GETTING AROUND:Metlink website.
WHERE TO STAY:
There are hundreds of choices of places to stay depending on your budget and desired location but here are 2 great picks of the bunch!
We stayed here at the Causeway 353. The location of this hotel is fantastic, it is just off Little Collins St in a small laneway. The hotel is only approx 15m to a tram stop and 2 blocks from the Bourke St Mall (see Shopping). The hotel is a small 4-star boutique style hotel with nice modern rooms. Included in the room rate is continental breakfast, there is a generous spread of cereals, fruits, yoghurt's, pastries, toast and an espresso machine. You can serve yourself and get as much as you like, perfect to start your day! Rooms starting from $164 per night. Visit their website here for more info.
The Crown Towers are location in Southbank, on the Yarra River front. It is just across the bridge from the main CBD. The Crown is a casino hotel and is quite like a mini version of Vegas hotel with luxury shops and more than 40 restaurants, bars and cafes. The rooms are large and luxurious, some have views of the river and city skyline. Rooms starting from $295. Visit their website here for more info.
WHAT TO DO:
There are bucket loads of things to do, obviously in my 4 day trip I couldn't do it all but here are some things we did and would like to do next time.
- Luna Park - Melbourne's theme park (pictured). Luna Park is FREE to get in, you just pay for the rides/attractions that you want to do. Rides prices are approx $9.50pp each ride, or you can purchase an unlimited ticket from $42.95. Getting to Luna Park is simple, you take the 112 tram from the corner of Collins + Swanston St (for fare info see 'Getting Around'). Visit the Luna Park website here.
- Street Art - The streets and laneways of the CBD are covered in street art (pictured). There are some fascinating pieces scattered all around. Spend a few hours wandering the streets to explore it for yourself. Start on Flinders Lane or Batman Avenue.
- Chill On Ice Lounge - At a chilly -10°c the Chill On Ice Lounge is cool place to visit (pardon the pun!). Before entering the bar the staff load you up with gloves, boots and a heavy jacket/poncho to keep you warm. Once inside you choose a cocktail which is served in a glass made of ice - of course! Everything inside is made of ice, including the bar! Standard entry includes rental of jackets, gloves and ugg boots and a deluxe cocktail served in an ice glass for $30 per person. There are other packages that include an ice shot and souvenir photos. The bar is located at the Southgate Shopping complex at Southbank, a 10 minute walk from the CBD. Visit their website here for more info.
WHERE/WHAT TO EAT:
I travel to eat, so I tried a big variety of restaurants and bars in and around Melbourne. Here are my faves:
- AIX Creperie Salon - Located in Centre Place, a small laneway which is perfect for people watching over breakfast. We had the Apple and Cinnamon and the Crepe Suzette (pictured - 1). Price range $.
- Belgian Beer Cafe - There are 2 locations in Melbourne, we ate at the BBC Eureka at the foot of the Eureka Tower. You can come for a beer (more than 40 to choose from), a snack or a meal. We had a few drinks and ordered from their bar menu. We chose a 4-item shared plate of pork belly, cheese croquettes, spicy chicken wings and lamb koftas (pictured - 2). Visit their website for more info. Price range $$.
- Fenix Restaurant - Owned by famous Australian chef Gary Mehigan. Fenix is located in Richmond and is easily accessed by tram. Catch the 109 tram from Collins St and get off at stop 25. The restaurant is located on the river front is a very peaceful and relaxing setting. We enjoyed lunch from their Express Menu (2 courses + a glass of beer, wine or soft drink for $35). The menu is fresh and fun (pictured - 3). Coming soon - my Restaurant Review post for Fenix. Price range $$.
- Lindt Chocolate Cafe - The chocolate cafe is located on Collins St (next door to Tiffany & co) and is chocoholics heaven! They sell all of the Lindt products and also serve meals and chocolate desserts and home-made icecream. View their menu and more here. Price range $$.
- Lord of the Fries - A play-on-words of the movie title 'Lord of the Flies'. They serve amazing fries with a choice of standard and gourmet sauces. They also have burgers and hotdogsFlinders St Station, on the corner of Elizabeth and Flinders streets. View your choices on their website here. Price range $.
- Nobu Japanese - Owned by famous Japanese chef Nobu Matsuhisa. Nobu is located in the Crown complex on Southbank. They have an extensive menu (view here) and all the choices are fresh and delicious. Price range $$$.
Price range (main meals from): $ = 5-15 / $$ = 15-30 / $$$ = 30+
WHERE TO SHOP:
Melbourne is known for its shopping, depending whether you're looking for up-to-the-minute fashion trends, vintage clothing or homewares there are plenty of shops to choose from.
- Bourke Street Mall - Melbourne's main shopping mall. The mall features the main clothing stores such as Myer, David Jones, Sportsgirl, Diva, Zara, Steve Madden and much more (pictured - 1). It is located right in the centre of the CBD and has tram lines running straight through the middle - which makes it very accessible.
- Lost & Found Market - has an amazing selection of all things vintage (pictured - 2). They have everything from clothes to homewares, furniture and everything in between. I bought a vintage red suitcase for only $40! They have 2 locations, we went to the Collingwood store (1/5 Perry St) accessed by the 86 tram from Collins St to stop 19. Visit their website here.
- Myer Basement Level - In the Myer store there is a basement level with all of the 'youth' clothing. This is basically the young men's and women's department. This is where you'll find the biggest selection of Miss Shop and other popular brands such as Quirky Circus, Milk and Honey, Bauhaus, Bardot, Ladakh, Pilgrim and more. Myer is located in the centre of the Bourke Street mall.
- Queen Victoria Market - is an undercover market located at the Northern end of the CBD. There are stalls with everything from Asian knick-knacks to leather goods, clothing and accessories. Great for gift and souvenir shopping. It is open on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. For all of the opening hours and more info, check out their website here.
- Retrostar Vintage Clothing - is located at 37 Swanston St, upstairs on level 1. It is a whole floor of vintage clothing for both men and women, also including shoes, bags and accessories (pictured - 3). I got an amazing gold sequin clutch for only $12, and a silver thread t-shirt for $20! Check out their website here.
- Wunderkammer - sells scientific and medical instruments, specimens and models. If you're looking for something kooky for your house or a gift, this is the place for you! They have taxidermy animals on display and for sale, and lots of other miscellaneous items. Located at 439 Lonsdale St. Check out their weird and wacky website here.
I hope this mini-guide will help you if you are planning to visit Melbourne or know someone who is. Does this guide make you want to visit Melbourne?