Melbourne city guide: Best things to do and where to stay in Australia’s free-spirited capital of cool

Stylish, cosmopolitan and fabulously eclectic, Melbourne is city Australia at its most inspiring. Neglect glittering surf and infinite sunshine: this moody, bluestone city is a well-read, macchiato-guzzling beast extra akin to Berlin than Bondi. Down right here, gritty, art-strewn alleys (often known as laneways) harbour maverick cafés and eating places, whereas unmarked stairwells lead to avant-garde ateliers, sharply curated bookshops and buzzing rooftop bars.

In a number of brief a long time, the feverish Victorian gold rush of the 1850s remodeled Melbourne – Naarm to its conventional homeowners, the Wurundjeri and Bunurong individuals – from a dusty settlement right into a rich, worldly metropolis. This gilded interval lives on in the city’s prolific heritage structure, from rows of ornately adorned Victorian terraced homes to cathedral-esque banks. In sharp distinction is modern Melbourne – an edgy, ever-evolving hotbed of creativity, where boundaries are consistently pushed, from couture to cocktails and delicacies.

Best time to go to

Flinders Avenue Station, one of the city’s most well-known landmarks

(Getty Photos/iStockphoto)

March and April see Melbourne at its meteorological finest. Daytime temperatures are typically heat and steady, and evenings are cool. The wintry chill of off-season (June to August) is countered by Australian Guidelines Soccer mania (a veritable faith) and main cultural occasions, together with Melbourne Winter Masterpieces and arts pageant Rising. Summer season (December to February) is peak season, with music festivals, tennis on the Australian Open and costly lodging alongside Victoria’s lovely shoreline.

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Best things to do

Search out hidden treasures

A lot of central Melbourne’s treasure is hidden off its tram-graced thoroughfares, in laneways, arcades and behind carved stone facades. Slip into AC/DC Lane, Croft Alley and Hosier Lane to savour world-renowned road artwork, or dig deeper with Melbourne Street Tours. For a traditional Instagram shot, don’t miss Centre Place, a densely packed laneway of tiny cafes, bars and Artwork Nouveau road lamps. The passageway runs off Flinders Lane, as soon as the center of Melbourne’s rag commerce and house to the Twenties Nicholas Building, a multi-level hive of artists, artisans and galleries. Among the many latter is artist-run Blindside, championing rising and cutting-edge creatives.

Get misplaced alongside the numerous laneways in Melbourne

(Getty Photos)

A block away, on blue-ribbon Collins Avenue, portals lead to luxurious 19th-century interiors channelling Melbourne’s gold-rush glow. Amongst these is Milanese-inspired Block Arcade, adorned with lavish stuccowork and flooring mosaics, and the Hogwarts-like ANZ Gothic Bank, Australia’s best secular Gothic-Revival constructing. Much more spectacular is 333 Collins Street. An architectural Kinder Shock, its Gotham-esque workplace tower – constructed in 1990 – encases a 19th-century banking chamber full with neo-Baroque cupola.

Discover inspiration at NGV

The National Gallery of Victoria (free to enter) claims one of Australia’s most distinguished public artwork collections, unfold over two buildings on reverse sides of the Yarra River. At bluestone behemoth NGV Worldwide, lie down beneath Leonard French’s epic stained-glass ceiling (the world’s largest), lose your self in Tiepolo’s commanding The Banquet of Cleopatra and meet Picasso’s Weeping Lady, infamously stolen in an unsolved 1986 artwork heist. Throughout the river on aesthetically divisive Federation Square, Ian Potter Centre: NGV Australia shows the gallery’s homegrown masterpieces, together with works by famend Indigenous artist Emily Kam Kngwarray and John Brack’s iconic Melbourne portray Collins St, 5pm. At totally different occasions of the yr, NGV Worldwide stays up late for NGV Friday Nights, with pop-up bars, DJs and stay acts impressed by its big-ticket exhibitions.

Hop between neighbourhoods

Every of Melbourne’s inner-city neighbourhoods has its personal distinct vibe and pull. You can simply spend a day (and night time) exploring Fitzroy’s hipster strips of Brunswick, Smith and Getrude Streets, hopping between galleries, bookshops, design shops, cafes and pubs. Simply off Smith Avenue lies arts precinct Collingwood Yards, house to one of the few surviving murals by American pop artist Keith Haring. In leafy, Italo-centric Carlton, sip a spritz at pasticceria Brunetti Classico and dive into Melbourne’s impartial theatre scene on the venerable La Mama.

The amusements at Luna Park, in St Kilda, have been open for over 100 years

(Getty Photos)

Melbourne’s elegant Royal Botanic Gardens flank trendy South Yarra, awash with grand Victorian-era abodes, polished bistros and on-trend locals. From right here, Chapel Avenue shoots south into edgier Prahran and Windsor in a sweep of cafes, boutiques, golf equipment, classic outlets and road artwork; look out for the 20-metre-high robotic mural by Welsh artist Phlegm. Additional south on Chapel is the enduring Astor Theatre, a go-to for cult traditional movies. The art-deco cinema lies in bohemian, bayside St Kilda, speckled with Victorian and Spanish Mission structure, legendary live-music venues like The Espy, Palais Theatre and Memo Music Hall, and an eponymous pier famed for its skyline view.

Where to stay

Subsequent Resort

Plush, understated rooms underscore sultry Subsequent Resort. Half of the upmarket 80 Collins eating and retail precinct, the 255-room deal with consists of attractive, fashionable Italo-Australian restaurant-bar La Madonna and its barrel-aged cocktails.

