I lived in Melbourne for a total of 9 months AND what a 9 months that was! Voted the most liveable city for the 6th year running I can totally see why! From its glorious countryside of rolling green hills and wall to wall vineyards, to the hustle and bustle of a breathtaking city, I felt at home straight away.
So whether you are visiting Melbourne for a short stay or planning to work and live there, it would be my pleasure to give you an insight into the best places to visit, eat and explore, from my experience.
Food Glorious Food!
If you have ever spoken to a Melbourner I am sure some part of the conversation will be based around FOOD! This place boasts some of the best food I have EVER eaten! Particularly known for its Asian delicacies, such as China Town and cobbled streets full of delicious Vietnamese, Thai and Japanese etc. you will be spoilt for choice!
But firstly…brunch! I met the sweetest Irish girl through mutual friends and any chance we got we would go for brunch. She was definitely better than me at finding some absolute gems, including ‘The Grain Store’, ‘Auction Rooms’, ‘Operator25’ and ‘Left Field’. Now these are only a few favourites but there are so many more you can find on http://www.timeout.com/melbourne
Now for the local Cuisines..
I just love food sooooo much! Writing this is making my mouth drool (attractive image for you all ha!) .. But the tastes that come from these foods are something else, and I have got to say my number one place was called CHINCHIN at http://www.chinchinrestaurant.com.au WOW. This restaurant prides itself in some of the best South East Asian food I have ever eaten. The menu gives you the option of choosing various dishes yourself or you can ask them to ‘feed you’, and you are presented with course after course of different favourites that the chef surprises you with. So thats what we did! We rolled out of that place, believe me. Worth every penny of $69.50 pp. Its not the cheapest place, however, I would pay that again any day for the amazing standard of food!
Other favourites of mine include; ‘Rice, Paper, Scissors’, ‘Rice Paper’, ‘The Glass Den’, ‘Fonda Mexican’, ‘Friends of Mine’, ‘The Banff’, ‘Nobu’, ‘and more Western foods such as ‘The Meat and Wine Co Southbank’ and ‘Munich Brauhaus’ Take your pick, but remember these are only my favourites. Good old google will give you plenty options also! 😆
Melbourne’s Best Spots..
Southbank was one of my favourite inner city spots, overlooking the Yarra River, it has such a relaxed atmosphere with tasty restaurants and swanky bars. It even has a lovely little bar on the river called ‘Founders Arms’, which always looks popular!
Whether you’re having a casual drink, in the Casino, or watching the world go by alongside the river, you are never short of things to do.
On the opposite side of the Yarra river is a lovely riverside bar called ‘The Arbory’, and I know that I keep saying ‘this is my favourite’, but I have so many! The arbory has some beautiful foods and tasty drinks to sip on whilst you watch the locals row down the yarra river. It’s something special. 🙂
Royal Botanic Gardens & Fitzroy Gardens were my two FAVOURITE gardens. On a beautiful day they are perfect for a picnic and laze all day. The shrine of remembrance is a must see in the Royal Botanic Gardens, and it has the most amazing view of the city from the shrine steps! You can also visit Captain Cooks Cottage in Fitzroy Gardens, which is so quaint and pretty. Captain Cook was born in a town near me, in England, and he lived in a small cottage, which was carefully dismantled and then rebuilt brick for brick right here in Fitzroy Gardens!
Danny and I would not only enjoy walking down the Yarra River, or basking in the sun alongside the Yarra River bank, we would also enjoy sitting on the steps at Federation Square for a well earned pit stop, to rest our feet after a busy day of wandering the city. We also appreciated the free wifi back in those ‘skint’ days 😆!
Speaking of wandering… this brings me to Hosier lane. An intertwine of a few cobbled streets with graffiti art on every inch of its walls. It’s so vibrant and colorful and some days you even see the artists at work – I could watch them all day they are so talented. You may even spot some of Banksys work…if you’re lucky!
For all you coffee lovers Degraves Street is a good place to start! Practically opposite Flinders Street Station, it is a cobbled street FULL of coffee shops and quirky little cafe’s. Saying that, Melbourne is not short of coffee shops wherever you go!
Auction Rooms, I mentioned earlier, does a top notch coffee, ‘Three Bags Full’, ‘Market Lane’, ‘Two Birds, one Stone’, ‘Twenty and Six Espresso’, and ‘Porgie and Mr. Jones’!
Let me now take you to the most famous market in Melbourne, Queen Victoria Market.
Full of food, drinks, clothing, collectives and much, much more, Queen Victoria Markets is a must see! During the summer there are ‘summer night markets’, where the intense smell of delicious foods from all over the world combine and you stand for hours wondering which food to try but then end up trying them all! The Indian food is my favourite, so full of flavour and spice! In the winter there are the ‘Winter Night Markets’.
Various days of the week you can head down and get your hands on all sorts of produce and clothing! I love to just wander around and have a look!
|Fresh Produce||Specialty Shopping|
A & B Sheds
|Tuesday||6am – 2pm||8am – 2pm|
|Friday||6am – 5pm||8am – 3pm|
|Saturday||6am – 3pm||8am – 3pm|
|Sunday||9am – 4pm||9am – 4pm|
– See more at: http://www.qvm.com.au/trading-hours/#sthash.7hAnuTRy.dpuf
There is NO way I can forget the beautiful St. Kilda..
With the beach, the shops and AGAIN the endless array of restaurants, you must scribble this down in your ‘to do list’. The beach .. I agree, its not like the beaches you get in, say, Sydney or Perth, but it is beautiful in its own little way. If you take a walk down the pier as the sun sets, you not only see a beautiful outline of the city in the distance but if you are lucky you will see little tiny penguins jumping onto, and hiding within, the rocks – they are so cute!
