It’s been named the “world’s most liveable city” and is the cultural capital of Australia. But is Melbourne worth the 24-hour flight from the UK? The answer is a resounding ‘Yes’, and these five ‘Cs’ are the reason.
If there’s one thing Melburnians take very seriously, it’s their coffee. This is the home of the ‘deconstructed’ flat white, and you can expect to pay a fair amount for your caffeine hit – as much as $4.50AUS in some cases, or £2.70 – but the quality is undisputed.
With its warehouse warmth and top-notch brews, the Auction Rooms has been described as the essence of Melbourne coffee culture, and the weekend brunch there is well worth the wait. For something to take away, Brother Baba Budan and Traveller, both from respected roaster Seven Seeds, offer coffees of unparalleled quality.
Long considered the design capital of Australia, Melbourne is where it’s at when it comes to shopping.
Chapel Street is the long-established centre of shopping in this city, where you’ll find big brands and designer boutiques alongside bars and restaurants perfect for a mid-spree refuel. On the other end of the spectrum is Gertrude Street in the uber-cool Fitzroy suburb. Head here to score fashion-forward pieces from under-the-radar designers and serious vintage finds.
And don’t ignore the so-called laneways that make Melbourne such a dynamic place. These pedestrian-only side streets – a holdover from the city’s gold rush slums – are where some of the city’s most exciting shops and cafes flourish, away from the glaring lights of the main roads. Take a turn down one and see what you discover!
Australian cuisine has made massive leaps forward in recent years, and as with all things cultural, Melbourne has been at the vanguard of the new Australian menu.
Head back to the laneways for amazing dumplings at ShanDong MaMa Mini, a Chinese dumpling specialist tucked in the much-photographed Centre Place laneway.
For more sense of occasion, it has to be Attica. Widely considered the best restaurant in Australia, this spot’s humble exterior belies the genius of its head chef, New Zealand-born chef Ben Shewry, who uses hyper-local ingredients in deliciously innovative ways.
Looking for a snack on the go? Contact Jafflechute, Melbourne’s ‘first float-down eatery’. They’ll drop you a delicious toasted sandwich attached to a parachute – all you need to do is stand on the ‘X’ and get ready to make the catch.
There’s a reason they call Melbourne the cultural capital of Australia. From high art to pop culture, you’ll find something to fascinate you here.
The sprawling Melbourne Museum is a must-visit, and even regular visitors are still finding new wonders in its rooms. Modern art lovers flock to the Heide Museum of Modern Art and the Gertrude Contemporary, which showcases and supports emerging Australian artists.
If history is more your thing, the Immigration Museum is a moving collection of stories and objects from people who chose Australia as their home.
Fans of television shows like Neighbours and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries will also be chuffed to find a number of tours to the locations where these Aussie classics were filmed.
You can’t go to Melbourne without stopping for a drink!
Start off at Lily Black’s in the Meyer’s Place laneway. With its inventive and extensive drinks list, this place is truly a cocktail lover’s dream. Treasures like the Hibiscus Heartbreaker – gin, hibiscus, cardamom and sparkling wine – and the Money & Power – a combination of gin, Rinquinquin, vanilla, chocolate and cherry – will have you thanking the bartender that this boozy temple is open until late every night.
And no visit to this lovely city would be complete without a stop at the Everleigh. The staff in this elegant speakeasy have a signature trick: tell your waiter what you’re in the mood for and which spirits you love and they’ll tell you off the top of their heads which incredible cocktail you’re craving. Can we venture a guess and suggest something with gin?