Visitors to Melbourne, the city of style, are often spoilt for choice with sporting spectacles, art and culture attractions, stylish shopping, beautiful arcades and laneways, and picturesque public parks. On top Melbourne is renowned for its flair for food, acclaimed chefs and cool bar scene. Just look at the numbers: The city boasts more than 3000 restaurants, cafes and bars representing about 75 different ethnic cuisines. And just in case you do not feel like sightseeing, eating or shopping – the city’s beautiful botanical gardens and public parks always make a good break, no matter if you want to explore Port Phillip Bay’s sheltered beaches, take a boat cruise on the Yarra River or follow one of the walking tracks along the water’s edge.
How to get there?
Melbourne is served by two main airports — Melbourne Airport (Tullamarine Airport), the main international and domestic hub and Avalon Airport which is used for some domestic low-cost carrier flights. Melbourne also offers good connections via car, bus or train.
Besides enjoying the good food and the main attractions of Melbourne, the ice cream at Pidapipo definitely got us. They have a Nutella tap. Period. And once we had enough of that delicious ice cream, we spent a lot of time exploring the many beautiful laneways of Melbourne. You find them all over the city and most of them are either full of georgous graffiti or offer nice shops, bars and restaurants.
How long to stay?
We ended up staying in Melbourne for 3 nights and we could have easily needed one more night to also explore more of the attractions surrounding the city. So we think that 3-4 nights would be perfect. There probably is something fun going on in the city, so having some extra time on your hands to discover and explore the city’s diversity, its neighbourhoods and inner suburbs is never a bad idea.
Where to stay?
We booked an Airbnb in Footscray for our stay in Melbourne. This working class suburb is super multicultural, with cheap markets, dozens of Vietnamese and East African shops and restaurants. Also the connection to the city center is pretty easy (you can take the train to get to the city) and we found that the prices for accommodation were pretty good. If you want to be where there is all the action you might want to look for something close to Federation Square.
North Melbourne In North Melbourne you should take the chance to wander around the Queen Victoria Market, the largest open-air market in the southern hemisphere. Just in case your sweet tooth beckons, check out the Mork Chocolate Brew House. Free Tram Zone The Free Tram Zone in Melbourne’s CBD makes it easier for commuters and tourists to move around the city. The principal boundaries of the Free Tram Zone are Spring Street, Flinders Street and La Trobe Street. Additionally, the tram routes along Victoria Street, William Street and Elizabeth Street that surround Victoria Market are also included as well as the Docklands area. Download the Free Tram Zone map here. All stops within the zone are clearly marked and tram drivers will make regular announcements when approaching the zone boundaries. Zone boundaries are signed and free tram zone maps are across the network. Melbourne Laneways One of our favorite activities in Melbourne was to wander from one laneway to the other, checking out the streetart. We love the colors, ideas and the energy you can feel when walking through the lanes. Some of the best spots sure are Hosier Lane, Union Lane, Russell Place and Centre Place. But the laneways are not only about streetart, here you will also find good shopping, bars, cafes and boutiques. You can even make a small tour around the laneways and combine it with a stop at nice beer garden, an Art Deco arcade and an Argentinian restaurant. All spots are within walking distance from Flinders St Station and Federation Square:
1) Explore Union Lane, The Walk Arc, The Causeway, Royal Arcade and grab a beer at Chuckle Park (seek out this cheerful beer garden and caravan vendr dispensing old-school and modern eats, as well as classic cocktails and canned ales)
2) Check out Degraves St close to the City Library, Scott Al and the Cathedral Arcade (admire the beautiful stained glass and leadlight ceiling in this Art Deco arcade (circa 1962) connecting Swanston Street and Flinders Lande)
3) And last but not least make your way to Meyers Place, Windsor Place and finish at San Telmo (love smoky meat accompanied by Latin American cocktails and tunes? Make a beeline for this Argentinian barbecue joint, where there is plenty of veggie options too)
Brighton Bathing Boxes Do not miss to visit Port Phillip Bay and its 82 distinctive bathing boxes, a row of uniformly proportioned wooden structures lining the foreshore at Brighton Beach. Built well over a century ago in response to very Victorian ideas of morality and seaside bathing, the bathing boxes remain almost unchanged. All retain classic Victorian architectural features with timber framing, weatherboards and corrugated iron roofs, though they also bear the hallmarks of individual licencees’ artistic and colourful embellishments. Thanks to these distinctive decorations, the boxes turn the Brighton seaside into an immediately recognisable, iconic beachscape that can transform by the hour according to season, light and color. St Kilda In St Kilda you will find sunny beaches and a great restaurant, bar and nightlife scene. It is located only 6 km from the Melbourne city center and therefore is the city’s seaside playground, much-loved by residents and visitors. St Kilda is renowned for its expansive view of Port Phillip, safe sandy beach, palm-lined boardwalk, huge range of beach activities, big skies, gorgeous sunsets, parks and gardens, great restaurants, bars and cafés, fabulous old buildings, and its colourful past and present. It also is home to many of Melbourne’s famous visitor attractions including Luna Park, the Esplanade Hotel, Catani Gardens, several renowned theatres, some of Melbourne’s big events and festivals, as well as Acland Street and Fitzroy Street. St Kilda beach is Melbourne’s most famous beach. South East Touring Triangle Melbourne’s South East Touring Triangle offers a range of experiences easily reachable from the city. No matter if you want to make it a daytrip or if you want to stay for two, three or four days – the Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula and Phillip Island will delight you with their scenery, National Parks, wildlife, wineries, cafes, outdoor activities, beaches and awesome panoramic views.
Yarra Valley Mystical forests and waterfalls, ancient trees and fern glades, exquisite gardens and wildlife experiences, fresh food and world famous wine, hot air balloon flights over broad valleys, vineyards and quiet forests,the Yarra Valley has it all. More information under experienceyarravalley.com
Phillip Island This little gem of an island impresses visitors with its natural beauty, plentiful wildlife, colorful seaside villages and a good choice of attractions from pure fun to pumped-up action. The island probably is most famous for its nightly Penguin Parade, but it also is one of the best places in Australia to see seals and koalas close up, while also discovering a huge variety of birdlife within its beautiful wetlands and tranquil woodlands. More information under visitphiliipisland.com
Mornington Peninsula The Mornington Peninsula is a small but beautiful region of extraordinary contrasts. The peaceful hinterland is home to many of Victoria’s top wineries, while three magnificent coastlines have dozens of beaches edged by calm waters or untamed ocean. Here you can find beautiful gardens, natural hot mineral springs and spas, superb winery restaurants and regional gourmet produce, but also enjoy the utterly pure and refreshing sea air and discover wildlife such as dolphins. More information under visitmorningtonpeninsula.com