Melbourne has been called the world’s most liveable city, but the various neighborhoods can take time to get know. Before you settle in one area, explore and spend time in the various suburbs. Here’s a quick guide to help you on your journey.
CBD is where to go to find the major tourist hot spots. Start your morning by grabbing a quick bite to eat and exploring the foodie heaven at Queen Victoria Market. Stop to get a coffee at Market Lane Coffee (arguably one of Melbourne’s best, although the competition is as strong as a good long black). Once you’ve eaten your fill of market treats, board one of Melbourne’s beloved trams, take it down Swanston Street and find yourself between two of the city’s most famous places – Flinders Street Station and Federation Square. From here it’s only a short walk to Hosier Lane, Melbourne’s street art capital. This little lane has seen works from artists such as LushSux and Banksy. There are many other laneways and arcades to explore. Your best bet is to simply get lost amongst the cobbled streets. End your day with dinner around the Paris End of town.
Aside from being home to the gambling/high end shopping at Crown Casino, South Bank offers some of the best views of Melbourne’s skyline. From Flinders Street Station, head along Princes Bridge, and stop to take in the beauty of the Yarra River that weaves through the city. You’ll find the National Gallery of Victoria up ahead, offering free exhibitions with world-renowned artists. The architecture of the building, itself, is worth the visit. Now it’s time to put your feet up with a picnic in the Royal Botanical Gardens. After that, take it up a level — or 88 levels — and head to the Eureka Skydeck to get a 360-degree view of the city. Finally, order yourself a cocktail and take in the unique view of the city from Ponyfish Island.
It’s considered the backpacker area of Melbourne. If you’re looking for somewhere to party and make new friends, St Kilda is your spot. Start your day with a feed at The Kettle Black. Once the sun has brightened, take a photo in front of the famous “big mouth,” in Luna Park, before spending the afternoon relaxing at St. Kilda beach, a short way from the city. If you can stay around St Kilda beach until sunset, not only will you get to see the sun drop spectacularly into the water, you might even catch St Kilda’s resident fairy penguins waddle up the beach.
The north side of the river prides itself on being eclectic and creative. Brunch is almost a religion in Melbourne and the northside Auction Rooms is the perfect place for your first pilgrimage. From here you can walk to the Carlton Gardens to get a sense of a local’s life. Pose outside the ‘Welcome To Fitzroy’ sign, but expect a few eye rolls from the much-too-cool-for-that-locals. Grab yourself some local indie labels along Gertrude Street before settling in for infused vodka with a view of the city at Naked In The Sky.
Whether it’s Sydney vs. Melbourne, AFL vs. rugby or Melbourne’s inner north vs. inner south, Australians love a good rivalry. Those who live north vow to never head south of the river, and those who live south consider the north to be snobbish hipsters. Despite their differences, the more affluent, less grungy south has much more in common with the north than they might like to believe – good cafes, shopping and a thriving bar scene that includes Melbourne’s most notorious all-night spot, Revolver. Fuel your day of shopping the Chapel Street precinct with brunch at Tall Timber, a bright little café with a delicious seasonal menu. Be sure to wander all the way down Chapel Street to Prahran where you can finish your day sampling Polish vodka and dumplings at Borsch Vodka and Tears.