Laneways by Ovolo

Set in the East Finish Theatre District, this svelte boutique resort is inside strolling distance of hotspot eating places and bars. Modern, clean-lined rooms function mid-century design influences and daring pops of color.

Dorsett Melbourne

The Dorsett Melbourne is inside strolling distance of Southern Cross railway station and airport shuttle buses. Elegant rooms, Artwork Deco accents and a heated indoor pool set a complicated scene.

Where to eat

Anthony Bourdain as soon as declared he’d moderately eat in Melbourne than Paris, a testomony to the city’s excellent produce, prodigious cooks and extraordinary ethnic variety.

Tables are sizzling property at Andrew McConnell’s glamorous Gimlet at Cavendish House, whose polished, Europe-centric dishes may see jumbo quail paired with rooster liver parfait, black fig and elderberries. Native components and South-east Asian influences have created one thing contemporary and thrilling at Khanh Nguyen’s Sunda, where the buttermilk roti with Vegemite curry is non-negotiable.

Anticipate fashionable Australian eating infused with Southeast Asian flavours at Sunda

(Kristoffer Paulsen)

For contemporary Indigenous cooking, hit Nornie Bero’s Big Esso, an off-the-cuff, all-day eatery on Federation Sq. serving share plates like charred purple yams with meta chimichurri and crispy saltbush. In case you’re feeling adventurous, order the Inexperienced Ant-tini, a martini spiked with citrusy inexperienced ants. Federation Sq. additionally harbours Alejandro Saravia’s Victoria by Farmer’s Daughters, a showcase for Victorian components, from cured Bass Strait scallops to smoked Nice Ocean Street duck. For one thing utterly out of the field, sink a burger at Easey’s, set in a transformed prepare carriage atop an workplace block.

Gimlet at Cavendish Home has all of the aptitude that you just’d affiliate with the city’s standard chef and restaurateur Andrew McConnell

(Sharyn Carins)

Where to drink

Melbourne takes its espresso very significantly: one slurp at specialty roasters like Patricia and Market Lane Coffee you’ll know why. Many of the city’s independently owned cafes additionally serve wonderful meals. Amongst them is Hardware Société, so profitable it has opened outposts in Paris and Barcelona. Fitzroy’s minimalist Industry Beans ups the ante with choices like porcini dusted egg with potato nest and wild mushroom duxelles, whereas croissainterie Lune justifies its queues with flawless pastries.

For smashing cocktails with an Aussie accent, settle in at Luke Whearty and Aki Nishikura’s Byrdi, where bar components embrace Yarra Valley hay, Tasmanian wasabi and fermented mango. A dingy alley off Collingwood’s bar-riddled Smith Avenue leads to Above Board, a modern, intimate cocktail den with excellent drinks and Misplaced in Translation undertones. If the climate is in your aspect, take in Melbourne’s skyscrapers from indie-cool Rooftop Bar or oh-so-West-LA Beverly.

Pastries are the order of the day at Lune


Where to store

Melbourne’s superlatives embrace Australia’s largest shopping center, Chadstone, however the city’s true forte is its impartial retailers. Store Fitzroy’s Gertrude Avenue for idiosyncratic native vogue from Handsom and Variety Hour, and Carlton’s Grown Alchemist for high-grade skincare. On weekends, Fitzroy’s Rose Street Market lures with reasonably priced, regionally designed clothes, jewelry, artwork and crafts.

Epicureans flock to Melbourne’s 19th-century Queen Victoria Market and South Melbourne Market, each heaving with seasonal produce, artisan cheeses, charcuterie, baked items, espresso, wine and extra. For considerate souvenirs, cease by the Melbourne Visitor Hub, where you’re certain to discover something from hand-painted ceramics from Indigenous designers to resin jewelry made with preserved native flora.

Handsom is a retailer that balances ‘modernity with thought-about performance’

(Cristian Bonetto)

Architectural spotlight

Victorian-era architect Joseph Reed designed Melbourne’s Unesco World Heritage-listed Royal Exhibition Building, topped by an impressive dome impressed by Brunelleschi’s cupola for Florence Cathedral. Guided excursions lead up to the Dome Promenade and its sweeping views of the Carlton Gardens and city. In sharp distinction is neighbouring Melbourne Museum, a postmodern assertion of sloping canopies and interactive galleries. Amongst them is the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre, a robust porthole into Victoria’s wealthy Indigenous heritage.


What forex do I would like?

Australian {dollars}.

Ought to I tip?

There’s no obligation to tip in Australia, however for those who’re pleased with a restaurant’s service, 10 per cent is sweet.

What’s the time distinction?


How ought to I get round?

Central Melbourne is definitely explored on foot. An in depth community of trams and trains reaches the inner-city suburbs. See PTV for ticket data, timetables and a useful journey planner.

What’s the most effective view?

From Melbourne Skydeck, situated on degree 88 of the city’s second-tallest skyscraper, Eureka Tower.

Insider tip?

For a fast coastal escape, spend a day or two on the Mornington Peninsula, a simple drive south of the city. Make lunch reservations at acclaimed biodynamic farm Tedesca Osteria, and hop between geothermal mineral swimming pools at Peninsula Hot Springs. The Peninsula is famend for its cool-climate wines; quaff a neighborhood pinot at architecturally hanging Port Phillip Estate, additionally house to a global sculpture assortment.

Getting there

Airways with one-stop flights between London and Melbourne embrace Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Qatar Airways. The quickest route is Qantas’ continuous service from London to Perth, which continues by to Melbourne (21 hours and 45 minutes).

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