The coffee (and cultural) capital of Australia, Melbourne is a mecca of all things tasty and hip. The city’s hidden laneways covered in colourful street art are home to speakeasy bars, cafes and galleries. This is a city where you should expect the unexpected, from funky food pop ups to contemporary art. Days here begin with the best flat whites around and end at a slick rooftop bar, watching the sun go down over Melbourne’s skyline.
Melbourne is famous for its markets, which sell everything from local produce to arts and crafts and vintage goods. A must-visit is the Queen Victoria Markets, which is the largest open-air market in the Southern Hemisphere. Sports lovers are looked after too, with iconic sports events taking place year-round.
Not only is Melbourne cool with a capital “K”, in just under one hour, you can be a million miles away from the city – knee deep in nature. You’re just a short drive away from world-class wineries, mineral springs, mountains, rainforests and ocean views. Bliss.
Renting a car in Melbourne is a superb way to see Australia’s beaches, wine regions and of course, the city itself. Take note of these useful driving tips:
Within a few hours of Melbourne, this is no doubt one of the world’s most scenic drives. The star attraction on the Great Ocean Road are the 12 Apostles. The 230km drive will take you about 3 hours, but we suggest stopping off at points along the way and making an overnight out of the trip with a beach house stay in Torquay or Lorne.
For a return day trip from Melbourne, spin out to the Yarra Valley; it’s just a 3 hours return drive to Melbourne. There’s over 70 world-renowned wineries in the region, as well as organic farm stalls selling local produce. Finish your day trip at Healesville Sanctuary, which is home to more than 200 species of native animals, including kangaroos, wallabies, platypus, and even the Tasmanian devil.
Daylesford – or Victoria’s ‘Spa Country’, is just under 2-hours’ drive north from Melbourne CBD. Famous for its hot springs, you can spend the day relaxing at mineral springs and spas wineries, art galleries, country pubs and cafes. The best thing about this day trip is that you can spend an entire day indulging and still be back in the city in time for dinner.
Highly regarded as one of Australia’s greatest drives, the Back Spur Drive is a magical route via rainforest, towering trees and ferns, with amazing valley views. The route cuts through the forest landscape of the Yarra Ranges, connecting the Yarra Valley with mountainous Marysville. Lower the windows to breathe in that rich forest air and gaze up at the tree canopy above.
Break free of city traffic on this 229 km round trip from Melbourne. You’ll tour through wine country and coastline, stopping off for a picnic at Brisbane Ranges National Park or a bite to eat at one of the many waterfront eateries in Geelong. From here, continue on to the Victorian seaside town of Queenscliff, passing wine estates en route. Your journey will end at the beach at Barwon Heads.
Who could pass up an opportunity to see penguins up close? Phillip Island is home to the legendary Penguin Parade, which is when the island’s 32,000 little penguins come back ashore after a busy day fishing. You can enjoy cliffside walks and whale watching before settling down at the tiered seating Summerland Beach for a 180-degree of the penguins.
Hit the slopes at Mount Buller, which is just 3 hours drive from Melbourne. Mount Buller has the best lift system of all the Victorian ski resorts, with 22 lifts bringing visitors to more than 300 hectares of skiable terrain. If you’re all skied out, the village has a cute spa and shops, as well as a fun toboggan park for kids.
Melbourne is one of Australia’s most sought after cities for its vibrant local culture, stunning scenery, multi-cultural influence and thriving art scene. It’s also known as being the culture and art capital of Australia, has the nation’s best food, is constantly ranked as one of the world’s most livable cities and has an air about it that says this is Victoria. Whether you visit for the unforgettable food, the world-famous live music and entertainment, or the stunning nature that surrounds, you’re in for a treat.
One big pull for visitors is the Greek culture. Despite being nearly 15,000km from Athens, Melbourne is home to the largest Greek population outside Greece. Like so many other unfortunate convicts, Greeks were transported to Australia in the early 19th century. A while later, the largest Greek migration came following the Gold Rush with Melbourne and Thessaloniki becoming ‘”sister cities”. Today the Greek community is still thriving and its influence can be felt all across Melbourne. Be sure to treat yourself to any one of the countless Greek restaurants throughout the city, ranging from cosy souvlaki joints to fancy candlelit sit-downs. There is also a Hellenic Museum dedicated to ancient and contemporary Greece and the history of Greeks in Australia.
