“WE TRAVEL NOT TO ESCAPE LIFE, BUT FOR LIFE NOT TO ESCAPE US”
Looking for a little getaway but may not have a lot of time? With quaint lane-way restaurants and stunning architecture, Melbourne is guaranteed to make you feel like you are on holiday and I’ve got the ideal itinerary to ensure you make the most of your 2 days!
For those flying into Melbourne domestically, aim for the first flight out on Saturday morning. These flights are usually cheaper than Friday night flights – plus you’ll save money on accommodation. You can get the SkyBus from Tullamarine to Melbourne city for $18. A taxi will cost around $50-$60 into the city, so it might work out cheaper if there is more than two of you travelling.
FLINDERS LANE (BREAKAST)
By now you may be peckish, so first things first – let’s eat! Melbourne is known for its incredible food culture, so you’ll definitely want to enjoy what this city has to offer in terms of eateries.
The great thing about Flinders Lane is that there are several small cafes, and even though it is often very busy, the table turnover is fairly quick and the staff are very accommodating and will work their magic to help get you a seat as quickly as possible. If you do find you have to wait, take a wander through the lane-ways close by for some impressive street art. Some popular breakfast spots are Grain Store and Roule Galette.
Melbourne is known for it’s unique and colourful street art that is sprawled across many lanes and alleys throughout the city. With many concentrated areas to select from including Hosier & Rutledge Lane (opposite Federation Square), Caledonian Lane (off Little Bourke Street) or Union Lane (off Bourke Street Mall) it is definitely worth taking a walk through the arcades and appreciating the murals and paste-ups that some of Melbourne’s best artists have created.
QUEEN VICTORIA MARKETS (PICNIC LUNCH)
Having had the opportunity to refuel, you can head up to Melbourne’s famous Queen Victoria Markets, marveling at Melbourne’s sensational architecture on the way. The Markets are HUGE and have just about everything you can imagine. If you see anything you like, don’t automatically assume the first price is the only price, try and bargain with them – you might get an even better deal!
A spot of shopping is enough to get anyone a little hungry, but depending on how much food you enjoyed earlier this morning, the Queen Victoria Markets offers fresh fruit and a huge delicatessen with every deli product you can imagine. Why not pick up a few things and head over to the Flagstaff Gardens across the road and enjoy a savory picnic in the park?
ROUTE 35 – FREE CITY TRAM
To help make the most of your time, Melbourne has a free tourist tram that circles the city, and conveniently, stops at a lot of famous sites. The route goes Flinders Street > Harbour Esplanade > Docklands Drive > La Trobe Street > Victoria Street > Nicholson Street > Spring Street > Flinders Street.
Departing approximately every 10 minutes, the tram can drop you near sites such as Old Melbourne Gaol, State Library, Town Hall, Flinders Street Station, Eureka Skydeck 88, Royal Botanic Gardens, Federation Square, St. Paul’s Cathedral, Chinatown and a number of museums and galleries.
LYGON STREET, BRUNSWICK STREET ETC. (DINNER)
After a HUGE afternoon of sightseeing you will have worked up an appetite! As previously mentioned, Melbourne is known for it’s lane-ways and streets crammed with restaurant after restaurant, so here are some options depending on what you’re hungry for!
- Lygon Street – Italian Cuisine. Famous for its gelato!
- Brunswick Street – Predominantly Vegan & Vegetarian food as well as Middle Eastern and African cuisine.
- Chapel Street – A bit on the fancy side, offering a huge variety of different restaurants including Indian, Greek and Moroccan.
- Victoria Street – Vietnamese heaven! Pho, crispy pancakes, spring rolls and noodles – all great quality and excellent price.
- Southbank – The promenade is home to many restaurants with outdoor seating for those wanting something a little more special.
- Smith Street – Melbourne’s first shopping strip offers Mexican, Turkish, Tapas, Greek, French, Middle Eastern and African foods.
- Chinatown – Authentic Asian cuisine offering both fine and casual dining options.
- Sydney Road – Great diversity and an overwhelming amount of options including (but not limited to) Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Japanese, African, Middle Eastern, Balinese, Indian and Nepalese.
AUCTION ROOMS, NORTH MELBOURNE (BREAKFAST)
Depending on where you enjoyed dinner last night, why not head out for a late breakfast in North Melbourne? Enjoy a mouth watering brunch at Auction Rooms from the all day breakfast menu and see for yourself whether they live up to their ‘best coffee in Melbourne’ title. You may have to wait to be seated if it is particularly busy, but the turnover is fairly quick and it is a large space.
Melbourne is known for its amazing shopping and if you have the time (and some spending money), depending on your style, you can head to Bourke Street where a lot of popular retail stores are including Zara, Myer and H&M. If you’re after something a bit more oh la la Chapel Street is the place for you. Habourtown in Docklands has shopping outlets, so you’re guaranteed to grab bargains here. If you’re after all of the above, you can’t go wrong with Melbourne Central! With over 300 stores, a movie cinema and some incredible architecture spanning across two city blocks, Melbourne Central has it all.
ST. KILDA (LUNCH)
Not much of a shopper? Or would rather spend your limited time exploring more of what Melbourne has to offer? Then definitely catch a tram down to St. Kilda. St Kilda is home to many of Melbourne’s famous visitor attractions including Luna Park, the Esplanade Hotel, Fitzroy Streetand and St. Kilda Beach.
Acland Street is St Kilda’s own food street with a huge variety of places on offer for either a light lunch or afternoon tea – whatever tickles you fancy! The Acland Cake Shop is renowned for its pastries and sweet treats, so be sure to save some room. Some funky food spots are Abbey Road Cafe and 40 Thieves.
If you’ve taken the time to head down to St. Kilda it would be a shame to miss Brighton. On the beach, Beach Road is a popular cycling route, with the Bay Trail off-road walking/cycling tracks also following the coastline. Brighton is also home to the famous Dendy Street Beach, just south of Middle Brighton, which features 82 colourful bathing boxes, which are one of the tourist icons of Melbourne.
If you’re looking to stay longer, definitely head down the Great Ocean Road, venture out to Philip Island and get your nature fix in The Grampians National Park – all of these are a once in a lifetime experiences exclusive to Victoria and incomparable to anywhere else in the world.