Named the most liveable city in the world for seven years, Melbourne, Australia is a must-visit. If you prefer to trade in visits to tourist spots for a more authentic urban experience, give the below activities a try.
Melbourne might be home to some of the best big shops in Australia – Direct Factory Outlet, or DFO as the locals call it, is not be missed – but it also has a number of unique vintage stores that carry quality secondhand furniture, art, books and more. There are dozens of proudly-owned boutiques scattered around the central city, but the bustling suburb of Fitzroy is home to some of the best. Stop in at Nook Vintage, Brunswick Street Antiques and Smith Street Bazaar to load up on one-of-a-kind goods.
Often when travelling in an urban area we don’t take the time to get away from the big smoke and see what the city’s outer regions have to offer. Only an hour’s drive from central Melbourne, the Dandenong Ranges are a magnificent natural park with a huge selection of hikes and opportunities to view nature. Towering gum trees, bubbling streams and impressive views abound. If you’re lucky, you might spy a wombat or kookaburra.
One thing Melbourne does extremely well is coffee. The city has mastered the art of every kind of coffee there is, from espresso to cold press. With a cafe on every corner, knowing where to go for the best cuppa is a challenge. The inner city has a myriad of superb coffee houses, but it’s the outer suburbs where you’ll find small cafes that are really passionate about coffee. Balaclava is case in point, with ample stores selling quality brews. A line can be seen from Wall Two 80’s street window early in the morning for good reason, while next door at Glass Merchants you can buy a hot cup of 5 Senses coffee. Batch Espresso on Carlisle Street is a home away from home for visiting Kiwis, decorated with local treasures and serving strong Wellington-made Coffee Supreme.
Melbourne is covered in street art of all kinds, from bold realism pieces to bright cartoons. Hosier Lane is the street to visit if you want to be exposed to graffiti from all angles, with artwork covering the walls often from bottom to top. Again, Melbourne’s suburbs boast a large number of lesser-known street art spots, with the aforementioned Balaclava providing vibrant pictures of Ben and Jerry, among other things.
Brunch Like a Local
If brunch is your favourite meal of the day, Melbourne will quickly become dear to your heart. Brunch is more than just Eggs Benedict in Melbourne; at Brighton Beach’s bustling Brighton Soul, for example, matcha pancakes with charcoal icecream are a popular menu item. Elsewhere in the city, you can get treats such as deep-fried Halloumi cubes and green tea pannacotta – all before midday.