9 Oct 2023
This laidback Australian city has bucket loads of character – largely thanks to its creative locals. Fuelled with some of the best coffee in the world, explore Melbourne’s best bits like a local.
Coffee and brunch
Melburnians love brunch almost as much as they love their coffee. Pick an independent cafe in neighbourhoods such as Fitzroy, Brunswick or Collingswood to enjoy a leisurely brunch with copious amounts of coffee.
Proud Mary in Collingswood serves excellent single-origin coffee (you will find baristas brewing single-origin coffee all over the city) alongside outrageously good brunch dishes, such as potato hash with thick-cut bacon, ricotta hotcakes and turmeric granola.
Industry Beans in Fitzroy takes things one-step further with its own roastery and ‘tasting lab’, while Rose St. Artists’ Market mixes coffee with clothes and cool arts and crafts. Also in Fitzroy, call by Lune Croissanterie, which sells sweet treats such as the twice-baked pain au chocolat, filled with a flourless orange cake and chocolate custard.
Melbourne’s galleries and fantastic display of public street art are world famous. Begin with a self-guided street art tour to dig deep into the CBD’s ultra-edgy laneways. Start with the most famous lane, Hosier Lane, and weave in ACDC Lane, Tattersalls Lane, Duckboard Place, Croft Alley and Union Lane, before ending up on Blender Lane, to observe the city’s brilliant culture of street art.
Next up is a gallery tour. Discover Australia’s oldest gallery, the National Gallery of Victoria, for exciting international and local exhibitions. Stop by the Australian Centre for Contemporary Art to see works by various artists and, at the Melbourne Museum, explore Aboriginal culture at the Bunjilaka Aboriginal Cultural Centre.
Street food and markets
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, it’s time to move onto Queen Victoria Market, also in the CBD. Queen Victoria Market has been around since 1878 and is the largest market in the Southern Hemisphere. It’s open five days a week and hosts a weekly Night Market with live music and street food on Wednesdays.
Book onto the Ultimate Foodie Tour, a two-hour guided walk where foodies will get to taste their way around the market’s stalls, sampling everything from oysters to dim sum.
From Aussie Rules to cricket, Melbourne is a city that is mad about sports.
During summer, Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) hosts some of the world’s biggest cricket matches, while the Australian Grand Prix takes place every March at Albert Park.
One of the biggest annual events is the Australian Open, held every January at the city’s Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne Park. The first of four Grand Slam tournaments (the others are the French Open, Wimbledon and the US Open), the Australian Open is famous for its blue court and hosting the world’s biggest tennis stars such as Serena Williams and Andy Murray.
Seek out sundowners at one of Melbourne’s many rooftop venues. Drink with the hipster crowd at Naked in the Sky (above Naked for Satan) in Fitzroy or try the glam Rooftop at QT at the QT Hotel in the CBD. If you’re kicking back by the beach in St Kilda, quench your thirst at St Kilda Beach Bar & Restaurant with a side of tasty Chinese canapés.