start, offering up both global brand favourites and inspired, home-grown Aussie labels. Hipsters will no doubt be in heaven perusing the vintage shops and retro-inspired boutiques of Brunswick. In CBD, enjoy getting lost treasure-hunting in the winsome, tiny laneways that Melbourne is famous for.
Read more: 8 best vintage hipster shops in the world
5. Place your bets
On the first Tuesday of November, at Flemington Racecourse, a little event known as The Melbourne Cup takes place; it’s also referred to as ‘the race that stops a nation’ because it does just that. One of the richest horse races in the world and a public holiday for Melbournians, it’s a pretty big deal. Especially if you’ve got a thing for hats. A bucket list event for many Aussies, The Melbourne Cup is reason enough to visit, and it’s not a bad time to try your luck on a pretty pony either. However, in case you miss it, the Crown Casino – one of the largest casino complexes in the world – has you covered with two city blocks worth a gaming space. Open 24/7 and kitted out with all sorts of sinful supplies, you can wager to your lucky heart’s content.
6. Eat your heart out
Not only does the city have a strong café scene, but it’s keen on becoming a bona fide foodie destination. Scattered throughout every neighborhood in Melbourne are pubs and restaurants serving up a new standard of craft food. From upscale, modern venues in CBD, to kitschy-chic diners in Fitzroy, you’ll have no trouble finding plenty of drool-worthy plates to dig into it. For the biggest breakfast around, head to Three Bags Full in Richmond on the east side of Melbourne
7. Admire the architecture
The streets of Melbourne showcase the beautiful clash between old meets new. Lanes of perfectly preserved Victorian homes sit contentedly next to contemporary concrete condos. In between are gorgeous displays of art deco styling, seemingly untarnished by age. Spend some time meandering through the older neighbourhoods of South Yarra and St. Kilda and you’ll stumble across some postcard-worthy gems for sure.
8. Catch some rays
This is Australia, after all. A trip to the land down under would hardly be complete without getting a little sand between the toes. It’s easy to forget whilst being in the middle of the city, but surrounding Melbourne are plenty of gorgeous beaches for you to plonk your pasty self down on. St. Kilda Beach is just 15 minutes from CBD and once you’ve had enough baking in the sun, unleash your candy floss kid and visit Luna Park right on the beach front.
9. Party with the cool kids
Melbournians can make for some fun company and can usually sniff out a damn good party. You’re best to start looking for the action in hyper-trendy Fitzroy. Its main vein, Brunswick Street, is lined with dive bars, revived retro cafés, and happening weekend venues to let loose in. If all else fails, duck into the neighbourhood’s newest hot spot, Howler. Backlit foliage sprouts up in this pseudo-outdoor, industrial space, where you’ll find plenty of felt hats and leather jackets swaying to the latest lounge beats.
10. Bargain hunt in Queen Victoria Market
The queen of all markets in Melbourne, the rows of stalls and pop-up chef stands are the perfect place to spend a Sunday afternoon strolling around, sampling some great local produce. Whether you’re after inspirational ingredients for the evening’s meal, or chasing souvenirs for your beloveds back home, this is the one-stop shop. Be sure to come with an empty stomach and a wallet full of spends. The market isn’t open every day, so make sure to check up on current hours.
Find out more great things to do on a trip Down Under: