It is the fastest growing city in Australia, despite being in the second smallest state. Cosmopolitan, vibrant, at its core is the state’s business, administration, culture and recreation. Easily accessible from Adelaide (and Sydney, Queensland and Tasmania), I headed over for a weekend to explore it.
So much to see and so little time. The street art is well-advertised and I found one area quite near, in Hosier Lane.
Other visual delights can be found in alleys, like shopping and food.
Special mentions? The short stop donut shop, where I bought a lemon meringue donut.
That’s it, closest row, second from the left. I thought it was going to be a donut with meringue on top, so was unprepared for the lemon custard that oozed out from under the meringue. Super delicious. The owner was happy to pose with me and I’m happy to promote his business.
For dinner I ate Japanese both nights, and there were lineups on Saturday night that prevented us from dining at our first choices, so if you see somewhere good during the day, book a table.
For breakfast/brunch go to Krimper Cafe in Guildford Lane. The best I’ve had in Australia.
Pass through the rustic doors and try to decide what to have:
Great coffees, teas, juices and more. Excellent service and relaxed, heated venue. Good prices, too.
Melbourne’s buildings exhibit a blend of old and new, some startling architecture and weathered favourites, caught within the net of overhead tram lines.
Time to see something of the environment, so it was off to the Royal Melbourne Botanic Gardens.
A brief intermission for shopping on Bridge Road (a couple of hours) was made possible by the excellent tram system and a myki card that you tap on, and tap as you get off to initiate subtraction of your fare from the balance. Other shopping areas are Bourke Street Mall, Chapel Street, the numerous DFOs and so many hidden gems. Keep your eyes open and look at reviews online to get exactly the style you want.
I’d heard of the Queen Victoria Markets, so went to see that they have a range of fresh food, craft items, imports and clothing.
The Shrine of Remembrance is adjacent to the Botanic Gardens. It is a massive structure designed in the style of the Tomb of Mausolus and the Parthenon.
Outside this entrance is the Cenotaph and Eternal flame, recording all the defence forces that have fought and where the battles took place.
The granite column has a basalt sculpture at the top, of six service men carrying a bier with a corpse, draped in the Australian flag.
I stayed at Quest on Lonsdale, which was well-situated and had a 7-eleven convenience store nearby and a couple of coffee houses, but no dining room of their own. The room was large and clean and the employees very helpful. It is on the edge of Chinatown, just up from the Greek quarter.
Saturday night took me to Jankara Karaoke on Russell Street, one of the few public karaoke bars. It was pretty good, but my friends and I were the only over 50s there. Make that 40s. We had a good time, anyway. You can sing each time you buy a drink at the bar and I didn’t think the ones who sang the most had been ordering juice. Hmm, maybe the only over 30s.
You can get from the airport using the Skybus ($19) then from the depot to your accommodation on a Skybus Hotel Transfer (no extra cost). Trams and trains take you just about anywhere and four people stopped to ask if we needed help/directions when we were in the city and trying to find our way around. Melbournites get top score for being tourist friendly.
I saw the MCG and Etihad Stadiums but didn’t get tempted to do a tour – you might.
I walked 12 km one day and didn’t even notice it. A great city and still more to see. I must go back for the honey and sea salt donut.
Put Melbourne on your itinerary. It is buzzing.