City Guide to Melbourne, Australia
Author: Julie Thompson | Last Updated: 30 Jun 2019
Officially touted “the most livable city in the word” for many years, Melbourne is definitely a city you need to visit. The second largest city in the country, Melbourne is home to 4.4 million. There’s more beneath the surface here than first meets the eye, with a bustling art and theatre scene, world class restaurants, countless hidden bars, markets, gardens, secret laneways, and so much more this city has something for everyone.
Best time to visit Melbourne
The temperature in Melbourne is usually quite mild, and although you may occasionally get a very hot day in Summer, it’s more common for it to be about 25 degrees during these months. With the lowest rainfall of the year this is a good time to visit. Winter months can get a little chilly with lows of 7 degrees and there are more days of rain. If you enjoy mild temperatures but not so cold as Winter then consider going around April when the crisp cool mornings often turn into clear sunny days with top temps of 22 degrees.
Walk the city streets
Walking through the city is perhaps one of the best ways to discover the city in a way the locals do. You might be happy to wander on your own, or else there are a multitude of walking tours you can join. Each focussing on a different theme, you can choose the way you want to explore. Tours for foodies, coffee lovers, shopaholics, history buffs, art lovers and more..this city has just so much to offer.
Brunch is almost an institution in this city, favored by some even over dinner. This is a meal that begins a lazy Saturday and then rolls you into the rest of the weekend. There are countless cafes in the city and the suburbs with truly outstanding brunch menus so it might well be hard to choose your favourite, but Cumulous, Moby, the Ascot food store and The Kettle Black are just a few local institutions you could start with. And while you’re at it, don’t forget to enjoy the best coffee you will ever drink
Keep on dining…
Melbourne is definitely a city for foodies, and when it comes to lunch and dinner meals, there are some truly exceptional restaurants to enjoy. You might enjoy Movida, hidden in a tiny alley in the CBD with perhaps the best Spanish tapas in the country and a wine list to match; or perhaps Flower Drum for fine dining Chinese like you’ve never experienced; or Attica in the small suburb of Glen Eira, where you will find local flora and fauna cooked in European styles to create something utterly new and delicious. The list truly is truly endless, but you are bound to have a great time trying to find your favourite.
At almost 300 meters high, the Eureka skydeck offers unparralleled views of the city and beyond. With 360 degree views, you can look out over the rolling countryside or across the bay towards Bass Strait. If you’re feeling bold you can even walk out into “the edge”. A world first, this is a glass cube jutting out of the building and suspending you 88 floors above the city below for a view unlike any other.
Catch an AFL game at the MCG
AFL is an Aussie institution, and it started here in Melbourne. This unique brand of football is almost a religion for some, and a grand final game can see up to 100,000 spectators at the MCG, and hundreds of thousands more in pubs around the city watching, so if you’re in ton in September you’re in for a treat. Anytime from March to the finals though, grab a beer and a meat pie and get ready to experience some truly Australian culture.
Royal Botanic Gardens
Right in the city center, these gardens span 38 hectares and house over 10,000 flora species. The lungs of Melbourne, this beautiful green space is free to enter and is full of walking paths to explore. And with plenty of grassy space and views across the lake and the city, this is a perfect spot to enjoy a picnic lunch after a stroll. Why not enjoy a glass of wine and some cheese while you listen to the birds and let yourself lose track of time? You could forget you’re in a city at all.
Markets, designer boutiques, tiny stores hidden in laneways or fancy shopping malls – whatever your preference, Melbourne has your shopping needs covered. Whatever your style, the Queen Victoria Market needs to be on your list – operating since 1878 and spanning 7 hectares it is the largest open air market in the southern hemisphere. For those who love designer stores, then the Queen Victoria Building (QVB) is worth a look, or get really serious at Chadstone – the largest shopping mall in the southern hemisphere, this is a place you could spend days in and still not see everything. Warning – your wallet could take a beating here..!
Head south-east from the city and around the bay and you will discover a peninsula with pristine beaches, quaint little towns, rolling hills dotted with orchards and wineries. Whether it’s for the day or for a week, there is plenty here to keep you occupied. Stop by one of the wineries in Red Hill, enjoy the Sorrento beaches, relax at the Portsea pub with some refreshing beers and a view back across the bay to the city skyline after sunset.
Great Ocean Road
This is one of my favourite things to do near Melbourne and should definitely make it onto any Melbourne itinerary. This spectacular coastal road begins just an hour and a half south east of the city at Torquay, and continues for 244 kilometers. It is a twisting, winding road with sheer cliffs dropping into Bass Strait and each turn seems to give a better view than the last. Don’t miss the 12 Apostles between Lorne and Apollo Bay as you drive by. Although there are now only 8 left standing, these limestone stacks are an impressive site to behold.
Just 45 minutes east of the city is the Yarra Valley. Rolling hills covered in vineyards, this picturesque spot is a delight for anyone who enjoys wine. There are 160 wineries in this small valley so you have plenty to choose from, but Yering Station, Domaine Chandon and Seville Estate are always crowd pleasers. Don’t forget to also stop by the Yarra Valley Dairy for perhaps the most delicious homemade farmhouse cheeses you’ve ever tasted. You are sure to enjoy watching the cows wander past the window as you take another bite of their famous marinated Persian Fetta, fresh ashed goats cheese or one of their delicious camembert-style soft cheeses. You will want to take it all home with you!
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