It was very much a bustling city, and seeing as how this was my first one to land in, I found the Australian people to be very nice and accommodating. My luggage got lost somewhere in the abyss, and New Zealand Air along with Qantas (I didn’t even fly Qantas!) came to the rescue. Thanks, mate! I lucked out in the weather category as well. It was high 60s/low 70s during my visit (beginning of Spring), however, I was told to be prepared for anything. Perhaps I would if my suitcase wasn’t MIA. Better luck next time.
I asked a lot of people about recommendations on what to do, see, and eat while in town, and all they could give me were names of restaurants, bars and coffee shops. Oh and the shopping. That was pretty good, too. It seemed a bit similar to Chicago, until I hit the massive, steep streets. And then I threw a little San Fran into the mix. With the street art, hipster vibe and coffee lovers all about town, I put a dab of Copenhagen in there as well.
I like to get my bearings whenever I first make it into town. I walk around, I go for a run (gotta fight jet lag somehow!), I get high. Don’t be silly. I mean literally, up high. I made my way to the Eureka Skydeck and for $20AUD, I saw all of Melbourne in a matter of five minutes. They have telescopes that point out the major landmarks around town from way up high. Cool space for sure.
Since the Skydeck is located on the South Bank, I walked around the Yarra River that flows right into the center of town. This stepped up the city’s game in my book. Water means sports, boating and city views. Score! It’s a beautiful area with people coming and going. My two travel buddies and I were starved from our long overseas flight, so we stopped for lunch at the Arbory on the river. It’s a stellar spot with some amazing cheeseburgers and refreshing cocktails. Don’t miss out!
Even though the CBD (Central Business District) in Melbourne has a free tram zone, we needed to walk off that pound of beef before it went straight to our thighs. We opted for some exercise and discovered Melbourne’s famous laneways where street art reigns king. Some colorful graffiti mixed in with yoga never hurt anybody. Speaking of yoga, I treated myself to a class at MOVE Yoga that night. Highly recommend!
Next up, we traded street art for nature as we walked towards Carlton Gardens for some photo opps. There were people lounging about, couples on blankets making out, all alongside a bride and groom shooting their wedding photos. It’s a lovely green space with something for everyone!
Before heading back to the hotel to freshen up (read: die of exhaustion because that’s what happens on Day 1 of overseas travel), we found Siglo, a classy rooftop terrace overlooking Parliament House. It was a fun scene where everyone, and I mean ev.er.y.one., was beautiful. I had on two-day-old jeans and still without my luggage, so you can imagine how I felt when modern-day Romeo and Juliette came to sit down near our table, not a hair out of place, not a designer label missing. I knew what I was doing the next day, and it included shopping.
As for dinner, well, we didn’t have any. I know you’ve been there, too – when sleep sounds so much better than food. It was a bit depressing, but it just made breakfast that much more awesome the next morning.
First stop: Brunch, obviously. I was nothing short of starving, and I had caught wind of a good cafe in the St. Kilda neighborhood called Fitzrovia. I only wish there was a Fitzrovia on every street corner all over the world. The place was a goldmine. Between the vanilla french toast, the pancakes, the avocado mash with toast and the muesli (yes, muesli), I was in breakfast heaven, a place I always seem to look forward to as each new day comes round.
After seeing all of the posh looking residents of Melbourne the day prior, it was time to hit the bricks and thus, hit my wallet. Hard. Turns out Chapel Street has all the boutiques you could want in life. Here’s a list of where you should browse, purchase, and repeat.
Nique, Design a Space, Alpha60, Gorman, Sass and Bide, Witchery, and Life with Bird. I lusted after every item in these stores.
We shopped ’til we dropped, but we peeled ourselves from our beds in order to eat at the most talked about dining establishment in all of Melbourne. Okay, there are two – Chinchin and Cumulus, Inc. In the end, Cumulus won, and the chorizo stuffed dates pretty much rocked my world. We made the right decision.
Melbourne’s live music scene is legendary and features an ever-changing number of clubs, bars and live music venues. If the ballet is more your scene, The Australian Ballet is based in the city and regularly performs at The Arts Centre, Melbourne.
Where to Stay
Lindrum Boutique Hotel is a redbrick heritage building that’s less than a 10 minute walk to Federation Square on Flinders Street, a modern piazza that’s become the city’s meeting place housing cultural attractions, world-class events, tourism experiences and an exceptional array of bars and restaurants.
The Langham is located on the Yarra River near the Southbank Promenade, making it about a nine minute walk from designer shopping on Collins Steet. Yes, we timed it.
What I Learned
-Victoria, the south-east state where Melbourne is located, has a fly problem, They are tiny and bite through your clothes. Beware!
-Australia loves their hamburgers. The wait staff saw us coming, expecting Americans to order hamburgers at all times…and sometimes, we did.
-They also love beans, sourdough bread, and vegemite, a black tar spread that is not pleasing to the taste buds.
-While we’re on food, Aussies don’t know how to cook a chicken. There, I said it.
-If you want to order a black coffee, order a long black. If you want cream, it’s a long black with cream. An espresso is a short black.
-Aussies drive on the left side of the road, so you can imagine my horror when I took the wheel during the Great Ocean Road drive. With that being said, people also walk on the left side. This inevitably creates confusion everywhere and people are always bumping into one another. It’s hilarious.
-Australians love to party. It’s hard to keep up.
-A lot of times, I don’t feel like I’m in a foreign country. Maybe it’s the language, perhaps it’s the hamburgers. All I know is that I love this place!