Melbourne is the capital of Victoria and the second most populous city in Australia. It is a major destination for Australians to visit and is often referred to as the country’s culture capital. Not only is it home to a wide variety of ethnicities from around the world, which is evident in its many restaurants serving international cuisines, it also holds an incredibly strong arts and sporting culture.
With varied landscapes and terrains, the city of Melbourne spans along mountain ranges like Dandenong, the Yarra River towards Yarra Valley, where many award-winning wineries are located, to a myriad of picturesque bay side beaches. Back in the central business district, one can enjoy the beautiful juxtaposition of modern architecture against eighteenth and nineteenth century buildings. One of the best times to visit Melbourne is spring from September to November, where the sun is out longer, the flowers in full bloom and the weather is perfect. The city is also a perfect one to walk or cycle around.
09:00am: After enjoying a hearty breakfast at InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto, follow the aroma of fresh coffee to Degraves Street and Centre Place, an eclectic lane-way perfect to take in the Melbourne ambiance and lane-way culture. Take your time to admire the graffiti located at the end of Centre Place. Melbournians take coffee very seriously and the entire city is filled with reputable coffee shops.
So now that you are at Degraves Street, give Cup of Truth a visit. It is located in the underpass connecting Degraves Street and Flinders Street Station. Acclaimed as one of Melbourne’s best places to get a cup of coffee, this hidden gem promises you perfection in a cup. The Cup of Truth is a joint where you decide the payment. There is no fixed price – you just pay what you think the cup is worth!
10:00am: Next, enjoy eclectic Fitzroy and Collingwood, which are two of Melbourne’s trendiest and most fashionable neighbourhoods. Located near the north end of the city centre, just a 12-minute drive away, these districts are well known for its Bohemian shops, quaint cafes, chic bars and restaurants, as well as its funky and trendy inhabitants.
Gertrude and Brunswick Streets are great for shopping, though neighbouring Smith Street, which houses some of the city’s most intriguing cafes and restaurants, is also a strip to look out for. Book lovers or antique fanatics will be pleasantly surprised in Fitzroy, which is home to a huge variety of specialised shops for books, perfumes, clothes, flowers, gardens, markets as well as period shops featuring furnishings from the 1950’s.
12:00 noon: For lunch choose one of the many cafes and restaurants in the area like The Commoner (modern British), St Crispin (modern Australian) Trippy Taco (casual veggie tacos), Builders Arms Hotel (gastro pub) or Charcoal Lane, a modern Australian restaurant with a unique Aboriginal flare dedicated to giving indigenous and disadvantaged youths on-the-job training and hospitality skills.
1:30pm: Some of Melbourne’s best art galleries can also be found in nearby Collingwood located just a five-minute walk away. Enjoy contemporary art at galleries like Australian Galleries, James Makin Gallery and Port Jackson Press. If you are after some iconic Australian Indigenous art, the Alcaston Gallery will not disappoint.
3:30pm: Take a 10-minute drive back to Melbourne’s city centre, which is well-known for its vibrant shopping scene. While the best shopping experiences reside all over the city, a visit to Bourke Street Mall and the luxurious stretch of shops located on Collins Street should not be missed. A visit to Luisa on Collins is a definite must if you are looking for a steal in high-fashion leather goods.
Shop at the newly opened Emporium Melbourne located on Lonsdale Street – your one-stop-shopping destination, with over 225 stores. Featuring many international labels and flagship stores, the mall is also home to the largest Australian designer collection in the country. You will find Sydney designer Bianca Spender’s first Melbourne stand-alone store along with other well-known local brands such as Zimmerman, Seed Heritage, Manning Cartel, Willow, White Suede, Sass & Bide and many more.
Enjoy a cup of tea and some light treats at the Emporium Melbourne food cafe. Also widely proclaimed as ‘the city’s premium food destination’, you will be spoilt for choice with the wide variety of upmarket fares from many famous names in Australia’s food scene. Some must tries are the highly rated souvlaki from Jimmy Grants and the gourmet sandwiches from EARL Canteen.
6:30pm: The award-winning Melbourne Star observation wheel, located a short 10-minute drive away, promises a stunning 360-degree view of the city. Sitting on Waterfront Bay at Docklands, you can watch the area come alive with fireworks every Friday throughout August. Single tickets for adults are priced at AUD$32 and can be bought in advance through our concierge team. After the flight, top the Melbourne experience at Australia’s largest ice sports and entertainment venue with some ice-skating at the Medibank Icehouse.
8:00pm: Hop on the City Circle Tram (Route 35) at Docklands Waterfront City on the way to dinner at one of Melbourne’s coolest restaurants. The City Circle Tram is a free audio-guided tour, which brings you around the city with interesting historical facts about Melbourne. Alight at Bourke Street and take a short stroll towards Collins Street where you can find one of Melbourne’s coolest underground restaurants.
Brooks of Melbourne is nestled in the basement of the heritage-listed building Austral House. Indulge in their 5-course degustation menu for AUD$95 that changes with the season. Be sure to try Meli Melo, which is a medley of vegetables and potatoes covered with celeriac skin broth. Dinner reservations at this exquisite and sensational restaurant can also be made through our concierge.
10:00pm: Follow the satisfying dinner with drinks at some of Melbourne’s slickest bars. For wine lovers, take a short 5-minute stroll to City Wine Shop on Spring Street, which stocks a wide range of quality wines from Victoria, Australia and Europe. This wine shop has plenty of indoor and outdoor seating, so you need not worry about making reservations.
If a cocktail sounds more tantalising, try Murmur, a cocktail bar housed in a coffee warehouse, a 15-minute walk from Brooks. Some of the house favourites include Wild Passion (Vodka and Montenegro with Passionfruit, Lime and Basil) and Chocolate Chilli Martini (Vodka with Chocolate Liqueur and Chilli Syrup). Of course, they have the usual beers too.
11:00pm: Complete the day with stunning panoramic views and a night cap at Lui Bar on the 55th floor of the Rialto Towers. Designed to impress, Melbourne’s most sophisticated bar makes the experience one to remember. With a very strict dress code, be sure to be dressed to the nines as you end the night with some cutting-edge cocktails like the Velvet Rotor Macadamia Martini and Lola Montez Spider Dance Fizz. Remember to take home their bar snacks menu, which you can later plant to become a lemon scented bottle brush tree.
About The Guest Blogger
James Ridenour, Chief Concierge of InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto and Assistant Secretary General of Les Clef d’Or, a prestigious global concierge society, shares a 24-hour Insider Itinerary with the best activities for you to get the most out of Melbourne Australia. For more activities in Melbourne, please visit the InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto Concierge Guide.