Everyone knows that Melbourne’s arts and culture scene trumps any other city in Australia – and that’s really saying something. While the title for the cultural capital of Australia is a big one, it’s certainly deserved. Any first time visitor to Melbourne will be swept up in the thriving atmosphere of expression at every turn. The city is known for its breathtaking street art, world-class arts and heritage institutions and award-winning galleries. Whether you stroll the streets to take in the colourful murals, procure a popup exhibit or wander the famous NGV, art is sure to be a highlight of your Melbourne visit.
Sometimes it comes to elegance, luxury and impeccable hospitality, and The Langham is one of the best in the biz. Sat high above the Yarra River with gorgeous panoramas of Melbourne’s iconic skyline, each one of their 388 immaculately decorated rooms and suites has its own stunning view. Pamper yourself with a visit to their Chuan Spa or indulge in a few cocktails at their Aria Bar and Lounge, either way, The Langham is sure to impress.
Element Melbourne Richmond is one of Melbourne’s newest, hippest luxury hotels. Known for its modern character, striking views and suites that are as spacious as they are stylish, it’s no wonder Element has quickly become a Melbourne fave. As part of the Marriott brand, it also comes with a competitive price point. Best part? Element is one of the only pet-friendly hotels in the area and goes above and beyond to be sure you and your favourite travelling companion feel right at home.
If you are looking for the most unique accommodation in Melbourne, look no further than Notel. Made up of six super sleek chrome airstreams that have been refurbished to create the suite of your dreams, Notel offers the stay of a lifetime. Each trailer has been completely refitted to create the ultimate designer accommodation that is comfortable, discreet and stylish. If you’re looking for a real take on just how creative Melbourne culture really is, this is the place to be.
This upscale boutique hotel is one of Melbourne’s best whether you’re looking for a couples retreat, a solo adventure or a holiday with friends. As part of the Art Series Hotel Group, the entire hotel is decked out interesting artwork with sculptures, elaborate paintings and quirky touches throughout. Onsite you’ll find 200 suites, each more chic and stylish than the last; plus two onsite restaurants.
When you’re looking for the hottest boutique hotel in Melbourne and possible Australia, QT Melbourne is the place to be. QT has a big reputation for its artsy style and world-class hospitality, and it’s certainly deserved. Throughout the hotel, you’ll find countless handpicked art pieces from edgy to sultry to thought-provoking and an industrial style that blends right in with the rest of Melbourne. That’s not all though. The onsite bars and restaurants are in a constant buzzing state, leaving you with loads to explore before even leaving the grounds.
Cosy, stylish and sleek are just a few words that perfectly describe Zagame’s House. Take in the eccentric graffiti-ridden stairs and enjoy an evening clinking glasses from their carefully curated wine list in the Lord Lygon Wine Shop and Bar. Comprised of 97 carefully decorated suites and rooms, two world-class restaurants and endless eye-catching artwork, this Melbourne institution is the perfect choice to make your stay complete.
Adelphi Hotel is one of Melbourne’s most hip and stylish boutique hotels. Famous for its quirky character throughout, warm Australian hospitality and prime location, it’s no wonder it is continuously topping the charts for best boutique hotels in Victoria. Adelphi calls itself the “world’s premier dessert hotel” and it’s pretty clear why. Throughout the hotel, you’ll find dessert and sweets inspired decor along with their famous Om-Nom Restaurant where art becomes dessert and vice versa. Simply put, Adelphi is sure to give you a sweet stay in Melbourne.
There are so many different neighbourhoods in Melbourne, it can be difficult to choose which one suits you best. If you want to stay right bang in the middle of the city then the CBD is best for you. Richmond is the cool-hip district, if you want to be closest to the beach then St Kilda it is, if you’re looking to be close to cool bars and trendy restaurants, then Prahran and Windsor might be the best for you.
The coldest months are between June and July, with minimum temperatures averaging around 42-43°F (5°C). The wettest month in Australia is October, with rainfall averaging at 53mm.
The rich and famous are known to stay at Crown Towers Villas. Bill Gates, Beyonce and Jay Z, George Clooney and Elton John to name but a few, have stayed here.
Both cities are amazing. If it’s your first time visiting Australia and you’re looking for tourist centric activities, Instagrammable shots, then Sydney might be the best choice. But if you’re looking to discover and explore some rich culture, give Melbourne a try.