A Local's Guide to Melbourne
Earlier this year I took a work trip down to Melbourne for a month and was #blessed by the cultural metropolis that is both unique and eclectic.
You have undoubtedly heard of Melbourne; the cultural melting pot of Australia, famous for serving some of the world’s best coffee and home to some very original craft breweries. Whether you’re travelling for business or pleasure; backpackers or a full family in tow, Melbourne has places to cater to for all!
The city has a centralised free tram zone and expansive tram and train networks all the way out into the furthest lying suburbs of the city. Pop into a local 7/11 and grab yourself a govia transport card and a quick start guide to the city’s transport networks (I can barely tell left from right, never mind north from south and managed to navigate it relatively easily!)
If you’re looking for somewhere central to stay, the arts precinct of Southbank is perfect. Whatever your budget, whether it’s a luxe hotel, spacious AirBnB, or travellers hostel, you can find plentiful accommodation here.
First up on your list should be a trip to the National Gallery of Victoria, Australia’s oldest, largest and most visited museum. Whether you’re an art enthusiast or not, the NGV boasts world-renowned exhibitions year-round.
William Wegman Exhibition; National Gallery of Victoria
Melbourne CBD & Fitzroy
Following your visit to the NGV, jump on the tram and head to the CBD for riverside food and drinks on The Yarra at Arbory Afloat. The bar and eatery docks each Summer in Melbourne, and complete with an Amalfi vibe it is famous to both tourists and locals alike.
Head slightly north of the CBD to Queen Victoria Market, a historic landmark that is the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere. Here, you will find everything from vintage t-shirts to glazed sugar-coated cronuts and some of Melbourne’s freshest and best priced produce!
If you venture slightly East of Queen Victoria Market, you’ll stumble upon Fitzroy; known as a bustling hub for millennials with a bohemian luxe vibe. I would highly recommend Naked in The Sky – the rooftop terrace that sits above the Naked for Satan restaurant. The terrace is well known as a cracker spot for sundowners and gastro pub bites! It has unparalleled city views and outdoor air misters for those scorching summer days.
The best way to end the day is undoubtedly a trip to the country’s renowned Chin Chin Restaurant. Describing itself as a “quintessentially Australian take on Asian food”, it can be described more as a social hub of food, drinks, art and music rather than just a spot for dinner. I won’t tell you more, because I wouldn’t want to ruin the experience for you, but I will say, take yourself underground after dinner to the GoGo Bar for exotic cocktails in an alluring, speakeasy atmosphere.
South Yarra, Prahan & Windsor
The iconic Chapel Street precinct spans three suburbs and is truly in a league of its own. For those that love to hit the high street for all things fashion, food, health, art and design, this will be your home away from home. It also has some incredible accommodation on offer for those who are looking for something a little further outside the CBD. Chapel Backpackers is located in a 19th century Victorian building that has a unique and elegant charm.
Begin in South Yarra end of Chapel Street and indulge in a gourmet breakfast at Abacus Bar & Kitchen. It bolsters a stylish interior of concrete and marble and serves up delectable treats like chilli loaded eggs and spring mushrooms on rye.
After breakfast, begin the day by checking out some of the local fashion and design houses. I highly recommend swinging by Hawkeye Vintage and Chapel Street Bazaar – both meccas for luxe vintage designer clothing.
Be sure to give yourself plenty of time to explore as there is an abundance of galleries and boutiques to discover! Once you have made your way to the Windsor end of Chapel Street, be sure to keep your eyes peeled for an array of thought-provoking street art (also a perfect backdrop for your #instaselfies)!
No trip to Victoria is complete without a trip to the Melbourne Cricket Ground, referred to colloquially as the MCG which is home to international cricket and Australian Football League (AFL) games from March through September.
If sport isn’t your thing, head to the Corner Hotel for some fried chicken and a live gig. Alternatively, if you are feeling something slightly more wine and dine, LadyBoy Dining and Bar provides excellent modern Thai fusion; housed in an eclectic indoor and outdoor setting. I would highly recommend the lamb shank massaman curry, and if you’re feeling a cocktail, the camomile with Absolut and elderflower is one to remember.
LadyBoy Dining and Bar; Richmond