Known for: National Art Gallery Trams Fantastic Food A young city with many layers of history Beautiful parks Chapel St thrift stores Gelato Messina
A while ago I travelled to Melbourne for the first time. Here’s my first impressions city guide and tips. Feel free to add suggestions in the comments, I would love to hear from you.
Melbourne. The Wellington of Australia.
My friend Michelle and I went there with zero plans, no accommodation and no contacts – and it was the best decision ever. We asked the shuttle driver to drop us at a hostel in St Kilda (the only suburb both of us knew about) and booked at the nearest travellers accommodation. We checked in and it was all fun from there (until we almost missed our flight upon checking out, but that’s all part of the fun of travelling… right?)
Where to eat
4. GRILL’D – also didn’t take any photos (once again ravenous) but these burgers are darn good. I had the fish burger (because they’re the best type) and it was light, fresh and the bun is ridiculously good. I spotted our neighbours had ordered some zucchini fritters and (due to travellers budgets) we looked at them longingly and the lovely couple gave us some to taste, and boy were they good. That’s another thing I love about Melbourne, everyone is super friendly!
What to do
1. Get lost in Flinders Lane
2. Visit the National Gallery
I see this as more of an attraction than an eatery, due to the fame of this place. Located in the heart of Fitzroy, on a sunny day you’ll fine a queue a mile long. 100% worth the wait, and no doubt you’ll be back on the reg. I had the dark chocolate sorbet and it was divine.
4. Hit the town on a week night to find live music.
We had the best night out at The Vineyard in St Kilda. We saw two guys setting up and doing a brief soundcheck so decided to grab a table at the front with a group of locals and backpackers. Turns out the guys performing played percussive style guitar (both Michelle and I are big fans) and we hung out with them after the gig. Listen to Citrus Jam here.
5. Chapel Street Vintage Stores
If you think K Road or Cuba is cool, think again. These thrift stores are as cheap as Sally Army’s or Hospice shops, donate profits to great causes and have the best stuff. I picked up a pair of brand new Gorman sandals for $20 (RRP $250), you’re always guaranteed to pick up some little treasures.
Travellers tip: if you’re a fan of Lucas Pawpaw Ointment, purchase it in AU, it’s usually 1/2 price
Where to stay
St Kilda Beach House – we “roughed it” at the local backpackers which we booked the day we arrived, and it was great! Dorms were mixed and had four sets of bunk beds, and it’s a great option if you’re out all day.
Travellers tip: if you’re worried about theft in the hostel, just put a lock on your suitcase and take the key with you
Overall Melbourne is one of those cities where you just have to follow your nose and wing it. Don’t go with a planned and highlighted timetable, instead wander through the little alleyways, follow the sound of live music and Zomato your way through the cheap and cheerful eateries (Lygon Street for Italian, Little Bourke Street for Chinese (Chinatown), Ackland Street for sweet treats, Victoria Street for Vietnamese and Brunswick Street for bars. Or if you want to escape the buzz of the city, grab a picnic and visit one of the many beautiful parks. There is something for everyone in Melbourne, full of culture and arts, food, fashion and sport. Pick up a What’s On brochure and enjoy the city life!