Melbourne is a cosmopolitan hub renowned for its artistic tendencies. Home to the oldest public art museum in Australia, a vibrant collection of street-art and competitive gastronomy, this city has a lot to offer. There’s only one catch…
With so many exciting and varied places to explore, it’s hard to decide on what to do or where to start! As is often the way with large cities, you can find yourself feeling confused and inundated with recommendations. But don’t worry, I’m here to help. This roundup details the best things to see and do in this bustling, cultured part of Australia. So grab a cup of coffee and saddle up.
Visit the Eureka Skydeck
The 108th tallest tower in the world and a popular tourist attraction. Walking into the ground floor may not seem overly impressive, but the speed of the lift is a different story altogether. It whizzes you up to the observation deck in just a matter of seconds. The observation deck is on the 88th floor and provides spectacular 360-degree views of the city. Granted, it’s not hugely unique as many cities have these glass observation attractions nowadays, but what better way to get your bearings in an unfamiliar part of the world.
We were advised to visit once it was dark outside, as this shows the city lights at their finest. My advice? Head up there a little before sundown and watch the world transform from day to night, right before your eyes.
Spend an Afternoon at The Royal Botanic Gardens
Vibrant, luscious, and large. Mike and I have wandered around many a public garden in our time and I can honestly say that the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne are the best of all.
Vibrant, luscious and large, you won’t regret visiting this gorgeous sliver of Melbourne. Complete with a rose garden, multiple glistening lakes, and plenty of lunch locations, these gardens are the perfect way to spend a day in the city, without feeling like you’re in the city at all. It is so peaceful and there are plenty of corners for you to hide away in, or if you prefer a little more action, embark upon a boat ride across one of the aforementioned lakes.
We enjoyed a whole afternoon here just reading, basking in the Australian sunshine and taking in the views. We even spotted a wedding taking place and spent a while people watching as the guests revelled in the picturesque surroundings; all the elements of a perfect day ready to unfold and the hum of excitable energy in the air.
Dine at Chin Chin
A South-East Asian delight! Almost everyone we spoke to for dining recommendations strongly advised that we visit Chin Chin Melbourne, though nobody could pinpoint exactly what the unique appeal of this restaurant was. Naturally, we decided to see for ourselves.
We arrived at the restaurant at around 6 pm and had a 30-minute wait before even getting through the threshold. Fortunately, the weather held up – as waiting outside in the rain probably isn’t worth it. Upon entry, we were greeted by a very enthusiastic host who took our names and told us the wait would be around an hour. We were prepared for this, and so should you be if you intend on visiting – it’s extremely popular and you aren’t able to book a table in advance.
Fortunately, they have considered the consumer and built a vibrant gogo bar downstairs for you to indulge in whilst you wait. In fact, we had such a nice time downstairs with a bottle of bubbly that we would have happily stayed in the bar a while longer. The bar has a great atmosphere. It’s lively, but not hectic. Plus, there are plenty of seats.
When the time does come to head up to your table, you will be presented with an impressive menu. The whole idea is to mix and match, the concept of the whole establishment is ‘social’. With this in mind, most of the dishes are designed for sharing, so dive on in and take your pick. I strongly suggest ordering the butter chicken, it is mouthwateringly divine and I’m craving it again even as I write this.
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Sorry, I was too busy eating to take my own photos here 😉
Drive to St Kilda
This one isn’t strictly in Melbourne, but I won’t tell if you don’t! If you’re interested in a pleasant change of pace, I urge you to take a 15-minute drive over to St Kilda. If you’re an animal lover, the best time to go is late afternoon/early evening. Why? Because shortly after sundown, dozens of little penguins hop up onto the pier and you can watch them waddle around adorably as they explore the boardwalk.
Please be mindful that these sweet little creatures are frightened of camera flashes. The below image was taken of one brave stray that ventured closer to civilization. It isn’t an amazing picture as I didn’t want to panic him – but it gives you an idea of what’s in store.
Visiting St Kilda is a lovely way to spend an evening, provided you’re a penguin fan. And if you’re not? There are plenty of eateries that you can enjoy following a day at the beach.
Brunch at SOS Cafe
The ultimate brunch spot in South Yarra; a bold statement considering how many brunch spots can be found here.
A very relaxed but vibey place, where everything is presented with the utmost attention to detail. Plus, you can dine al fresco. They have so many delicious options on offer, I could happily go back every day to sample everything they offer! From breakfast smoothies to eggs galore, you can’t really go wrong.