- 14 days
Places to Visit
- Flinders Lane – Lots of little side streets branch off from Flinders. It’s a bit touristy, but there are some cool little shops along here.
- Yarra River Waterfront – On a sunny day this is a great spot to just wander around or relax along the water’s edge.
- St. Kilda – We were here in the early spring so it wasn’t much to look at, but if you are in Melbourne in the warmer months and need relief from the heat, hop down to this seaside neighborhood.
- Queen Victoria Market – Great place to do your grocery shopping or to grab a bite.
- Fitzroy between Smith and Brunswick – There are lots of cool shops on Brunswick and Smith, but the best part of this neighborhood is the street art found on the walls of buildings on the side streets. Even if you aren’t into street art it’s worth checking it out.
- Proud Mary – Excellent breakfast, especially the hash, and some of the best coffee in Melbourne.
- D.O.C. Pizza and Mozzarella Bar – Great spot for Neapolitan pies and fresh hand made buffalo mozzarella.
- The Grain Store – Probably the best vegetarian spot we have been to in a very long time. They also serve excellent coffee.
- Cumulus – Go there for the slow roasted lamb shoulder and make sure you have a reservation.
- Miss Jackson – If you are out in St. Kilda, wander off the beaten path to Miss Jackson for the chicken schnitzel burger.
- Queen Victoria Market – Any and everything you could want, both prepared foods and groceries.
- Proud Mary – Great drip coffee and good espresso drinks
- Espresso Alley – If you are up in Northcote and looking for a good cup, head here.
- McIvers Coffee – In the Queen Anne Market this is a great place to pick up beans for brewing at home.
- Ponyfish Island – Hidden spot under a footbridge on the Yarra River. Great spot for a drink and some snacks on a sunny day.
- The Croft Institute – Ok, this place is a bit gimmicky, but if you ignore the bullshit drink specials and just ask the bartender to make you a cocktail, you will have an excellent drink. The bartenders know what they are doing and will take care of you.
After relaxing in Sydney for a little while we went south to Melbourne. With the Australia tax still crushing our wallets, we mostly wandered around the different neighborhoods of the city. Melbourne is a sprawling city with lots of distinct neighborhoods, each offering something slightly different – mostly in aesthetics. Honestly, Melbourne is like most other cities. You can go shopping, explore museums, enjoy great restaurants, or just chill in a park on a beautiful day. To me, what makes Melbourne unique is the architecture and how liberal they are with designs. In some cases it is disastrous, completely conflicting in an unpleasant way with its environment, but in others finding a nice balance with its surroundings.
Wandering the City
The best thing to do in Melbourne is to just wander around the different neighborhoods. The diversity of architecture, primarily downtown, along with the spectacular street art, means there is always something to look at. Window shopping (or actual shopping) is also a good way to spend your day. There are lots of small boutiques and artisanal shops scattered throughout the city. Some areas worth checking out are Fitzroy between Smith and Brunswick and the lanes in and around the CBD, such as Flinders Lane.
As you know from our other posts, we love checking out big marketplaces in the cities we visit. Melbourne is no different and the Queen Victoria Market is excellent. You will find pretty much anything there from fresh produce and meat, prepared foods, clothes and home goods. It has pretty much everything.
Hang out on the Yarra
There are two spots that we liked. The first is down in the CBD. Here there are multiple parks you can relax in or you can hop into a riverside bar for a drink. Check out Ponyfish Island if you want to chill right on the river with a drink.
If you want to get away from the city center, head up to Yarra Bend Park. It is another great spot to enjoy the river in a very different setting. You can hop in a kayak and float around or grab a snack from the riverside cafe and boathouse.
We weren’t too impressed with St. Kilda. Maybe it’s because we had just spent time in Sydney on some of the best beaches in the world or maybe it was the lousy weather. Regardless, don’t expect an amazing beach town. However, it is worth a trip down there just to see a Melbourne beachside neighborhood.
Eat and Drink
Is there anything better to do in a city? No, not really. A great way to experience a city is through its restaurants, bars and cafes. We didn’t get to many bars (it’s a great way to destroy your budget), but we did get to a few places. Check out the details section for the spots we recommend.
If you aren’t interested in window shopping or hanging out in parks or museums, Melbourne is also good as a home base for day trips throughout Victoria. We only ventured to Moonlit Sanctuary, but some highly recommended trips are Dandenong Mountains, Phillip Island, the Great Ocean Road and 12 Apostles (more than a day required for this).
We enjoyed our time in Melbourne, especially thanks to our gracious AirBNB host. If you get to Australia for one reason or another, it is worth while to check out Melbourne. I don’t think I could recommend flying half way around the world just for Melbourne, but definitely as part of a larger Australia trip.
Have you been to Melbourne? Share your thoughts and experiences here or on Twitter @retreat2movefwd.