If you are feeling like doing a bit of exercise you can walk from St. Kilda beach all the way to Brighton Beach along the seafront. I love walking so this was perfect. It was roughly 10k in total (if i remember correctly) but it was worth it!
Then, of-course, there are relaxing beach side restaurants and bars to chose from. One particularly good one is ‘Riva St Kilda’ and also, ‘Republica St Kilda Beach’. It gets pretty busy on a sunny day so get there early! 😀
Chapel Street you’re next!..
Honestly… I have so much to write about I could talk for days on end about this amazing city! So here we have chapel street! Perfect for a day of shopping, eating, drinking and partying! Chapel Street is long stretch of road from upmarket boutiques to cool and quirky shops and markets. Its home of the famous ‘Mr Miyagi’ restaurant and funky bars to dance the night away! I especially loved relaxing in the coffee shops with a nice hot caramel latè or eating lunch in one of the bright and funky bars. It basically has everything you need there *girls beware – the shopping will burn a hole in your pocket because there are so many beautiful clothing boutiques and dress shops*! If you want to have a day or night on Chapel Street it is super easy to get to, just hop on the tram and it takes you straight there!
Trams in the city centre are free by the way!
Roof Top Bars
Melbourne, again, is well known for its sensational views and roof top bars. You cannot beat a few cold pints on a warm summers day or a hot caramel laté on a winters afternoon (just my coffee preference 😉☕️). I wish I had gone to more roof top bars to be honest, but I’ll include some of my favourites here for you AND add in a few amazing ones I have heard of 🍷🍸🍺 …
Check out TimeOuts top rooftop bars here.. https://www.timeout.com/melbourne/bars/the-best-rooftop-bars-in-melbourne
Probably the best view I have had from a rooftop bar would be ‘Mountain View Hotel’ in Richmond. It’s never in these ‘top 10s’ and I have no idea why! The view of the city is beautiful! 🌃 The food wasn’t brilliant but for a few cheeky cocktails and a breathtaking view I would put it right up there! It gets very busy mind you so make sure you get there early! 😆
Another gem my boyfriend and I loved was, ‘The Imperial‘. Situated very central, it was so convenient to get to from both mine and Danny’s work, so we found ourselves in there a lot! The burgers and beer battered chips were yum and I would always order my new favorite – espresso martini! *side note* Imperial is also a sports bar downstairs, so get yourself down to watch any of the English football ladies and gents!
‘Naked in the sky’ is another popular one. Situated down Brunswick Street, you are in for a good night! Brunswick and Smith Street run parallel to each other (in Fitzroy) and are door to door funky bars and chilled out scenes. Not only that but you are, again, spoilt for choice of foods and coffee shops. Just have a wander down and pick somewhere you like the look of! ** erm .. back to the rooftop! Naked in the Sky is above a restaurant called ‘Naked for Satan’. With stunning views of Brunswick on one side and the city on the other, it is a great way to start or end your night with some tasty cocktails.
‘Cookie rooftop bar’ was the first rooftop bar I went to. It was a scorching day in March and my friend took me there for a few drinks. Looking in from the outside you would never guess a cool rooftop bar was up ahead, but that’s one of the things I loved about it, it’s secrecy. As you can imagine, being situated smack bang in the middle of the city, you could see it all and the atmosphere is so chilled and relaxed, you cannot give it a miss!
Unfortunately I didn’t venture to many more rooftops. Working weekends definitely got the better of me! But check out timeout for some favourites and let me know what you think! Here are some more I have heard through friends that are spot on, ‘The rooftop at QT’, ‘Good heavens’, ‘The corner hotel’, ‘The Carlton club rooftop bar’ and ‘The Emerson’.
If you fancy taking yourself away from the city for a day or two and want to explore the countryside, then Yarra Valley is perfect! It is about one hour from the city and is such a beautifully scenic drive through the green hills and farmland. Yarra Valley is particularly famous for its vineyards and many people spend their day wine tasting and walking along the different vineyards. But that is not all, you can spend time in the ‘Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery’, where you can see chocolate being made from scratch in the factory, and can treat yourself to the best ice-cream or chocolate, yum! Further, you can drive up to the ‘Yarra Valley Dairy’ and try a selection of home made cheeses and dressings with a sensational countryside view.
If that is not enough, and you would like to spend more time out of the city then you are not short of options. Last summer, 2016 a group of friends and I drove up to ‘Wilsons Promontory National Park‘ and hiked up one of the mountains. There are so many to chose from, but the view from the top was something else!
After this we made our way down to the beach down below, called ‘Squeaky Beach’. Honestly, it is just that! Other favourites of mine to hike were ‘The Dandenong Rangers’ and ‘The Grampians’.
If you like your beaches, then Sorrento is another place to visit. At the southern peak of Victoria it only takes a few hours to drive from the city. We did not spend too long here; an afternoon. I always meant to return, but never got round to it unfortunately. Its a popular place to visit and the little town is so friendly. There are also some natural springs and beautiful spa’s here to relax in. Oh, and before I forget.. Mount Martha! Mount Martha was one of our first ventures and our friends who have lived in Melbourne for 9 years took us there to the ‘jump rocks’. It was as though it was a hidden gem because it was such a beautiful place but no one was there! So we sprawled across the rocks with our little picnic and spent the whole afternoon there in peace!
There you have it! My Guide to a beautiful and fun filled stay in Melbourne! Thank you for reading and please watch out for my next blog post!
Love Sarah 😀 xxx