Happy Friday, travellers! Today we are taking a trip to one of my all time favourite cities: Melbourne, Australia! I simply love this city – fell head over heels back in 2014 when I spent three days here with friends. It’s vibrant, it’s on the water, it’s charming and rugged all at once. Melbourne takes people and it pulls them in. The people are friendly, the architecture is very European, and the proximity to incredible wildlife and wineries is superb.
This stunning European-style city on the banks of the Yarra River in the state of Victoria is a popular vacation destination for both backpackers and luxury travellers. Home to the Australian Open tennis tournament, Australian Rules football, narrow streets with pubs, cafes, and chic pop up restaurants, and a plethora of art galleries and cultural museums, it’s truly a city for everyone.
Melbourne, Australia is known for a variety of things. It’s street art scene is one of the best in the world. Tour operators in Melbourne dedicate themselves to finding the best of the best of the best for their guests. The Melbourne waterfront is popular, especially in the summer, for sporting events, beer festivals, book fairs, and more. Coffee culture in Melbourne is astonishingly good, rivalling Italy as some of the best java in the world. It should come as no surprise then that the Italians were among the first to truly settle Melbourne. The food scene is outstanding as well, and no matter your taste – street food, Sunday markets, night markets, or fine dining – you will find it in the city.
Did you know? There are nearly 4,000 restaurants in Melbourne CBD!
Staying in the city centre is ideal; this is where you’ll find the Virtuoso hotels and some of the best restaurants. The many art-strewn alleyways are all in the city. If you look closely at the graffiti-covered walls you might spot a doorway. Follow it, like Alice did. Far from being hipster central, many of these speakeasy bars are ideal for a pre-dinner drink, post-dinner cocktail, or just an afternoon of relaxing with friends or loved ones.
What I find so fascinating about Melbourne is that a majority of the city neighbourhoods have some amazing hidden gems. Hawthorne and Richmond are both family-centric but easily accessible into the city. Nearby Fitzroy is a hipster haven but popular with Sunday brunchers, book lovers, and gardeners. The beach enclave of St Kilda is home to an old Coney Island-style, family friendly amusement park, Luna Park, but also attracts fringe crowds.
Because Melbourne’s tram system is so easy to use (just buy a MyKi card at the station), you can get anywhere within a reasonable distance from the CBD. Within the city centre, there is also a free zone, so if you are staying at one edge of it and want to go to the other, it’s a free tram ride. This is perfect for families or for couples who are on a budget.
Outside of the city
Although you could very easily spend your entire time in the city of Melbourne proper, there are so many amazing things within reach that are must-visits. The Mornington Peninsula and Phillip Island. Wilson’s Prom. The Great Ocean Road. The Yarra Valley wine region. The Grampians. I could go on and on.
From penguins to seastacks and from endless vineyards to staggering cliffs, what Melbourne has on its doorstep rivals Perth, Wellington, and Napa (no penguins there, sorry).